September 26, 2022
To the Burien City Council and Burien City Manager;
These comments relate to the proposed Ordinance 798, Affordable Housing Demonstration Program (AHDP) Amendments which will make amendments to Ordinance 718 which enacted BMC 19.18, the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program. Ordinance 718 was so vague in how it was written that even the Council Members who voted and passed it didn’t even know what kind of housing projects qualified to be considered for the program. A specific example of this was the DESC project/Supportive Housing which was not one of the types listed to qualify. Ordinance 798 extends this ambiguity even further.
These are the things that should not be allowed to pass in Ordinance 798; there is no actual provided evidence that they will increase public health, public safety or public welfare in the city.
1. The two AHDP projects that have been approved appear to violate that requirement. To extend these AHDP projects from five to eight until 2025 makes no sense as there is no factual data to support their effectiveness or adequate protection for residents, businesses and critical areas in Burien.
2. The term “community land trust’ is undefined in the Burien Comp Plan and as such should not be allowed under this amendment.
3. Separation (1500 ft.) should continue to be required between these projects. Example- Two DESC-like projects close to each other could turn that area of Burien into a Cabrini Green/Chicago type of non profit housing project disaster for easily 50 years. There should be only one type of each proposed AHDP model allowed.
4. Burien does not have the infrastructure to support the ADU model proposed.
5. Burien already has far too much potentially taxable land removed from its tax rolls. Most of these AHDP projects are non-profit and propose to not pay property tax to the city. They are long term unsustainable for the city to carry as “freebie” projects. DESC a wealthy corp. who pays no taxes and no development fees and are exempt from numerous zoning regulations. The many other non profits, churches, schools, city, county and state owned lands pay no taxes in the city. Who will be paying to run Burien city services? For that reason departures from zoning codes and permit fees should be greatly limited. While Goal HS.1 states- Encourage the provision of attractive, well-designed housing types and densities that reinforce and retain the character of the neighborhoods and meet the needs of existing and future City residents, while recognizing the need for a range of affordable housing. It does not encourage the wholesale “give away” of city land use to every non profit hustler who claims they want to experiment in Burien under the AHDP at the expense of Burien residents, businesses and the long term sustainability of the city.
Lastly, in no way does DESC meet this criteria — Providing thoughtful layout of buildings, parking areas, and circulation, service, landscaping and amenity elements that enhance Burien’s visual character, promote compatibility of developments and uses, and enhance the function of developments.DESC asked to be exempt from a number of these requirements as a AHDP
For that reason developments like DESC should never have been allowed in under the AHDP. They can apply to develop in Burien but they need to fully pay their own way.
Residents’ request — Do not approve Ordinance 798 as written and do not move it to the Consent agenda for the next meeting.
Dr. C. Edgar