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On October 23, 2023, the Burien City Council adopted a five-year strategic plan to help both the City Council and staff identify areas where we need to focus our efforts. The plan will set the tone for budgeting priorities and staff work planning. The strategic planning process was a collaborative effort between the City Council and City of Burien staff. Feedback from community gathered through public workshops and the Community Survey guided the strategic planning process. Progress will be regularly reviewed by the City Council and the City staff and updates will be shared with the community on this dashboard.

Burien’s Focus for the Next Five Years

Through 2028, the City of Burien will prioritize:

  • Achieving Financial Stability
  • Achieving Racial Equity
  • Centering Community Accountability
  • Reshaping Community Through Smart, Mindful Development

We will continue to strive to deliver core services, meet regulatory requirements, and ensure the community’s key infrastructure needs are met. This strategic plan identifies how the Burien City Council and City of Burien staff will advance these shared commitments through 2028. A forecasted revenue gap, however, may affect our ability to meet community needs.

Strategic Direction Progress:

GOAL: Define current and future financial outlook and budget needs

Confirm structural deficit and define long-term budget needsComplete
Evaluate and present councilmanic and voter-approved revenue options, including ballot measures, permit fees, utility taxes, solid waste fees, B&O tax, etc.In progress
Work with the community, City Council, and staff to determine service-level cuts that will be required if voter-approved ballot measures failNot started

GOAL: Implement Councilmanic revenue options

Act on revenue optionsComplete

GOAL: Implement voter-approved revenue options

Develop a ballot measure plan that involves the development of an advisory committee, gathering community feedback on defining services that new revenues would fund, and creating a community education campaignIn progress
Consider creation of a Metropolitan Parks DistrictNot started

Success Metrics for Achieving Financial Stability

Financial consultant has completed financial outlook

Staff and financial consultants have made presentations to the City Council

Councilmanic options and ballot measure implemented

Strategic Direction Progress:

GOAL: Understand current programs, hiring, and practices through an equity lens

Develop equity impact tool for all departments and City Council to support identification, evaluation, and communication of potential impact, both positive and negative, of a policy, plan, or program on equityIn progress
Audit current programs and practices using an equity impact toolNot started

GOAL: Establish internal framework and structures to support equity goals

Finalize the charter for the Advancing Racial Equity (ARE) CommitteeComplete
Develop an ARE Action Plan with metrics (inclusive of internal and external audit and community engagement)Not started

GOAL: Establish a training program for the City of Burien organization

Implement a training program for the City of Burien organizationNot started

Success Metrics for Achieving Racial Equity

Committee has clarity about focus, goals, roles, and responsibilities

Burien policies, plans, and programs advance opportunity and reduce harm to our community members

All staff have a common understanding of anti-racism and their role in that work

Burien has clarity about a vision and action steps for the 2025-26 biennium

Strategic Direction Progress:

GOAL: Customer service experience improved in prioritized areas

Launch online permit systemComplete
Launch and maintain new community service request system and internal customer service workflow (issue reporting)In progress
Launch external Laserfiche electronic content sharing and management systemIn progress

GOAL: Strengthen citywide community engagement and communications capacity

Internal Community Engagement Committee formedComplete
Community engagement training opportunities offered to staffIn progress
Community engagement and communications plan co-created with community stakeholders developed and implementedNot started
Maintain Burien Community Connectors programComplete
Contract with community-based organizations to collaborate on engagement activitiesIn progress
City 101 virtual program launchedIn progress

GOAL: Digital engagement infrastructure maintained, expanded, and adapted to meet community need and expectation

New Burien website ( launchedIn progress
Update digital communications and engagement strategyNot started
Launch and maintain capital projects public dashboardNot started

Success Metrics for Centering Community Accountability

Time to respond to issues reduced

People impacted by projects, programs, and policies are more engaged

New and more members of community participating in civic processes

Community can find essential information and access online City services easily in formats that are accessible and meet their needs

Strategic Direction Progress:

GOAL: Achieve major planning and policymaking efforts

Economic Development Action Plan approvedComplete
Comprehensive Plan update approvedIn progress
Transportation Master Plan approvedIn progress
Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan approvedComplete
Critical area policy updates approvedNot started
Comprehensive Plan for five-year anniversary underwayNot started

GOAL: New zoning and design standards approved

Ambaum and Boulevard Park zoning code amendments with design standards adoptedIn progress
Expansion of Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) or affordable housing zoning adopted as part of Ambaum Boulevard Park Subarea PlanIn progress
Subdivision section of the zoning code amendments adoptedNot started
Citywide middle housing zoning code amendments adoptedNot started
Urban Center/downtown zoning code amendments adoptedNot started
Critical area zoning code amendments adoptedNot started

GOAL: Increase the number and type of affordable housing units

Maintain affordable housing governance partnershipsIn progress
South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) affordable housing monitoring program establishedNot started
Extend or expand the Affordable Housing Demonstration ProgramIn progress
Align City policy and planning documents with Washington State Affordable Housing Finance Commission scoring criteria for affordable housing tax credit awardsNot started
Advocacy with state and federal delegations for increased Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding for development of affordable housingNot started
Consider or create an inclusionary affordable housing code standard when market conditions would make such a program feasibleNot started
Deepen the affordability requirements associated with MFTE when market conditions would make such a change feasibleNot started
Create a shared parking program in downtown to reduce the cost of building new parking in new housing developmentsNot started
Attract developments that benefit the local community, including walkable amenities and servicesIn progress

GOAL: Attract new businesses and development

Permit system goes live for improved permit tracking and customer serviceComplete
First round of targeted investment attraction campaign completeIn progress
Developer and property owner economic development opportunity sessions: Boulevard Park, Urban Center, AmbaumNot started
Outreach to regional developers to consider Urban Center development in advance of rezonesNot started
Boulevard Park targeted development attraction campaign to begin once zoning code amendments are in process or completeNot started
If MFTE program is expanded, a targeted marketing campaign to inform developersNot started
Redesign of Burien’s gateway at 1st Ave S and SW 148th StNot started

GOAL: Optimize opportunity sites

King County issues request for proposals for downtown transit-oriented development siteIn progress
Kinect@Burien development complete and openComplete
Mary’s Place affordable family housing under constructionNot started
Evaluate highest and best use for downtown City-owned propertiesIn progress
DESC permanent supportive housing construction completeComplete
Port of Seattle issues RFP for a 10+-acre site on S 152nd St and Des Moines Memorial DriveNot started

Success Metrics for Reshaping Community through Smart, Mindful Development

Increase in the quality and diversity of jobs citywide

Increase in housing citywide

Increase in housing affordable to all income bands

Preservation strategies in place for naturally-occurring affordable housing

Comprehensive Plan (Burien 2044), Transportation Master Plan, Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, Economic Development Action Plan approved

Increased development potential for commercially-zoned properties

Middle housing zoning in place

Urban Center and 1st Ave S mixed use/commercial zoning in place

Ambaum and Boulevard Park zoning in place

Design standards for residential/commercial sites in neighborhood centers in place

Affordable housing monitoring staff capacity and systems in place through SKHHP

Integrated, online permit system/customer service system launched and supported

Increase in number and valuation of commercial development permits issued

Increase in sales tax revenue

New housing development that meets community needs

More development for government-owned lands in the pipeline

How was the Strategic Plan developed?

The strategic planning process was a collaborative effort between the Burien City Council and City of Burien staff. Feedback from community gathered through public workshops and the Community Survey guided the strategic planning process. See Background below for more details.

How will the Plan be implemented?

The Strategic Plan will be central in guiding our actions and investments in the coming years, helping us:

  • Stay focused on what is most important, keeping community priorities in front of elected officials and City staff, partners, and community members
  • Establish aligned efforts across the City organization
  • Prioritize the use of resources, guiding staff development on budget proposals and framing the City Council’s adoption of a final budget

Progress will be regularly reviewed by the City Council and the City’s Leadership Team and updates will be shared with the community.

Burien Community Vision

A vibrant and creative community, where the residents embrace diversity, celebrate arts and culture, promote vitality, and treasure the environment.

Our Five-year Vision

In the next five years, as a result of our efforts we will see:

  • Smart, mindful development that equitably accommodates growth
  • Equal access to opportunity and quality of life
  • Resources to meet our community’s level-of-service needs
  • Informed, engaged, connected, diverse community
  • A sustainable budget that accounts for future growth
  • Root causes of homelessness addressed and housing in place for all

Our Obstacles

We recognize that we are blocked from our vision by:

  • Undefined and differing priorities about level-of-service standards
  • Limited public awareness of how government works and the need to partner externally in many areas
  • Ineffective and outdated systems
  • Limited revenue sources, fear about affordability, and honesty about what we need to fund core services
  • Incomplete and outdated approaches to community engagement
  • Ineffective ways of hearing from our diverse community


The City Council adopted a four-year strategic plan in 2016, with updates in 2017 and 2018. The priorities that were identified included nurturing a safe, healthy, and dynamic community and supporting a strong City organization.

In 2021, the City Council approved budget for strategic planning. Creative Strategy Solutions was hired to facilitate the strategic planning process.

City Council Special Meeting Materials