By Mellow De Tray
At the Burien Town Council meeting on Monday evening (October 17, 2022), local lawmakers approved the addition of rental protections at the next business meeting, approved South King Housing’s work plan and budget priorities and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) for 2023 and beyond.
The Council recognized the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Education and coordination of resources have proven effective in preventing domestic violence, which affects all communities, but particularly vulnerable populations.
The Board also recognized October 10 as Indigenous Peoples Day, to recognize the rich and long history of Indigenous peoples in our region. Joe Biden was the first president to officially commemorate the day, which has been a national holiday since 1934.
Council also received a report from the Committee to Advance Racial Equity, a volunteer committee of city employees that works on ways to reduce racial bias in the city.
Community members are out impose in favor of putting in place stronger protections for tenants. They reminded the Council that the economy had still not recovered from the pandemic and described situations where landlords had increased rent by 20% or refused to keep housing safe and habitable. The time limit for public comments has expired and been extended several times, to give everyone who came forward the opportunity to tell their story and ask for Council support.
Others have spoken out in favor of tougher measures against climate change, including funds for awareness, education and the installation of heat pumps rather than gas or oil for heating and cooling homes. . Several said that installing electric vehicle charging stations is not what is needed now and that there may be subsidies for it later. They suggested that the City fund energy audits and weatherization of homes, and that we should spend more than 0.08% of the budget on climate action, and not use the money to hire expensive consultants.
Protections for rental housing
The Board approved the addition of rental protections at the next business meeting. These protections will:
- Eliminate loopholes in Just Cause protections, so that all tenants, regardless of lease type, are protected from being evicted or terminating the lease without cause.
- Require 120 days notice for rent increases over 3%, 180 days for increases over 10%.
- Cap late fees at $10.
- Specify that a social security number cannot be required to apply for rental housing.
Council approved the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) work plan and budget priorities for 2023. SKHHP is a new inter-local agency and requires the approval of partner cities to continue its mission to maintain and increase the affordable housing options available.
Discussion on renewing the City’s contract with the Community Animal Resource & Education Society (CARES) was postponed to the next meeting, due to time constraints.
DeTray fluffy is originally from Seattle and has spent the past 16 years raising his family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including Burien Library, Burien Actors Theater and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at the Burien Community Center, she transitioned to teaching fitness classes and front desk at a Burien yoga studio. For many years, Mellow maintained a moderately popular food and lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a secondary hobby of Mellow and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.