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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SEPA Process - Cutting Back Citizens Involvement in Shoreline

We are very concerned about a trend in Shoreline.

At Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, there is a staff proposal buried in the Development Code
Amendment discussion to severely limit the SEPA process.  This process is supposed to be an opportunity to assess potential environmental impacts and for citizens to be able to inform, impact and appeal if necessary.

In this proposal, staff is suggesting we "raise thresholds" for invoking SEPA. This means that even on relatively large developments, there would be no SEPA process, not opportunity to comment, appeal
or make a difference short of filing a lawsuit in Superior Court.

Issue 1 – Environmental Review Procedures 
Raise the thresholds on the exempt levels for environmental review under SEPA 
1. 4 dwelling units to 20 dwelling units 
2. Commercial buildings 4,000 sq ft and 20 parking stalls to 12,000 sq ft and 40 parking stalls 
3. Parking lots for 20 parking spaces to 40 parking spaces 
Clarify appeal procedures for Type C actions 

This is just one of many small measures being taken lately by the City and particularly the current Council to limit public involvement. These are supposedly done to increase "efficiency".
For instance;
1. reducing public comment times at City Council meetings
2. reducing the size of commissions and committees (Planning, Parks, Economic Development)
3. Proposal to reduce minutes of Planning Commission

Is this what we're about in Shoreline now in 2010? Reducing public involvement?
 When I was on the Council we took every opportunity to improve input and involvement by the public.

Meanwhile the Council Goal #10 is supposedly to
Goal 10: Provide enhanced opportunities for effective citizen communication and engagement

SEPA stands for State Environmental Policy Act.  In light of the disaster going on in the Gulf of  Mexico, could we have any more of a clear illustration of how we need MORE vilgilance, MORE oversight, MORE public involvement?

Shoreline, lets be a City for the citizens and by the citizens.
Not for the developers and by the developers!

Just sayin!

If you'd like to tell the Planning Commission your opinion you can email or attend the meeting:

Thursday, June 17th at City Hall. 7pm (You have 2 minutes!)

Phone: (206) 801-2500
Fax: (206) 546-8761

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