By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council took four hours at its regular Monday (Aug. 19) meeting to do some routine business and general discussions on a variety of technical matters such as updating the Urban Centers Planning Process.

It also heard about options to address environmental and climate concerns, including providing examples and cost estimates for developing a climate action plan.

Leaving StART
The Burien Council’s recent action withdrawing from the Port of Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART) was billboarded by the Port as a “new way for the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila to engage with Port of Seattle staff and aviation industry representatives.”

Burien, Des Moines and Normandy Park also at first desired to sign up, but recently both Burien and Des Moines voted to withdraw because the Port went ahead with financing for new facilities before the studies on their viability was completed. Normandy Park is reported to be considering withdrawing also.

The Port said “StART provides a chance to develop a shared understanding, discuss community concerns and voice feedback on the airport’s construction projects, programs, and operations” with the Federal Aviation Administration expected to “provide agency expertise.”

Climate sustainability
Burien staff told the Council that while the cities of Burien, SeaTac and Des Moines joined Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives). The cities were told that for a modest membership fee ($1,200 per year), it would “provide software, resources and support in achieving sustainability goals.”

Staff said ICLEI recommends the “Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation Process”:

  • developing a baseline emissions inventory and forecasts (using software tools available through ICLEI);
  • establishing reduction targets;
  • developing a climate action plan;
  • implementing policies and measures;
  • and, monitoring and verifying results.

“All three cities generally followed this “Five Milestone” approach, said city staff in its report to Council. Other cities included education as part of focus areas.

Burien Councilmembers were told all three cities have staff that are dedicated to environmental tasks. The cost of the full development of the plan by the City of Redmond had several staff that dedicated significant time over the course of a year to develop their action strategy. After discussions with peers and consultants, staff estimates the cost to develop a similar climate action plan would be between $75,000 and $100,000.

In other business
The Council passed a proclamation making Sept. 21 as the Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry.

City Manager Brian Wilson introduced the city’s new Community Development director, Susan McLain (pictured, left), formerly Seattle deputy planning director. She is a resident of White Center.

Wilson also told Council there have been several reports of the theft of political campaign signs, which we have reported earlier. Such theft is a law violation.

“A person who removes or defaces lawfully placed political advertising including yard signs or billboards without authorization is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable to the same extent as a misdemeanor that is punishable under RCW 9A.20.021. The defacement or removal of each item constitutes a separate violation.”