North Highline Council report: Annexation, housing, sparks
Sparks flew at Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, with hot topics on the agenda from annexation to housing to … stray shopping carts. White Center Now was there; read on for our report:
First, the sparks: A meeting-goer demanded to know why several members of the council were not in attendance at the Burien annexation forum in Shorewood this past Tuesday night; council members replied that they spend plenty of time at meetings and they are not required to account for whether they do or do not attend any given event. (One also noted he had a family medical emergency.)
More on the annexation discussion coming up. First – two county reps gave a presentation about affordable housing. Nori Cataby and Rod Brandon talked about what constitutes “affordable housing,” in the county’s view, and then announced two sites where it’s in the works: 206 112th SW (map) and Puget Sound Park at 1st Ave/SW 126th (map).
The mere mention of Puget Park led council members to interrupt the presentation. Greg Duff said that if the county is committed to preserve park and open space, how can that be accomplished if homes are to be built in five acres of parkland? He also suggested it doesn’t make sense to build anything right now, given the economic trouble, and the county’s budget crisis. Brandon explained these aren’t necessarily projects for the near future, but perhaps five, ten years down the line.
Ray Helms then joined Duff in questioning the county reps, asking about possible problems given that some of the housing land is in a proposed annexation area – how would it work if Burien’s annexation wins voter approval? Cataby and Brandon didn’t have an answer for that, so the board members turned to Burien city manager Mike Martin, who was coming up later on the agenda. He said that would be up to Burien and the county to work out, and it might be possible for the county to maintain control of the site. A majority of board members ultimately voiced support for Duff and Helms’ concerns, particularly regarding the Puget Park site, and Brandon and Cataby acknowledged that the NHUAC isn’t supporting housing development at Puget Park.
After they left, Martin presented an annexation update, recapping the recent agreement (reported first by WCN the night he announced it last month). He said the Burien Council would be taking it up again at its work session next Monday (find out more on the City of Burien website). As first reported here back in November, there’s also one more public open house, February 12th in Boulevard Park.
The council also was briefed on an effort to round up stray shopping carts. Watch your mailbox for a mailer with more on this, and we’ll report details here on WCN too.
The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets the first Thursday of each month, 7 pm at North Highline Fire District headquarters.
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