Redmond City Council holds "Community Conversations" meeting to answer public's questions

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Photo: Redmond City Council "Community Conversations" meeting | TBZ

The Redmond City Council held an in-person and virtual special "Community Conversations" meeting Monday night in Council Chambers.  The members in attendance answering questions were: Mayor Birney, Council members Tanika Kumar Padhye, President Jeralee Anderson, Vice-President David Carson, Steve Fields, Jessica Forsythe, Varisha Khan, and Vanessa Kritzer.   

The city council members provided some interesting links and presented some of their research on issues of ending homelessness.  Permanent supportive housing seemed to be what a few Council members found to be the best answer to ending homelessness.  Homelessness and specifically HTH and the Silver Cloud Inn was the topic having the most questions submitted.

Approximately 25 guests attended virtually with about the same attending in person.  Questions submitted in advance or the few taken in the chat ranged from tree canopies, sidewalk clearing, affordable housing and the Silver Cloud Inn.

A light rail question was answered by VP Carson who talked about connecting Marymoor Village with the downtown, a link to Overlake that will provide options not had before.  President Anderson said the city adopted a complete street policy with bicycle and transit infrastructure that will make it so people can go to work or home in 10 or 15 minutes in theory.  Council member Khan  participated in the "week without driving" event saying it was harder than she thought to get around Redmond without driving a car.  Council member Forsythe said she also participated without driving for a week and looking up her home walkability score on walkscore.com and her home scored 43 out of 100 in walkability.  Education Hill dropped the walkability score to the low 30s.

Listen to the entire meeting here:

<!-- EMBEDDED ARCHIVE URL: https://archive.org/details/redmond-city-council-11-08-2021 -->

Watch meeting on Redmond OnDemand & Meeting page

Questions about HTH and the Silver Cloud Inn were raised.  Will there be meaningful recourse into problems with the hotel?  Answers were that the hotel would be run by King County but Redmond would be able to step in, there is a Redmond agreement and a survey put into process with King County where a study session would occur on 11/23/21 to study the occupancy agreement.  King County and Redmond council must agree before they open the facility and choose who the operator is.  There is a safety plan by the Police Chief, and occupancy will be an interlocal agreement agreed on first that includes fire, police, safety personnel.

Another question about HTH was whether the site would have a positive effect?  Answers were that it's a King County project that they evaluate, but execution of the on-the-ground impact on the community will occur with developing interlocal agreements and input on the resident agreement and selection of the operator.  Redmond will take up doing their best to diminish the impact to the rest of the neighborhood over the next few months.

Why was there no video monitoring of the facility was another question.  The answer was Redmond believes they will work with the county to develop some things to make it successful, so that is actually rehabilitates people to help them become productive in society by partnering with several agencies.

Anderson responded by saying she attended a Sophia Way permanent supportive housing presentation that provided that permanent support housing costs 1/3 less than a night in jail.  That is is a cost effective solution and she's done research at endhomelessness.org.

Kritzer researched homelessness that was data driven, had felt challenged by Challenge Seattle where homelessness was regionally addressed by businesses and cities that found that the cities most effective at homelessness provided permanent supportive housing.  She mentioned Redmond THRIVE making helpful presentations.

Other questions in the chat were about dealing with speeders in the neighborhood, NY state had a "Camp LaGuardia" that Redmond might do something similar to in lieu of the permannet supportive housing placed downtown and imposing a fine on people not keeping their sidewalks clear for pedestrians.

A chat question from a renter in a basement of a split level building having access only through the garage asked was that legal received answers to contact code enforcement which could be done using the YourRedmond app (found on google app store).

The community was invited to invite a city council member out for coffee to talk directly with them.  Bringing new research, having more discussions or providing comments to the planning commission would provide more information to be digested before policy decisions are made.  

As the meeting was being closed at 8:00pm there were some shouts that "this was not a conversation but a dialogue" and it was "one way".  People did clear out peacefully.


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