Notes from today’s Council meetings

Here’s what was discussed and voted on at this morning’s Council Briefing and this afternoon’s full City Council meeting.

Council member Juarez said this morning that the Council is in the “final stretch” of approving the agreement with OVG for the renovation of Key Arena. This Friday there will be a meeting of the Council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas to review the transaction documents, followed by another committee meeting next Friday (9/14) to consider amendments then vote them out of committee. Juarez is expecting the final full Council vote to approve the agreements on September 24.

Juarez also noted that King County has finally reissued its RFQ for a Northgate transit-oriented development project. King County withdrew its previous one in the late spring after the state legislature passed a law allowing public property to be sold at below fair market value if dedicated to affordable-housing projects. I will write more about the new RFQ separately.

Council member O’Brien announced that at his committee meeting on Friday afternoon, there will be an update from the sweetened beverage tax citizens’ advisory board, a briefing from the Office of Sustainability and Environment on its food access pilot, and a continuation of the discussion of a program to provide pre-tax benefits for commuters.

Council member Bagshaw said this morning that at her next Finance and Neighborhoods committee meeting on September 12, they would begin consideration of the Mayor’s nominations for the directors of the Department of Neighborhoods and of FAS. She also noted that last week the Department of Neighborhoods issued $900,000 of grants to sixteen organizations through its Community Partnership Fund program.

Council member Herbold announced that on the evening of September 19th there will be a public hearing on the “Save the Showbox” ordinance, as required whenever an ordinance is passed as an emergency measure. Herbold said that she plans to also take up for consideration at that meeting the companion resolution that Council member Gonzalez has been working on.

Council member Johnson, while noting that his proposed tree-preservation ordinance is on the agenda for his committee meeting tomorrow, said that he has been in discussion with the City Attorney’s Office about the legislation (with another meeting scheduled for tomorrow) and he now expects that it will not get wrapped up before the Council begins work on the budget — pushing it out until December or beyond. He also noted that the ordinance has seen enough recent changes that it requires another public hearing before it can be passed by the Council.

On the other hand, Johnson was more confident that they could wrap up the work on the University of Washington Major Institution Master Plan before the budget work begins — but will eventually be back before the Council again after the UW Regents review it.

This afternoon, the Council approved Seattle City Light’s Integrated Resource Plan Progress Report, which lays out the utility’s plan to ensure that it has sufficient power to cover the city’s needs for the next several years. The report suggests that the utility, whose main source of electricity if hydropower, may still need to buy renewable energy credits (RECs) starting in a few years to meet the requirements of the state’s Energy Independence Act.