By Lucas Martin
Kenmore Councilmember Debra Srebnik is running for reelection in hopes of growing opportunities for downtown retail while still furthering the city’s Climate Action Plan and maintaining the closet community’s neighborly lakeside character.
“The first priority I talk about is preserving the character of our neighborhood, but at the same time bringing in some affordable housing,” Srebnik said, “and that’s always a balance.”
Srebnik has learned a great deal about the intricacies of housing access as an employee of King County’s Homeless Housing Program, where she “help[s] develop and monitor supported housing contracts and emergency housing.” Though her background is in behavioral sciences, both as an academic and administrator, Srebnik believes “the housing work has definitely informed my work on the council.”
In her first term, Srebnik spearheaded the council’s research on municipal action addressing climate change, investigating how small communities across the Pacific Northwest lighten their carbon footprint. This research, combined with the efforts of fellow councilmembers, resulted in the establishment of Kenmore’s Climate Action Plan.
“We want to start with the actions that have the most impact and are feasible,” Srebnik says of the plan. “One of the things that impact emissions the most is building energy use, so potentially one of the actions a city can take is looking at building codes and the permitting process for new development: what are you requiring for developers in terms of energy efficiency?”
Despite wanting new buildings raised with an eye toward our warming world, Councilmember Srebnik does want new buildings. She describes the development of downtown Kenmore as a passion of hers and hopes to eventually bring some additional commercial and retail to downtown to make it a little more interesting so residents can get more of their needs met locally.
“A lot of retail businesses like to have a 360-degree perimeter, and we have a lake which carves out a piece of our city, which makes it difficult to attract certain kinds of retail,” Srebnik said. “But we can provide sufficient density in our core to attract that kind of retail. They want to be where people are, and they want people to be very close, so the more people you see in that downtown, and the more we can grow that core residentially, that will help attract commercial retail as well.”
Editors note: Srebnik is running unopposed. Her opponent Jon Culver suspended his campaign.