Family of woman killed in MLT crash present as council discusses roadside memorial program

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The family of Staci L. Laugle, the 26-year-old Shoreline woman killed in a September 2017 car crash in Mountlake Terrace, was present Thursday night to hear the city council discuss a new program authorizing the installation of roadside memorial signs.

After hearing the details of the program from City Engineer Jesse Birchman, the council agreed to place the measure on its consent calendar for its Monday, March 19 business meeting.

Staci Laugle died at the scene Sept. 1, 2017 after the car in which she was riding crashed into a tree in the 22100 block of 48th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace. The driver, Michael Spieker of Mountlake Terrace, allegedly had been drinking and was charged with vehicular homicide.

Family members thanked the council for agreeing to approve the program, which they intend to use to memorialize Laugle’s passing. Currently, the family maintains a memorial of flowers at the crash site.

Under the new program, family members of those who have died can sponsor a memorial sign to be erected near the scene of the collision. Such signs can also include a message, such as “Please don’t drink and drive,” with the goal of increasing the public’s awareness of the need to drive safely.

The purpose of Monday night’s presentation was to address some unanswered questions about the program, including setting the length of time for staff to review a sign application (45 days was agreed upon), a fee for the signs, and a length of time for the signs to appear.

A fee for the signs will be determined by resolution at a later date following staff research into costs. However, the ordinance to be passed March 19 states that the city will allow the sign to remain in the right-of-way for 10 years after its placement, “or until the city determines that the condition of the sign has deteriorated to a point where it is no longer serviceable.” The city will retain ownership of the sign after it has been removed, unless the family requests in writing to take possession of it.

In other business, the council learned that a planned review of the contract for design of the Civic Campus project had to be delayed because staff hasn’t yet had a chance to thoroughly review it.

The council did hear a report on 2017 development activities from new Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborn. Councilmembers were directed to an online map that indicates the location of the city’s current development projects. It includes the project name and description, the development’s status and and a site plan. The map, which is updated monthly. can be accessed at www.cityofmlt.com/180/Development.

Other items of interest for Monday night’s business meeting agenda include continuation of a public hearing and adoption of a Transitional Area Zoning Text and Map Amendments Ordinance.

The transitional use zone involves townhomes and parking lot development that is currently permitted in a narrow band of lots abutting the Town Center zoning district. The purpose of the transitional uses area is to provide a buffer between the more intense development permitted in the Town Center district and the surrounding single-family residences.

Under the plan, the height limit for the townhomes in the new transitional zone would be the same as allowed in the city’s other RS 7200 and RS 8400 districts — 35 feet or three stories.

Also prior to the March 19 business meeting, at 6 p.m., the council will meet to hear the Washington State Auditor’s Exit Conference report.

The business meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

Both meetings will be in the Interim City Hall Council Chambers, 6100 219th St. S.W., Suite 220. You can see the complete business meeting agenda here.

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

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