Community Council update: Nov. 15 meeting

Motions and discussion on building codes, response to racist graffiti, affordable housing crisis

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2021 2:58pm
  • News

After two days of gale-force winds, followed by an island-wide power outage and discussion of canceling, the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council met on Zoom for its annual meeting on November 15. By 5 p.m. most islanders’ electricity was restored, so the meeting began on schedule, at 7 p.m.

It has been a year since a community vote elected the board members, and the annual meeting saw an attendance of 52 people. Most were Councilmembers (any islander over the age of 16 who shows up), and the others were representatives from King County or guests invited to speak on the Council’s current motions.

The first motion was concerning VMICC’s potential endorsement of updated building codes being considered by the King County Council. These codes would restrict most uses of fossil fuels in new commercial and large multifamily buildings in unincorporated King County. Meeting participants spoke eloquently on both sides of the topic, providing varied perspectives, and giving islanders a lot of things to consider.

The second motion discussed at the meeting was made by Councilmember Kevin Jones, and was drafted cooperatively with community activist Janie Starr and others deeply concerned about the recent vandalism in the Village Green. It states:

“As islanders who believe in the dignity and humanity of all, we are outraged by the racist language splattered across shelter tables and elsewhere at the Village Green and on an uptown building. This act was cowardly and anonymous, serving no purpose except to intimidate, wound and divide. We will not stand for this denigration of our fellow islanders. The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council celebrates our community’s increasing diversity and commits to show up for racial justice and equity.”

Although most Councilmembers were in strong support of the motion’s sentiment, there were some concerns about the specific wording. Some felt it wasn’t actionable enough, and that the vague language could be interpreted differently by different people, making active follow-through a challenge. Others, though, were in support of the language used, feeling that terms like “show up” increased the conveyance of solidarity to those BIPOC Islanders who may feel threatened or marginalized.

Other issues were also brought to the Council’s attention, like the homeless encampment next to the Vashon Cemetery being a potential safety hazard for drivers, bicyclists, and the individuals using it as their primary shelter. This kind of concern has been brought to the attention of the Council before – specifically regarding the lack of appropriate sewage disposal by individuals previously inhabiting an RV parked at Tramp Harbor – and is just a small symptom of another Island issue that the Council has been grappling with: lack of affordable housing on Vashon. Many islanders have voiced strong concerns, but have yet to come to an agreement on how best to address this issue.

These things are all currently on the table for discussion at the VMICC. Our December general meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. If you have any other issues, concerns, or ideas, there is always time allotted on the agenda for open discussion as well as community updates. Any individual or representative of an island organization is invited to share.

For more information about presentation opportunities, please contact the board through the website,

— Camille Reeves is the secretary of the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council.

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