By Jack Mayne

The SeaTac City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 concluded with a sometimes contentious back and forth exchange between Mayor Erin Sitterley and Councilmember Takele Gobena.

Near the end of the Council meeting, Councilmember Pam Fernald called a point of order on comments made by Councilmember Takele Gobena, and the the Councilmember persisted in trying to make his views on the point of order.

“Councilmember Gobena stop talking,” the mayor said. The two had a back and forth conversation that ended finally with the mayor calling a five minute recess. Gobena attempted to continue his argument but was again repeatedly muted by the mayor – watch an 11 minute, 27 second excerpt below:

SeaTac Housing
The Council and city staff spent many hours over a long time to put together and prepare for a housing inventory plan which it approved at the meeting despite some members expressing concerns about its potential completeness. The plan was adopted 6 to 1, with Councilmember Takele Gobena the opponent.

The plan says “housing costs rising faster than incomes for most of the last decade” and that “many SeaTac households spend 30 percent or more of their earnings on housing” and that “most homes built between 1950 and 1980, some have significant maintenance costs, potential health & displacement risks.”

But, after two decades of “generally slow housing growth,” and while production is accelerating, now “many units are under construction.”

But the city says there are gaps in the SeaTac housing supply and the Council needs to enact the proposed “housing action plan.”

“Because (the) proposed plan meets grant requirements and due to support shown through outreach process, staff recommends adoption of proposed plan with no changes,” the Council was told.

34th Avenue
The Council approved a contract for RL Alia Co. of RPlanning & Economic Development.

Because the proposed plan meets grant requirements and due to support shown through outreach process, the city staff recommended adoption of proposed plan for design services during construction and Perteet for construction management services.

Project improvements along 34th Avenue South between South 160th Street and South 166th Street include the construction of sidewalks, planter strips, curb, gutter, pedestrian lighting, storm drainage facilities, pavement reconstruction, traffic calming, water main replacement and under-grounding of overhead utilities. This project will include improvements along the north side of South 161st Street and along the north side of South 160th street.

The city received $2.0 million in funding through the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board and $2,464,000 in federal funding through the Safe Routes to School Program.

City staff told Council the project will create a walkable community for the neighborhood by connecting to previously completed sidewalk projects. Staff said community members will also be able to access transit services and local businesses on International Boulevard by utilizing the new sidewalks and bike lanes. The work will be done by October.

Highline Water
Council also approved an interlocal agreement with Highline Water District for the removal and replacement of water main as part of the 34th Avenue South capital improvement project.

City staff told Council that once the work is complete, there is a five-year moratorium on the roadway that requires significant restoration should a utility decide on work that impacts the pavement and supporting infrastructure.

The Council approved two proclamations, one for 2021 National Recovery Month and the second for Constitutional Month.