[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff:]

To the Burien City Council:

I write to add my voice of anger and disgust for Friday’s indefensible mismanagement of Tent City. You have already heard from many in the Community, so I will not repeat the objections and points stated therein. No one disputes the humanitarian issues involved here, so I do not address such issues. I do, however, have lingering questions that I have yet heard answered. 

Although the City of Burien does not (currently, time to fix it) have a law against overnight camping on non-park public property:

  1. Is overnight camping on non-park, public property in compliance with Burien’s Zoning code? Housing code? Comprehensive Plan? 
  2. Does camping on City property require a Permit? Are fees imposed? E.G., if one desires to take a camping vacation, is one allowed to pitch a tent on non-park, public property of one’s choosing? If so, may one leave the tent up for a duration so one does not have to suffer the inconvenience of taking down, putting back up etc? 
  3. Is the current location of Tent City not a de facto Dog Walking Park, since the City maintains and provides “Doggie Bags” at the Park? Has the location by custom and practice been used as a Dog Walking Park?  Does the City Manager have the authority to so designate it as a Dog Walking Park? 
  4. Has anyone polled the unhoused at the Park to determine their last housed location? Are they from Burien, or have they flocked here for the camping opportunities? 
  5. As Councilmember Moore admitted, she acted outside the scope of City Council authority on Friday.  Is this Ultra Vires action subject to Admonishment by City Council? Reprimand? Sanction? Isn’t it a violation of her Oath of Office? 
  6. Does any person on the City Planning Commission have the authority to unilaterally determine land use of City property, thereby circumventing rules, regulations and ordinances procedures? Does the City permit elected officials and city planners to hide behind “private citizen” chicanery to circumvent City Statutes and Ordinances? 

Let’s not forget, City leaders have a duty to develop a Plan to address these issues. If you do not, as we have seen, any “private citizen” will step in and fill the void with their own plan. It is not a viable plan to wait on proper resources or King County to step up. If King County won’t step up, then perhaps Tent City, with compassion and dignity, should be relocated to an unincorporated location in King County, outside Burien City Limits. Return the problem to King County. 

Barbara Yamashita
Concerned Citizen

EDITOR’S NOTEDo you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to scott@southkingmedia.com 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).

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