Here’s our recap of the regular Burien City Council meeting held on Monday night, May 1, 2023:

Ambaum & Boulevard Park Development Plan

Residents of Ambaum and Boulevard Park neighborhoods came out to speak on the proposed development plan for their areas, with many voicing concerns over the planned increase in density. Some said they moved there for the quiet streets, which would change with the proposed plan. Others mentioned the already crowded schools and roads around schools, with concerns for worsening classroom conditions and road safety. In a neighborhood with resources already stretched thin, one asked, how can the city be planning to increase the population?

Later in the meeting, council decided to table the decision until they could discuss the details more thoroughly. Staff has been researching and working on this development plan for years, and it is likely council will ultimately approve it, but they may tweak parts of it to address community concerns. House Bill 1110 passed recently, giving local jurisdictions until the end of 2024 to come into compliance by amending zoning codes to match higher density requirements.

2022/2023 Business Survey Results

All Burien businesses were asked to complete surveys this year, to share things that are working, or not, about doing business in Burien. These results were compared with a similar survey done in 2018/2019. 255 surveys were completed, and the results were presented at this meeting. 

Most respondents have smaller businesses, with 5 or fewer employees. Top challenges for local businesses include crime, homelessness, staffing, and rising costs of doing business. 25 businesses said that they planned to close in the next 5 years, with reasons given including retirement, cost of rent, crime & safety, but half of the 25 didn’t explain their motivation for the planned closure. 24 businesses said they would relocate out of Burien in the next 5 years, with the top reason again left blank, but others stated their relocation would be due to crime, regulations, or not feeling welcome.

Top suggestions from business owners for enhancing economic development in the city include improving public safety, reducing homelessness, attracting more commercial development, and investing in community events. Other ideas included small business support & training, visitor attraction & marketing, development of more housing, and improving SW 153rd Street.

Land Donation Adjacent to Salmon Creek Ravine Park 

Council approved unanimously to accept 7.5 acres of donated land adjacent to Salmon Creek Ravine Park. The donation will effectively add to the park’s current 88 acres, though may not include official trails since much of the 7.5 acres is steeply sloped. This will help to protect that land in its natural state, with tree canopy and wildlife habitat. It will include some ongoing cost to the city for upkeep, an estimated $5 to $10 thousand dollars.

SW 152nd Street Lot to be Leased by Burien CARES

Council voted 5–2 to enter into lease negotiations with Burien CARES on a formerly vacant lot owned by the city. This temporary lease would turn the small lot on the corner of SW 152nd Street & 6th Ave SW into a dog park.

Currently, the lot is occupied by around 20-30 unhoused campers, and a lease on the lot will mean they will need to relocate. Before the group of campers moved to this location from the Burien City Hall/Library grounds, the grassy corner lot had been used by the neighborhood as an unofficial dog park.

The city received three other lease proposals for the lot, but council preferred to work with CARES, a known and trusted local organization.

Once the lease negotiations are complete, the city will likely announce a deadline for campers to move.

The education session on the Blake decision was moved to the next meeting agenda.

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...