Councilmember visit, infrastructure and noise ordinance discussion @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June meeting

By Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for White Center Now

Neighbors and special guests met online last Thursday for the June meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC).  The event was facilitated by NHUAC president Liz Giba and vice president Barbara Dobkin, and was the group’s last meeting before summer break.

COUNCILMEMBER VISIT: First on the agenda was an opening session with new King County Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who provided an update about her first 5 months serving on the council. Mosqueda serves as chair of three committees: King County Board of Health, Health and Human Services, and Regional Transit.  She was joined on the call by her deputy chief of staff, Chris Lampkin.

Mosqueda noted that she particularly likes to “geek out” on health-related topics, as it relates to one of her stated goals of “improving social determinants of health so a kiddo born anywhere in the county has the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy.” She touted the work that her committees has been doing, and successes such as Crisis Care Center funding.

She also talked about the White Center HUB (which recently broke ground), upcoming public safety forums, District 8 Days, the Highline Activities Gala, and the Boys and Girls Club.

Mosqueda said the #1 issue she’s heard from small business owners in District 8 is workforce housing, which her team has made a major focus. She also talked about her team’s work on the 2024 King County Comprehensive Plan, and the ongoing map amendments, as well as investments in trees and greenspaces (of particular interest in White Center, she said, due to a high number of “heat islands” because of so many paved spaces). She said her team plans to create a “2-pager” summary of the plan, to distribute to constituents.

Mosqueda also discussed questions raised by meeting attendees including noise complaints regarding Tim’s Tavern (see details below), neglected buildings such as the vacated ex-Bartell Drugs store, properties on 16th Ave SW impacted by arson, and the distribution of heat pumps as part of the Energize King County program.

SEWER AND SEPTIC: Next on the agenda was a presentation about On-site Sewage/Septic Systems (OSS) from Public Health’s assistant division director Meagan Jackson and program manager Lara Brezina. OSS helps ensure that the more than 85,000 sewage/septic systems in Seattle are safe, including in urban areas such as North Highline, where raw sewage can have significant effects on health and safety.

They noted that their program in King County is responsible for permitting, making sure that systems are in good working order and making sure they work for as long as possible.  Brezina said they are in the process of revising codes this year (info here, with adoption occurring in January 2025), and are in the process of getting input from the community, as well as aligning with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Jackson said there are three key purposes and outcomes:

  1. Advance equity in OSS infrastructure (certify newly trained experts)
  2. Remove unnecessary barriers and costs
  3. Integration with regional policies.

They also talked about the Equitable Wastewater Futures Program, designed to provide options for dealing with systems that are past their intended life span.


Also discussed at the meeting were ongoing concerns about noise from outdoor live music at Tim’s Tavern in White Center (see our coverage of this topic from last month’s NHUAC meeting). Councilmember Mosqueda commented on it before she had to leave the meeting, saying that she loves the fact that Tim’s came to White Center (she is an ex-officio board member of the 4Culture arts organization), but that her team has also heard the concerns from neighbors about loud music, particularly at night, and agrees that the rules need to be consistently enforced.

Later in the meeting, the county’s permitting director Jim Chan and external-affairs director David Daw provided some updates. Tim’s co-owner Mason Reed was also in attendance at the meeting, and spoke in response to the concerns from officials and from residents.

Several attendees noted that in recent months, the live outdoor music at Tim’s is ending promptly at 10 pm or earlier (Reed confirmed that his team began enforcing this more strictly, about two months ago).  Attendees generally agreed that this is an improvement from the past when the music would often go later into the night, but neighbors were adamant that more needs to be done to address the music volume, especially when it’s outdoors. Several neighbors shared their stories and experiences with regard to challenges they’ve faced with the music volume and the disruptions it has caused, as well as concerns with how their past complaints have been responded to by Tim’s staff.

Chan (permitting director) reiterated that “property owners have due process,” and that “we want to be sure that all voluntary options are explored” before things are escalated any further. He said that his office was waiting for a “fee waiver” payment from Tim’s to be made before they can hold a meeting with Tim’s and take the next step in code enforcements.  Reed (from Tim’s) confirmed that he was in the process of making the payment, and that the process of setting up the meeting with the county should proceed next week.

Reed emphasized that “it was never our intention to come in and disrupt the neighborhood” and that his team is working hard on options to mitigate noise concerns, and working with county officials. He said that all of the noise complaints are sent to him directly, and that the concerns “weigh heavily on me” and he takes them very seriously.  Tim’s had previously operated in Greenwood but was shut down during the pandemic, then reopened in spring of 2023 in White Center in the former Drunky Two Shoes location (WCN coverage here), which also had live music.  Reed said he wants Tim’s to be a community hub and a good neighbor — “I moved my entire life to White Center; I believe in it.”

SHERIFF’S OFFICE UPDATE: White Center’s Storefront Deputy, Detective Glen Brannon, provided his monthly update (he also spoke during the discussion about music at Tim’s, saying that it was the very first issue that he started working on when he joined 18 months ago, and that he’s hoping for resolution).  He noted that he’s been in training recently. He commended NHUAC for their monthly meetings, saying “I’m honored every time I do this; you do a great job bringing guests in.”

He said that he expects to see a typical uptick of activity in the summer, and has already noticed (for example) more graffiti activity, particularly on 16th Ave SW.  He said that his office has had great cooperation with school districts and the parks department.

One attendee asked about the frequency of car thefts — Brannon noted that they seem to have leveled off, and he added that as of last week, changes went into effect for Washington’s police pursuit laws, which will permit officers to engage more frequently in car pursuits. He said that KCSO hasn’t released their new policy yet, but it will happen soon, and he expects that the number of thefts will drop off.  When asked about carjackings, Brannon said those are different because if there’s violence involved, then officers have always been able to pursue.

Brannon also responded to attendee questions and comments including another multi-agency drug bust in Burien, encampments, and troublesome properties.

COUNTY PARKS: Darlene Sellers from King County Parks shared details about events at the White Center Teen Program (Log Cabin), as well as free summer lunch programs for kids between July 1 and August 16 at Steve Cox and Dick Thurnau Memorial Parks.

NHUAC will resume its monthly meetings this fall (perhaps in-person, according to council leaders).

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One Response to “Councilmember visit, infrastructure and noise ordinance discussion @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June meeting”

  1. Thanks for the report. Please correct the first sentence as this was our June meeting. Thanks again!