Permit parking implemented by Council, but it hesitates over free street vacation

By Jack Mayne

The SeaTac City Council on Tuesday (May 22) officially started its long studied plan to allow permit parking in neighborhoods overwhelmed with for hire and airport employee parking.

But it will take a June 12 meeting to potentially give for free an unused city street to the Highline School District when the value estimates were anywhere from $24,500 to $100,000. The district says it has maintained the unused street for nearly 40 years so it should not have to pay the city for the right of way. City Manager Joe Scorcio said he was concerned about precedent and “you know what I think about giving up money.”

Permit plan adopted
The Council accepted the final Permit Parking Program study and authorized the implementation of a Permit Parking Zone pilot project in the McMicken Heights/Sue Linda neighborhood. The permit system could be used in other neighborhoods if parking problems develop.

The city said a parking study “was commissioned to develop a plan to manage the increased demand for on-street parking … particularly in the McMicken Heights/Sue-Linda Neighborhood.” That then led to concerns involving safety, commercial/for hire vehicle parking in neighborhoods, and littering.

The city tried interim measures, such as “no-parking signage at intersection corners, which were implemented with varying levels of effectiveness. Other proposed solutions were considered but not implemented based on feedback from the community focus group.”

Then it turned to the neighborhood permit system used in other cities, including in West Seattle near the Fauntleroy Ferry dock.

A free street?
The SeaTac Council considered the vacation of South 140th Street right-of-way from 28th Avenue South to its western end sought by the Highline School District, which is redeveloping their property adjacent to South 140th Street for a new middle school. The street area is part of the project. SeaTac city officials say there are no future plans for this segment of right-of-way and it serves no apparent future municipal use.

The property is the old Glacier High School site, said Florendo Cabudol, SeaTac city engineer. Councilmember Joel Wachtel said he doesn’t know what the school district will do with the proposed street so he said he didn’t know enough to vote for the street vacation. A school official said the property was last used as a parking lot in 1979.

State law says the city may require the school district to pay the city up to the full appraised value of the area and the city says the appraisal has been estimated between $60,000 and $100,000, but the school district is asking the city to waive the charge, because the district has been maintaining the area over the years. The school district says its estimated value is lower than the city’s, at $24,500.

Resident Earl Gipson said he wanted the district to pay for the property. City Manager Scorcio suggested a gift of the property to Highline Schools would set a precedent for the city, suggesting such precedent would be a problem in future years “and you know what I think about giving up money.”

Final decision on the vacation on whether to give, sell or retain the property will be at the regular Council session on June 12.

Cassan family honored
The Council approved a proclamation honoring James and Doris Cassan for their lifetime of business in SeaTac.

The proclamation says that the family made its first investment in SeaTac 50 years ago by acquiring property at the corner of South 176th Street and Pacific Highway South, and have “continued their investment in numerous real estate holdings throughout the city…” They have “provided meaningful input into City policies and programs …” and have “graciously contributed and continue to contribute hundreds of hours of personal time to a variety of boards, commissions and committees to assist the City in doing the public’s business.”

Doris Cassan accepted the proclamation from Deputy Mayor Erin Sitterley in place of an ill Mayor Michael Siefkes.

Resident defends Burien mayor
Resident Betty Myers, during public comment period, defended the recent letter written by Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta to a King County Superior Court judge asking for reconsideration of a decision that permits The Firs mobile home park to be demolished for a commercial development. Myers said she had seen a recent SeaTac Blog story about Matta’s letter that said a Burien mayor “had no business and he should keep his business in Burien.

Myers said Burien is a neighbor and should embrace the help of a neighbor.

“It just saddens me to hear that we’re not embracing the help of the mayor of Burien and also I remember back two years ago there were some Councilmembers that went to Des Moines and gave their advice to the (Des Moines) city council — how was that different? We were giving advice over there and that was OK, but it is not OK for the mayor of Burien to write a letter to the judge to support the Firs Mobile Home?”

Earl Gipson said he remembers when the SeaTac Councilmembers went to Des Moines “but sometimes your advice ain’t needed, mind your own city. Mayor Matta’s advice was not needed. If he had said ‘Jimmy Matta, Burien’ no problem,” but he signed the letter as the mayor of Burien. Gipson said it was “political etiquette” not to interfere in other jurisdictions, adding that Matta “does not know the law” about the effect of the Firs case.

Appointments, new employees
City Manager Joe Scorcio introduced two new employees: Engineering Technician John R. Cole and Plans Examiner/Inspector Ruben Carter.

Council confirmed the mayor’s appointments of Jeffrey Guite to the Airport Advisory Committee, Rita Marlow and Kathleen Brave to the Arts, Culture and Library Advisory Committee, Melissa Wells, Robin Pedersen, and Charrise Oden to the Community Services Advisory Committee, and Brandi Hanley to the Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory Committee.

Comments are closed.