Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for January 9, 2006

The meeting was called to order at 7:06 PM.

Attending: Susan Bennett, Heather Newman, Jennifer Biely, Bonnie Zinn, Lora Poepping, Maggie Weissman, Tom Maider, Mark Holden, John Clark, Stan Sorscher, Mark Trumbauer, Jeannie Hale, Liz Ogden, John Burge, Pat Wright

Excused:  Dan Becraft (leave of absence), Don Torrie, Nan Haigwood, Joe Herrin

Guests: Coco Sherman

Neighbor Appreciation Day:  Coco Sherman updated the group on planning for LCC’s annual Neighbor Appreciation Day reception, February 11 at the Villa Academy.  Trustees were given flyers to distribute in the agenda packets to let neighbors know about the opportunity to nominate neighbors to receive a Good Neighbor Award.

ADMINISTRATION:

Changes to the Agenda:  Add election of new trustees under administration.

Treasurer’s Report:  John Clark distributed his monthly treasurer’s report and a draft budget for LCC. Tables showed 2004 and 2005 actuals with 2006 projections.

Minutes:  The board reviewed the December 12, 2005 minutes. Motion by Lora Poepping, seconded by Tom Maider to accept the minutes. Motion passed unanimously.

CALLS AND CONCERNS

1.      Graffiti:  Neighbor Susan Avery contacted LCC on 1/03/06 to ask if something could be done about the graffiti on the construction sign at Laurelhurst Playfield.  LCC contacted the Parks Department, which then contacted the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to take care of the matter.  Parks staff responded that DPD is always prompt in responding to these requests.

2.      Debris at Bicycle Center:  Neighbor Susan Avery also asked LCC if anything could be done to clean up the garbage and debris at the Bicycle Center on Sandpoint where there was a fire a few months ago.  The top floor of the Bicycle Center remains in a burned out condition with no effort to make repairs.  LCC contacted the city’s Citizen Service Bureau and was referred to the Department of Planning and Development.  A complaint was filed based on violation of the city’s junk storage ordinance, something that LCC worked hard to pass a few years ago. An explanation heard recently is that cleanup is delayed by the owner, pending an insurance settlement.

 3.      Queen Anne QFC:  Neighbor Dee Simon referred Peggy Orse from Queen Anne to LCC re loss of their Metropolitan Market and creation of a mega-QFC.  Queen Anne asked for advice and LCC encouraged them to contact LCC’s land use consultant.

 4.      Absentee Landlord:  Sheila Dietrich emailed on 1/3/06 to report that the home next to where she lives has fallen into disrepair yet again.  After LCC contacted the landlord a few months ago, he cleaned up the yard and parking strip and hauled away the old toilet and other junk in the yard.

 5.      Springbrook Building:  Springbrook tenant and neighbor Gina Trask reported on 12/26/06 that Children’s Hospital has decided not to exercise its option to take her space at the Springbrook Building.  No word on other tenants.

 6.      Burglaries on Christmas Eve:  Ogden reported three burglaries on 48th Avenue NE on Christmas Eve.  Jewelry and cash were stolen.  At Donna Waldhausen's house, the burglar took a lap top computer, jewelry and children’s Christmas presents.

 7.      Development in the Neighborhood:  Susan Marten emailed on 12/21/05 to express concern about a new mega development on 47th Avenue NE.  She was put in touch with Liz Ogden.  Marten is also concerned about the many loopholes in the land use code that allow substandard development in single family zones. 

 8.      Battelle:  Kate Hokanson emailed on 12/15/05 to inquire about the status of the Talaris development and to ask about the recent design workshop.  Hale emailed Carol Eychaner’s summary of the Settlement Agreement and put her in touch with Sorscher.

 9.      Phone Listing:  Nancy Kirchner emailed on 12/22/05 asking that her phone number be removed from the March 2005 minutes that are posted on LCC’s website.  Kirchner was listed as the contact person for an event at St. Stephens.  Sorscher deleted her contact information and reposted the minutes, explaining that people are becoming more cautious about personal information floating around the internet.

 Apropos that concern, Trustees should look through our web site and let Susan Rucker or Stan Sorscher know if they want something removed.

 10. Email List:  Rosemary Schmidt emailed on 12/14 asking to be added to LCC’s growing email list.  Jill Ryan emailed today also asking to be added to the list.

 11. Party House: Heather Newman reported 4 big parties near her house. Police responded by did not issue a citation. The owner lives in Canada.

 ANNOUNCEMENTS

1.      Congratulations! Maggie Weissman announced that after 20 years, she sold the Great Harvest bakery to a nice young couple who are doing very well.

2.      Thank you!  Thanks to Tom Maider and Bonnie Zinn for distributing agenda packets this month. 

 3.      Board Resignation:  Dermot Noonan has resigned from the LCC board due to conflicts with Little League and hockey coaching activities and PTA.  He hope to return to the board in a few years after his coaching responsibilities end.  Noonan said he had enjoyed getting to know board members and appreciates the time that is spent on behalf of the community to ensure that Laurelhurst continues to be one of the nicest places to live in the city.  Noonan wanted everyone to know that he is grateful for LCC’s efforts.

 4.      Welcome Back:  Welcome back to Bonnie Zinn from her leave of absence.

 5.      New SR 520 Committee: WSDOT is forming a “Corridor Aesthetics Design Advisory Group” to review possible aesthetic treatments for SR 520 and a framework for design guidelines.  WSDOT is seeking representatives from communities and groups along the SR 520 corridor, including Laurelhurst.  Joe Herrin is interested in serving on the group.  An official nomination must be completed.  At the January Northeast District Council (NEDC) meeting, it was agreed that a letter would be written asking that Herrin be allowed to represent NEDC in addition to Laurelhurst.  WSDOT has not provided for representation of NEDC on the new advisory committee.  The NEDC letter will ask that membership on the committee be expanded and that groups be allowed to designate an alternate rep.  Information about the new committee is included in the correspondence packet.

 Motion by Jennifer Biely, seconded by Mark Holden to nominate Joe Herrin as our neighborhood delegate to the Corridor Aesthetics Advisory Group. Motion passed unanimously. We should also look for an alternate delegate.

 6.      Funding for Continuation of Existing SR 520 Committee:  In 2003, the state legislature appropriated $250,000 for a SR 520 Local Impact Committee to study the impacts that SR 520 expansion would have on local streets.  The city matched the funding with an additional $250,000.  The committee included two reps each from Montlake, North Capitol Hill and Portage Bay.  It did not include reps from impacted communities north of the Montlake Cut.  At the time, LCC and the Northeast District Council wrote letters asking that membership on the committee be expanded to include reps from communities north of the Montlake Bridge.  Funding is now being sought to continue the work of the committee.  Should LCC again write a letter asking that it be allowed to participate?  Jean Amick attends most of the meetings, but does not have a vote and her ability to participate in discussions is limited. By general agreement, a letter asking for representation from north of the ship canal will be sent to legislators.

 7.      SR 520 and the Park Board:  The Board of Park Commissioners will have a briefing and public hearing on the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project and its potential impacts to the Washington Park Arboretum at its January 12 meeting at 6 p.m..  Jean Amick will attend and comment on behalf of LCC.

 8.      Provail Burke-Gilman Housing at Risk:  In July 2001, three northeast Seattle communities—Ravenna-Bryant, Hawthorne Hills and Laurelhurst stepped forward to support the efforts of low-income tenants disabled with disabilities to keep their homes in a 12-unit complex next door to the Ronald McDonald House.  The complex was designed specifically for those with disabilities with lower cabinets, showers accessible to wheelchairs, no stairs etc.  The property was originally given to the city by the Coast Guard and then acquired by United Cerebral Palsy (now Provail), Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House to develop housing for individuals with disabilities.  It is Section 8 housing (with federal subsidies), but the owners are taking steps to opt out of that program.  Because of community involvement, Provail initially agreed to sell to another nonprofit housing group.  It was recently learned that that deal fell through due to differences in appraisals of the property.  Please discuss this issue with your community council.  It is not likely that this low income housing for those with disabilities will be replaced that instead, the property will be sold to the highest bidder.  The Provail tenants are asking that letters of support be sent to Councilmembers, especially Councilmembers Licata and Steinbrueck, and to Provail and its board of directors. 

 By general agreement, Trustees agreed that LCC should send a letter to City Councilmembers in support of Provail tenants.

 The tenants are asking for a strong commitment from Provail to preserve their homes, without redevelopment, under the Project-Based Section 8 contract, or to sell to a nonprofit buyer like LIHI who will do the same.  Materials about the issue are included in the correspondence packet.

 9.      Laurelhurst Exhibit at the Library:  Due to popular demand, the North East Branch Library will feature the Laurelhurst history exhibit during the month of February in honor of Neighbor Appreciation Day.  The exhibit will be moved from History House to the library for the month.

 10. Stoplight at NE Branch Library:  The NEDC wrote a letter that is included in the correspondence packet supporting installation of a stop light at the corner of 35th and NE 68th at the North East Branch Library.  After discussion, the sense of the Board was to write a letter asking for a pedestrian activated stoplight.

 11. Land Use Staffing:  The NEDC wrote a letter thanking Councilmember Conlin for his efforts to secure funding in the budget for one-half of a Department of Planning and Development (DPD) staff person to respond to city council land use code amendment requests.  Currently, DPD responds principally to requests from the mayor and has little, if any time, to respond to council requests for assistance.  The Board agreed LCC should also write a thank you letter to Councilmember Conlin.

 REPORTS/ACTION

Crime Prevention Report: Pat Wright reported 5 incidents, several occurring around Christmas. Burglaries overall are down in the northeast Seattle. However, we had house burglaries and forced entries in the latest reporting period. Diane Horswill would like to discuss online reporting at a future LCC meeting. Eleven canine teams are trained to detect explosives, track suspects among other tasks. Extra patrols were operating in University Village and Northgate during the holidays. Robberies and car prowls are down overall. Home alarms produce more false alarms than valid ones, which is a problem for police responding to alarms unnecessarily.

 Proposal to build on substandard lots at 4702 47th Avenue NE:  Liz Ogden updated the group on the Master Use Plan (MUP) application for a short subdivision on 47th Avenue.  Currently, there are two houses on two lots at the site.  The house on the corner would be torn down and one house would remain.  Of the four parcels, three of them will be 4,000 square feet (in a single-family 5000 zone).  The existing house that will remain, located at 4716 NE 47th Street, is on a lot that is 4,933.7 square feet. 

 On December 19, LCC wrote to the Department of Planning and Development requesting that the comment period for the project be extended.  Comments were originally due on December 21.  This request was granted and comments were extended to January 4.

 On January 4, LCC turned in petitions with the signatures of 80 neighbors requesting a public meeting in the neighborhood on the project.  Requests of this nature may be granted if 50 or more people request a meeting.  A meeting may be scheduled in a month, although the DPD planner didn't seem too concerned in this case. Items raised by neighbors are safety and pedestrian traffic questions as well as parking. If the meeting is scheduled, good turnout would help make neighbors points more convincing. A review by Carol Eychaner would help prepare questions about the 75-80% rule.

 Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Susan Bennett to authorize up to 5 hours for Carol Eychaner to prepare for the public hearing, and comments to be submitted to DPD. Motion passed 10-0 with abstentions by Maggie Weissman and Tom Maider.

 Ethics Code and Advisory Committees:  Enclosed in the agenda packets is information about a recent interpretive rule adopted by the Ethics and Elections Commission and a letter written by the Seattle Community Council Federation supporting the rule.  The rule, adopted on September 7, 2005, applies the city’s ethics code to board, commission and advisory committee established by ordinance, charter or other law.  The Commission distinguished these kind of advisory committees from “ad hoc” advisory committees because of the manner in which they are created and because the mayor and the city council give great weight to the recommendations of advisory committees. 

Application of the ethics code to advisory committees means that members:

1.      Must disclose potential conflicts of interest,

2.      May not participate in decision making relating to the potential conflict, and

3.      May not enter into contracts with the city in the area of committee work for 12 months after leaving the committee.

 

The interpretive rule was prompted by a complaint that had been filed against a Pro Parks Committee member representing Friends of Athletic Fields on the committee who entered into a consulting contract with the Parks Department for adult sports fields at Magnuson Park. 

The Seattle Planning Commission believes that the city’s ethics code is too strict and wrote to the mayor and the city council asking that they address the issue.  The proposal that has surfaced would exempt advisory committees from the ethics code if the committee has developed its own ethics standards that have been approved by the mayor and city council.

 Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Bonnie Zinn to write a letter in support of the Seattle Community Council Federation's position applying the ethics rules to advisory committees and opposing relaxation of the rules. Motion passed 11-1 with no abstentions.  

Private Security Update: Maider met with a representative from First Response Security about the possibility of hiring private security to assist with crime prevention and law enforcement efforts in the neighborhood.  First Response monitors security at Sand Point Country Club.  Maider estimated such a service would cost around $8000 per month for one person in car cruising from 10 PM to 6 AM seven days per week, 365 days per year plus service for a call response center.  

 The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.

 Submitted by Stan Sorscher

LCC Secretary

  

Minutes by Stan Sorscher