EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated on 4/24/16 with corrected information about the Evergreen pool. By Jack Mayne After weeks of wrangling over adding money for Burien’s human services, the Burien City Council on Monday (April 18) approved an additional $55,000 for this year, and several members said more would likely be in the next biennial budget to be drafted later this year. Councilmembers also heard about the proposed massive expansions envisaged for Sea-Tac International Airport, which will mean up to 52 million passengers by 2024 and to 66 million passengers by 2034. And more planes means more noise for Burien residents, said Seattle Port Commission representatives, but they promise to try to keep the racket down. More for the needy The added human services money has been a bone of contention for many months, with Councilmembers Lauren Berkowitz and Nancy Tosta often leading the charge. Council approved an additional $55,000 for the city’s human services budget. The vote was 5 to 1. Councilmember Nancy Tosta voted against the measure because she feels the city has not demonstrated a strategy for combating homeless and living cost problems. Councilmember Berkowitz did not attend the Council session. The first agency seeking city funds was Hospitality House, the women’s shelter in the Burien Presbyterian Church, and the group is asking for a grant of $5,000 for capital improvements. “We have been operating in that church for 15 years, and proudly so,” Natalie Reber, executive director of Hospitality House said. “However, as you know, a church was never meant to be a facility to house 70 or 80 women every year after year. “So we are asking for replacement beds,” Reber told the Council, noting that often the top bunk beds cannot be used because of a 200-pound weight restriction. They want to replace the current bunk beds with military style beds where the weight limit is 400 pounds. Also the number of aging women is increasing and they are often unable to get into the top bunks. The next group was Janice Rapier, center manager for the Goodwill Job Training and Education Center, seeking $25,000 to help expand its customer service and cashiering classes. She said the center taught over 750 students for free last year in Burien, including classes in cashiering, English, math, GED preparation and a class allowing adults over 21 to get their high school diplomas. Betsy McFeely, of the Goodwill community relations department, said she supported Rapier’s request. Next fund applicant was St. Vincent de Paul’s Bob Frank at St. Bernadette’s Parish, who sought $5,000. Frank said he wanted to thank the Council for its past grants for eviction prevention, which now allows the group to keep nearly 90 percent of the applicants in their homes. Also approved were grants of $15,000 for Neighborhood House for Student and Family Stability; $3,000 for the city’s expanded emergency assistance voucher program and $2,000 to Transform Burien. SAMPConstraints Airport Growth Council heard from Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton on the “Sustainable Airport Master Plan,” and how Burien can be included in the plans the Port has to substantially grow over the next 20 years. The Port’s new Airport Director Lance Lyttle said his career has included major management jobs at Houston and Atlanta airports, which taught him about the impact airports have on surrounding communities. He said there were always compromises and middle grounds to solutions to problems between airports and communities. Sea-Tac Airport is the fastest growing facility in the United States, Lyttle said. [caption id="attachment_98606" align="alignleft" width="225"]ElizabethLeavitt Elizabeth Leavitt[/caption] Port of Seattle Environmental and Planning Director Elizabeth Leavitt showed the Council a slide that there were 37.5 million passengers through the airport in 2014, up 7.7 percent from the previous year and 42.3 million passengers in 2015, a nearly 13 percent growth. They expect 52 million passengers by 2024 and to 66 million passengers by 2034. That resulted in $220 million in retail and service sales and 170,000 jobs related to the airport. Many more flights There will be more flights out of the airport and impacting adjacent areas of Burien. Leavitt’s chart shows going “from 88 operations (per) hour to 120 without adding runways” and that is done with moving “more planes with more gates (and) aircraft.” She said the Port is solid on its pledge not to consider adding runways to the airport but adding 55 more passenger gates in he next 20 years to handle 66 million passengers. The Port staff’s current “Best Option” to meet the needs of the growing airport includes new widebody international gates on Concourse B, extension of Concourse D north to three piers to the north and where a second terminal could be located in the future. Other items on the option plan include potential aircraft holding positions at the north and south of the airport. Leavitt said these are critical because if a plane at the gate the ready to leave but there is no immediate takeoff slot they would use the hold positions to wait to move onto the runway for takeoff. Planes that have landed but no gates are open; they also could use the holding areas. Maintenance and some cargo areas would be moved south of South 188th and near SeaTac’s Angle Lake area, she said. By the end of the year, her team will narrow the plans down to one or more “preferred alternatives,” said Leavitt. She said the Port is hoping to continue using the one terminal facility for as long as possible, but “66 million people take up a lot of space” and noted the recent “very long security checkpoint lines” are “issues we are going to have to deal with.” More plane noise Mayor Lucy Krakowiak asked about the increased impact of the sound of aircraft on Burien residents. “How is the sound piece going to be addressed in this sustainable airport master plan?” Leavitt said the Port would continue looking at “ways to develop new sound contours as part of the master plan environmental review.” She said the review would indicate if any additional noise mitigation is necessary. Councilmember Debi Wagner asked about the losses that Burien and the Highline School District have experienced from airplane noise and it facility’s growth and what the Port can do to ameliorate its growth. Leavitt said there still was about $30 million available for soundproofing Highline school facilities and will continue to be on groups to “get the schools fixed.” She added, “We’d love to sit down” with Burien to discuss ways the Port can help the city’s economic growth. Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar asked Leavitt what time of day the airport would be handling 120 flights per hour and she said it would be taking more flights during what are currently peak periods and also “fill in the times that might not be an ideal time for a flight to take off or land.” Councilmember Nancy Tosta wanted to know how real is the projection of 66 million passengers in 18 years and Leavitt said discussions the passenger growth will be up and down over the years, but they expect the eventually leveling off to the projections they are using. CenturyLink seeks Burien The Council held a public hearing for a cable franchise request from CenturyLink, potentially the first time since Burien became a city that there would be a second cable franchise provider. Brian Roberts, the city’s assistant public works director, said the city is required to have a public hearing on the request but there were no public comments. The issue will be before the Council on May 2nd and May 16th. Mary Taylor, CenturyLink’s director for state and local government affairs, told the Council that her company acquired Qwest in 2011, which previously was Pacific Northwest Bell, the wire-line telephone company. CenturyLink is now the third largest communications company in the nation, she said. The company markets Prism, their video cable product, and Taylor said the company is aggressively expanding their broadband service and expanded into Washington state last year. “Our service runs on Internet Protocol, or IP network,” Taylor said. “It is not the traditional cable services. “So it has some neat features and the same functionality that folks are used to with the incumbent provider services but it also offers some pretty neat things,” she said. “The thing that folks seem to enjoy the most is that we have a wireless set-top box. You don’t have to be connected to the wall.” In other words, the TV can be moved away from the set top box and, within a range, still operates. She said Burien would get additional franchise revenue of $45,000 for “every 1,000 satellite subscribers” CenturyLink gains. Support for swimming pool Whitewater Aquatics Management President Bryan Hastings gave the Council a report on the Evergreen Aquatics Center pool and recalled that the county a few years ago returned the pools to their original owners, in this case Highline Public Schools. Hastings said the school district did not have the money and closed the facility. With the help of a grant from Burien, the pool was reopened by Whitewater Aquatics. The pool is actually a bit outside the city limits of Burien, at 606 SW 116th St. in the unincorporated Boulevard Park area adjacent to Evergreen High School. If Seattle does take the area into the city, Hastings said they would have to negotiate with the city on its plans for operating the pool, which would mean the termination of the Whitewater Aquatics grant of $20,000 a year to operate the pool. “Pools never make money, they are to teach people how to swim,” Hastings told the Council, adding that over the intervening years they have taught 9,000 people how to swim. He said Whitewater Aquatics must make up by seeking public gifts the further loss of $28,000 a year. They have been able to improve the facility by seeking grants and have been awarded over a half million dollars in grants to improve the pool. Citizens speak Austin Hart, during public comment period, said the homeless in Burien are struggling because there are not enough services to help them. Meg Van Wyk said Burien was property tax poor compared with other parts of the metropolitan area and wanted the Council to find other ways besides property taxes to pay the billions Sound Transit is expected to ask for in a coming bond election. She said the area needs north-south commuting lanes more than east-west routes. Jill Esau and several others complained of crime in Burien. Esau said she has been robbed three times in the past year and she discovered on King County Sheriff’s crime map that “in the last 14 days, including today, 172 incidents of crime occurred and were reported within the Burien limits.” She said the crime rate “was a serious impediment” to attracting business to Burien and hopes “we can work together before we lost more residents.”]]>

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

4 replies on “Burien Council adds money for human services; hears about airport expansion”

  1. Paine Field in Everett has finally been approved for commercial passenger flights. Now is the time to focus on building that market as a huge percentage of the local populace live North of here. And if your just transferring flights or laying over what does it matter where you do it. Give Burien a rest.

  2. Crime in Burien is at an ALL time high…….Why is there no coverage? Sink holes and potholes need back page coverage. Detour route is 1-2 blocks…big deal.

  3. The plane noise is already at absurd levels. I don’t live particularly close, but it’s bad enough that trying to have a conversation in my yard or even leaving a window open is pretty much out of the question unless deafening rumbling doesn’t bother you. Some of the pilots fly lower which then makes my house shake. I have complained numerous times as I think this level of noise is already unreasonable, but no one has ever gotten back to me. Why would they when I’m just a lowly, tax paying homeowner and not one of the millions of passengers investing tons of money in travel? I think they under-report the amount of noise the air traffic actually generates. The thought of increasing the planes per hour by ~50% is appalling given the impact it already has. I think anyone visiting Burien with the intention of possibly moving here will think twice if they value peace, quiet, and relaxation. I will be moving to a quieter city when I can afford it. It’s too bad, really. I see the potential here and there are some great people (but also some really terrible neighbors…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). The noise pollution is just too much.

  4. Just last evening, at 19:23 hours, an Alaska Airlines jet “BUSSED” my house.
    It was way off course from SeaTac airport. I live just East of 1st Ave S. and this jet was on a heading of about 190 degrees. It was very low, I would say 500 feet
    or so, and was very loud in noise. I did call the Airport’s noise telephone number
    and requested a call back, but as of now, NO response has be forthcoming.
    So, what the heck is happening?

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