City Council Notes | Okamoto selected, impact fee recommendation includes schools

The new Council member Okamoto got about 15 seconds at the mic Monday to accept his new role

The new Council member Okamoto got about 15 seconds at the mic Monday to accept his new role

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Interim Council member selected: Following a special Friday hearing on the candidates, the City Council voted Monday afternoon to appoint political insider and Ed Murray-approved John Okamoto to fill the open Position 9 seat. Okamato most recently served as interim director of Seattle Human Services Department after his appointment to the post by Murray. Okamato received the majority vote Monday despite a withering attack from Kshama Sawant who criticized the candidate’s past work in the “cesspool of corruption” at the Port of Seattle. Outgoing Council member Tom Rasmussen called Sawant’s comments “odious.” The appointee will take Sally Clark’s spot as chair of the housing committee amid growing calls for rent control/stabilization legislation to help address affordability issues in Seattle. Clark announced she was leaving the Council earlier this year for a job at UW. CHS wrote here about the framework used for selecting Clark’s replacement. The eight finalists are listed here with links to their application info (PDF): Jan Drago Noel Frame / Sharon Lee / Sharon Maeda / David Moseley /John Okamoto / Sheley Secrest / Alec Stephens
  • University District BIA expansion: The Council voted 6-2 to approve legislation Monday to expand the University District business improvement area and, yes Seattle Times, “collect more money for street-cleaning and marketing from property owners across a larger stretch of the University District.” Someday, the Capitol Hill Chamber hopes for a similar (though probably less contentious) vote for the Broadway BIA to reach Pike/Pine. CHS wrote here about a small expansion in 2014 and the possibility of a greater southward expansion down the road. Council members Sawant and Nick Licata voted agains the U District expansion.
  • Impact fees: The Council’s transportation committee Tuesday morning will hear a recommendation to pursue a study of using development impact fees to fund transportation and parks projects. Under state law, cities may charge impact fees to fund transportation, parks and recreation, schools, and fire facilities. “Impact fees can only fund the cost of public capital facilities that are necessitated by new development and reasonably benefit new development,” a memo on the proposal notes. Additionally, the steering committee looking at the fees has recommended the Council consider working with Seattle Public Schools on a possible proposal to use the fees to help pay for education in the city. A component of the analysis to be considered Tuesday shows parts of the city where student population has increased in conjunction with increased development — you’ll note that Capitol Hill has some of the highest “student population” vs. “new housing units” ratios in the city:Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 3.10.19 PM
  • CHS Re:Take writer confirmation: Being a CHS writer doesn’t require Council vote — but being reaffirmed as a member of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board does. Rob Ketcherside will be up for re-approval to the post during Tuesday’s neighborhoods committee meeting.
  • Ballots due: Not Seattle City Council biz but don’t forget to vote on the emergency radio levy. It’s the only item on your ballot. Pop it open, vote, and make sure you get it postmarked by Tuesday.
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