[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

I wanted to make sure the community was aware that the City of Burien is on the verge of adopting zoning rules regarding Enhanced Service Facilities like the one Noble Healthcare wanted to put across the street from St. Francis in early 2019.

For those not familiar, Washington State defines an ESF as:

“Enhanced Services Facility (ESF)” means a facility that provides treatment and services to persons for whom acute inpatient treatment is not medically necessary and who have been determined by the department to be inappropriate for placement in other licensed facilities due to the complex needs that result in behavioral and security issues. Chapter 70.97 RCW.

In a 5-0 vote on Jan. 8, 2020, the Burien Planning Commission approved sending over a recommendation to the Burien City Council that the new zoning rules for the city should allow ESF’s in all areas of the city. This includes effectively all zoning for commercial and single family residences. Meaning they are recommending allowing an ESF in virtually any neighborhood, any where in the city. They also removed any separation requirement that would require a specific distance of separation of an ESF from other uses like a school or daycare.

For anyone that has an opinion on the subject NOW is the time to have your voice heard. To let your feelings be known, I would strongly recommend e-mailing the council at [email protected] and the city manager, Brian Wilson, at [email protected] or attending the council meeting at Burien city hall on Feb. 3, 2020 at 7 p.m. when this is expected to be discussed. Once the legal framework is in place, your opinion will not matter.

The proposed schedule is the planning commission recommendation will be sent to the council for their review and discussion at the regular city council meeting on Feb 3. And the city hopes to take action and have the new zoning rules in place by March 9th.

Download the agenda here (PDF file). Page 13 of 25 under Code Amendment Summary, the planning commission suggested Option 2 to the Burien city council for zoning changes. This would allow ESF’s in virtually all commercial zoning and single family residence zoning. They also dropped any separation requirement between an ESF and other uses like a school or daycare.

Below is the Admission criteria from the State of Washington for an ESF:

WAC 388-107-0030 Admission criteria. The enhanced services facility will only admit residents who:
(1) Are at least eighteen years old; and
(2) Require:
(a) Daily care by or under the supervision of a mental health professional, chemical dependency professional, or nurse; or
(b) Assistance with three or more activities of daily living; and (3) Have any of the following:
(a) A mental disorder, chemical dependency disorder, or both;
(b) An organic or traumatic brain injury; or
(c) A cognitive impairment that results in symptoms or behaviors requiring supervision and facility services.
(4) Will benefit from the staffing levels and professional supports provided in this setting.
(5) If at a state hospital, has been deemed stable and ready for discharge.
(6) Does not meet the requirement for active treatment at a state hospital, but has not found appropriate placement in other community settings due to a history of two or more of the following:
(a) Self-endangering behaviors that are frequent or difficult to manage;
(b) Aggressive, threatening, or assaultive behaviors that create a risk to the health or safety of other residents or staff, or a significant risk to property and these behaviors are frequent or diffi- cult to manage;
(c) Intrusive behaviors that put residents or staff at risk;
(d) Complex medication needs which include psychotropic medications;
(e) A history of or likelihood of unsuccessful placements in either a licensed facility or other state facility or a history of rejected applications for admission to other licensed facilities based on the resident’s behaviors, history, or security needs;
(f) A history of frequent or protracted mental health hospitali- zations; and/or
(g) A history of offenses against a person or felony offenses that created substantial damage to property.
[Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.97 RCW. WSR 14-19-071, § 388-107-0030, filed 9/12/14, effective 10/13/14.]
Certified on 10/25/2019 WAC 388-107-0030 Page 1

– Jordan Pomeroy

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have something you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).