December 11, 2017 Study Session Recap

Agenda:  Available online here
Video: Available online here

All present at roll call.

Public Works & community development items discussion items – Councilmember Wagner takes over study session as Chair.

Discussion of Digital Parity Goal
Paul Haugan, Director Innovation and Technology

Update for Digital Parity program, focusing on goals for 2018.  The program’s goal is to provide 24/7 broadband access to low income students.  Council to determine if they will have this program cover 80% of low income students, or 80% of the city.  If 80% of students are covered, roughly 54% of the city is covered.   The cost for covering just students is $2.7mil, and the city would be $6.2mil.  This would be spread over several years, and due to technology partnerships and advancements these numbers are expected to decrease.

Council discussed various aspects of the program, including concerns of students using the internet provided for things such as games and movies (sites such as Netflix and HULU are blocked.)   Deputy Mayor Wales, as well as Councilmembers Peloza and Trout-netflix-law.ju.topManuel expressed worry over budget costs and balancing other needs of the city.  CM Trout-Manuel shared that before the meeting there was discussion of needing to tighten the belt on the budget.

Ultimately it was agreed that at this time the program would focus on students, and CM Peloza requested the numbers for covering 50% of students rather than 80%.  DM Wales requested a comparison of the free and reduced lunch numbers at the included schools, stating that it would be more than 50%.  Councilmember Holman stated that presently Auburn School District’s low income students are out performing Bellevue’s students – due to the attitude of the students, community and teachers and that Council should not be concerned with the next election cycle, but with the city’s future generation.

PSRC Centers Designation Overview:
Jeff Tate,Assistant Director of community development services
Ingrid Gaub,  Assistant Director of Engineering
Brian Parry, Senior Policy Analyst with Sound Cities Assns

There are presently 2 types center designations that have been in place for 30+ years.  Currently the Puget Sound Regional Council are evaluating centers, the criteria to designate centers and redefinition of centers.  The presentation discussed what the metrics are and what a center designation means and what Auburn should be striving for, and how we fit into that regional framework of planning.

Regional Growth Centers are located in Metropolitan Cities or Core Cities and are characterized by compact, pedestrian oriented development with a mix of residences, jobs, retail, services, and entertainment.  These centers are intended to provide proximity to a diverse collection of services, shopping, recreation, and jobs, as well as a variety of attractive and well-designed residences.  Centers are to be focal points for new growth and are identified to receive a significant portion of the region’s population and employment growth.  Regional centers are expected to achieve densities sufficient to support high-capacity transit through long-term growth and development over the 20-year comprehensive planning period and beyond.

Regional Manufacturing Industrial Centers (MICs) are locations of more intensive industrial activity.  These centers are characterized by large contiguous blocks served by the region’s major transportation infrastructure, including roads, rail, and port facilities.  Non-supportive land uses are discouraged in regional manufacturing industrial centers, such as retail, non-related offices, or housing, in order to preserve the basic sector industries located in these centers.  These centers are expected to accommodate a significant share of the region’s manufacturing industrial employment growth.

Regional Centers Map

On the transportation side of things, centers impact how we get grant funding. The project must be within or directly feed into a center.  Having a center designation helps us into getting points on a grant application, allowing to have as many points as possible on the grant application.

Auburn has 1 Regional Growth area, and does not have any MICs
Auburn.jpgThe Regional growth area, the downtown area, lines up consistent with urban growth regions.  Associated with that is adopted downtown plan.  Critical component for establishing center is having planning document for that area. This establishes policies, growth targets etc. for that area.

If Auburn wants to alter any location to become designated a MIC they will need to consider not just the potential benefits of that designation, but if the requirements of that center designation.  CM Holman raised the point that a MIC may not bring any benefit to Auburn, even if there is cause for the designation.

CM Trout-Manuel requested this topic be discussed at the 2018 City Council retreat, Mayor Backus confirmed if it is something she requests it can be on the agenda.
Capital Project Status Report and 2017 Year End Summary
Ingrid Gaub
Ryan Vondrak, Capital Projects Manager
Jacob Sweeting, Assistant City Engineer

City of Auburn Capital Projects
Provided updates and 2017-year end wrap up on the city’s capital projects.  In 2017 30 lane miles were repaved, several miles of utility improvements done, nearly 4 miles of sidewalks replaced or installed.
Going page by page on the report there were few questions from the Council.

CM Peloza inquired to the new water billing system.  In 2018 there will be a customer service portal that will allow users to see their usage in real time, that is updated every 4 hours versus the old every 2 months.  This rapid updating and frequent monitoring that when certain parameters are met the system will alert staff, having them attempt to determine the cause of an issue – which may require a visit to the property.   There is a downside to the new meters, in that property owners no longer can attempt to determine a leak themselves by monitoring the meter dial.

-37th & 8th traffic signal work will resume February 2018dynamicsign.png
-22nd & I St – Roundabout, beginning stages of utility work.
-South Hanger Door improvement – resuming on December 13th
-The first dynamic message sign in the city was installed on Auburn Way S.  A second one will be coming to 277th S.  The cost per sign is $190k, though the 277th S sign was built into the project.  This will be a great tool.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Council complemented the report on it’s usefulness to both them as Councilmembers but also to informing Auburn’s citizens.

Resolution 5323, Amendment to the Transit Service Direct Financial Partnership Agreement
James Webb, Traffic Engineer
Ingrid Gaud

This is a housekeeping matter regarding traffic shuttle. Sound Transit added additional trains in AM and PM, so the city has negotiated with King County and Pierce County transittransit to add an additional shuttle for Lakeland Hills route 497.  This is an amendment, instead of an extension. This is necessary due to the high volume and the lack of parking.  It is a very popular route, and they have been hearing from neighbors that routes are standing room only and that there is a definite need to add additional shuttles.  Rider numbers in 2017 up to October exceed riders for all of 2016, and this will be a continued trend.

CM Wagner wondered if the city couldn’t provide the shuttle service themselves, rather than partnering with KC and PC transit, and do it for less than the $180k.  AD Gaub informed the Council that currently the city pays 1/3 of the cost of the shuttle and that the $180k pays for the drivers and the cost of the buses.

Resolution No. 5335, Interlocal Agreement regarding SCATBd:
Mayor Nancy Backus

Mayor Backus presented the opinions and outline of the resolution that spoke to recent negotiations related to SCATBd had decided to allow non-RTA cities to vote on RTA issues (ot that SCATBd  has many RTA issues). Many felt that it wasn’t right that those cities would have input.  After discussing the matter with CM Peloza, Mayor Backus found out that SCATBd Chairs who are both nonRTA cities and are ok with changing the language that they when vote on RTA items, they do so after seeking input from surrounding RTA cities.  The recent SCATBd decision will have to go back to a vote.  This resolution provides the City of Auburn’s opinion of approval on the changes.  SCATBd will be bringing this up at the upcoming meeting next week.

118th Avenue SE Roadway:
Ingrid Gaub

After a brief preface from CM Wagner, warning about making semi-professional judgements and that the Council should allow the professionals to give an update, AD Gaub provided an update regarding the calming improvements of 118th Ave SE.

118th Ave SE is a stretch of road that borders Kent, that was annexed by the City of Auburn in 2008.  Until The Bridges neighborhood was built, this was a dead end road.  188th Ave SE’s Pavement Condition Index rating is currently an 82 and 95, not making it a candidate for road preservation work.  The current complaints related to this stretch of road are speeding and street racing.  Since 2008 there have been 3 accidents, 2 were single vehicle and none were with a pedestrian or bicycle.

A petition was submitted to the city to regrade 500ft of 188th Ave SE, by 18 of the 34 residents along the road, as well as 29 City of Kent residents.  Before that petition was submitted, as well as since it’s submission, the city has enacted several traffic calming measures: placed rumble strips on the road, additional signage, road markings of the speed limit, an electronic radar speed limit sign and there has been regular traffic enforcement.
Should the road be regraded, the project would cost an estimated $842K and would include reconstruction of 400 feet of roadway, construction of retaining walls and reconstruction of 7 +/- private driveways.  This estimated cost does not include the cost of drainage, sidewalks, lighting or curbs and gutters.  It was explained to Council that retaining walls would be required because the roadway was built on natural terrain.  That hilly terrain would remain the same, so the walls would hold that up and away from the road.

It was outlined that this is a significant cost for issues been addressed through other means.  If driving down the roadway appropriately and legally, nothing wrong with roadway.

The funding options for a regrade of this nature are presently limited.  118th Ave SE is not eligible for preservation road funds, traffic impact fees.  The options for funding the construction, should Council wish to go forward with it, would be a Local Improvement District (which would probably be difficult to utilize, and would likely be more costly as it may require further work than just regrading the road), 102 Arterial Street Funds (that would not cover the full cost of the project and would delay many safety projects within the city) or the Street Reserve Fund (which would also not cover the full amount of the project, and would deplete the recently expanded reserve fund.)

Ultimately Council agreed that the cost of the project outweighed the benefit.  The city will maintain the current calming methods, and will continue to monitor the speed and incidents of the road, APD will have a continued presence and speed enforcement emphasis as well.

Development Regulations Update, Round 2
Jeff Tate
Ingrid Gaub

This is a follow-up to the May 8th presentation, regarding potential development regulations amendments.  This began when Mayor Backus asked the planning department to look at areas staff and/or customer gets frustrated with development code. Provided matrix and list on May 8th. Council were each provided a packet, listing is where they currently are on each of those items. They are now going to discuss round 2 with the consideration of doing this once or twice a year.

Immediately CM Wagner requested the header be changed to relay that Council endorsed considering making the changes, not that they endorsed the changes.

On May 8th there had been 7 items discussed and Council agreed to 6 of the 7, with the 7th going to the Planning Commission.  The 7th item, density in development, will be discussed later in the study session.

Additional items to consider for review and possible amendments are:

Title 18 Community Development:  Construction job shacks and sales offices. The City’s standards are convoluted and have been applied inconsistently. The typical scenarios are (1)temporarily converting an SFR garage to a sales office, (2) setting up a temporary mobile structure for use by only contractors, (3) setting up a temporary mobile structure to serve as a sales office that allows access by public.

Titles 12, 15, & 19 Community Development & Engineering: Fee assessment and collection. Different sections of city code establish different requirements for
when fees are assessed and collected. Some codes require fees be assessed at the time of application submittal and collected at the time of permit issuance; other sections require fees to be assessed and collected at permit issuance.

18.29.020 Community Development: Several DUC standards are triggered when the
estimated value of the improvement exceeds 10% of the value of the building. This threshold is extremely low and has caused problems for property owners to carry out minor improvements.
  (Example: When the downtown Burger Kind remolded, they would have had to put a second story on the restaurant to be within compliance.)

18.31.020 Community Development: In 2016 the building code increased the permit
exemption for the height limit for a fence from 6’ to 7’. The zoning code remains at 6’.

ACC 18.50.070 Community Development: Eliminating the requirement to carry a landscape maintenance bond. It can be addressed through code enforcement. The city has not collected on a maintenance bond in many years.
(Currently when require on site private landscape, it is required that the developer post bond for 125% of landscape cost. They have good enforcement in place and this can be cost prohibitive.)

16.06.055 Community Development: Raise the SEPA categorical exemptions to what is
allowed under WAC 197-11-800. Raising these threshold limits requires a substantial  amount of work in order to meet the conditions upon which it is allowed.

Lea Hill Road & 104th Avenue Park update:
Ingrid Gaub
Jamie Kelly, Parks Planning & Development Manager

Currently going through landscape process, working with landscape architect. Probable cost per architect are $1.7mil. Multiple funding options/grants through RCO: water access, local park, land, water and conservation funds playground and picnic shelters. There is a maximum ask of $500,00/each, and can leverage off each other; though there is a risk in not getting one if planning on using as match.
Park impact fees lowers risk as they will be match.

There are significant issues along 104th Ave during peak time and bringing parking into park will help, with 104th Ave giving vehicle access to the park.  There will be an estimated 20-30 parking stalls in the lot, which is approximate to the number of cars usually seen along the road currently during the summer.

The park will be roughly 14 acres, being made up of 2 parcels.  Development will mainly be in the eastern portion of the park, as the western portion is heavily forested.  The beach is the only real access to the river, though there are unapproved trails that have been created.

This will add another park to the maintenance load, however currently they already dump garbage and pick up trash at the park.  It is likely that seasonal staff will be employed during peak times in summer for general maintenance.  DM Wales would like to see, in 6 months to a year, what parks do maintenance wise to determine what the city is doing (both in-house and contract out).

As they are in a 2-year grant cycle, applications due in spring 2018, grants awarded in 2019. Construction would begin 2019.
Lea Hill Road/8th Street NE corridor is included in transportation improvement plan and is broken into 3 sections, from R Street to 124th. They are widening to 4 lanes, adding sidewalks and bike lanes. 102nd at 8th Ave NE will be closed, with alternate access granted to 104th St NE.

The city has been purchasing properties along project as they have become available to preserve the right of way.  Phase 1 of the project potentially may see a new or refurbished bridge, which is one reason for the large cost.

Overall the project is an estimated cost $ . With grants, the city tries to match 20%, so for a $30mil project they would try to get close to $24mil of it from other funding. That is not an insignificant amount to ask for. Timing depends on grants, which is why the project is broken into 3 phases, allows to be more competitive with grants.  The next round of Federal grant applications are due early 2018, however that is not for funds that would be available until 2021/2022. Not successful for 320th application, did get different grant. Will continue looking for grant applications, but the way regional grant funding is done it is getting more and more difficult to get funding.

2018 Arterial and Local Street Selection

Ingrid Gaub
Jai Carter, Street Systems Engineer

Discussing 2018 preservation program for arterial and local streets. Work needed throughout city, will cost $7.3 million in preservation work. Broken into several different projects that will occur at various times of year.
$7.3mil is budgeted, inclusive of local street and arterial street preservation funds, as well as grant funds.

Project break outs:
Grant projects:
-277th St project – this coming season. From 167th to current new improvements.15thst

-15th NW/NE – between off ramps of 167th, to Harvey, 8th ST NE, M St. This Summer, mainly pedestrian and 1 or 2 signal improvements.

-SR-18 between West Valley and Peasley Canyon Rd S (roughly 200 feet of Peasley Canyon Rd S included.)

Local streets:
1.8mil for project:  Last local streets in city that need reconstruction, that do not have water infrastructure.

DM Wales questions roads that are unpaved, such as gravel roads.  AD Gaub explained that several years ago public works committee decided to not pave roads that were unpaved, and to address those at a later time. The reason being individuals who purchase homes on paved roads have paid into that road maintenance. City paving roads is an additional cost that was not done for many others.

Other complications include sewage, drainage and the public right away. The specific road questioned would expected to be connected to be a through road and comments from some residents have been that they do not want that.  They cannot do a major project of that nature to appease only some of the residents of a street.

DM Wales inquired about utility work and their requirements to repave, using recent PSE work on Kennedy Ave SE Lakeland as an example.  Work done is based on when permit was pulled and requirements of the project.

Other streets were presented and discussed to consider for work.

Discussed overlay projects in 2018, no target project times given.  Streets within downtown core, Lea hill, west hill, Lakeland hills all will be receiving new overlays.

Ad-Hoc committee formed to review road projects with Councilmember DaCorsi as Chair, CM Trout-Manuel and Councilmember Baggett as members on the committee.

Planning Commission Recommendation – Amending Title 18 as it Relates to Calculating Residential Densities
Jeff Tate

Provided memo that includes Planning commission’s recommendation related to methodology used for density calculations. Shifting from using net site area to growth site area. Include allowance for administrative deviation from requirements when site has critical areas making it difficult to meet requirements.

-Exempt short subdivisions, which are subdivisions of 9 lots or less.

-Eliminate requirement that subdivisions adhere to minimum average lot area within a subdivision.

We are currently not meeting our growth targets because we are not able to achieve density on site easily.  Developers having challenge meeting density requirements using net site area, versus gross site area.   The current process is asking for a lot of design work up front before they can determine number of lots per acre. This is a heavy burden on potential developer or property owner. It’s a business decision for them to do this work, and pay this cost up front, by building in Auburn; or build elsewhere.

Auburn still have areas available for development, the real issue is proximity to utilities.

Staff recommended reducing minimum lot size from 6000 sqft to 4500 sq ft in R5 zone. The Planning Commission felt that was too small. Staff fell that it would, at most, reduce the size of a back yard.

AD Tate confirmed that regionally it is a total mixed bag as to how density is being handled.

Council discussed that Auburn is moving away from suburban and to more urban.  They considered balancing need for homes as first-generation buyers, making decisions to forgo large yards in favor of an affordable home. Need to provide housing for those individuals, as well as those “in their twilight years,” who are downsizing.

CM Holman put forth that Auburn has a finite amount of dirt, and that the Council needed to consider how best to divide that up to have a liveable, affordable community.

In the end, Council all support the Planning Commission’s recommendations, as well as staff’s reduced lot size recommendation.  This included CM Wagner, who in the beginning was against the recommendation for reducing lot size allowances.

Dangerous Doggos:
Commander Mike Hirman
George Winner, Code compliance officer, former Animal control officer

Animal control mainly is dealing with owners who need to control domestic animals (typically dogs more than cats.)

5 years ago ordinance passed regarding Animal Control.  6.35.01 relates to dangerous/potentially danger dogs and the specific breeds that must be registered and 6.35 establishing animal control authority through Auburn Police Department.  Any APD Officer has AC Authority, but the department has a dedicated officer, and in 2018 will be adding a second AC Officer position.  Presently, due to Winner’s switch to Code Compliance, the role remains open.  An individual was moved up from another role in the city but stepped back after finding they did not fully understand the parameters of the position.  A suitable candidate for the ACO position does not need to be a LEO, but must be 18 years old, preferably has past experience and knows the expectations of the position.

Animal control must provide notification and due process on any act taken.  Appeals are heard by the Assistant Chief.  Have been 13 appeals between 2016-17, only 1 overturned.
If determined dangerous or potentially dangerous the owner is given a certificate of registration as to what mandates they must follow.

Between 2016 and to date 2017:
Calls for service – 2016: 1883, 2017: 1649.  Rough average of 150/month
Investigations – 2016: 186, 2017:160.  Rough average of 15/month
Typical quarter – using the numbers from the second quarter of 2017: 25 warnings – for things such as off leash, barking, 125 infractions – for things such as unlicensed pet, 17 criminal citation – for things such as biting a human or failure to register, 56 impounded – more serious dangerous dog or loose dog without owner.

There are currently 372 dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs registered in city.  Of PyYxr9bLTIaUPHHXSl9s_Dog Fence Chase.gifthat, 216 are Pitbull terrier or mix.   109 complaints between 2016/2017, 25 were deemed a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog.  Of those 25, 13 were considered potential and 12 dangerous.  These 25 require monitoring.

Historically, there been so few dogs that require monitoring the AC officer has known the dogs.  He added that some have left the city, and some have been put down after being declared dangerous. Winner has known where the dogs are and has been able to easily keep track of them. Most of the 372 are just dogs who happen to be that breed, but there are no issues with the dog or owner.

Breeders who live within the city will obviously be required to have their dogs registered if they are one of the designated breeds, or if an act has caused them to be deemed a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog.  However, puppies would not be registered as registered dogs also need to be licensed and dogs do not need to be licensed until 8 weeks.  Most puppies from breeders leave the city, and the city has no control over them after that.

When asked how other cities handle the dilemma of following up on registered dogs, CM Peloza was informed not a ton of other cities have registration by breed. Some do declare based on an act, and follow-up yearly to ensure following up on the specifications of their parameters.

CM Wagner, reflecting on when the ordinance was originally passed, shared that one of the considerations of the ordinance was to have Valley Comm. Dispatch list a premise warning on registered dogs’ so officer’s approaching property knew what to expect and would not fire on the animal, surprised.  Winner confirmed that part of his duties was to relay the information to of registered dogs to Valley Comm.

Hirman and Winner agreed that ultimately education, perhaps by use of social media, and being proactive with those registered are very important.  Only some of the 372 are deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous. Any dog has the potential to be deemed dangerous/potentially dangerous and would need following up on.

This item will be rechecked in 6 months, once the position(s) are filled.

The Matrix:
CM Wagner – Would like to see R.E.A.D.Y. program distributed more, CM Trout-Manuel will look into it at meeting coming up this week.
CM Peloza – Sister city, multimedia and cemetery Jan 8th, remove item 10
CM Trout-Manuel – Item 14 needs to go green
CM Wagner – Remove all red items, covered tonight.


Council decided they will skip the last study session of the month, December 26, 2017.
Deputy Mayor will be decided at Tuesday January 2, 2018 meeting.

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