By Mellow DeTray
At Monday night’s (Oct. 17, 2022) Burien City Council meeting, local lawmakers approved adding rental protections to the next business meeting, approved the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) work plan and budget priorities for 2023 and more.
The Council recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Education and coordination of resources have proven effective in the prevention of domestic violence, which affects every community but particularly vulnerable populations.
The Council also recognized October 10th as Indigenous Peoples Day, to acknowledge the rich and long history of native people in our area. Joe Biden was the first president to formally commemorate this day, which has been a national holiday since 1934.
The Council also received a report from the Advancing Racial Equity Committee, which is a volunteer committee of city staff that is working on ways to reduce racial bias in the city.
Community members came out en force in favor of enacting stronger renter protections. They reminded Council that the economy has still not recovered from the pandemic, and described situations where landlords had raised rent by 20 percent, or refused to maintain safe and livable units. The public comments time limit ran out and was extended multiple times, to give a chance for everyone who showed up to tell their story and request Council support.
Others spoke in favor of stronger measures against climate change, including money for outreach, education, and installation of heat pumps rather than gas or oil for heating and cooling homes. Several said that installation of EV charging stations is not what’s needed now, and that there might be grants for that later. They suggested the City fund energy audits and weatherization of homes, and that we should be spending more than .08% of the budget on climate action, and not using the money to hire expensive consultants.
Rental Housing Protections
Council approved adding rental protections to the next business meeting. These protections will:
- Eliminate loopholes in Just Cause protections, so that all renters regardless of lease type are protected from eviction or lease termination without good reason.
- Require 120 days notice for rent increases over 3%, 180 days for increases over 10%.
- Cap late fees at $10.
- Specify that a Social Security Number cannot be required to apply for a rental home.
Council approved the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) work plan and budget priorities for 2023. SKHHP is a newer interlocal agency and needs approval from partner cities to continue its mission of maintaining and increasing available affordable housing options.
Discussion of the renewal of the City’s contract with the Community Animal Resource & Education Society (CARES) was moved to the next meeting, because of time constraints
Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.