Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for June 12, 2006

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA


Attending: Joe Herrin, Jean Amick, Mark Holden, Lora Poepping, Susan Rupp, Leslie Wright, Barbara Bender, Heather Newman, Mark Trumbauer, Kate Lloyd, Jennifer Biely, Liz Ogden, Don Torrie, Pat Wright, Jeannie Hale, Stan Sorscher, Marian Joh, Brian McMullen

 Excused:  Dan Becraft (leave of absence), Nan Haigwood, Maggie Weissman, Bonnie Zinn

 Guests: Theresa Doherty, Kate Lloyd

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

 ADMINISTRATION:

Welcome!  Welcome to newly elected members of the LCC Board of Trustees:  Barb Bender, Marian Joh, Brian McMullen and Susan Rupp.  LCC membership also elected Nan Haigwood and Liz Ogden, Trustees appointed by the Board in January and February 2006.

 Information for New Trustees:  LCC’s Conflict of Interest Policy calls for its review at the first meeting of newly elected trustees.  The policy is included in the agenda packets.  The policy basically requires trustees to recuse themselves from participating in discussion or voting on matters where there is an appearance of a conflict of interest or where a trustee serves on another board and there is an appearance that the interests are competing.  LCC’s Ground Rules for Meetings are also included in the agenda packets.

 Treasurer’s Report:  The most recent LCC bank statement in included in the agenda packets.  At the Annual Neighbors Meeting, former LCC Treasurer John Clark reported that as of 5/31/2006, 628 families, businesses and others have contributed $44,715.00, or $71.25 per neighbor!  Clark subsequently forwarded his monthly treasurer’s report and that was distributed at the trustee meeting. Lora Poepping asked about the $12,000 special projects item. About $10,000 goes to the sidewalks project, and some is used for the memorial plaques to be placed on trees.

 Officer Nominations:  Hale and Sorscher have expressed interest in continuing as president and secretary.  Ogden is interested in serving as vice president.  Marian Joh joined the board specifically because of her interest in serving as treasurer.  No other candidates were nominated. Motion by Heather Newman, seconded by Barbara Bender to accept the slate of nominees. Motion passed unanimously.

 Heather Newman volunteered to serve as the LCC representative on CUCAC, and Mark Holden will be the Alternate.

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the minutes from the May 8, 2006 meeting.  Motion by Lora Poepping, seconded by Don Torrie to accept the minutes. Motion passed without dissent.

 CALLS AND CONCERNS

1.      Sidewalk Safety:  Neighbor Robin Chalmers emailed on 5/10 to report sidewalk permit information he mentioned while attending the May LCC meeting.  LCC will review this matter when work recommences on the sidewalk safety program.

 2.      Development by Laurelhurst School:  Maureen Dightman emailed on 5/15 to inquire about the status of the short plat application on 47th.  Hale reported about the board’s vote on the matter and Odgen responded further.

 3.      Roosevelt High School Events:  Karrman Kaplan emailed on 5/15 to ask about publicity for upcoming Roosevelt High School Foundation events.  Details were passed along to the newsletter editor.

 4.      Dead End Signage:  The transportation department has followed up on the request for dead end signage requested by a neighbor on 44th.

 5.      Advertising:  Kerri Doll emailed on 5/23 and Allison O’Carroll on 5/28 to inquire about placing an ad in the newsletter.  The messages were forwarded to Leslie Wright.

 6.      Knockdowns:  Barb Babb called on 5/22 to express concern about the number of tear downs in the neighborhood.  Ogden followed up with her re easement issues.

 7.      Dilapidated House on 44th:  Neighbor Marian Goddard called Newman on 5/15 expressing concern about the house on the corner of NE 44th Street and 36th, the house with the rusty trailer camper on the side yard.  Goddard saw 15 or so men going into the house.  She learned that the house will be torn down and there is concern that another mega house will be going in.  Newman suggested LCC write a letter similar to those written to absentee landlords who don’t take care of their property to remind them about code requirements and to ask them to be good neighbors.

 8.      Mega House:  Newman has learned that the mega house located behind John L. Scott is classified as a residential group home according to King County documents.  Ogden followed up and learned that the senior appraiser with the county says their use of the phrase “group home,” which shows up on the city’s data was an inconsistency in their terminology applied by an appraiser who has since left the department.  He says it didn't affect the valuation, but suggested they would clean up the language.  However, DPD still has it listed as an R-3 group residence when that appears to be incorrect.  Also, there documentation says there was no change in occupancy, when Ogden believes there might have been.  The building code allows some grandfathering of things when there has been no change in occupancy and R-2 has some different building requirements than R-3.

 9.      History Exhibit:  On 5/22, neighbor Huda Giddens emailed to suggest that the Laurelhurst history exhibit that was featured at the Northeast Branch library be a permanent feature of the expanded community center.  She mentioned that she has three copies of the Laurelhurst history book, which she treasurers!  Hale responded and “cc”ed Herrin and Barrett who served on the project advisory committee for the community center expansion, Torrie who is LCC’s rep on the community center advisory council and Coco Sherman who also had ideas about displays at the community center.

 10. Crime at the Playfield:  On 5/23, Pat Wright emailed to remind the board that she had turned in a “target” at the North Precinct regarding the increase in nighttime activities at the playfield.  She reminded the board that neighbors need to call 911 so the police know when there is a problem.

 11. Beach Club:  Neighbor Toni Clayton (5/23) and Catherine Kalke (5/27) emailed with requests for information about the Beach Club.  Information was provided.  Neighbor Beth Alderman “cc”ed LCC on a message to the Beach Club on 6/7 about the Beach Club policy that restricts the number of guests that may attend private parties by members at the Beach Club.  Alderman was hoping to have a high school graduation party for her son and many of his friends are outside the neighborhood.  Maribeth Capeloto responded to Alderman re Beach Club policies.

 12. Music at St. Stephens:  Leslie Martin emailed on 5/25 to thank LCC for including information about their concerns in the e-newsletter.

 13. Traffic Advisory:  Goldie Silverman emailed on 5/26 thanking LCC for including the UW graduation traffic information in the e-newsletter.  She asked that LCC do the same for Husky football games.

 14. Coyotes:  Catherine Kalke emailed on 5/27 thanking LCC for the monthly e-newsletter and especially the information about coyotes.  Jan Nakahara emailed on 5/11 reporting that she saw a large coyote walking down 45th just past St. Stephens.  She wanted neighbors to be warned to keep dogs and cats inside (which LCC did in the last e-newsletter to neighbors).  Villa Head Mistress Polly Skinner emailed on 5/26 to ask if she could reprint our coyote story in the school newsletter.  LCC agreed (of course!). Barbara Bender also saw a coyote near NE 39th St and 48th Ave NE.

 15. Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) and SR 520:  David Mabberley emailed on 5/28 requesting that LCC refer to CUH as the UW Botanical Gardens (UWBG).  That term, he says, covers not only the old CUH (Merrill Hall, including Miller Library and Hyde Herbarium, and Union Bay Gardens), but also the Union Bay Natural Area and the Washington Park Arboretum.  In short, UWBG covers from Laurelhurst to Madison, the shorelines, and Marsh & Foster Islands.  He added that the proposed 'Arboretum Bridge' makes a cross at the heart of this space while the proponents of the tube-tunnel option would remove the 1960s desecration of the area - and make UWBG truly whole.

 16. Goodwill at Magnuson?  Neighbor Kay Stimson inquired on 5/28 about the possibility of siting a Goodwill bin at Magnuson Park.  LCC will check into this, but there is a possibility that park policies would prohibit this.

 17. NE 41st Street Median:  Bill and Colleen McAlleer emailed on 5/29 to inquire about the tape on the 41st Street median and maintenance.  Hale responded to tell the McAlleers about the plant renovation project approved by LCC, “cc”ing Dick Barnum to answer additional questions. 

18. Ronald McDonald House:  Joyce Halldorson from Ronald McDonald House Charities emailed on 5/30 to inquire about the possibility of speaking at a future meeting about Ronald McDonald House and what an asset it is to the neighborhood and how the opportunities for people to get involved.  She said many neighbors volunteer and St. Stephens regularly makes dinners for families.  Hale suggested an article in a future newsletter or e-newsletter.

 19. Wu Hsing Tao School:  Kristin Bach from the Wu Hsing Tao School emailed on 5/30 requesting an announcement at the annual neighbors meeting about location of the acupuncture school on the Talaris campus.  Handouts were provided at the publications table at the meeting.

 20. Mail Theft Ring:  On 6/4, neighbor Ina Bray emailed to alert LCC to a mail theft ring in the neighborhood.  On 6/3 a police officer confirmed to her that there is indeed a mail theft ring in the neighborhood.  It all started when Bray thought she heard the mail carrier coming and put out some letters for pickup, including one that had a check in it.  Instead of the mail carrier, someone had dropped off a flyer advertising a home for sale in Madrona and helped him or herself to the outgoing mail.  When the mail carrier came Bray asked if he had picked up her mail and the response was no.  Someone has been scouting the neighborhood and engaging in similar practices.  Bray also notified her neighbors about this after calling the police.

 21. Cooperative Maintenance of 43rd Avenue Boulevard:  On 6/6, neighbor Bev Kelleher forwarded an email message from Bill Allen about efforts to enhance maintenance on the boulevard.  Allen scheduled a meeting with representatives from the transportation department (Shane DeWald, landscape supervisor, Winn Ableson, maintenance supervisor and another person) on 6/8.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a cooperative agreement between the city and neighbors with additional maintenance provided by the city such as aerating, fertilizing, edging, watering and cleaning out the plant clusters.  In exchange, neighbors would mow and maintain the clusters during the growing season.  Ogden attended the meeting and is also working with neighbors in the area on traffic issues.

 22. Traffic Calming on 43rd Avenue:  Neighbor Mark Nagle emailed on 5/31 to report about his activities with his neighbors on the boulevard to address traffic calming.  Ogden is monitoring this for LCC and has been in touch with Nagle and his neighbors. 

23. Break-Ins:  Maggie Tucker Tai emailed on 6/2 to inquire about break-ins in the neighborhood.  Information was provided.

 24. Annual Neighbors Meeting:  Neighbor Karrman Kaplan emailed her lengthy list of neighbors on 6/6 encouraging them to attend the annual neighbors meeting.  Amick responded with information about the SR 520 issue.  Barbara Mahoney responded to report concerns that the six-lane alternative would reduce incentives to take public transportation as more people would be driving.  She is concerned about the loss of parking at the UW during the construction period and impacts of the Pacific Interchange option. 

25. Waterway No. 1:  Shane DeWald from the transportation department called on 6/7 to report that she had received calls from neighbors Judith Thornton and Kate Lloyd about the log blocking Waterway No. 1.  Hale reported to DeWald that Ogden had been working on getting the log removed for about three weeks and that LCC had just been notified that the Parks Department would haul it out. 

 Lloyd emailed on 6/9 to ask if the June agenda included discussion of the waterway.  Hale responded no that the meeting would be devoted to SR 520 and skateboard siting criteria.  Lloyd emailed today to ask about the status of improvements to the waterway, what the pavers that have been delivered will be used for and how the money has been spent to date and asked that this be on the agenda for July.  The message was forwarded to Ogden for her response.  Hale did mention to Lloyd that the July LCC meeting would likely be devoted to SR 520 issues again in light of the upcoming results of traffic studies and environmental impacts.  Ogden responded to Thornton and Lloyd about the log removal on 6/10.   

Kate Lloyd and her husband handed out information about their view of waterway issues at the annual neighbors meeting.  There were no questions at the meeting about the handouts.   

Neighbor Kay Stimson emailed on 5/28 to inquire about the status of improvements to the waterway.  She was referred to the LCC website for details. 

 Today, Ogden responded to Lloyd’s message about not knowing the purpose of the pavers.  Ogden attached email updates sent to Lloyd and Thornton from April explaining the purpose of the pavers.  Ogden reiterated that the pavers are for the stacked rubble/fieldstone edge.  She also explained the timing of the project—a delay until the fall for further implementation.  Ogden encouraged Lloyd to work cooperatively with LCC in restoring the site.

 26. Online Dues Payment:  Margie Rose emailed on 6/9 to report that she was having difficulty using the online dues payment form.  Sorscher and/or Rucker will look into this.

 27. Rats:  Newman is following up on concerns about rats in the Town of Yesler. The Department of Health will look into cleaning up junk storage to eliminate a possible rat habitat.

 28. Other Laurelhurst Groups:  LCC noticed that two groups with Laurelhurst in their names had filed as nonprofit corporations with the Secretary of State’s office.  LCC ordered copies of the articles of incorporation and list of directors.  It turns out that one group called Laurelhurst Community Organization is a neighborhood group for a subdivision in Bellevue.  The other group is called Laurelhurst Residence LLC.  Little information is provided on documentation from the Secretary of State’s office.  The registered agent listed for that group is the same law firm that represents the McCaws.

 29. Waterway #1: Kate Lloyd handed out copies of a letter asking for an accounting of funds authorized or used for the waterway.

 30. Blackberries. Liz Ogden said the blackberries were cut and sprayed behind the bus stop on NE45th St across from John L. Scott. SDOT is looking for shade trees to help control the blackberries.

 31. QFC Stoplight: Stan Sorscher asked if anyone has heard complaints about the new stoplight at the QFC entrance to University Village. We had asked Wayne Wentz for a status report after the lights went in, but since the traffic flow has not been seriously affected, maybe we should write Wayne a thank-you note, saying the light is not nearly the problem we thought it might be. Sorscher agreed to draft a letter to that effect.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

 2.      Annual Neighbors Meeting:  Sixty-six attended the Annual Neighbors Meeting at Villa Academy on June 7.  Neighbors received excellent presentations regarding SR 520 expansion, the Open Space 2100 project and an update on the Union Bay Natural Area.  Councilmember Richard Conlin, the featured guest, spoke about SR 520 Expansion—Vision or Nightmare and his plans to sponsor legislation to protect single-family neighborhoods from the many loopholes in the land use code.  Special thanks to Starbucks II at University Village next to Crate and Barrel and Great Harvest Bread Company for providing refreshments.  Also, thank you to Don Torrie, Stan Sorscher; Mark Holden, Heather Newman, Leslie Wright and Maggie Weissman for assisting with the event.  Six-year old Galen Odgen also did an excellent job serving as a greeter at the event. 

 Mark Holden thought the students' presentation about restoring the land south of Talaris was great, and the students have made similar reports for the last few years. Mark would like to see their piece moved earlier in the agenda, if they speak at future LCC Annual meetings.

 3.      Newsletter:  The May 2006 newsletter arrived in neighbors' mailboxes prior to the annual neighbors meeting.  The newsletter, under the very capable skills of Leslie Wright, the new newsletter editor, featured a photo of the community center groundbreaking, information about the annual meeting, daylighting of Ravenna Creek, University Village continued renovation and more. 

 4.      Community Center: Yolanda Abarca, Parks staff at the community center, has been transferred to the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center.  Her replacement is Dena Schuler.

 5.      Playground Design Meeting:  The first meeting of the Laurelhurst Elementary School playground project will be held Monday, June 19 from 6:30-8:15 p.m. in the cafeteria.

 6.      Open Space 2100:  Last year, LCC supported a budget request for Open Space 2100 to craft a vision for open space for the next century as a follow-up to the Olmstead legacy.  Initial funding was used for design charrettes involving over 300 citizens, many design professionals, public officials and others.  The Open Space 2100 group would again like LCC’s support for its funding request.  They would like to use the vision developed in the first phase of the project to establish a 20-year implementation strategy.  As part of this, they want to chart a sustainable long-range course for clean air and climate protection, restored shorelines and clean water and robust forests and habitat corridors.  By general agreement, LCC will support their funding request. This does not involve a financial commitment by LCC.

 7.      Single-Family Zoning Issues:  Please save your packet of materials on single-family zoning issues for future meetings.  Councilmember Conlin has agreed to work on this for LCC. Heather Newman, Joe Herrin, Liz Ogden and Jeannie Hale will work on this item.

 8.      Community Center Survey:  Dena Schuler, new staff person at the community center, contacted LCC on 5/26 to say that the Laurelhurst Advisory Council is interested in developing a survey to send to the community in preparation for our facility reopening this winter.  The focus is to find out the types of programs people in the neighborhood would like to see offered.  Schuler and the advisory council are interested in working with LCC on the survey.  LCC responded expressing interest and pointing out the survey we did for the expansion project.

 

REPORTS/ACTION

Crime Prevention:  Diane Horswill from Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention reported on the following: (These are unofficial stats.)

1.      On 5/09/06 in the 4800 block of NE 44th Street, called in at 2:04 a.m., a resident saw a man in the back seat of her car, she turned on a light and he took off, a K-9 tracked suspect westbound but lost the scent.

 2.      On 5/10/06 at 4530 46th Avenue NE, called in at 4:59 p.m., a fire was set in a pile of wood chips next to the bike rack at Laurelhurst Elementary, a witness saw three kids described as about 12 years old and on bikes leaving the scene.

 3.      On 5/13/06 in the 3500 block of 46th Avenue NE. called in at 3:25 a.m., residents heard what they believed was footsteps inside their house, they checked and did not find anything or anyone but wanted officers to double check to make sure, officers found no sign of entry.

 Night Out events will be August 1. Neighbors can register by July 24. Last year, 450 Night Out events were held in Seattle. At the North Precinct meeting, officer safety staffing was discussed. Seattle police staffing should ideally be 1200-1500 officers. The Police Guild does not oppose civilian oversight, in principle. All 5 precincts will hold picnics this summer. The Fremont Summer Solstice parade will be June 18th.

 SR 520 Issues:  Joe Herrin, Jean Amick and Theresa Doherty led a discussion of the SR-520 proposals. Joe went through the illustrations included in the packets showing the 4-lane and 6-lane options. A tunnel option has also been considered, and Joe mentioned a recent review by a European firm that has experience with this type of cut and fill tunnel. They surveyed the site, and made a preliminary siting of the so-called "hole in the water" where traffic makes a transition from bridge to tunnel. Based on the depth of lake bottom, the transition point is fairly close to the arboretum, producing a short stretch of tunnel, and relatively little benefit in terms of noise and reduced environmental impact on the arboretum.

 Lora Poepping asked how the political forces seem to be lining up regarding the 4- and 6-lane options. Joe and Jean divided the question. If the 4-lane option were viable, then it would be preferred. However, Montlake prefers the 6-lane option with the second bridge to the Pacific Avenue interchange, for instance.

 Theresa Doherty said that UW wants a design with HOV lanes, low impact on the arboretum, and the UW is not enthusiastic about the Pacific interchange option. Theresa would not indicate a preference among the official options, but said UW would prefer the features of the 6-lane alternative but skinnier as it passed through the Montlake Bridge area. The lid at Montlake is also attractive to the UW. Theresa said about 8% of the UW traffic comes from the east side over SR-520. She also pointed out that Metro has not made a public commitment to transit plans in the event the Pacific interchange option is built. Thus, the Pacific interchange option would not necessarily become a "transit hub" where Sound Transit, Metro, and cross-bridge commuters could transfer.

 Don Torrie asked about funding. None of the options includes firm funding plans. Funding would come from state and Federal sources, and would almost certainly include some kind of tolls.

 Mark Holden asked about a reversible HOV lane, which might make the design skinnier passing through Montlake. Unfortunately, traffic east- and west-bound is about the same, so HOV lanes are needed in both directions mornings and afternoons.

 Jean Amick talked about adding light rail, later. All the current options have some provision for adding a mass-transit mode of some kind. However, I-90 is the preferred route for light rail, so a new SR-520 might not see mass transit for a long time. Construction could take 5 years, with the old and new structures co-existing for most of that time.

 Joe spoke in general terms about what we might recommend. The 4-lane alternative would speak to our interest of reducing traffic, but the six-lane alternative with the second bridge to Pacific Avenue would handle congestion better for the most part. Jean Amick said she does not see a regional consensus forming around any one option at this time. The UW and some neighborhoods oppose the Pacific interchange option, for instance. The 4-lane alternative would have the least impact on the arboretum.

 Jeannie Hale said that in 1997, LCC took a position in favor of a 4-lane alternative. The EIS is expected out soon, and should provide more detail about the different options.

 Skatepark Siting Criteria:  Zinn who is the lead on skatepark siting criteria and who is working in cooperation with Haigwood on this could not be here tonight due to illness.  She passed along her recommendations to Hale prior to the meeting and agrees with the following:

1.      Preservation of existing green spaces

2.      Preference for sites that are already paved (old parking lots)

3.      Consideration of the Open Space Gap Analysis and other reports and plans documenting the need for open space

4.      Skateparks of any size should not be located adjacent to wetlands or wildlife habitat

5.      Skateparks should not result in the loss of green space, open space, wetlands or wildlife habitat

6.      Sites should not conflict with existing uses (e.g. Laurelhurst Playfield!)

7.      Skateparks siting should be compatible with residential neighborhoods where they are sited

 

There is concern that a skatepark in Laurelhurst would attract older teens who are not residents. However, the sense of the Board was that skateparks might be good facilities for playgrounds. We would want some influence over plans to make sure the scale and operation are consistent with the nearby residential neighborhood. A larger skatepark at Magnuson might be a good idea, too.

 

The meeting was adjourned at about 9:18 PM.

 

Minutes by Stan Sorscher