CITY OF UNIVERSITY PLACE
Special Meeting of the City Council
Saturday, January 23, 2021
CALL SPECIAL MEETING TO ORDER
Mayor Belleci called the Special Meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
Attendance was noted as follows: Mayor Belleci, Mayor Pro Tem Worthington, Councilmember McCluskey, Councilmember Keel, Councilmember Pro Tem Lee, Councilmember Figueroa, and Councilmember Flemming.
Staff Present: City Manager Sugg, City Attorney Kaser, Executive Director/ACM Craig, Executive Director/ACM Faison, Planning and Development Services Director Swindale, Public Works, Parks & Facilities Director Cooper, Police Chief Premo and City Clerk Genetia.
Facilitator: Michael Pendleton, Pendleton Consulting, LLC
Guests: Phillip Decker and Mark Sindell, GGLO
Mayor Belleci welcomed Council and staff to the meeting. She reviewed the agenda and explained the objective of the day’s discussions. She indicated that questions will be noted by staff and will be addressed at a future Council study as needed. Mayor Belleci then introduced Michael Pendleton, the facilitator for this retreat. Mr. Pendleton went over the retreat ground rules with Council.
ASSIGNMENT OF COUNCIL ROLES
Mr. Pendleton led Council through a review and discussion of changes in Council assignments. Additional footnotes to the 2021 matrix were made and assignments basically remained the same with minor changes in representations.
LOT 1 AND HOMESTEAD PARK PROPOSED DESIGN CONCEPT
Executive Director Faison provided an overview on the proposed next steps for Lot 1. He indicated that once Council gives its approval, staff would enter into negotiations with Verus to revise the purchase/sale agreement and binding site plan then start the design work of public infrastructure improvements to Lot 1. He noted that any agreement with Verus and final design of public infrastructure will return to Council for formal approval. Available funds consisting of State, City match and LRF grants were detailed for both the Lot 1 and Homestead Park improvement projects along with the associated expenditure dates for each project. He shared an updated property map that highlighted the areas the City would seek to retain as part of the negotiation with Verus. The proposed improvements to Lot 1 include sidewalks, streetlights, parking, utilities, and a new grid road north of Homestead Park and north/south street or promenade connecting Market Place with Homestead Park. There are no improvements planned along the northside or the east side of the lot at this time. It is staff’s hope to complete negotiations and finalize the improvement design by June with the goal of being able to solicit bids by July; for Council to award the bid in August; and for the project to be completed by next spring (2022). Director Faison added that the estimated project cost of $1.6 million is consistent with the funds that are available.
Councilmembers provided feedback regarding the timeline and decision/action tying the Lot 1 and Homestead Park projects; concerns about spending on Lot 1 investments, specifically the construction of sidewalks; development standards to specifically address the promenade; appropriate use of the State and LRF funds on the proposed projects; to look at the two projects in a unified sense to connect to the rest of Town Center, and to showcase Homestead Park throughout as the heart of the City; the need for public
parking designated for park use; having a more comprehensive view of the park impact fee and the prioritization of park projects; and public input/outreach on Homestead Park.
Council took a ten-minute break then resumed discussion.
Director Faison shared the preliminary timeline for the Homestead Park project. He indicated that the intent was to get direction from Council and bring back a contract with GGLO in February. This would provide them with an authorization to work with the City commissions, particularly, the Park Advisory Commission in doing outreach through joint meetings with other commissions beginning in February and public outreach in April and May, then coming back to Council with a recommendation in June. Staff is seeking feedback on its proposed course of action and timeline.
Phillip Decker of GGLO talked about what the development of Homestead Park can do in contributing and fostering vibrant community, how it can work with the downtown core and play a part in stimulating economic development within the area, and what it can do as a greater whole looking outside of its boundaries. He discussed and presented the conceptual site and master plan, suggesting several program elements and concepts (gateway, event space, art in the park, and community space) that reflect the character of Homestead Park.
Councilmembers provided comments on the program elements, ideas, and concerns that the Park Advisory Commission should consider in its deliberations, outreach, and recommendation. It was suggested that a Resolution be drafted providing the Park Advisory Commission direction on the development of a master plan for Homestead Park. Councilmembers consented to staff’s proposed plans of action for both the Lot 1 and Homestead Park projects.
Council took a ten-minute break then resumed discussion.
Mayor Belleci introduced the following discussion items below as an opportunity for Council to have an open dialogue to get some ideas on the topics and come to a consensus on how Council should move those respective ideas forward. She indicated that study/goal-setting sessions will be scheduled at future meetings so that Council can address and have an in-depth discussion on these ideas.
Because of time constraints, she suggested tabling the Homelessness discussion to a future study session.
MOTION: By Mayor Pro Tem Worthington, seconded by Councilmember Keel, to table the Homelessness discussion to a future study session.
The motion carried.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LONG-TERM STRATEGIES
Councilmembers identified their priorities for the City’s economic development strategies. Interest was expressed on ways of bringing in revenue to the City, to focus on the need for additional sewer infrastructure by developing a plan, engaging State and County stakeholders, and seeking funding sources. Suggestions were made to include consideration of economic resilience in the long-term plan using lessons learned through the recent acceleration in technology-based business by the Covid-19 pandemic. Councilmembers shared their ideas to promote, sustain and attract businesses as they review the economic development vision, goals, and objectives.
A social justice proclamation was presented and reviewed. Discussion included how Council can first identify inequalities in the City’s policy, economics, and environment and on methodology to address those findings. Suggestions to identify inequalities included soliciting public input, engaging the Public Safety Advisory Commission, or creation of an ad hoc committee. More study will be scheduled to allow for additional time needed to develop a comprehensive approach.
Council agreed to submit a letter of support for the Association of Washington Cities priorities, to take a lead rather than reactive approach, and to have a clear message conveying that the City will not tolerate injustice. Staff will report back to Council during a study session in February with the objectives discussed.
At 12:51 p.m., a motion was made and was carried to extend the meeting to 1:15 p.m.
HOMELESSNESS – Tabled to a future Study Session.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting adjourned at 1:18 p.m. No other action was taken.