By Mellow DeTray

Here’s our recap of the Des Moines City Council meeting held on Thursday night, Jan. 25, 2024:

Public Comments

One community member asked council to consider allowing short term rentals in Des Moines. She said that a majority of people do want small businesses in neighborhood communities, and allowing short term rentals brings more tourism and productivity to the city. She has a backyard pool that she wants to rent out hourly on Swimply, and said that there are all kinds of other resources people could rent out if they were permitted to.

Marina Steps Project Meeting

Councilmember Jeremy Nutting relayed info about the upcoming Marina Steps project update meeting. This will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 from 6-8 p.m. at the Beach Park Auditorium. Light refreshments will be served, and questions will be answered.

City Manager’s Report

Interim City Manager Tim George said council is now able to send a letter showing support for a UW air quality study. This is something that Councilmember JC Harris requested of the council at a previous meeting, but he said it needed to be done that day and council voted against supporting anything without having a little more time to look into it. It looks like they had more time than he thought, and the letter will be sent. The full letter is available here.

Paid parking is returning to the Des Moines Marina parking area soon. This has been in the works for years, and installation should be complete in about two weeks. City Manager George said that new gates will be operational, and charging for parking, by the end of February. The cost of season passes and day use fees were not available at the time of the meeting, but George said it would be a bit higher than a few years ago when the old gates were last operational, to account for inflation. A similar setup is coming to the Redondo Marina in the near future.

Proclamation: Black History Month

Black History Month began with a recognition that contributions of Black Americans were underrepresented in history texts. Carter Woodson, distinguished Black author and historian, started what was then called “Negro History Week” in 1926. By the 1960’s college campuses were celebrating Black History Month, and in 1976 the month was officially proclaimed by President Gerald Ford.

Des Moines embraces the diversity of its residents, acknowledges the contributions of African Americans, and celebrates justice and equality for all people. Black History Month provides a special opportunity to learn about and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans, and to honor Black leaders throughout history.

Proclamation: Korean American Day

The first Korean immigrants arrived on American soil on January 13th, 1903. In 2007, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire proclaimed January 13th Korean American Day. According to the proclamation, Korean immigrants overcame many difficulties and formed vibrant communities that were known to have a high regard for education, entrepreneurial spirit, and a diligent work ethic.

Achievements of Korean Americans are evident throughout the country and the state. Washington State recently held the 17th Annual Korean American Day Celebration at the Highline Performing Arts Center. People came from all over the state to celebrate Korean American culture, and many local leaders attended. Deputy Mayor Harry Steinmetz said it was a wonderful experience.

Speed Camera Penalties Set

Speed cameras are on the verge of being fully powered up along the Redondo Marina: electricity should be hooked up the first week of February. Unfortunately, according to City Manager George, the cameras have been delayed due to software development. George said the delay prompted the developers to issue a $20,000 credit to the city. Staff know residents have been waiting a long time for something that will reduce dangerous speeding along Redondo.

This vote, passed unanimously, set the rates for the tickets which will be issued to drivers going as little as a few miles over posted speed limits. For the most part, the traffic cam tickets will be issued for the full amount that they would be if an officer had been present, though there are a couple of exceptions where they will be somewhat lower. Tickets range from $145 (red light infraction) to the max allowable for e-tickets of $250 (high speed near parks and schools).

Before these cameras start catching infractions and mailing out tickets, there will be one month of mailed warning letters. The letters will let drivers know that there was an infraction and that fines will be incurred in the future. The cameras will be marked clearly before being operational.

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 10 years at 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.