By Mellow DeTray

Here’s our recap of the Normandy Park City Council meeting held on Tuesday, June 13, 2023:

Arts Events in Normandy Park

Raymond Street, chair of the Arts Commission, updated council on many of the arts events planned for the coming year. Music in the Park is starting on July 9, 2023, with live programming every Sunday at 5 p.m. in Marvista Park. Two of the weeks will be theater rather than music, and for the last Music in the Park performance on Aug. 27, there will be a special interactive art event after the show.

The Arts Commission also plans many other seasonal happenings, including a Solstice Soiree where the Orchestra of Flight will perform, an Autumn Arts Fest, and Winterfest. They will also help organize a contest where gift cards are awarded for the best decorated houses during the winter holidays. Something might be in the works for a spring arts celebration next February or March as well.

Public Comment: Right of Way Issues

One public comment involved a complaint about the city no longer maintaining the right of way adjacent to his property, where the blackberries have grown to 20 feet high and fast growing trees have taken over. He said he recently found out property owners are now responsible for easement maintenance, but doesn’t feel it is right that he will need a permit fee and have to pay for the tree removal himself, when it is not property he can use or even access easily, due to a tall fence.

Councilmember Report on Flight Noise

Councilmember Eric Zimmerman reported positively on progress made with Sea-Tac Airport. He said there have been big improvements in recent years with retraining pilots to use methods that reduce noise at takeoff and landing. Many of the changes were originally requested by Normandy Park, and have had a positive effect for residents of cities all around the airport. Normandy Park continues to assert the need for replacement of the faulty “port-package” windows, which failed on many area homes they were installed in.

Transportation Improvement Program

Having an updated Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) helps the city to be eligible for state and county grant money for improvements to roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Two items that are prioritized on Normandy Park’s TIP are a culvert repair near the swim club, and another culvert along Marine View Drive, which is being funded by a grant through King County Flood District.

The lack of sidewalks along Normandy Road has been an ongoing issue, but is a tougher item to get grants for. Money was requested three different times for sidewalk installation there, until finally the city was asked not to apply for funds on this item again. However, other sidewalks may be easier to get grants for.

According to Ken Courter, Public Works Director, funding is much easier to get when it involves filling in a missing section of sidewalk, connecting two already existing sidewalk sections.

Courter said a dream project of the city’s TIP is to complete the improvements along 1st avenue, updating and adding bike lanes along the entire length. Improvements along this corridor are more complex due to partial ownership of the road by Washington State, as a stretch of 1st Ave is currently SR 509. This is due to change in future years, and all of 1st Ave should be within complete control of the city by 2032.

Council voted unanimously to adopt the six-year TIP.

Study Session Attendance Causing Issues

The city council has recently adopted monthly study sessions, where they can dive deeper into discussion on topics that will then be voted upon at regular council meetings. The problem arose when two councilmembers, who had not been present at a recent study session, found it difficult to pass multiple items on the agenda that other councilmembers had already come to agreement on. The two councilmembers felt their votes were being rushed, when others had already discussed the topics at length during the study session.

King County Library Materials Locker to be Installed at City Hall

King County Library System (KCLS) is partnering with the city to install a new library materials locker. This will give the community a convenient place to pick up holds, as well as return library items. KCLS will also provide free WiFi at the locker area. Holds are picked up from lockers that are opened with users’ library card numbers along with a PIN. The system is free to use and anyone living in King County is eligible to apply for a library card.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.