Sixteen Shoreline residents were appointed to a committee to help the City Council develop a housing strategy.
In early October, the council solicited applications from citizens interested in serving on the committee and received 68 applicants. The 16 appointments, as recommended by city staff, were approved on Monday, Nov. 20 by a 6-1 vote with Councilman Rich Gustafson dissenting.
The only contentious issue was whether one individual should be named to the committee even though she recently moved to Mountlake Terrace. Gustafson favored reducing the committee’s size to 15 members and removing Maria Walsh.
“I have nothing personal against Maria Walsh,” Gustafson said. “She resides now in Mountlake Terrace,”
Councilwoman Janet Way said Walsh should remain on the committee because she has a son living at the Fircrest School for the developmentally disabled.
“She’s qualified for that reason,” Way said. “She’s an active member of the community.”
Deputy mayor Maggie Fimia also supported keeping Walsh, saying it was “imperative” to have someone in the group who knows Fircrest.
“I don’t understand the issue as for her not presently being a resident,” Fimia said.
Councilman Ron Hansen agreed with Gustafson, saying the committee’s purpose is for citizens to decide what housing needs are addressed.
City manager Bob Olander told the Council that the committee is not a “Fircrest committee,” but is a city-wide advisory committee. He said housing is not just a city issue, but a regional one and a member living outside the city wouldn’t necessarily pose a problem.
To understand each applicant, staff requested additional information either through an in-person interview or in writing. Criteria included geography, gender, length of residence in Shoreline, type of housing in which they reside, what housing issues drew them to apply, presence of children in the household and experience working on committees.
The committee will meet twice in December and on a bi-weekly basis from January through May 2007.