Search This Blog

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ronald School Hearing Part II on Monday

Citizens interested in the fate of the Landmarked Ronald School in Shoreline, can attend the continued hearing this Monday. The appeal of the COA (Certificate of Appropriateness)
had been filed by the Shoreline Preservation Society, a local non-profit.
Front Portico of Ronald School Built in 1912 
Last week, the Shoreline City Council voted to table a decision process till this week, because there is a serious question about whether the Landmarks Commission had actually had a "quorum" at their hearing on November 17th, at which they voted to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness.

Councilmembers and the City Attorney  had voiced a concern about the quorum. The item was tabled to provide time to research the question.

The Shoreline Landmarks Hearing had held a hearing on November 17th. There were 4 commissioners who started out at the hearing, but Commissioner Brian Rich recused himself and left the meeting, because he is an employee of Bassetti Architects. Then there were just 3 members in total who sat to hear the Certificate of Appropriateness for Ronald School and then voted to approve it. There was supposed to be a "Shoreline Member" on the panel, but no one represented Shoreline on the panel as is required by the "inter-local agreement" with King County. The Landmarks Commission has a total of 7 sitting members currently (with the Shoreline member), since 3 of the positions are vacant. So a "quorum" would have to be FOUR members (according to their own Rules of Procedure below).
"Shoreline" Landmarks Commission setting up at Richmond Masonic
Lodge before start of Ronald School hearing.
(L-R) Cmr Brian Rich, Cmr Lauren McCroskey, Cmr Tom Hitzroth,
Cmr Stephen Day, KCHP Director Julie Koler, KCHP staff Todd Scott
The Rules of Procedure for the King County Landmarks Commission read as follows on the quorum
3. Quorum. A majority of the currently appointed and confirmed members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. A special member of the Commission shall be counted in determining the number required for a quorum and shall be counted as a part of a quorum for the vote on any matter involving the designation or control of landmarks and in determination of the special tax valuation for historic properties within the city. (KCC 20.62.140, as adopted by reference in SMC 15.20.025). All official actions of the Commission shall require a majority vote of the members present and eligible to vote on the action voted upon. No member shall be eligible to vote upon any matter required by this chapter to be determined after a hearing unless that member has attended the hearing or familiarized him or herself with the record.
4. Absence of a Quorum. No official business shall be conducted by the Commission in the absence of a quorum.
The Council is hearing an appeal of the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). It is a required element for the Shorewood HS project to proceed.

The Shoreline Preservation Society contends that there were errors of Fact, Judgement and Conclusion
and serious concerns about the Landmarks Commission process and procedure are raised in the appeal.

Their choices are laid out in the Agenda -
1. Remand the proceeding to the Commission for reconsideration if errors of fact exist in the record.
2. Modify or reverse the decision of the Commission if the decision is based on errors of judgement or conclusion.
3. Deny the appeal and sustain the decision of the Commission. 

The Councilmeeting will begin at 7pm at City Hall on 17500 Midvale Ave N. The Agenda item is here -


  1. Based on this, it seems like the City Council should simply deny the decision. After all, isn't voting without a quorum about the biggest error in judgment? How sad the School District can't just leave the Ronald School Building alone (the way it has stood for nearly a hundred years)by moving the new building back a little way? It seems a very reasonable thing to request.

  2. It's upside-down thinking to believe you have a quorum with less than a majority (3 of 7). The Landmarks Commission (part of a very cozy little club)just tried to ram this thing through for Bassetti Architects & Shoreline School district. This is why so many people hate government.

    We'll see if the City Council has the guts to send this thing back to the Commission. Seems unlikely.