2017 Changes to Permitting Fees and Other Charges

The Seattle City Council recently adopted the 2017-18 budget, including legislation that implements Seattle DCI fee changes in 2017 to cover wage increases in order to reflect our cost of doing business.

On January 1, 2017, these service fees go into effect. As in past years, we are making inflationary adjustments to most fees. Unlike past years, when our inflationary changes were made to account for cost increases that occurred since our last fee ordinance (usually every two years), this year our inflationary changes also include Council-adopted inflation changes already approved for 2017.  As a result, most fees will increase by approximately 10.5%, representing three years’ worth of known cost increases (2015-2017). As an example, our Base Hourly Fee will increase from $190 to $210. The Land Use Hourly fee, which was revised from $250 to $280 last year after a 15-year freeze, is increased 12.5% to $315.

We are also making additional changes to two of our fee tables: Table D-1– Calculation of the Development Fee Index; and Table D-14 – Electrical Permit Fees (when plans are reviewed). The minimum building permit fee in the Development Fee Index (Table D-1) has not changed since 2003. These tables have been expanded to include a greater number of discrete bands of project valuation upon which to base fees. In addition, the marginal rates applied to most bands are updated.

In 2017 we are implementing a new fee schedule for permanent signs.  Table D-16 – Permanent Sign Fees sets fees for signs based on a graduating scale of square footage and applies a marginally increasing rate to each band of the scale. Currently the fee for a sign permit is charged at a flat rate for the first 100 square feet of the sign display area with an additional charge as the display area increases in size. We have found that this methodology for generating fees is outdated and inadequate for cost recovery for the permitting/review process and field inspections of signs installed in the city.

As in past years, we have adopted, by Director’s Rule, the latest building valuation data (BVD) table. The table establishes construction cost values by occupancy and construction type, which are then used to assess permit fees.

Finally, we are increasing the Rental Housing Unit Inspection Fees related to the Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance. The 2017 fee for us to serve as qualified rental housing inspector for a property including the first housing unit is $160. The 2017 fee for us to inspect each additional housing unit on the same property is $30.

New Director’s Rules, the BVD table and other fee-related information will be available to you on our website early next year.

Budget Wrap Up, Transgender Day of Remembrance, December 16 In-District Office Hours UPDATE, Call for Public Comment on Source of Income Discrimination

Budget Wrap Up

I’ve been writing to you weekly since September with updates on the deliberations on the proposed 2017-2018 budget.  This will be my last budget update of the year because on Monday, the City Council adopted the 2017 City of Seattle budget and 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan.

As part of the biennial budget process, the Council also “endorsed” a 2018 budget that will serve as the base for next year’s budget process.

Earlier in the day, before the Full Council vote, the Budget Committee met one last time to consider items held from the November 16 meeting.

The Council adopted one addition item I was lead sponsor on: creation of a Child Care Mitigation Fund, to address the displacement of before-and-after school child care from Seattle School District buildings. The funding would be available for use by the District and to child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced. This is funded in 2017 through cuts in funding for currently vacant positions in various City departments.

Last week’s newsletter noted a number of items I worked on; here’s a link to the summary of all the changes the Council made; the lead sponsor is listed at the end, though many of the proposals had additional co-sponsors.

The budget includes funding for 72 additional police officers in 2017-2018, as part of the 2015-2019 plan to hire an additional 200 officers, along with funding for a variety of items that will enhance transparency and accountability.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Last Sunday, I had the honor of participating in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Every year, on November 20, transgender communities and their allies gather to remember the lives lost to anti-transgender violence that year and to celebrate and support those who survive. In 2016, at least 24 transgender people were murdered in the United Sates. The majority of those killed in 2016 were transgender women of color.

Please take a moment to honor the lives of these courageous people: Monica Loera, 43; Jasmine Sierra, 52; Kayden Clarke, 24; Veronica Banks Cano, mid-30s; Maya Young, 25; Demarkis Stansberry, 30; Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16; Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32; Shante Isaac, 34; Keyonna Blakeney, 22; Tyreece Walker, 32; Mercedes Successful, 32; Amos Beede, 38; Goddess Diamond, 20; Deeniquia Dodds, 22; Dee Whigam, 25; Skye Mockabee, 26; Erykah Tijerina, 36; Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28; T.T. Safore, mid-20s; Crystal Edmonds, 32; Jazz Alford, 30; Brandi Bledsoe, 32; Noonie Norwood, 30.

As chair of the Council committee that provides oversight for civil rights issues, I have started to work with the City Auditor’s office to determine how we are using the data SPD collects from reported hate crimes, how we analyze that data for trends that eventually influence resource allocations, and whether these crimes are investigated and prosecuted as bias crimes. Check out my blog post on this effort.

We are also working to help those in our city family of public servants by developing a new City of Seattle transgender employment policy. We must ensure that our workforce is supported by management and coworkers when endeavoring to be their true selves in the work place.

I am proud to sponsor legislation next month to change the LGBT Commission name to include the Q in LGBTQ. Queer scholars and activists have reclaimed the term “queer” to establish a sense of community and assert a distinct politicized identity that is civically engaged. Queer identities may be adopted to seek a broader, more inclusive term that encompasses one’s full humanity.

Finally, we are working to insure LGBTQ housing equity in implementation of our 2016 Housing Levy. Across every Census division in the U.S. Seattle has the least developed services for LGBTQ older adults and their families. Unlike most large cities, we are also running behind on developing housing for LGBTQ seniors. The Council, in putting the housing levy on the ballot, named LGBTQ seniors as a priority population for levy housing production. Next we need to make sure this happens now that the levy has passed.

In-District Office Hours, UPDATE

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) on Friday, December 16, from 3:30 pm – 7:00pm. The reason for the truncated hours is that there is a Special Full Council meeting scheduled for 2pm on that day.

The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Call for Public Comment on Source of Income Discrimination

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) has proposed Administrative Rules for the new source of income protections that amended the City of Seattle’s Open Housing Ordinance (SMC 14.08, CB118755). Members of the public have until 5 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2016 to comment on the proposed rules.

The Rules provide guidance regarding several provisions of the ordinance, including:

  • Alternative source of income;
  • Short term subsidies; and
  • First-in-time provision.

The full text of the rules is available at http://www.seattle.gov/civilrights/civil-rights/fair-housing/source-of-income-protection-ordinance. For more information, please call 206-684-4514. This information is available in other formats on request for people with disabilities. Language assistance services also are available on request.

Please send comments to rulecomment@seattle.gov or in writing by December 2 to:

Seattle Office for Civil Rights

810 Third Ave., Suite 750

Seattle, WA  98104-1627

Attn: Source of Income Protections Rule Comment



HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1; this week in the Budget; Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

HALA potential rezones in Urban Villages, District 1

On Wednesday, November 9th, from 6pm-9pm, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Office of Community Planning and Development and Councilmember Johnson’s office will host the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village Community Design Workshop at Chief Sealth High School Library, 2600 SW Thistle St. Seattle, WA 98126.

This workshop is an opportunity for you to provide guidance on the proposed urban village boundary expansion for the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village and inform the City Council about your vision for how it should look, feel, and function in support of citywide goals for increased affordability, design quality, and housing options.  There are two expansion areas proposed in District 1.  One is the West Seattle Junction, which is designated as a HUB urban village, and Westwood Highland Park.  The later has been designated as a residential urban village with high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.  (Seattle Urban Village Map). Being within a proposed urban village expansion areas signals the City’s interest in studying these areas for potential growth and change. Urban villages are priority areas for other city policies, investments and programs. The following residential villages are not being expanded, but other changes are still being considered for the Morgan Junction, Admiral Junction and South Park. South Park is also designated as having a high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity.

In addition, on Tuesday, Nov. 29 (tentative date and location TBD) from 5-9pm, the Morgan Community Association (MoCA) will host a meeting in advance of the City’s December 7, 2016, West Seattle meeting (more below) to take comments on the proposed zoning changes, the Morgan Community Association is putting together a District 1 – wide meeting titled Mandatory Housing Rezones in District I. The intent of this meeting is to understand the City’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program; to learn how to read the draft zoning changes on the complicated City maps; and identify associated neighborhood planning that needs to accompany the zoning changes. A goal of this meeting will be to empower residents with knowledge about what exactly is proposed so they can provide pertinent comments about the City’s up-zone plans.

Finally, the Department of Neighborhoods; Office of Planning and Community Development; Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; and the Seattle Department of Transportation have announced that on Wednesday, Dec. 7th, from 6pm-8pm, at Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery (4752 California Ave SW) they will be hosting a conversation around proposed changes to generate more affordable housing, improve transportation services, and make new parks investments. They will also be sharing the proposed new Urban Village maps for West Seattle Junction, Admiral Junction, Morgan Junction, Highland Park, Westwood Village and South Park.  Community members have expressed concern that this meeting is scheduled on the same night that the Southwest District Council has its regular meeting.  My hope is for a solution that results in the greatest amount of participation in this important conversation.

Urban village boundaries will be finalized after Council deliberation on proposed zoning changes to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability, a new program that will require all new commercial and multi-family residential buildings to either include affordable housing on site, or make a payment to support affordable housing.  The MHA program is one of more than 70 Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Recommendations, many of them related to urban villages including:

  • Increasing the amount of land zoned for multifamily housing, expanding walksheds for transit, increasing amenities and services in those areas
  • Increasing housing options on single family zoned land within Urban Villages
  • Reducing parking requirements for multifamily housing outside of Urban Villages or Centers

In dedicating more land for multifamily housing in and around Urban Villages and more multifamily housing of all types and sizes inside Urban Villages we can – for the first time in our City’s history – also require developers to pay their share to ensure that some of the housing they build is truly affordable to those who need it.  I will continue to have a sharp focus on addressing housing displacement impacts of development as the Council discusses the proposed upzones.

Both the Westwood Highland Park and West Seattle Junction urban village boundary will go before Council in 2017. After the urban village expansion boundaries are proposed the regulatory changes to the boundary or the zoning will still need to go through a rezoning process that also requires approval by City Council. To continue to follow this issue, please sign up to receive agendas for the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee.

For additional information check out the urban village growth rate and the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

This week in the budget

On Wednesday Councilmember Burgess, Chair of the Budget Committee, released an Initial Balancing Package for the 2017-2018 City budget. This reflects changes proposed by Councilmembers to the Mayor’s proposed budget. You can review a summary document, which includes links that provide additional detail.

Next week, the Budget Committee will meet to discuss additional changes. The deadline to place items on the agenda is 5 p.m. on Friday. Three Council sponsors are required; for the previous round, individual Councilmembers could propose changes.

Items I sponsored that are confirmed as added to the Initial Balancing Package include the following.  I couldn’t have done it without you; thank you to all that advocated for these important changes:

  • Funding for the South Park Family Service Center in 2017 for youth support, ESL, parenting, housing, home-visit, and educational programs.
  • Funding to determine the scope and definition of a new Seattle Legacy Business project in order to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at imminent risk of closure.
  • Funding to enforce local new rental housing regulations
  • Funding for civil legal services attorneys to provide services to Seattle Municipal Court indigent defendants already receiving criminal representation in order to help with civil issues related to housing, immigration, and debt
  • Implementation of Got Green’s Green Pathways recommendation endorsed by the Council in Resolution 31712 in order to identify city internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training that can lead to career paths in green jobs.
  • Funding to conduct testing for bias in employment and housing
  • Funding for directed investigations (proactive investigations that do not require a complaint) in the Office of Labor Standards
  • A new line item in the City Light Capital Improvement Plan for $1.5 million in funding for the Fauntleroy Green Boulevard Project for Transportation Relocations, for street light improvements and utility pole relocations
  • A report on the process and cost of code interpretation and legal building site letters (no funding)
  • A needs assessment by Human Services Department for senior services (no funding)
  • Reduction in funding for operations of Pronto bike-share (cut of $300,000 in 2017, $600,000 in 2018); a separate action by Councilmember Burgess, and supported by me, would hold $1.2 million in proposed 2017 funding for a new bike-share system until authorized by the Council
  • Elimination of a Digital Strategist Position in Seattle Public Utilities ($153,000 in 2017, $158,000 in 2018)
  • Increase allocation of Red Light Camera revenue to school zones, to place the use of funds more in line with national best practices to dedicate camera revenue to pedestrian safety uses
  • Funding to develop new Community Service Officer Program eliminated in 2004. The original CSO program connected vulnerable populations with services and provided an important link between the community and the police department. CSOs patrolled areas serving populations such as unsheltered individuals, disabled, runaway youth, and the elderly. They mediated neighborhood disputes; provided basic counseling and social services referrals; participated in crime prevention activities, and prepared a variety of incident reports, among other things. (Councilmember Burgess combined a proposal to develop a program in 2017, which Councilmember O’Brien and I proposed, with funding for a 2018 program, which CM O’Brien proposed, and I supported)

Items I am continuing to work on include:

  • Funding to complete studies called for in the West Seattle Bridge Whitepaper
  • Funding for arts capital projects
  • District Council meeting funding ($6,947 for 2017)
  • Lander Street Overpass full funding
  • Amendment for Council Bill creating Community Involvement Commission to provide for a first review of proposed grant projects by District Councils
  • Police hiring proviso for preference points
  • Hearing Loops for City Hall Boards and Commissions Room
  • Transitional Housing backfill funding for 8 projects serving veterans, homeless youth, immigrants, and domestic violence survivors
  • SYVPI Recreational Programs at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA
  • Age Friendly Innovation Fund
  • Child Care Space Mitigation Fund
  • Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Fee Supported Structure
  • Statement of legislative intend for SDOT that requests that they work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.

More information about these items is included in a blog post from two weeks ago.

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

Public comment period extended for potential bus stop shelter removals in the West Seattle Junction

King County Metro has announced a public comment period for the potential removal of two bus shelters in the West Seattle Junction. The shelters are on the south side of SW Alaska Street between California Ave SW and 44th Ave SW; the two shelters are the ones closest to 44th, between the alley and 44th.  This would not affect the shelters to the east, between California and the alley. The image to the right shows the bays under discussion.

If you have comments, please contact dale.cummings@kingcounty.gov or call 206-553-3000.

The West Seattle Blog had a story about this, which includes the King County Metro announcement, and additional background information.

Barrier Reduced for Utility Shut-off Late Payments; 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey, The Ponderosa Pine, Next Week in the Budget, In-District Office Hours

Barrier Reduced for Utility Shut-off for Late Payments

Whether because of a lay-off at work or an unexpected medical expense, Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utility (SPU) customers sometimes come up short when it’s time to pay their bill and face a shut-off of their utilities. When a customer receives a shut-off notice, SPU currently charges a minimum of 75% of the balance due to prevent the shut-off, and SCL up until a couple months ago charged only 50%.

In June I learned that SPU and SCL were intending to make their delinquency policies consistent.  I had no concerns with consistency, but I was concerned that the policy proposed was not for both utilities to require a 50% down payment, thus lowering the barrier for people with SPU shutoff notices, but that the utilities proposed instead to require that both SCL and SPU customers pay at least 75% of the outstanding balance in order to avoid shutoff.

SPU’s standard already represented a significant barrier to many customers attempting to establish a payment plan in order to avoid a utility shut-off. Shut-offs should be the City’s last resort. Councilmember Sawant (the Chair of the Council Committee with oversight of SCL) and I sent a letter to the Directors of both utilities asking that they align their policies at the SCL level of 50% of balance due in order to prevent a shut-off.

To demonstrate how the 75% down-payment standard acts as a barrier to preventing SPU shutoffs, the West Seattle Helpline provided, and I shared with the utilities, data demonstrating the number of people that they were able to assist avoiding utility shutoffs in 2015.

Shutoffs avoided with Helpline pledges in West Seattle: 44 shutoffs avoided 138 shutoffs avoids
Total amount paid To SPU: $13,282.00 To SCL: $28,540.55
Average overdue amount $600.48


Average pledge amount from the West Seattle Helpline $308.88 (49%), the remaining 26% is paid by the customer $208.33 (49%)
Estimated savings/cost if shutoff threshold had been 50%/75% –    $6,455.12 (meaning at a 50% threshold about West Seattle Helpline could have helped 10 more people)


+ $12,979.13 (meaning at a 75% threshold SCL would have been able to help 30 fewer people)

In response, the utilities agreed to examine the delinquency policies. Concerned about these impacts, I submitted a budget proposal to maintain the 50% down-payment standard to avoid shut-off for both utilities, instead of the 75%.

I learned yesterday that the General Manager of SCL and the CEO of SPU have agreed to utilize the 50% down-payment to prevent shut-off. This will be implemented through a Director’s rule, and will be in place by January 1.

I’m thankful for the utilities’ quick response and their decision that paying 50% of an outstanding balance is sufficient to avoid shut-off. I will continue looking for other opportunities to help residents keep their power on.

Public Safety Survey

Seattle University is administering the citywide 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey. This survey is conducted independently by Seattle University researchers, and collects data at the neighborhood level about perceptions of crime and public safety, and police-community interactions.

The survey is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org from October 15th through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist them in their work and evaluation of the department’s Micro Community Policing Plans, which are designed to address the distinctive needs of each community. You can find out which Micro Community Policing Plan area you live in at the Micro Community Policing Plan map website Crime data for each area can be found here.

Please tell your friends, family, co-workers and community members about the 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey and feel free to post the survey link on your social media. Public safety and security are community concerns. Please make sure your voice is heard by completing the public safety survey today.

Background on the partnership with Seattle University is available here.

The 2015 survey results are available at the Seattle Police Department Public Safety Survey website, and shows results at the neighborhood level. Results are listed in District 1 for Alki, Fauntleroy SW, High Point/Alaska Junction/Morgan Junction, Highland Park, North Admiral, North Delridge, Pigeon Point, South Park, and Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights.

In the Southwest precinct, when combined, car prowls and lack of police capacity/presence were listed as the top safety concerns—the same as the other four precincts citywide. However, drilling down to the neighborhood level reveals diverse concerns: in Alki, parking issues were listed as a top issue, in Fauntleroy it was car prowls, in Pigeon point residential burglary; in South Park littering/dumping.

The Ponderosa Pine

Over the last few months, many community members have asked me to help save the Ponderosa Pine at 3036 39th Ave SW in the Belvidere/Admiral neighborhood from being removed as a result of a proposed development on a small lot that required approval of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI).  In response, I met with concerned neighbors and wrote to and met with SDCI Director Nathan Torgelson to seek: (1) clarity about the process SDCI uses to approve development on these small lots under 3,200 sq. feet; (2) information about the cost of a code interpretation letter; and (3) support for better land use policies that protect exceptional trees.

Here is some background on the law that allows developer to build on these small lots. Several years ago, community members discovered that developers were developing some very small lots in ways that were not intended by the drafters of the code. The Department engaged in a lengthy process, involving much public input, and proposed a series of recommendations. After much debate, and with amendments by several Councilmembers, the Council unanimously adopted Ordinance 124475 in 2014.

One of the things the neighbors sought was public notice of all developments on undersized lots. Typically notice is provided for Type II projects, but not for Type I projects. The Council decided in 2014 that these should be Type I projects, but with public notice when the development is on a site smaller than 3,200 sq. feet.  The City Council also decided that these small lot projects may be appealed, but that the appeal would be limited to whether special exception criteria are met.  The criteria relates to the depth of the structure on the lot, the width of the lot, and window placement on the building lot to take into consideration the interior privacy in abutting houses.

A code interpretation letter explains how SDCI interprets the code – in this case community members are seeking a code interpretation letter from SDCI of how they interpret the code that allows SDCI to permit some developments on these small lots.  There is a charge to requesters for these interpretations.  SDCI is a fee supported department, like many regulatory departments with a cost recovery funding model, and 85% of the Department’s services are supported with fees from the public to pay for these services.  The average time it takes SDCI to produce one of these letters is about 31hours and, of the letters reviewed, the least time was 9 and a half hours.

Director Torgelson has agreed to consider and review the following options for future changes, including:

  • Eliminating the base fee for interpretations and charging on an hourly basis, or collecting less than 10 hours of work as a base fee, especially concerning issues where a legal building site letter has been completed (thus initial staff analysis has already been completed);
  • Posting more information on-line about the process for legal building site letters; and
  • Reviewing the legal building site and interpretation process for lots under 3,200 square feet as they already have a notice and Type II appealable decision component.

In response to the community suggestion that we eliminate the base fee for interpretations and charge on an hourly basis. I submitted a proposed amendment to the SDCI fee ordinance legislation to address the 10 hour minimum requirement.  Further, I am proposing a Statement of Legislative Intent requiring, by March 31, SDCI review for improvements the process for requesting and issuing legal building site letters and code interpretations and update and post information on-line and in the Public Resource Center more clearly describing the process.

Finally, I have concerns about the fact that the 2014 ordinance did not consider additional criteria that SDCI should use to make a determination whether sites are buildable and have requested that SDCI consider additional changes to the Small Lot Exceptions Ordinance to include exceptional trees as a criteria that must be considered in its determination on whether the site is a buildable lot.

Next week in the budget

Two key events in the Council’s budget process are scheduled for next week. First of all, the Budget Committee Chair, Councilmember Burgess, will release his initial balancing package for the budget on Wednesday, November 2. There are $73 million in proposed Council additions to the budget, which were heard in the Budget Committee during the last week.  I wrote last week about my proposals. Budget Chair Burgess’ balanced budget package will not include all $73 million for these proposals—it will only include those that he decides to prioritize. You may wish to contact him at tim.burgess@seattle.gov regarding items you support.

Secondly, Councilmembers wanting to propose amendments to the Chair’s balancing package can propose amendments for presentation at the Budget Committee two weeks from now. A total of three sponsors will be needed for items to appear on the agenda and each proposal will need 5 votes in support to ultimately be included in the budget.  The deadline for proposals is on Friday, November 4 at 5 p.m.

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

In-District Office Hours

I will not be having in-district office hours during the month of November due to Budget Committee meetings as well as the Holiday. Therefore my next office hours will be in December.

I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) on Friday, December 16, from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30pm. These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Comprehensive Plan 2035 Community Involvement, Next week in the budget, Budget proposals

Comprehensive Plan 2035 Community Involvement

On Monday the Council approved the 2035 Comprehensive Plan update. In committee, the Council approved amendments I sponsored relating to Seattle Public Utilities, Arts, Economic Development and Growth, and then this week in Full Council amendments I sponsored to the Community Involvement element were also approved.

I worked with neighborhood advocates to develop language to elevate the concept of community involvement by making it a new element in the Comprehensive Plan— a recognition of the need to regularly engage citizens in both planning and executing the city’s growth management strategy.

Additional language clarified the meaning of geographic-based planning; adds a policy that recognizes the need for sufficient resources to keep neighborhood plans current and relevant so they are a useful tool for growth management and citizen involvement; and adds consideration of whether neighborhood plans are outdated to the criteria for determining where the City should allocate resources for community planning.

Thanks to Councilmember Johnson for agreeing to an extra week to allow for public notice before the vote.

Next week in the budget

Next week the Council’s Budget Committee will hold the final meeting of the “Budget Deliberations” round on Monday the 24th. This meeting will cover departments and issues not covered this week on the 18th and 19th.

On Tuesday the 25th, the Council will hold its 2nd public hearing on the budget.

The hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall; sign up begins @ 4:30. The hearing will advise the Budget Committee Chair (Councilmember Burgess) in the release of his Initial Balancing Package, scheduled for November 2, and any potential budget actions by other Councilmembers, due by the end of the day on November 4 (with a minimum of three sponsors).

Agendas and links to materials are available at the Budget Committee meetings page; here are links to the budget process and schedule. You can sign up for e-mail agenda notices here.

Additional information, including an archive of budget documents from 2009 to the present, is available at the Council’s Budget website. Meetings can be viewed live on the Seattle Channel’s live feed; past meetings can be viewed at the Seattle Channel’s Budget Committee archive.

My Budget Proposals

Below is a list of potential amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget that I have proposed. I’ve organized them by issues relevant to a. District 1, b. to the committee I chair, the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts (CRUEDA), and c. other issues, though there is some overlap.

District 1 Budget Proposals:

  1. Fauntleroy Boulevard Project

City Light has revised the description of the project to allocate $1.5 million for the street light improvements and utility pole relocations  recommended by community members as integral to the revised design

  1. Lander Street Project

This project is $27.5 million short of the $142.5 million needed for full funding; I’m exploring options for obtaining full funding during this budget cycle for this long-delayed project, which is important for travel between District 1 and Downtown as well as freight mobility.

  1. West Seattle Bridge studies

This would continue work begun by former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, by adding $100,000 to complete the two studies called for in a budget action last year to carry out the evaluations called for in the West Seattle Bridge/Duwamish Corridor Whitepaper to improve safety, incident management, and traffic flow.

  1. Age Friendly Community Innovation Fund

This funding would support a grant program for groups in each of the seven City Council districts to apply for up to $25,000 for programs and services based on improving the lives of an aging population.

  1. South Park Family Service Center
This funding will support health and human services, a leadership program, and an education program in South Park.


CRUEDA Committee Budget Proposals:

  1. Civil Rights Issue – Hearing Loops for Boards and Commissions Room Fund to ensure local and state government facilities are accessible to those with hearing disabilities. The Boards and Commission Room hosts several citizen advisory groups including the People with disAbilities Commission.
  2. Civil Rights Issue – Employment and Housing Bias Testing will allow Seattle Office of Civil Rights to conduct approximately 210 employment and housing tests to proactively enforce the City’s anti-discrimination laws.
  3. Economic Development Issue – Seattle Legacy Business study funding to for a study to determine the scope and definition of a Seattle Legacy Business program to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at risk of being lost.
  4. Economic Development – King Street Station proposal would require OED report back to Council before funding is released to describe how funding will direct commercial affordability opportunities and resources to low-income entrepreneurs and support a model that serves as a business incubator for low-income immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs by providing education, training, resources, facilities and support.
  5. Labor Issues – funding evaluation on Secure Scheduling so academic researchers can complete an evaluation of the impacts of the regulations for the baseline, one-year and two-year periods following implementation.
  6. Labor Issues – Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Directed Investigations Program development – to allow for investigations initiated by the OLS Director rather than relying on a specific complaint from a worker.
  7. Labor Issues – Establish OLS as a Regulatory Fee-Supported Department – our labor laws should be enforced with a small annual regulatory fee on businesses, saving $6 million in general fund dollars in 2018.
  8. Utilities Issues – SPU and SCL Delinquent Payment Policy and Utility Discount Program (UDP) Policy changing the delinquency payment policies to allow for a 50% down payment of past due bills to avoid shut-off and change the income eligibility requirements to specifically exempt Medicare/Medicaid payments as personal income to increase participation in the UDP.
  9. Arts funding for Burke Museum, Town Hall, Nordic Heritage, Hugo House Increase funding for each organization’s capital campaign

Other Budget Proposals

Community Service Officers funding to develop a Community Service Officer program, allowing for the hiring of unsworn officers with distinctive uniforms to assist regular police officers by performing community services associated with law enforcement, conducting crime prevention activities, improving relations, and developing potential police officers.

District Council funding for meeting rental space, and amend proposed Council Bill to establish Community Involvement Commission to provide a formal role for District Councils in evaluating grant projects at a geographic level, as currently practiced

Pronto bike-share operations: redirect $600,000 proposed to operate the current Pronto system toward implementing the Bicycle Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, and School Safety projects

Seattle Police Department hiring: 72 new officer positions are proposed to be created in 2017-2018, to bring the total of new officer positions to 181 during the last few years. My proposal would require new officers to be hired using preference points, as proposed by the Community Police Commission, and include in the City’s legislation proposed to a federal judge (as described in an earlier blog post)

Speed camera revenues (non-school zone) revenues dedicated to pedestrian users: Increase portion of non-school zone red light camera revenue dedicated to school safety to pedestrian uses; currently 10% of camera revenue goes to the school safety and pedestrian improvement fund. This would increase it to 20%, more in line with national best practices, and policy for school-zone cameras

Mobile Shower unit for people living in encampments including the start-up costs and ongoing provision.

Public Defense Services for tenants would fund a two-year pilot to contract with the King County Department of Public Defense for civil legal services related to housing evictions for indigent defendants.

SCDI funding for enforcement for the move-in fee legislation to answer landlords and tenants questions regarding the new requirements, investigate complaints and respond to appeals in a timely manner.

Restoration of SYVPI Recreation funding for organizations engaged in Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative programming.

Restore Transitional Housing funding in 2017 for 8 homeless programs that were eliminated from Seattle/King County’s HUD McKinney application in 2016.

Tenant Landlord Resource Center adopt a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) asking SDCI to develop a proposal for a public facing landlord tenant resource center, with resource needs identified and in coordination with multiple city departments.

City Auditor – Evaluation of Source of Income and Move in Fee bills the Office of City Auditor’s budget to complete a rental market study for both the Source of Income legislation and the Move-in Fee legislation.

Child Care Space Mitigation fund – to address the displacement of before- and after-school child care from Seattle Public Schools’. The funding would be available for use by the District and to child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced.

Community Planning Process for Myers Way Properties, Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI): This proposal would request the executive to conduct a community planning process to determine the future uses of the Myers Way Properties. Such uses/purposes would include: green space that can serve to clean the air and water near an environmentally degraded area; protection of wetlands and Hamm Creek Watershed; hill stabilization; natural park space in an under-served area; preschool; expansion of the Joint Training Facility for firefighters to include training for police.

Green Pathways – funding to establish a position on the Workforce Entry and Employment Pathways interdepartmental team to identify how City internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training can lead to career paths. The green pathways work will be integrated with this citywide work, and this position will oversee and implement this work.

 Animal Control Officers – double our dedicated animal control officers by add two enforcement officers who will be dedicated to better enforce our scoop and leash laws, and ensure public safety in our park system.