By Jack Mayne
The Burien City Council unanimously approved the La Serra Subdivision, a proposed 36-lot plat on 8 acres on the west side of 4th Ave SW between SW 124th and 126th Streets (map below).
The area is zoned for Single Family residential with a minimum of 7,200 square foot lots. Access to the lots will be from three new public streets and three private lanes.
This location served as the home for longtime local business Burien Bel-R Greenhouses, which has been farming there since 1942.
The city requires full street frontage improvements consisting of curbs, sidewalks, storm drainage, and landscaping. Street lights are required on SW 124th Street, 4th Ave SW, and the public internal streets. A common recreation area will also be provided with benches, picnic tables, and children’s play equipment.
The property has 46 significant trees, said city planner Brandi Eyerly, with 26 of them “sick or dying” and the remainder healthy. Other trees located in streets or building areas will be removed. The developer will add 82 new trees, she said.
Eyerly said the staff recommended placing the issue on the next consent agenda for approval.
Councilmember Kevin Schilling recommended the development be approved, noting his personal approval of the plans to preserve and add trees to the property.
Councilmember Nancy Tosta said she would support the development because the city needs more housing, but “this is a very bittersweet decision vote for me.” She said she spent a lot of time there because of the greenhouses on the property.
“I spent a lot of time there,” trying to “create a south King County urban agriculture center here at this site,” but supporters were unable to put the $3 million-plus urban agriculture site together.
“The family owners of 75 years wants to retire,” she said.
“It pains my heart to see this resource lost to us because there aren’t any other cities I am aware of that can say they have this level of functioning, fully functioning commercial greenhouses that could have been used. It’s a loss. I’m sad.”
Nevertheless, Tosta said she would support the sale.
The Hearing Examiner conducted an open record public hearing on April 6, 2021. On May 3, 2021, the Hearing Examiner issued findings, conclusions, and a recommendation to the City Council to approve the preliminary subdivision with conditions (Exhibit A of the Resolution). The City Council’s decision on a preliminary subdivision application must be based on the record developed by the Hearing Examiner, which includes his recommendation. By approving proposed Resolution No. 461, the City Council will grant preliminary approval for La Serra Subdivision with recommended conditions and adopt the findings of fact and conclusions as set forth by the Hearing Examiner.
Following approval of the preliminary plat, the applicant will be required to satisfy all required conditions of approval, including installation of infrastructure or provisions of financial security, prior to presenting the plat for final adoption by the City Council.