Skip to content

Environment

Front and back of a postcard reading "Provide input on the vision plan for Hilltop Park" laid on the top of a wooden table surface.

Did you receive a postcard from the City of Burien?

View the concepts, access the survey, and learn more information here.

The City of Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services (PaRCS) Department is developing a vision plan for future improvements at Hilltop Park. This planning process builds on the work begun by the Hilltop Park Activation and Reimagination Project, which gathered input on desired improvements from Hilltop Elementary School students and park neighbors through the Green Burien Partnership.  Community input was also sought through the Shape Your City initiative.

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved:

  • Take a survey and provide feedback on the three vision plan alternatives
  • Sign up for the Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services email newsletter for project updates
  • Email your questions or comments to ParksInfo@burienwa.gov

Upcoming Events

Subscribe to Updates

Sign up for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services email list.

Project Contact

Contact ParksInfo@burienwa.gov or call the Burien Community Center at (206) 988-3700.

Latest News

Background Information

The Hilltop Park Vision Plan Project will facilitate future improvements to the park by performing environmental and geotechnical studies and a topographic survey, which will inform the design of park improvements in a vision plan and schematic design (or 30% design documents).

Environmental studies include a critical areas report and buffer mitigation plan for the wetland area, and environmental compliance review. Other work includes site surveying, select geotechnical borings and report, and preparation of land use permits.

Once the design team understands the limitations of the site based on these studies, they will combine that knowledge with the community’s priorities for park improvements and develop three vision plan alternatives and cost estimates. The alternatives will be presented to community members for input, which will be used to refine the alternatives into one final vision plan.

The vision plan will become the basis for 30% schematic design documents. Once, complete, the schematic design and cost estimate will be used in budgetary planning for the long-term capital improvements plan and to seek funding for final construction documents and construction of park improvements. This project is funded by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) and the City of Burien.   

Project Timeline

July 2023

Project kick-off

July-September 2023

Site investigations and environmental studies

August-October 2023

Vision plan alternatives

November 2023

Community feedback on vision plan alternatives

November-December 2023

Preferred vision plan

December 2023-January 2024

Community feedback on preferred vision plan

January -March 2024

Schematic design

Green Burien Partnership 2023 Report displayed in front of a tree trunk.

Have you seen Green Burien Partnership’s 2023 Annual Report? Read the full report or access a one-page overview to see the significant progress made toward the Partnership’s goals in Burien last year.

Healthy forested parks and green spaces have the power to strengthen neighborhoods, provide safe access to nature, and provide many benefits to the environment. Without a coordinated effort to restore and care for our forests, we are at risk of losing many benefits of these forests and natural areas.

The Green Burien Partnership brings together community members and private and public agency partners to restore and care for Burien’s parks and urban forests. The Partnership’s activities include:

  • Community outreach and engagement to guide project prioritization and implementation.
  • Development of a 20-year plan for restoring forests and increasing the amount of tree canopy across the three cities.
  • Implementation of projects and volunteer programs that organize local neighbors and community groups to plant indigenous plants, remove weedy plant species, and meet restoration goals.
People planting.

Get Involved

Participate and Learn More:


Upcoming Events

See a map of all upcoming Green Burien Partnership events and how to register online.

Subscribe to Updates

Project Contact

Gabbi Gonzales, Recreation Coordinator

Maya Klem, Green Burien Partnership Coordinator

parksinfo@burienwa.gov

Latest News

Background Information

Who is in the Green Burien Partnership?

The Green Burien Partnership relies on a network of individuals, organizations, staff, and volunteers. All partners are essential for the success of the project.

Other key partners have played an essential role in defining the goals of the partnership, volunteering in their community, offering their expertise, and increasing canopy cover by planting trees in their yards or patios:

  • City of Burien
  • Port of Seattle
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • King County Conversation District
  • Highline Public Schools
  • Elected officials
  • Nonprofit, faith-based, and community groups
  • Businesses
  • Youth groups and clubs
  • Landowners
  • Individuals like you

How is it funded?

The Green Burien Partnership receives funding from the City of Burien General Fund and grants.

Laptop with screenshot of Shape Your City activity.

Explore the online Shape Your City Engagement Activity, which features information, interactive maps, photos, and illustrations (surveys are now closed).

The City of Burien is re-imagining the long-term future of our city through a coordinated planning effort combining major updates to the Comprehensive Plan, a new Transportation Master Plan, and an update to the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan.

Specifically, this planning process focuses on land use, economic development, human services, environmental protection, infrastructure, transportation, parks and open spaces, recreation programs, public art, and cultural services.

Results of this planning effort will guide policymaking, operational plans, and budgets for the next twenty years. It’s vital that community voice guides these important planning processes.


Comprehensive Plan

The City of Burien is embarking on a major update to its Comprehensive Plan. This effort will help Burien plan and build for the next few decades. Planning for this growth helps us build a city with an equitable, sustainable, and healthy future.    

Transportation Master Plan

The Transportation Master Plan helps determine our community’s current and future transportation needs, guiding how we invest in transportation over the next 20 years.

Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan

The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan is a six-year strategic plan for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department. The plan will look at the existing conditions, identify gaps in facilities and programs, and offer strategies, projects, and programs to address those gaps.

Economic Development Action Plan

The Economic Development Action Plan will contain specific economic development goals, strategies, and implementation measures and an implementation plan, outlining the timing, anticipated cost, and funding source of each implementation action.

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved:

Project Contact

Jeffrey Watson, Interim Community Development Director, Comprehensive Plan

Maiya Andrews, Public Works Director, Transportation Master Plan

Casey Stanley, PaRCS Director, Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan

Chris Craig, Economic Development Manager, Economic Development Action Plan

SYC@burienwa.gov

Subscribe to Updates

Upcoming Events

Latest News

Project Timeline

August-November 2022

Community Visioning

Develop a shared vision to guide planning and policy development.

November 2022-March 2023

Draft Strategies and Projects

Staff will communicate what we have heard to date and present draft strategies and projects for feedback.

May 2023-November 2023

Plan Development

Community will provide feedback on draft plans.

November 2023-March 2024

Legislative Process

Plans go before Burien City Council for review and approval. Public comment accepted.

March 2024

Plans Adopted

PROS Plan and TMP Plan adopted and incorporated into other updates to the Comprehensive Plan.

The City of Burien developed a Stormwater Management Action Plan (SMAP) to improve water conditions for fish and wildlife in Miller Creek. The SMAP identifies steps the City can take to reduce the harmful effects of stormwater runoff.

After assessing the conditions of all the streams in Burien and asking the community to help staff and environmental experts prioritize one stream that could benefit most by reducing the harmful effects of stormwater runoff, our focus turned to the Downtown catchment of Miller Creek. Once the community helped to narrow down solutions to improve water quality there, we developed specific solutions and an implementation plan for review.

The final draft plan is now available (large PDF file).

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved with this project:


Upcoming Events

Subscribe to Updates

Project Contact

Dan O’Brien, Stormwater Engineer

publicworks@burienwa.gov

Latest News

Background Information

Burien’s Salmon Creek, Walker Creek, and Miller Creek were once abundant with salmon and trout. Decades of development have led to worsening conditions for fish and wildlife. Environmental conditions in Burien are significantly different today compared to historic conditions that supported large and healthy fish populations.

Historically, forests soaked up rain where it fell. As more people moved to the area, forests were cleared for homes, businesses, and roads. In the past, development worsened water quality due to a lack of stormwater management. Current regulations require development to follow strict stormwater design standards to mimic pre-developed (forested) conditions to manage stormwater runoff.

The Stormwater Management Action Plan (SMAP) will provide a way to prioritize projects and be intentional about which streams are prioritized for protection and restoration. The projects and other improvements developed in this plan will go a long way to restore the water quality and habitat lost from decades of past development.

Developing a stormwater action plan is a new state requirement from the Washington State Department of Ecology for the City to maintain its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Stormwater Permit.  

Miller Creek Key Facts

It’s estimated between 1,000 and 2,000 salmon and cutthroat trout could have spawned each year under historic conditions in Miller and Walker Creeks. Today there are several fish barriers that prevent salmon and trout from reaching the upper portions of Miller Creek. Since spawning salmon monitoring began in 2010, the number of salmon in Miller Creek has dramatically declined from a high of 420 in 2011 to only 32 in 2021.

Key facts:

  • 5.1 square miles, or 69%, of the total watershed is within Burien city limits.
  • The lower portions of Miller Creek are considered moderately important for fish, and the upper portions are designated as low importance as compared to other streams in the Puget Sound region, according to a regional study called the Puget Sound Watershed Characterization.
  • Compared to the other watersheds in Burien, the Miller Creek watershed is not as well served by stormwater management facilities.
  • There are many roads considered to be highly polluting including Ambaum Blvd SW, SW 152nd St, SW 148th St, SW 128th St, 1st Ave S, and SR 509.
  • In the Miller Creek watershed, the Downtown, Evansville, and Sunnydale neighborhoods have fewer parks, fewer trees, and more people who are from communities that have historically been left out of or harmed by urban planning processes, and therefore experience disproportionate environmental harms and risks.
  • Learn more by downloading the receiving water conditions assessment and receiving water prioritization report.
Watershed Map

The SMAP is being developed for the Downtown catchment of the Miller Creek basin, seen below in orange.

Proposed SMAP Solutions for Downtown Burien

The SMAP will guide solutions in Downtown Burien to improve water quality in Miller Creek. In August 2022 the community was asked to provide feedback on the types of solutions proposed for the Downtown catchment. Based on the community feedback and discussions with other City departments seven solutions were developed. Each of the solutions is supported by numerous regional studies and City-wide plans.

Three of the proposed SMAP solutions are stormwater projects, as seen in the map below. These projects either upgrade existing stormwater facilities or add new facilities to manage existing development.

  1. The first project will upgrade Ambaum Regional Pond, which currently holds stagnant and milky water that discharges into Miller Creek (labeled on the map as CIP-1). Nearly all stormwater in the Downtown catchment flows through Ambaum Regional Pond in the southern portion of the catchment. The project will provide enhanced water quality treatment for the polluted runoff from the Downtown catchment and allow the pond to drain more frequently.
  2. The second project will construct a new in-ground planter (bioretention facility) at Dottie Harper Park (CIP-2). This facility will provide water quality treatment and restore flows for stormwater runoff from two roads.
  3. The third project will add small dispersed water quality treatment facilities in the alley between SW 152nd Street and SW 153rd Street (CIP-3). These facilities will provide water quality treatment for stormwater runoff from roadways and commercial parking lots.

Two of the proposed SMAP solutions are land management programs. Both land management programs would be voluntarily implemented on private property. The first program, the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program, would incentivize private property owners to replace impervious surfaces (such as parking stalls), planters, and other features with bioretention facilities, tree planters, or other vegetated stormwater facilities. The second land management program, the Impervious Surface Reduction Program, builds on an existing City program that incentivizes development and redevelopment projects to include public benefits. If the program were to be implemented, development and redevelopment projects would be incentivized to reduce the amount of impervious surface on their site by allowing additional building height. 

An improved approach to stormwater facility maintenance will be outlined in the SMAP for the City’s stormwater program based on asset management principles. Improved data management will help prioritize stormwater facilities that need the most maintenance. Updating maintenance criteria and levels of service by type of stormwater management facility will streamline maintenance.

The final proposed SMAP solution is a water quality monitoring program. The monitoring program would install a permanent water quality monitoring site in the Downtown catchment which would gather continuous data. City staff, or volunteers, would also collect regular samples throughout the year. This program would allow the City to track progress in the Downtown Tributary, ensure the City is maximizing its investments, and would inform adaptive management of Miller Creek.

The SMAP includes an implementation plan for these solutions and more. The implementation plan is divided into short-term actions (years 1-6) and long-term actions (years 7-20). The short-term recommendations are the seven preferred solutions. The long-term recommendations would be implemented as Burien’s urban center redevelops and as opportunities to partner with transportation projects, parks projects, and private landowners arise. Long-term SMAP actions would be guided by water quality monitoring and adaptive management. Adaptive management would allow the City to use resources efficiently in response to new information. Some long-term project locations have been identified and can be seen on the map below.

To learn more about the SMAP, you can review the map and video below. You can also review the results from the community survey.

The draft SMAP for Downtown Burien will be available for review and comment in February 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters (also known as receiving waters).

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land where all rainfall and snow melt drains to a common stream or waterbody, such as a lake or Puget Sound.

What is a catchment (also called subbasin)?

For our purposes, a catchment is a portion of a watershed and is between approximately 400 and 600 acres.    

What is stormwater management?

Stormwater management is the process of controlling stormwater runoff with the goal of detaining stormwater and removing pollutants.

What is a stormwater project?

Stormwater projects reduce stormwater runoff and prevent harmful chemicals, toxins, and wastes from coming into contact with our local bodies of water.

What is stormwater management influence?

How much of an improvement within a specific area the City can make to water quality through the projects and actions developed in this plan. For example, an area with many stormwater treatment facilities and detention ponds would have a LOWER stormwater management influence score than an area without these, since much of the stormwater is already being treated.

What is the Stormwater Management Action Plan?

SMAP is a comprehensive stormwater planning process required by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The SMAP process prioritizes stormwater investments and actions in a selected catchment to accommodate future growth in a way that minimizes impacts on receiving waters. A catchment is typically between 400 and 600 acres.

Why is the City only focusing on one stream?

The goal of this process is to identify several smaller areas (catchments) within one stream basin that would benefit most from the new stormwater management projects and activities. This will help focus our limited budget and staffing to make the best improvements possible. This will not prevent the City from completing projects in other parts of Burien, but it will allow staff to better compare the benefits of one project over another.

How did the City come up with the values and environmental goals for the projects?

The City’s Climate Action Plan, the Green Burien Urban Forest Stewardship Plan, the Comprehensive Plan, the Urban Center Plan, responses to the 2022 Community Assessment Survey, and technical information were reviewed to come up with values and environmental goals for project types that are feasible in the Downtown catchment.

Project Timeline

The stormwater management action plan will be developed through the following steps:

January-March 2022

Phase 1: Assess Streams

Each stream in Burien was assessed to understand fish presence, water quality, and areas where there are opportunities for the City to install water quality improvement projects.

May-June 2022

Phase 2: Prioritize a Stream

With your help, we prioritized the downtown catchment of Miller Creek for protection and restoration.

July-October 2022

Phase 3: Prioritize Projects

The community is being asked what types of stormwater projects and programs they’d like to see in the Downtown neighborhood. Feedback from the community and discussions with other City departments were used to develop projects and programs.

October 2022-March 2023

Phase 4: Develop the Plan

The City is developing the Stormwater Management Action Plan which will help guide investments and actions to water quality in Miller Creek.

March-December 2023

Finalize Plan, Perform Environmental Review

Plan expected to be finalized by January 2024.

The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan (PROS Plan) is a six-year strategic plan for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department. The plan looks at the existing conditions of our facilities and programs, listen to community desires and priorities, identifies gaps in facilities and programs, proposes strategies, projects and programs to address those gaps, and finalizes those strategies and a prioritized capital improvement plan in the final PROS Plan. The 2024-2030 plan was approved on March 18, 2024.

Latest News

Background Information

For the 2024-2030 plan, we evaluated the location, quality, and barriers to accessing our current parks, recreation programs and facilities, and cultural services programming. The plan makes recommendations for improving existing facilities and services, priorities for public art, and evaluates feasibility of new parks in key neighborhoods.

Through the Shape Your City initiative, we asked neighbors to provide feedback on all parks, but with a specific focus on needs for a few key parks, including Hilltop Park, Community Center Annex and garden, Jacob Ambaum Park, Chelsea Park, Puget Sound Park, Hazel Valley Park, Southern Heights Park, Manhattan Park, Moshier Memorial Park, and Salmon Creek Park/Salmon Creek Ravine.

After more than a year of community engagement activities, your participation and valuable insight helped us build the 2024-2030 Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan, which was adopted by the Burien City Council on March 18, 2024.

What is a PROS Plan?

A PROS plan is a functional plan that develops strategies to implement the policies adopted in the Comprehensive Plan. The plan evaluates the current inventory of assets and the community’s desired level of service for future assets, then identifies gaps in the system. It also prioritizes capital project investments in the community for use in the City’s budgeting process and to make the City eligible to apply for grants to fund those priority projects.

Key Concepts
  • Park level of service: Level of service (LOS) is a term that describes the amount and quality of park and recreation facilities that are needed to serve the community at a desired and measurable standard.
  • Park Facilities:  This is a general term that refers to the types of recreational amenities in parks or recreation centers such as sport fields, sports courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, or arts classrooms.
Background Documents
Maps

Project Timeline

Fall 2022-Winter 2023

Community Visioning

Envision the future of parks, recreation, and cultural services in our community.

Spring-Summer 2023

Strategies Development

Develop and get feedback on proposed strategies to meet community needs.

Summer 2023

Draft Plan

Draft and get feedback on plan with capital project and program priorities.

Summer 2023

Advisory Board and Council Review and Approval

Draft final plan and gather community feedback.

Early 2024

Final Plan Development and Adoption

Present plan to Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Arts Commission, and City Council for adoption by January 2024. Public comment encouraged.

Early 2024

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office

Submit plan to Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

The City of Burien is embarking on a major update to its Comprehensive Plan. This effort will help Burien plan and build for the next few decades. Planning for this growth helps us build a City with an equitable, sustainable, and healthy future. The Comprehensive Plan covers many topics including land use and zoning, economic development, public services, environmental protection, and infrastructure, meeting the community’s needs and reflecting the community’s vision.   

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved:

  • Mark your calendars for one of our upcoming events.
  • Subscribe to email updates using the form on this page.
  • Send your thoughts to City staff via email.

Upcoming Events

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to Shape Your City email updates.

Project Contact

Liz Stead, Community Development Director

planning@burienwa.gov

Latest News

Background Information

The Comprehensive Plan update will:

  • Identify and implement the community’s vision and priorities
  • Extend Burien’s planning horizon to 2044
  • Comply with the State’s Growth Management Act and regional planning requirements
  • Incorporate updates from Transportation Master Plan and Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, which set infrastructure priorities for the next 6–20 years

Comprehensive Plan Focus Areas

The Comprehensive Plan update will focus on the following:

  • Integration of equity into the planning and engagement process and policy development
  • Housing to meet state requirements and local household needs for affordable ownership and rental housing, especially “missing middle” housing
  • Employment opportunities and jobs capacity to meet growth targets and improve jobs-housing balance
  • Regulations and incentives to realize Burien’s vision for mixed uses, gathering spaces, affordable housing, and job opportunities in Downtown, 1st Ave, Five Corners
  • Avoiding and addressing displacement risks for housing and jobs
  • Equitable access to parks, recreation, and services
  • Supporting transportation by all modes including active transportation like pedestrian and bike facilities, long-term maintenance, and capital investments
  • Airport policies and compatibility
  • Healthy communities promoting clean air and water, trees, and noise management
  • Climate resilience to adapt and protect our places and people from extreme heat, flooding or sea level rise
  • Critical areas (streams, wetlands) restoration and green infrastructure (like rain gardens)
  • Human services and meeting people’s needs
  • Creating effective, streamlined, and implementable plans that guide and direct development and investment
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a Comprehensive Plan?
    A Comprehensive Plan guides Burien’s physical development over 20 or more years including desires for housing and job growth, community character, capital investments in infrastructure and services, and policies and regulations. The Plan is informed by and addresses community values and needs.
  • How will this affect me?
    An updated Comprehensive Plan can impact housing choices, the location of jobs, walking/biking/car mobility, parks and recreation opportunities, and overall public services. The Comprehensive Plan and updated policies can help all of Burien.
  • Why do we have to accept growth?
    In Washington State laws and policies determine that growth be directed to some areas and away from others. Burien is in an urban area that will always have growth directed to it, and we’re required to accommodate the growth distributed to our city while protecting critical areas and providing for parks and open space.  Growing “up not out” helps protect regional natural resources like farmlands and forests.
  • Why are we updating the Plan now? Why not wait?
    The GMA requires Comprehensive Plans to be updated periodically. The State deadline is December 31, 2024. Also, updating housing, transportation, economic development and other elements can meet critical community needs.
  • When will there be community engagement for the Comprehensive Plan?
    Burien has developed multiple ways for the community to be involved in this update. We are trying to make sure we are reaching people where they are at and making it easy to participate in this process. 
Environmental Impact Statement

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an environmental review of growth alternatives to help guide community discussion on growth options and priorities. The Environmental review for the Comprehensive Plan update will meet the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements and will consist of a number of natural and built environment elements.

The environmental review will be shared with the community in draft and final stages of the Comprehensive Plan.

Burien 2044 Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee

The City of Burien established a committee in early 2023 to help advise City staff on a major update to Burien’s Comprehensive Plan. The advisory committee is one of many groups of stakeholders advising the City on the Burien community’s needs and wishes for its future. Over the course of six meetings, the committee provided recommendations to the Burien City Council. Learn more about the committee.

Project Documents

Project Timeline

Fall 2022

Community Visioning

Winter 2023

Preliminary Plan Development and Environmental Impact Statement

Spring 2023

Preliminary Urban Center Code Development

Summer 2023

Draft Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Comment Period

Winter/Spring 2024

Preferred Alternative and Environmental Impact Statement

Summer/Fall 2024

Final Plan Development and Adoption

English