A Lake Burien neighborhood organization, along with individual petitioners, have filed an appeal challenging the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DOE) approval and the City’s adoption of the Shoreline Master Program Update, the City of Burien announced Thursday (Jan. 9).
The Growth Management Hearings Board will hold a hearing on the appeal in May 2014.
Under the state’s Shoreline Management Act, each city and county with shorelines must adopt a Shoreline Master Program (SMP) and regular updates. Work on Burien’s update began in May 2008 and has been through numerous meetings and hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council.
A citizens group – the Burien Shoreline Working Group – in 2012 proposed changes to the draft shoreline master program where DOE and the City could not agree.
The proposed modifications were vital in allowing DOE and the City to resolve areas of disagreement. Ultimately an amended version was approved by both the City and DOE in 2013.
Read our extensive previous coverage of this issue here.]]>

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31 replies on “Neighborhood group appeals Burien's Shoreline Master Program update”

  1. Hard to find information, I strongly feel there are people with money that want to keep this information a secret so keep this place to themselves and have taxpayers pay for the beauty and benefit in higher property values.
    On this web page: https://burienwa.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/680
    7. Access to the beach – Physical and Visual
    * Existing access is adequate through existing parks
    * Gated communities prohibit access to some areas
    * No public access to Lake Burien – why has it
    remained private?
    * Public access along the Puget Sound leads people
    onto private property
    * Available parking near access points
    * Clearer signage identifying public access points
    * Incentives to provide more access: use of
    conservation easements, tax breaks?
    There’s probably a lot more I don’t know about, I hope someone else post more if there is!
    Just my two cents.

    1. Johnny,
      Those were some of the talking points submitted at public hearings for consideration by the committee. I was on that committee but not on that role because I missed the first meeting. We had lots more.
      Background: Until the 1970″s it was legal to sell public rights-of-way that ended on shorelines. All the street ROWs on Lake Burien (and some on saltwater) were sold to nearby property owners. Now, although the lake is public, only the property owners with access can use it. The only feasible way to acquire public access is for the city to buy someone’s property.
      The Lake Burien property owners have tried repeatedly to get a permanent ban on access into the SMP. They failed so far because such a ban is unjustified and illegal.
      Since the Lake Burien Homeowners and Marine Homeowners seem to be well organized and financed and most citizens of Burien are pretty apathetic about the city elections, they now dominate the council.

  2. Perhaps the bigger issue is what is going to happen now that at least 3 (Edgar, Wagner, Anderson) of the Burien City Councilmembers are Lake Burien residents. Let public policy go to the richest!

    1. Debi Wagner is not a lake burien resident and I don’t think Steve Armstrong is either.
      Brian Bennett was but he is no longer on the council.
      You ask what is going to happen now?
      The answer is most likely what is best for the residents of Burien not a small clique of influence peddlers whose crony representatives on the council are now out of office.
      Elections have consequences and I have full confidence Burien and its residents are going to be much better served than they have been for the last several years when personal agendas and influence peddling were par for the course.
      At least for now those days are gone.

      1. There is also a defined boundary as to what the “Lake Burien Neighborhood” is and Councilmember Wagner is within those boundaries so she would be a “Lake Burien Resident” even if she weren’t “on the lake”.
        Joey Martinez

        1. Joey – You are really pushing the boundaries on this issue. You know darn well that what is being discussed is people who live ON the lake, not IN the Lake Burien neighborhood.
          Not familiar with this above mentioned “defined boundary” for the Lake Burien neighborhood which you bring up, but I still think you are just looking to make trouble with trying to include Debi Wagner in with this group that people are discussing.

        2. I remember when Joey was campaigning this past election, he stopped at my house( the only candidate who did) and was really pushing the fact that “The people around the lake were were really trying to put something over on me”. He really tried to impress upon me that the lake people were bad for me and everyone else who lived east of Ambaum. Made me decide that we really didn’t need another devisive person on the council. I don’t trust anyone who would play the “Rich VS Poor” card. I see he is still at it. Subtly,but still at it. Sad.

          1. TbC – Beaver shirt right? I remember that because YOU were the one that repeatedly brought up the lake people. Yours was the only house I had any conversation with about the people who live around the lake.
            Elizabeth2 – mine was a response to Mr. Poitras who said neither Council Members Armstrong or Wagner lived in the Lake Burien Neighborhood. And no Council Member Wagner does not live ON the lake, merely in what is defined as the Lake Burien neighborhood.
            Joey Martinez

          2. Ya joey, It’s me. Your memory is short though. YOU brought up the lake people. I told you I could care less. That is one of Buriens less important issues. I still give you credit for coming to our neighborhood, tho.

        1. Correct, Councilmember Wagner does not live ON the lake. Council Member Wagner DOES live in the “Lake Burien Neighborhood”.
          Her Lake Burien Residence, a defined boundary/area/neighborhood, would be impacted by any decision make by these proceedings.
          Joey Martinez

  3. Dear Burien neighbors, why are some of you so cross? Not everyone on the lake is “rich.” Many are elderly that have lived there for many, many years. The property around the lake is simply owned by people and has been owned by people for years and years; there is no conspiracy. What would you have done? Take people’s homes away from them so you could have access to a tiny lake? We need a little common sense here and not so much fuel for jealousy. We have so much water around the Northwest. Why are some of you in angst about this?

  4. Donna Smith,
    This isn’t about jealousy. Jealousy is over something that belongs to someone else. Guess what? THE LAKE DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU. IT BELONGS TO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. WHY do the lake residents keep insisting its theirs? That is the most infuriating point of all.
    Would you be ‘cross’ if the neighbors on your street blocked you from using it? If they said “Well, we own the land around it so that means the street belongs to us, too. Sorry Donna!”
    I don’t care if the residents are young or old, rich or poor. When they (you?) band together to try to permanently shut down PUBLIC access to a PUBLIC resource, then there is cause for concern. No one wants to borrow or steal your fancy car (which is yours, while the lake is NOT yours). They just want access to a PUBLIC resource.
    And no, nobody wants to take anyone’s home away. But perhaps the city could buy a parcel at some point and put in a public park.
    Do you understand now? Or shall I get out the King County Tax records so you can fully understand what is yours and what is not?

    1. I think what a lot of people fail to understand is that the people that live ON the Lake pay a lot of taxes to maintain the Lake and keep it clean.
      I wonder how much Mr Jones, Mr Moyers and their cronies would be willing to pony up for the tax increase that would be required to take on the sustaining of the ecology of the lake.
      Maintaining the health of this very very small lake should be the overiding priority not unrestricted access to a very ecologically sensitive area.
      The irony is that this is more about special interests playing the special interests card rather than what is best for Burien and the lake that bears its name.

      1. John P-
        More misinformation.
        The people on the lake don’t pay taxes at a higher rate than anyone else in Burien. They simply have high tax bills because they have waterfront property and the homes tend to be bigger and more expensive. People with saltwater frontage pay high taxes because they have desirable property (waterfront) just like Lake Burien. Do they have exclusive access to the Sound? No. There are no taxes paid by them or anyone else that specifically fund any body of water.
        By your logic, Lake Burien is so sensitive and precious we simply can’t have public access. The just doesn’t fly. If that were true we’d have no Lincoln Park, Green Lake, or any other public space with a water element. Burien is just another lake. Get over it and stop trying to lead us to believe that it is the only remaining habitat for the dodo bird, or some other species. It is merely habitat to a group of people (the vocal ones anyway) with a misplaced sense of entitlement; people who think that if they live next door to a lovely feature then they should just own it.
        I’m sure some residents work very hard to keep the lake clean. Judging from various pictures of extremely green lawns and well-fertilized yards I’ll bet that others contribute to the lake’s demise.
        The only special interests working here are people trying to secure exclusive use of a public resource.

      2. J P
        You have made the claim before that the lake shore residents have shouldered some special costs to maintain the lake. Perhaps you could tell us what they actually are or are they nonexistant?
        The biggest single investment to protect the lake was the installation of the sewer system around the lake. Was this paid for by the land owners involved (which would have been appropriate) or all the rate payers jointly (which is more likely)?
        The major ongoing effort at water quality protection is Burien’s street sweeping program. This is paid for by all of us.
        Water quality testing is paid for by the county, although some volunteers gather the samples.
        The Lake Burien Shore Club hired a couple experts to help oppose access and their report summaries dutifully reported that access is bad for the lake but in fact their dozens of pages of research showed no evidence that a park with hand launch capability would cause harm. In fact, the reports documented the damage done by the homeowners such as removing almost all the native vegitation, introduction of numerous non-native species, extensive bulkheading, removal of shade trees, etc.
        Naturally, that was left out of the summaries.
        If your goal is to preserve the natural ecological function of the lake as much as possible, the efforts are funded primarily by the taxpayers in general. Of course, if your goal is to create the coolest private playground, the funding has been by the private property owners.

  5. Bob Jones- I went to the King County Tax Records as you suggested and it looks to me like the residents around the lake own land into the water. That land on the tax records is called secondary shorelands. The State of Washington sold them off to the private residents and then tried to steal it back from them without paying the private owners for the land in the 1930s. The State Supreme Court ruled those lands belonged to the private owners who paid for them.
    So while the State claims all of the waters in the Sound and any State lakes belongs to the State, part of the lands in those lakes doesn’t belong to the State and are not public lands. The State only requires public access across publically owned lands. Please get you facts straight before you attack someone like Donna Smith.
    I have always supported the idea of public parks and public lands but only if the physical use of them is an environmentallly sound idea. So I don’t support the idea of people wanting to use the hot springs and ponds in Yellowstone Park just because they are public lands. Millions of people using them in a year or 5 year period would environmentally destroy them.
    Then I take a look at how many of Burien’s Parks have suffered from public use. Many of the parks I have walked in are jammed packed with piles of dog crap, used condoms, old cig butts and used drug equipment. Regularly someone drops off an old toilet, discarded sofa, discarded washer and dryer and years worth of trash that should have gone to the landfill into the park. Yuck. Seahurst Park constantly has dog crap, trash, the restrooms are constantly damaged and there is grafitti everywhere. When the new picnic table were installed, they were damaged and destroyed the first day they were in. Our Community Center, Dottie Harper Park and the skate park used by those members of the public who are always demanding their rights have been destroyed, burned and damaged. Frankly, I am tried of the public talking about their rights to use public lands but never discussing what is their responsibility to care for and protect them.
    So Joe, which park in Burien have you signed up to be Park Steward for? Which Ivy and Noxious Weed pulling work parties have you attended? When have you hauled trash out of Seahurst Park or done a trail trash pickup job on? How much dog poop have you shovelled up off of the public beaches or parks in the city? How many City Right of Ways have you done trash pick up on? I have worked on those work parties and I don’t recall a Bob Jones working with me on any of them. However if you have been an active volunteer to protect and care for our public parks and lands and given your fair share of work and sweat, I’d like to hear about it.
    Currently Burien cannot afford to take adequate care of the current parks it has and the majority of the citizens make messes and leave them behind at the park. A couple of years ago Burien had to close the restrooms in the parks due to a lack of funds to care for them. Most people come to the park and leave their trash behind rather than packing it back home. The City of Sea Tac pays over $1 million dollars per year just trying to take care of the Angle Lake Park.
    Right now we need a Community Center for our kids and the rest of us. So Joe, how much are you willing to have your taxes go up to build this center? And how much did you donate to keep the Evergreen Swimming Pool,which is the only reasonablly priced place with clean water for the public to swim in, open? How much have you been willing to work for and pay to protect the public resources you demand your rights too? By the way Seahurst Park, Eagle Landing and Arbor Lake have some of the most polluted water in the City of Burien because of the public access. Take a look at the County and State atlas which shows polluted water areas in the County and State.
    Frankly, I want my money to go to an excellent community center that has good clean water I can swim in and where children can learn to swim in clean water too.

    1. Jackie,
      First things first. I know the difference between secondary shore lands and the greater surface of the lake. Yes, some people own shore lands. They still don’t own the lake. If you look at the KC parcel viewer you will see a very large oval shape (that’s the lake!) that the people living around it do not specifically own as private property. Some own shore lands, some do not. Some properties end at the water’s edge. Wherever the lines may fall, the greater surface of the lake belongs to the State.
      Many people on the salt water side own tidelands as well. Does that mean they own the whole Sound? No. In all cases the property lines are clear.
      Yes, public access can only be granted over public property. No one has ever proposed public access over private property. And no, there is currently no public property leading up to the lake. Perhaps there will be in the future. The people who are trying to permanently shut down that possibility are trying to secure their own personal use of a public area. That is the problem.
      On to your other points. Yes, volunteering is good. No, you have not seen me in any organized volunteer effort. However, I do frequent the parks around here and if I see trash then I pick it up. Your question of whether I’ve ‘given my fair share of sweat’ is an interesting one; however, it is a red herring. As taxpayers we all pay for parks. Yes, it is great when people volunteer above and beyond that to make them nice (thank you!).
      BUT, the fact that I have not been on one of your Ivy pulls does not nullify my point that Lake Burien belongs to the State of Washington. The two are unrelated.
      Your further point that public spaces require work is not lost, either. Sometimes public spaces can be challenging. But that does not justify a large public ‘gift’ from the people of the State of Washington to the few people living on Lake Burien. The people of Lake Burien have enjoyed its exclusive use for generations so I’m sure it would be a huge bummer for them to acknowledge its public ownership after all these years. However, that does not change the fact that the Lake (except a few shore lands 🙂 is not theirs.

  6. Your like and dislike system is very annoying and unfair no matter which way a person feels. I could not get the system to work and I had several people try to click to vote – several times this happened even when the vote was tied.
    When I clicked to see the whole article, I was directed to building a web site and never got the see the hidden article much less have a chance to vote one way or another. I strongly suggest that you do not use the system of recording votes and then hiding the ones that do not suit the side that happen to recruit the most people to vote.

    1. I must agree with Linda’s comment on how the like/dislike buttons are functioning.
      I thought Scott Schaefer’s intent was to allow users to police uncivil or derogatory posts but that is not the way it is working. Instead people are using the buttons to indicate agreement or disagreement with the conclusions of the post and/or the poster, as, in fact, calling the buttons “like” and “dislike” seems to invite us to do.
      Hiding perfectly civil, well reasoned arguments, because they lose a popularity contest is not the way discourse in a democratic society should be conducted.

      1. Well said. Is Scott stacking the deck with votes? Linda’s comment just got hidden and all it did was criticize the rating system..

          1. Of course I’m kidding. I just refuse to use LOL. It’s like a laugh track on a T V comdey. If you don’t know when to laugh, maybe it wasn’t a funny joke.
            Of course one has to wonder whether some of these comments were planted just to liven the conversation. Do blogs play the ratings games?

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