By Mellow DeTray

Here’s a recap of the Des Moines City Council meeting held on Thursday night, Dec. 8, 2022.

Public Comments: Hotel & Vagrancy
Community members again addressed Council with concerns regarding the prospective boutique waterfront hotel. They want to preserve open space at the Marina and Beach Park, and would prefer to put the hotel closer to the downtown business district. Another topic raised was vagrancy and safety along Pacific Highway South. Business owners there have had to deal with trespassers, broken windows, and human defecation.

CERT Graduation
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) celebrated 13 graduates of their education program. CERT partners with the cities of Burien & Tukwila, along with several local fire departments, to educate and train community volunteers. These graduates work with the community to prepare for disasters, and become more skilled in managing and responding when disaster strikes.

Police Honor Louisa Bangs
The Police Department came out in force to recognize former Councilmember Louisa Bangs. In addition to serving on City Council for five years, chairing the Public Safety Management Committee, and tirelessly supporting the Police Department, Louisa has been an advocate and mentor for female police officers. She received the Chief’s Award Honoring Dedication & Service.

Councilmember Nutting was also recognized by Police Chief Thomas, though in a less formal way, for showing up when he was called at 3 a.m. following a burglary of a local veterinary clinic. Nutting went above and beyond Council duties by boarding up a broken window of the clinic.

Des Moines Experience Pass to Expand
The Des Moines Experience Pass, which is a free program that grants users discounts at local businesses, will be rejuvenated in spring 2023. Currently there are 9 participating businesses, and the program’s goal is to reach 25.

Farmers Market Presentation
The Des Moines Farmers Market employs five or six paid part-time staff members, but is mostly run by volunteers. The Market remained open during the pandemic, providing an important outlet for farmers to directly sell their produce as well as a practical and safe way for the community to get groceries. For low-income EBT users, the Farmers Market will match up to $40 per week, doubling users’ ability to buy fresh foods. They also offer a senior citizen program, where seniors receive $10 weekly in free Market tokens. The senior program is very well-received, and likely to increase above $10 in the coming season. This past season, the EBT match came to $8,225, and the senior program distributed $12,260 in tokens. Farmers Market also serves as the location for distributing free lunches to kids when school is not in session, feeding 60 to 100 kids each week. They also offer a program to introduce low-income kids to veggies they may never have had the opportunity to try.

One of the jobs of market volunteers is to greet people coming in and use clickers to keep track of the number of visitors. They were occasionally short the needed volunteers for this role, so counts are a bit low, but they averaged about 2,000-2,500 visitors to the market each week. There was talk of possibly creating some kind of facility that would support a year-round market, but it does have limitations as farmers’ wares are greatly reduced during the colder months. Of the many farmers markets in King County, only a small percentage run year-round.

Development Moratorium to Continue
New development in the Business Park area south of 216th St will continue to be halted until the end of April 2023, at which point Council can extend the moratorium another six months. The area, which contains residential zoning including pedestrians using bus stops, has seen an increase in trucking traffic as recent business development primarily includes warehouse, distribution, and light industrial. The moratorium gives staff time to explore the best zoning use for this area, before any new development takes place.

Watch video of the full council meeting below:

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at the Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. 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.