Burien zoning for ESF
Dear SOTS community,
At our last community meeting on Thursday January 16th, your board felt it was appropriate to forward this issue to your attention.
In a 5-0 vote on January 8th, the Burien Planning Commission approved sending over a recommendation to the Burien city council that the new zoning rules for the city should allow ESF’s in all areas of the city. This includes effectively all zoning for commercial and single family residences. Meaning they are recommending allowing an ESF in any neighborhood, any where in the city. They also removed any separation requirement that would require a specific distance of separation of an ESF from other uses like a school or daycare.
As most of us are probably not familiar, Washington State defines an ESF as:
“Enhanced Services Facility (ESF)” means a facility that provides treatment and services to persons for whom acute inpatient treatment is not medically necessary and who have been determined by the department to be inappropriate for placement in other licensed facilities due to the complex needs that result in behavioral and security issues. Chapter 70.97 RCW.
Furthermore, WAC 388-107-0030 provides the admission criteria, which includes people with a history of aggressive, threatening, or assaultive behaviors, and the state senate is currently considering amending this to also allow violent sexual assault predators. I will post the relevant WAC below.
Of course, we are concerned for the safety of our community, however we are also concerned for the would-be future residents of these facilities. We wouldn't want an ESF in a low density residential neighborhood where residents would be removed from essential services just because a developer could get cheaper land there.
For anyone that has an opinion on the subject NOW is the time to have your voice heard. To let your feelings be known, I would strongly recommend e-mailing the council at firstname.lastname@example.org and the city manager, Brian Wilson, at email@example.com or attending the council meeting at Burien city hall on February 3rd at 7pm when this is expected to be discussed. Once the legal framework is in place, your opinion will not matter.
The proposed schedule is the planning commission recommendation will be sent to the council for their review and discussion at the regular city council meeting on Feb 3. The city then hopes to take action and have the new zoning rules in place by March 9th.
I encourage you to take action or attend the city council meeting. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org