Minutes for February 13, 2006
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 PM.
Attending: Susan Bennett, Heather Newman, Jennifer Biely, Bonnie Zinn, Lora Poepping, Mark Holden, John Clark, Stan Sorscher, Mark Trumbauer, Jeannie Hale, Liz Ogden, John Burge, Pat Wright, Don Torrie, Nan Haigwood, Joe Herrin
Guests: Leslie Wright, Sheryl Westergreen, Todd Cahill, and Diane Horswill, Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention
Diane Horswill passed out a summary of reported incidents. She thought the Wedgwood neighborhood web site had a neat way of presenting crime prevention resources, and Wallingford has something similar. One question dealt with privacy, since the incident reports include the block where each incident occurs. Diane hasn't heard of any complaints from residents. She says one purpose of the reports is to get accurate information out and to minimize rumors. The reports do strike a balance between privacy and information. The Wedgwood site has links and information about sex offender web sites.
Treasurer’s Report: Clark distributed the monthly treasurer’s report and proposed budget. The dues mailing is at the printer, and should go out, soon. Lora Poepping said that the neighbors are aware of the Club's special appeal, and we should update our condition in the Newsletter, thanking everyone who helped out. John Clark and his wife will be leaving the area, so we will be looking for a volunteer to take over as treasurer.
Minutes: The board reviewed the December 12, 2005 minutes. Four corrections were made: On page 2, three reported burglaries were noted by Liz Ogden, although other names were added by mistake. Also on page two, the "mega development" is on 4th Ave NE, not 48th. In the Crime Prevention Report on page 5, the extra patrols were operating only during the Christmas holiday season. Finally on page 5, the house on the building on 47th Ave involves two houses, but only the one on the corner will be torn down.
Motion by Jennifer Biely, seconded by John Clark to approve the minutes as corrected. Motion passed unanimously.
CALLS AND CONCERNS
1. Break-Ins: On 2/08, 12-year-old Rachel Zolotusky reported a break-in at her home on the 3800 block of 43rd Avenue NE at about 4 p.m. Rachel was home alone after school. She heard the doorbell ring, but didn’t want to answer it. A few minutes later, she heard the French doors on her deck crash to the ground and voices in the house. She called 9-1-1 and the burglars heard her voice as they were going upstairs. They took off. Rachel reported the incident to Pat Chaney, her Block Watch Captain. There have also been break-ins at the Springbrook Building complex. Dina Mandoli reported possible break-ins on 2/03 and 2/04 at her home in the 4500 block of NE 40th Street. The burglars entered through French doors. Nothing was taken, but there were muddy footprints on the upper level of the house. The incidents took place in the afternoon when no one was home. The burglars were scared off by the alarm system.
2. Planted Median: Bill and Colleen McAteer emailed on 2/11 to inquire about the planted median. They had the impression that trees would be removed. Barnum’s update on the 138 new shrubs that have been planted was provided, along with reassurance that there was no plan to cut any trees.
The new trees are in place to replace the ones knocked over by cars. The Talaris grounds crew will plant them.
3. Sexual Offender: This month a neighbor alerted LCC to the presence of a sexual offender living in the vicinity of Laurelhurst School based upon information received from the World Wide Web. This message was forwarded to over a hundred neighbors. LCC checked out the official law enforcement website to learn that there are 18 sexual offenders in the 98105 area, none in Laurelhurst. The offender in question lives over by the Wedgwood Post Office. The others live in what appear to be two halfway houses in the University District. This information was transmitted to neighbors.
4. Welcome Signs: Bill and Colleen McAteer have requested that LCC explore installation of “Welcome to Laurelhurst” signs similar to those in Windermere. Dan Becraft will report on this when he comes back.
5. Debris: The concern to LCC last month from neighbor Susan Avery asking if something could be resolved to clean up the garbage and debris at the Bicycle Center on Sand Point has been resolved. LCC filed a complaint with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). DPD followed up. A dumpster was placed on site and cleanup efforts are underway. As an incentive, DPD is fining the business owner for each day the debris remained on site, which is a Code violation.
6. Stoplight at QFC: The 2/12/06 “Bumper to Bumper” column featured information about plans to install a traffic light at the QFC entrance to University Village, misquoting Jean Amick. University Village and QFC apparently paid for a traffic study that found the stoplight would help with traffic congestion. LCC has always opposed left turns into and out of QFC to do pedestrian and vehicle safety as there have been many accidents at that location. Zinn agreed to find out about timing of the lights from the transportation department and report back in March.
7. Playfield Obstruction: Zinn reported that two neighbors inquired why so much of the playfield has been blocked off with the construction fence. It was explained that the fencing was set up in this manner to save money as the project will cost more than anticipated. Herrin thinks the fencing may be part of staging for future work, and the project web site may mention what's going on with the fencing.
8. Garbage Cans at the Playfield: Biely expressed concern that garbage cans and "mutt mitts" at the playfield have been removed. She emailed Yolanda about this and learned that the cans were put in storage. There is now one can on site.
9. LCC Finances: It was suggested that LCC report to the community about its financial position as it has eliminated debt from recent lawsuits. Information will be presented at the annual neighbors meeting.
1. New Neighbor: Petra Holden was born a month early, on January 14. She weighed four pounds, nine ounces and was 18 and a half inches long. She is healthy. LCC presented trustee Mark Holden with a welcome present for Petra.
2. Thank you! Thanks to Don Torrie for coordinating distribution of this month’s agenda packets with the assistance of Maider and Newman. Torrie will be out of town next month and Maider has agreed to coordinate distribution.
3. Special Thank You: A Neighbor Appreciation card was distributed to all to sign for Craig and Jolene McCaw who were unable to attend this year’s Neighbor Appreciation Day reception where they were honored with a Good Neighbor Award.
4. Newsletter Editor: John and Judith Clark have expressed interest in assuming newsletter editor responsibilities. Judith has experience producing newsletters for nonprofit groups. They will meet with John Burge to discuss the responsibilities. In the meantime, there will be an ad in the newsletter in case others might be interested.
5. Bus Stop: Thanks to the efforts of Heather Newman and Liz Ogden, the Parks Department has cleaned up the area surrounding the bus stop on Sand Point Way and about 36th. Invasive blackberry bushes were removed and dump truck loads of bark installed to keep the berries from returning. Landscaping will likely be installed next fall as no irrigation is available at the site. Tall shade trees and native shrubs will be considered and LCC will assist in tree and shrub selection.
6. In the News: The Laurelhurst Nutrition Advisory Committee was featured in an article entitled “Breaking the Sugar Cycle” which appeared in The Seattle Times on Saturday, 2/11. The Nutrition Committee has launched its website at www.seattleschools.org/schools/laurelhurst and there is a link of the LCC website.
7. Laurelhurst Moms: Neighbor Maggie Tai Tucker has started Laurelhurst Moms, an informal community email network inspired by Madrona Moms. The network aims to help support each other as parents and neighbors. The network will list things like playdates, baby gear for sale, etc. The list is open to parents from Laurelhurst and neighboring communities.
8. Save the Date! Groundbreaking ceremony at the Community Center, Saturday, March 25 around 1 p.m. (depending upon the Mayor’s availability). There will be speeches and refreshments.
9. Successful Neighbor Day Event! Over 65 attended this year’s Neighbor Appreciation Day reception where over 20 families and neighbors received Good Neighbor Awards. The stories about neighbors’ good deeds were heartwarming and enjoyed by all. Mayor Greg Nickels and Councilmember Sally Clark, the new chair of the Council’s Neighborhoods Committee, officiated and handed out the award certificates. They both spoke at the event as did Councilmembers Richard Conlin, David Della and Tom Rasmussen who have a record of support for issues of importance to the Laurelhurst community. Award recipients had their photos taken with the Mayor and Councilmember Clark. There was group photo with all recipients and public officials.
The nomination letters and photos will be posted on the Laurelhurst website. Special thanks to Jennifer Biely for taking the photographs and to all trustees who contributed to the success of the event.
The Laurelhurst Neighbor Appreciation Day event would not be possible without the support of our business community and the Department of Neighborhoods. Lucky award recipients received gift certificates from University Village, a deluxe facial from Maristella Spa Services, a beautiful ceramic bowl from Mrs. Cooks and fresh coffee beans from the U Village Starbucks next to Crate and Barrel. QFC donated food and supplies. The Great Harvest Bread Company donated delicious baked goods and new owner Dayspring Schlachter was on hand to slice the bread and meet neighbors. The University Frame Shop provided framing at a much-reduced cost for the Neighbor Day card presented to LCC’s Special Events Coordinator Coco Sherman. LCC is grateful to these supporters as well as to the Villa Academy for allowing the community to use its theater for the event.
Crime Prevention Report: In January, one house in the neighborhood was burglarized, and one attempted burglary was reported. Diane Newsome was recognized with the Officer of the Year award. Three officers were recognized for their work on Aurora Ave N. A man with a sword was arrested without anyone being injured. The trailer park at 143rd and Linden Ave N will be closed. Police made 27 prostitution arrests in a sweep. Arrests on University Ave made the news, involving the East African posse. Pat said the suspects are from the Lake City area.
Update on Short Plat Application: Liz Ogden reported that 70 people attended the public meeting on the short plat application across the street kitty-corner from Laurelhurst School. Meeting notes, the list of attendees, LCC’s comment letter, the PTA comment letter and a comment letter from neighbors Leslie Wright and Sheryl Westergreen were included in the agenda packets. Ogden noted that Herrin submitted excellent comments to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) today. She stated that two representatives from DPD, Lucas Deherrera and Justina Guyott attended the meeting, noting that Deherrera had graduated in from college in 2003.
It was noted that LCC disagrees with how DPD has calculated the 75/80% Rule allowing substandard sized lots in single-family zones. One of the criteria is public interest and the question is whether DPD thinks it is more important to provide more housing or to preserve the safety, setbacks and open space and single-family character of the neighborhood. Tree preservation is also an issue. Holden suggested that LCC send its concerns to councilmembers, the mayor and to more senior staff at DPD. Ogden responded that LCC’s letter was addressed to Diane Sugimura, in addition to Lucas Deherrera, the planner on the project.
Motion by Bonnie Zinn, seconded by Lora Poepping to authorize $50 to appeal DPD’s decision on the project to the Hearing Examiner if necessary. Motion passed unanimously. It is anticipated that future services of Carol Eychaner will be necessary should an appeal be necessary.
Preservation of Single-Family Zones: Herrin brought up the need to address issues relating to preservation of single-family zones. LCC supported proposals from Sunset Hill in 2004 to protect single-family zones, including repeal of the 75/80% Rule. The city council’s land use committee heard a briefing on the proposals, but no action was taken. The proponent from Sunset Hill moved and no one has picked up the ball on the issues. After a report at one annual neighbors meeting and an article in the newsletter, LCC received broad support from the community for following up with these issues. Herrin volunteered to be involved in meeting with Councilmember Rasmussen in the future about the issues.
Meeting Process and Procedures: Lora Poepping expressed concerns about the length and content of monthly trustee meetings. She said she is overwhelmed by the volume of information presented at the meetings and that is included in the packets. She thought a time-keeper would help us stay on task, and improve efficiency. She would also like to set aside time for in-depth discussions of important issues.
Memorial Tree Plaques: Jennifer Biely and Bonnie Zinn are coordinating implementation of the median memorial tree plaque project. Biely reported that she has been in touch with the Center for Urban Horticulture about logistics in preparing the plaques. She and Zinn will bring the options to the board in the future.
Little League Sponsorship: At the January LCC meeting, the board expressed interest in sponsoring a Little League team for $400. Because Torrie was not able to attend that meeting, a final decision was deferred. The group went through the various categories of team sponsorship and discussed how many teams LCC should sponsor. While there was overwhelming support for Little League during the discussion, it was pointed out that LCC needs to recognize that our major focus has been on land use issues and that we should recognize the possibility that funds will be needed for a land use consultant on the short plat issue. Motion by Don Torrie, seconded by Mark Trumbauer to sponsor an American Minors Little League team for $400. Motion passed with Nan Haigwood abstaining.
Agenda Planning: The following items were suggested for the March agenda: A report from Bonnie Zinn about the traffic study and stop light at the QFC entrance to University Village, an update on the short plat application by Laurelhurst School, a status report on the memorial tree plaque project, follow-up on crime reporting on the LCC website after a review of the Wedgwood, Maple Leaf and Wallingford websites, and follow-up discussion on improving the efficiency of trustee meetings. It was suggested that Maggie Tai Tucker be invited to brief the board about the new Laurelhurst Moms email group.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.
Submitted by Stan Sorscher