By Jack Mayne

A Planning Commission study shows that residents often looking for a place to have a meal, meet people and maybe enjoy a libation, the Burien City Council was told Monday (April 22) at their monthly study session.

Senior city planner Thara Johnson said the survey taken earlier this year was an effort to find out how people viewed their city, and to provide community perspectives which will help shape the vision, goals, and specific issues in the Urban Center Plan. She said a recent planning workshop and an Internet survey was used to get some fix on residential comments on the potential future of the city.

‘Visioning efforts’
The presentation, Johnson said, will provide an overview for “visioning efforts” where staff and a consultant team gather data for the efforts of both the Planning Commission and Council to provide recommendations on any additional efforts citizens would like to see incorporated in city planning. The city continues to grow in numbers with a recent gain of more than 17.000 new residents (see PDF of full survey and results here).

Johnson said it is intended that community perspectives which come out of the new studies will shape the vision, goals, and specific issues that will be addressed in the Urban Center Plan. She said a major goal of the survey was to hear “from a broad spectrum of the community” that allowed participants to respond and provide as much information as desired. It closed on March 29, and got 272 total respondents from 447 total respondents, with 2,459 who looked at the attached map of the city to show where people work, live and go to school.

“Place-based questions” were used to let respondents represent “where people go, how they get there, and what challenges and ideas they have along the corridor.” This allowed respondents to place as many pins and/or lines as needed. Responses to multiple choice questions provided further clarity on location responses, as well as several open-ended “other” questions that allowed for additional detail.

Johnson said the city in March 2019 used an “interactive map-based survey to gather information” about existing conditions and future opportunities for the future of Burien’s Urban Center. When combined with outcomes from other community engagement activities from the study process, the survey results will help shape the future vision for the Urban Center.” There were 272 respondents to the survey.

Mayor, Council comments
Mayor Jimmy Matta said the city’s culture is such that “when we grow as a community, we get to know each other — when it comes to art, music and festivities, they are not scary and so we learn from each other, backgrounds and culture and languages and food … as long as we keep to move in that path, I think we are going to have some beautiful work.”

Deputy Mayor Austin Bell said “we all know we are facing a housing crisis in Burien and I hope we keep that in mind — think about what our urban future was going to look like and the best way to spur economic development is just to have more people down there, a captive audience who are going to be shopping at other businesses, spending their dollars locally.”

Councilmember Nancy Tosta said she was concerned about preserving the city’s arts and culture interest and the encouragement of environmental green buildings.

Scalability and trees
Councilmember Bob Edgar was concerned about the challenge of taking on more population to become an urban growth center and “how do we manage “our scaleability of buildings and also maintain an appearance and feeling of this small town, walkability open space between the buildings so that it still appears to be a small, walkable city — that will be the challenge.” Edgar also wanted the city be be able to maintain and expand the city’s tree canopy.

Councilmember Pedro Olguin said that “our ability to reach out to communities that are non-white is something that we need to take into consideration … given the fact we have 40 percent of our population that are from other places, we would be served well having an interest in … providing a reflection of those communities of diversity.”

Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak wanted to be sure the city keeps up its infrastructure plan.

Jack Mayne

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