Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for April 10, 2006

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA

 The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM.

 

Attending: Heather Newman, Lora Poepping, Susan Bennett, Don Torrie, Barb Ragee, Pat Wright, Liz Ogden, Jeannie Hale, John Clark, Joe Herrin, Mark Holden, Stan Sorscher, Bonnie Zinn

 Excused:  Jennifer Biely, Nan Haigwood, Maggie Weissman, Dan Becraft (leave of absence)

 Guests: Judy Thornton, Kate Hemer, Kate Lloyd, John Starks, Jenness Starks

 ADMINISTRATION:

Changes to the Agenda:  The item on the Community Center fundraising plan has been postponed until the May meeting when Biely can be present.

 A get-well card for David Yim was passed around for signatures. We all wish David a full and speedy recovery.

 Newsletter Editor: Barb Ragee, Maggie Weissman, John Burge and Jeannie Hale served on the search committee for a new newsletter editor. John Burge helped prepare a job description and several qualified candidates were considered. Leslie Wright, who lives in the neighborhood, was brought forward to the LCC Board as the committee's nominee for the position. Motion by John Clark, seconded by Susan Bennett, to select Leslie Wright as the new newsletter editor. Motion passed unanimously. Leslie would like to reformat the Newsletter as part of the transition.

 Appointments

1.      Trustee Election:  LCC bylaws allow the board to fill vacancies on the board by a majority vote and there is currently a vacancy.  Liz Ogden is a former LCC trustee who is also active on behalf of LCC on many issues has expressed interest in rejoining the board.  Ogden would stand for election at the 2006 annual neighbors meeting along with other trustees whose terms are up.  Motion by Heather Newman, seconded by John Clark to appoint Liz Ogden to the LCC Board of Trustees. Motion passed unanimously.

 2.      Nominating Committee:  Jennifer Biely has expressed interest in serving on LCC’s Nominating Committee.  At the March meeting, the board appointed Heather Newman to chair the committee.  The bylaws require that the board appoint members to the Nominating Committee.  Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Susan Bennett to appoint Jennifer Biely to the Nominating Committee. Motion passed unanimously.

3.      Bylaws:  Susan Bennett has agreed to chair the Bylaws Committee.  LCC bylaws call for a review of the bylaws in even-numbered years and appointment of a special review committee.  Nan Haigwood and Jeannie Hale have expressed interest in serving on the committee.  Motion by Lora Poepping, seconded by Heather Newman to appoint Susan Bennett as chair of the Bylaws committee, and add Jeannie Hale and Nan Haigwood to the committee. Motion passed unanimously

 Treasurer’s Report:  In March and April to date, dues are coming in about as expected, based on past years.

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the March 13, 2006 minutes.   On page, 3, the discussion of John Clark's concern over the letter regarding Magnuson Park was corrected. Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Susan Bennett, to accept the minutes as corrected. Motion passed unanimously.

 Web site: Kate Lloyd announced formation of a new neighborhood group called "Friends of Waterway #1." The group has a web site at www.waterway1.org.

 Ground Rules for Meetings:  LCC’s ground rules for meetings, adopted in 1996, are included in this month’s agenda packet.  The ground rules are basic rules of courtesy.

 

CALLS AND CONCERNS

1.      Montlake Webcam:  The following neighbors emailed in March thanking LCC for its work in getting the Montlake webcam installed:  Mike Mathieu, Roger Pratt, George Majercek, Claudine Lawlor, Mike Watt, Angela Graham, Patti Polinski, Kate Hemer and Tatsu and Eri Nishion.

 2.      Thanks:  Neighbor Laura Kvasnosky emailed on 4/3 to provide an updated email address and thanked LCC for its work.  Mark and Kristen Sanders emailed on 4/4, Margaretta Boucher on 3/27 and Mike Watt on 3/19 also expressing thanks to LCC for its work in the neighborhood and the monthly e-newsletter.  Jean Colley emailed on 3/21 to tell the board what a truly outstanding job it has done in resolving the issues with Talaris.  She said the entire board is to be congratulated for effecting an agreement that both current residents and those who come in the future will benefit from.  As a former trustee, she said that she knows that LCC has some great diplomats and savvy negotiators.  Colley also thanked the board for authorizing new trees in the median on NE 41st to replace those that were vandalized.  Aaron Singleton and Claudine Lawlor emailed on 3/21 to say they love the monthly email messages.  Vivian Syme emailed on 3/18 thanking LCC for its work in the community.  Doug and Janet Footh emailed on 3/17 saying that the monthly e-newsletters are great and most appreciated.

 3.      Barking:  Neighbor Bob Ingalls emailed on 4/4 pointing out increased dog barking in the neighborhood due to dogs left unattended for hours or days at a time.  He had hoped to have a newsletter article several months ago.  Hale responded that LCC would try to have something in a future e-newsletter reminding neighbors about rules of courtesy advocated by the city’s animal shelter.

 4.      Skateboard Parks:  Neighbor Kris Moe emailed on 4/4 expressing interest in LCC oversight of the city’s skateboard park task force and was put in touch with Zinn.

 5.      Tree Cutting:  Neighbor Roger Pratt emailed LCC trustees, committee members and others on 3/30 urging everyone to take action to prevent removal of a stand of old large pine trees adjacent to Windermere Auto Repair on Sand Point Way at NE 55th Street.  The email message was widely distributed and forwarded to Open Space Advocates, Save Seattle Trees and others.  It turns out that Pratt had been given incorrect information, as the Gietzens, owners of the Auto Repair shop, have no plans to cut the trees.  The Gietzens sent out a response to Pratt that reached all of those who received the initial email.  Pratt then sent out an apology that was also widely distributed.  Weissman worked with the Gietzens in straightening out the matter. 

6.      Beach Club:  Bill Levin emailed on 3/30 to inquire about Beach Club information.  Contact information was provided.

 7.      Lost CD:  Stacy Ployhar emailed on 3/30 to report that she had found a CD case and CDs while walking her dog.  The case had a neighbor’s name on the outside who is on LCC’s membership list.  The lost item was returned to Cathy Millan with great appreciation.

 8.      New Websites and Links:  Angela Graham, owner of Maristella Spa Services of supporter of this year’s Neighbor Appreciation Day reception, emailed on 3/25 to tell LCC her new website address as did the owners of Nishinos restaurant.  Webmaster Susan Rucker added the addresses to LCC’s business links.

 9.      Union Bay Natural Area:  Susan Holliday emailed on 3/26 with concerns about the Union Bay Natural Area.  She lives adjacent to that area.  Last fall, she attended a seminar at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH).  She said that the UW is doing work on area owned by the state with no knowledge by the state.  She is concerned that the “improvements” are resulting in loss of habitat.  She said that the new trail was created right over a beaver dam and that now the beaver, muskrats and other animals are in her yard.  Holliday has agreed to monitor the work at the Union Bay area for LCC, working in cooperation with Dick Barnum and Liz Ogden.

 10. Sidewalk Safety:  Lester Podgorny emailed on 3/25 to point out that the sidewalk on the west side of Mary Gates Boulevard from the UW Ceramic Building to the west entrance to the Urban Horticulture Center is in terrible disrepair.  He suggested that the UW either repair it or tear it up and plant trees in its place.  Hale responded to tell Podgomy about LCC’s sidewalk safety program.  She said that she isn’t sure if the location is on the inventory of locations that will be repaired, but would be back in touch with him.  In the meantime, Hale contacted Dermot Noonan to ask him to drop off his files for the project.

 11. UW Golf Driving Range: There have been a couple of inquires from neighbors who have visited the golf driving range and been told that President Emmert cancelled the project.  LCC followed up on this and learned that because the cost of renovating the UW’s golf driving range have increased from $3M to over $10M, proposed improvements have been cancelled.

 12. Security SystemsLester Podgorny emailed again on 3/25 inquiring about the need for information on the effectiveness of security systems and the responsiveness of companies that provide services.  He wanted to know if the police department keeps records on the alarm companies selling services so that homeowners would have a way of knowing which companies are better than others.  He also wanted to know the response time from when an alarm goes off and the intrusion is reported to the police and the response time of the police thereafter.  He is willing to volunteer to work on this with the backing of LCC.  Hale emailed Pat Wright and Diane Horswill about this for information.

 13. Planted Median on 43rd Avenue:  Michael Ryan emailed on 3/23 to ask that some sort of plan to improve the planting along the 43rd Avenue boulevard be developed.  He said that when he moved to Laurelhurst in the early 70’s, the plantings were beautiful.  Now, he added plants are dead and some have been added that shouldn’t have been and there is no maintenance.  Hale responded about budget cuts in recent years and mentioned the difference between who bears the expense on the NE 41st Street boulevard and the one on 43rd Avenue.  Hale asked if he would like to volunteer to help out in developing a plan with other neighbors and added that LCC could lobby for additional funding for maintenance.  In a telephone call on 3/21 Pat Chaney provided some history about the 43rd boulevard maintenance and mentioned how a transportation department employee worked with neighbors in maintaining the area.  Neighbors Dixie and Steve Wilson included a note with their dues expressing concerns about lack of maintenance on the 43rd Avenue Boulevard.  Their note and a response are included in the correspondence packet.

 14. Suicide Hill:  Ann Majercak emailed on 3/23 to see about the possibility of speed humps on Suicide Hill (on NE 41st up until 43rd Avenue NE).  She is concerned about the speed of cars, and especially motorcycles that make a lot of noise—right below their windows.  She thought this might be a possibility for a budget request from the city.  After coordinating with Odgen, Hale responded about the city’s restrictions on arterials, such as NE 41st.  Hale said that the transportation department has sent out a crew to address cutting the branches back and the bushes down to increase visibility for those turning right onto NE 41st from 43rd Avenue NE.  Cathy Millan emailed on the same day with similar concerns about that location.  She suggested a traffic circle as there had been another wreck the day before.  She said there are 14 young children on the block and two kids were almost hit by a car coming up the hill while crossing on the southeast corner due to lack of visibility. Traffic circles are not allowed on arterials, and speed bumps are not allowed on hills. LCC continues to work with SDOT on the problem.

15. Short Plat by Laurelhurst School:  Betsy Conrad emailed on 3/22 to say it was good to hear that LCC would appeal the short plat decision by the school. 

16. Sad News:  Pat Brunzell reported that neighbor David Demarest died.  His wife Peggy died some time ago.  Chris Barrett emailed about the death of Dorm Anderson, architect for the Battelle property.  A condolence card on behalf of LCC was sent to Anderson’s wife.

 17. Drainage Problems:  David Van Liew emailed on 3/21 about drainage problems where he lives.  There are six houses with NE 45th Street addresses that also have a street or alley behind them that abuts the Battelle property.  Neighbors would like to be able to use the alley, but there are water drainage problems.  The water coming from the high part of the alley (east) combined with the drainage from 40th NE (west and north) causes continual flooding and standing water 6 months of the year in the alley (street).  This causes continuous erosion and deep potholes that are almost year round.  The eroded soil and debris blocks the storm drain on the edge of the Talaris property. The water is backed up and floods the alley and the property at 4003 NE 45th St. creating deeper potholes.  The only remedy that has been done so far is to fill the potholes occasionally, but the problem is much more systemic.  Van Liew asked who to contact about this.  Hale and Sorscher are following up on this.

 18. Waterway No. 1:  Richard Ettinger emailed on 3/17 to congratulate LCC on the plans and progress on Waterway No. 1.  In the last couple of weeks, someone pulled out and cut off the red twig dogwood at the site and threw the remains in the lake.  The rose bushes were also ripped out.  When the vandalism was discovered, as many of the pieces of the dogwood bushes were retrieved as possible and replanted.  The rose bushes were also replanted.  It is a gross misdemeanor to engage in this kind of property destruction and individuals doing the damage are subject to a fine and jail if caught.  The police have no suspects.  Lynn Ferguson from the Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance, who is also active in Seattle Audubon, emailed LCC on 4/5 to comment on the waterway project.  She said she was very impressed with the design using a winding trail down to the water and stone steps leading to the water.  She added that using native plants like the shrubby red-osier dogwood and the lovely rose would provide a buffer both esthetically pleasing and useful for native wildlife.  Bonnie Miller also emailed compliments to our community for making the public lakefront more inviting.  She said that planting the red twig dogwood bushes and rugosa roses would attract the bugs that fall into the water and feed the fish and are excellent choices.

 19. Villa Master Plan:  Doug Pratt emailed on 3/17 asking for an update on the Villa’s master plan.  Ogden provided an update.  She said that the Villa is currently finishing off their Capital Campaign to raise the funds necessary to purchase the three buildings and the eight acres of property on which the buildings and soccer fields sit.  The Capital Campaign should be wrapped up at the end of June of this year.  Only after the purchase is complete can they begin tackling the projects outlined in their master plan and those will be done in order of priority.  The first project will be creating a covered play area between the main school and the old convent and some on-going interior “fresh-ups”.  After that they will be looking toward updating the current soccer field and the redesign of the campus entry/exit route.  Ogden should have another update in the spring. 

 20. Land Use Issues:  Sally Revere emailed on 3/21 about a development that occurred near where she lives and the developer’s plan to put two houses on one and a half lots.  She is concerned about the trend to allow houses to be built on small lots.  She was glad to learn of LCC’s involvement in the short plat application across from Laurelhurst School.  Revere’s questions about the city’s process for approving projects were answered.  Karin Hardisty emailed on 3/14 supporting LCC’s efforts to address the short plat by the school and other efforts to preserve single-family zoning on 5,000 square foot lots.  LCC received an anonymous letter dated 4/7 about an application to divide one lot into four parcels for condominiums at 4705 Sand Point Way NE.  Based upon the project number, it does not appear that the public received notice of the application.  A call has been made to DPD about this.

 21. New Block Watch Captain:  On 3/21 Pat Chaney reported that 12-year-old Rachel Zolutusky has volunteered to be the assistant Block Watch Captain for her part of the neighborhood in the vicinity of 43rd Avenue NE.  Rachel was at home after school when a break-in occurred in February and wants to get involved.

 22. Master Gardener Program at CUH:  On 3/21 Barb Ragee suggested that LCC include an announcement in every newsletter about the free services provided by the Master Gardeners at CUH.

 23. Junk Storage:  Vivian Syme emailed on 3/18 about the junk storage at the burned out bicycle shop on Sand Point Way.  Hale responded that LCC filed a code violation complaint with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in response to another neighbor’s concern.  The owner than cleaned up much of the junk to avoid fines.  She is still concerned about the burned out portion of the upper level of the building as DPD did not address that.

 24. CUH Safety Issue:  Karin Hardisty emailed on 3/14 suggesting that improvements be made in the vicinity of the Center for Urban Horticuture (CUH) to address the near misses and collisions when drivers make u-turns.  She said she has witnessed several accidents and has almost been hit herself.  She suggested no-turn signs be installed or the shrubbery cut back.  Hale, Barnum and Ogden coordinated on the issue and will ask SDOT to review the area to consider installation of no u-turn signs. 

 25. Shoreline Street End:  John Holcenberg who lives adjacent to a shoreline street end in the neighborhood by the Beach Club emailed on 4/7 re the permit fee required for use of public property at that location.  Ogden has briefed LCC on issues related to all of the shoreline street ends and waterways, including the Holcenberg situation.  Holcenberg was under the impression that LCC had filed a complaint thus necessitating that he and his wife pay the annual permit fee.  LCC did not file a complaint.  All LCC has done is participate in the periodic survey of street ends inventory.  This information was conveyed to the Holcenbergs. 

 26. Playfield Issue:  Torrie reported that he’d seen on the news over the weekend that a person in a clown costume was trying to lure children from the baseball field at Laurelhurst Park.  In following up with Diane Horswill of SPD, she said that she spoke with the Operations lieutenant and he spoke with the follow-up detectives.  The incident happened on 3/25 and it involved a conversation between two girls 10 and 11 and a man dressed as a clown.  It was not at the Playfield but near the home of one of the girls.  He was going to get a business card for them (he may have been working at a kid's party nearby).  It was an isolated incident and does not appear to be crime related.  Horswill did say that this is a good reminder for parents to be sure to have ongoing conversations with their kids about talking to people they do not know and related personal safety advice.

 27.  Heifer Project: John Clark explained that a neighbor's children are going to Honduras with Girl Scouts on a trip organized through the Heifer Project. They would welcome support for expenses and donations of school and medical supplies. Contact John for details.  

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1.      Thank you!  Thanks to Don Torrie for coordinating distribution of the agenda packets and to Tom Maider and Heather Newman for assisting.  

 2.      Liquor license application:  LCC has been given notice of a liquor license application for a new Japanese restaurant on the corner of Blakeley and 25th Avenue NE where the old Thai Dusit used to be.  Any concerns?

 3.      City Light work on NE 41st:  Beginning on Monday, April 17, work will begin on NE 41st to upgrade existing underground wiring.  The work will be at NE 41st Street to NE 38th Street and 45th Avenue NE to 48th Avenue NE.  LCC has not received the specifics yet.  We do know that one lane of certain portions of NE 41st will be closed over an eight month period.  A neighbors meeting will be held as soon as a location can be found.

 4.      Annual Neighbors Meeting:  A date and location for the annual neighbors meeting has not yet been set.

 

REPORTS/ACTION

Crime Prevention Report:  Pat Wright report was included in the packets. Pat announced that she would step down as our Crime Prevention volunteer. When a new volunteer is identified, Pat will overlap and help with the transition. Lora Poepping said she had someone in mind who might consider the position.

 Pat strongly encouraged the Board to treat all visitors with respect, and gave specific examples from the last three meetings of how we could have been more courteous to visitors.  We should keep personalities conflicts of interest out of our meetings. Pat said one step in the right direction was to review our Ground Rules for meetings, and practice respect for others.

 The Board thanked Pat for her many years of activism in crime prevention.

 

Waterway No. 1:  Liz Ogden prepared a report which was included in the packets. Design goals came out of a meeting in September 2005. The water entrance compatible with kayaks requires a permit. Planning for that entrance calls for rocks and shoreline plantings. A fisheries biologist reviews plans for DPD. Plantings are generally low, and the shrubberies can be pruned. Dogwoods can reach 8 feet in height, but the plan is to prune dogwoods at this site to roughly the height of the rosa rugosa higher up on the slope. Shrub willow was ruled out to maintain the view, and the red twig dogwood was chosen instead.

 Liz talked about stewardship groups who would help maintain the basketball court, lawn and plantings. The project requires a maintenance plan. Kate Lloyd asked about the process for naming members of the Stewardship groups. Kate also said beavers live in the area, and the beavers may be responsible for some damage to plantings. Further discussion questioned the suitability of rosa rugosa which has very sharp thorns and could be safety hazard. The rosa rugosa provides shading in the water, which is required in the public access portion of the waterway (although shading is not required in the encroached area, such as the beach north of the waterway.

 Kate Lloyd said Friends of Waterway #1 would pay for friendlier plantings. For instance, red twig dogwood might reach 15 feet. Liz Ogden thought that 15 feet growth requires ideal conditions, and this arrangement would not be that tall. Kate recall the consensus at the September 2005 meeting was that no tall trees would be planted that might block the view. Liz said the city and state agencies had the red twig dogwoods, and wanted to use them here for shading and weed control.  

 Motion by Liz Ogden, seconded by John Clark that LCC affirm its support of the proposed beautification project at Waterway No. 1 as described in the site plan and project description posted on the LCC web site, and write a letter confirming that support to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and to the Seattle DOT. Motion passed 6-2 with Newman, Poepping and Bennett abstaining.

 Memorial tree plaque project:  Bonnie Zinn's report is in the packets. Bonnie described the plaques that will be placed on trees in the median on Mary Gates Way. Motion by Bonnie Zinn and seconded, to proceed with the plaques on trees in the median. Motion passed unanimously.

Capital Project/Neighborhood Street Fund: Liz Ogden, Maggie Weissman and Tom Maider helped prepare 5 applications. Funding is always tight, but we would like to see at least two of the applications approved and funded.

 Siting of Sand Point Branch Library:  Motion by John Clark, seconded by Bonnie Zinn to recommend that the new library site should not be on Park property. Motion passed without opposition. Liz Ogden abstained, since she was not on the Board when this position was considered in detail.

 NE 58th Street median removal:  Liz Ogden spoke with Wayne Wentz at the Seattle Department of Transportation regarding reducing the median in Sand Point Way near NE 58th St. The issue is that cars turning left from the side street onto southbound Sand Point Way often pause in the median, waiting for southbound traffic to clear. The open part of the median is very short. Wayne said they are considering two options in the context of the multi-family housing project in that area. One option would taper the median over a distance of several hundred feet. The other would remove less of the median. The Board preferred the option calling for less median removal. NEDC did not take a position on this question. Other ideas would be to enforce parking restrictions, and lower the speed limit.

 

The meeting was adjourned at about 9:30 PM.

 

Minutes by Stan Sorscher