Here are the highlights from Tuesday Night’s (December 12th, 2023) SeaTac City Council Meeting.

Public Comments

Several local residents expressed concern over the proposed land swap with the Islamic Center of Seattle (ICS) citing worries that the proposed deal was not a fair exchange for the City and that it was not well thought-through. 

Narcotics Offenses and Crimes Against Property Increase in Q3

Police Chief Troy Smithmeyer presented crime stats for Q3 2023 that showed all areas of crime have decreased in Q3 2023 compared to the same quarter in 2022 with the exception of property crimes and narcotics offenses.

Chief Smithmeyer attributed the rise in narcotics offenses to changes in state law regarding the Blake decision and ascertained that, due to these changes, the number of narcotics offenses committed is likely to continue to rise.

The Blake decision refers to a new law adopted by the state that makes drug possession a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail on the first two offenses and up to a year on the third.

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SeaTac Narcotics Offenses for Q3 2023.

Additionally, Chief Smithmeyer reported on the rise in Property Crime – a total of 611 – 26% of which were auto thefts.

Councilmember Kwon commented that he had been told by business owners in the area that the majority of these auto theft crimes were committed by repeat juvenile offenders who face no jail time and cannot be booked. Chief Smithmeyer affirmed that this was indeed the case, that auto theft was a rampant state-wide issue, and that they were working on ways to try and help mitigate the situation.

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SeaTac Crimes against Property stats Q3 2023.

Land Swap with the Islamic Center of Seattle (ICS) Moves Forward

A Motion authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with the Islamic Center of Seattle (ICS) for the purpose of a land swap enabling the development of a new Mosque facility for ICS and providing additional parking for all Riverton Heights Park users passed 6-1.

The Council was initially split on the decision. Some Councilmembers felt that not enough community engagement had been done to allow residents living near Riverton Heights Park enough necessary input and understanding about what was being proposed.

Others stated that some variation of this proposal had been in the works for the last 10 years and it was long past time for action to be taken given that the proposal was fair and of mutual benefit to both the City and the Islamic Center of Seattle. 

The proposed land swap would result in the exchange of 900sqft. from a portion of Riverton Heights Park, located immediately to the north of the existing Mosque, for a portion of the ICS owned property located on the eastern boundary of Riverton Heights Park.

This exchange would allow ICS to connect two properties they own adjoining Riverton Heights Park, thus making the expansion of their Mosque possible.