Minutes for May 8, 2006
St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA
Attending: Nancy Haigwood, Don Torrie, Leslie Wright, Maggie Weissman, Mark Trumbauer, John Clark, Mark Holden, Tom Maider, Bonnie Zinn, Lora Poepping, Liz Ogden, Jeannie Hale, Jennifer Biely, Heather Newman, Stan Sorscher, Susan Bennett, Joe Herrin
Excused: Dan Becraft (leave of absence)
Guests: Ed D'Allesandro, Warren Perkins, LVR Soccer; Lynn Ferguson, Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance (MESA); neighbors Beth Toomy and Erin Schedler, Robin Chalmers, Maggie Tai Tucker.
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM.
Maggie Tai Tucker is organizing mothers in the neighborhood, patterned after a group in Madrona. She passed out a resource list, has a web site and Maggie talked about the goals and scope of the project.
Magnuson Park Fields: Warren Perkins spoke about the Field Five campaign, and passed out a handout with a map of the proposed project. At one time, 11 fields were planned for the site, lit to 11 PM. At this point, 9 fields are proposed, and lighting is included for 7 of those. Phase 1 is complete. Phase 2 will include fields for soccer, rugby, and two baseball fields. A fifth field is authorized for Phase 2, but not currently funded. The "Field 5" campaign seeks to fund the second lit soccer field to Phase 2. They need about $1.2 million and have pledges for about $200,000, so far.
Lynn Ferguson spoke about the timing of Field 5. By building the first 4 fields, the environmental impact of wetlands could be completed before building the fifth field. Lynn also wants more planning on the entrance, and would like to see bathrooms and more waterfront planning before expanding the fields.
Ed D'Allesandro advocated in favor of more fields, citing pressure on existing fields.
Robin Chalmers said LVR was able to grow significantly with no increase in field space.
Action on this item is deferred to the Reports/Action part of the agenda.
Treasurer’s Report: John Clark sold his house and will be leaving May 22. The Board thanked John for his many years of active participation in the community.
John reported that dues contributions are running ahead of last year's. We had 129 new dues-paying members. Federal and State official filings are complete.
Leslie Wright, the new Newsletter editor may have some costs associated with her transition of materials from John Burge's computer. There is not much of John Burge’s work that will transfer to her computer and several hours will be required for Wright to get set up.
Appointments: Since the April LCC meeting, other trustees have expressed interest in serving on the bylaw review committee. Biely, Zinn, Clark and Ogden seek appointment to the committee. LCC’s bylaws require board appointment of bylaw review committee members. Motion by John Clark, seconded by Maggie Weissman to add Jennifer Biely, Bonnie Zinn and John Clark to the bylaw review committee. Motion passed unanimously.
Minutes: The board reviewed the April 10, minutes. Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Liz Ogden to approve the minutes. Motion passed, with Jennifer Biely abstaining.
CALLS AND CONCERNS
Board members reviewed the calls and concerns included in the packets: 1-19
1. Drainage Problems: On 5/04 David Van Liew emailed to follow-up on a letter he has written to governmental offices about drainage and flooding problems on 44th behind the Battelle property. There is two feet of silt in the drain. LCC was “cc”ed on the letter he wrote and it is included in the correspondence packet. Van Liew has been in touch with Seattle Public Utilities, SDOT street repair and Surface Water Quality and the Talaris Facilities manager Paul O’Brien. There is a question as to whether the drain is on public or private property. Sorscher is working on this with Van Liew in identifying the property lines and solving the problem.
2. Joyriding: Ogden forwarded a message of 4/04 to LCC re teenagers joyriding in the neighborhood in the vicinity of Laurelhurst School. The teenagers stole a cell phone from a car and were seen driving a bit erratically along Sand Point Way. They were driving a nice SUV and appeared to be 13 or 14 years old. The neighbor called 911. The teens returned to Laurelhurst, but the police did not catch them.
3. Partying at the Playfield: On 5/1 Ogden reported that a neighbor mentioned seeing bottles in the fire pit. Wright later responded that teen parties at the playfield have increased as police can no longer drive into the park entrance. Police are patrolling on foot from the stairs on 48th Avenue and the overpass. The party-goers seem to scatter when they see the police coming.
4. Junk Storage: Newman is following up on a junky, rusty camper on cement blocks on the lawn at the corner of NE 44th between 36th and 37th NE. This involves land use code violations and Newman filed an online complaint with the Department of Planning and Development.
5. Montlake Webcam: Robert Norheim emailed on 4/28 expressing appreciation with the Montlake webcam. Alan Zarky emailed on 4/17 for a reminder on the link to the Monlake webcam. The link was provided.
6. Coyotes: Chris Barrett emailed on 4/28 after receiving a message from Cathy Higgins about coyotes in the neighborhood. Higgins reported that she had seen three coyotes trotting northward on the Children’s hillside. She asked that neighbors be alerted to keep small pets indoors.
7. Stolen Car: On 4/21, Steven Reisler reported that a patient’s red 1997 Subaru Outback had been stolen from the Springbrook lower parking lot. The theft occurred on 4/20 between 3 and 4 p.m. Police were called.
8. Mail Theft: On 4/18, the Fredrickson’s reported that they have had several important items of mail stolen from their mail slot the last week of March. She encouraged neighbors to use the blue post office mail boxes. The thefts occurred on between NE 50th Street and NE 54th Street.
9. Waterway No. 1: Ogden has responded several times to Kate Lloyd and Judith Thornton about vegetation installed at the waterway. Ogden suggested alternative types of plants that would still provide the necessary bank stabilization and a buffer to keep people back from the steepest shoreline areas. Ogden said that LCC may be able to replace the red twig dogwood with the “Isanti” dogwood hybrid. Isanti grows much smaller than the native red twig dogwood (4-5’) but should still provide enough habitat value to have a chance of convincing DPD that it will be acceptable. On 4/11, Lloyd responded reinterating concerns about her perception that views would be blocked (despite the fact that the waterway slopes down considerably from the street edge). Lloyd emailed again on 4/12 suggesting groundcovers, rather than the types of plants required for bank stabilization, habitat protection and safety required by the Department of Planning and Development. Ogden responded on 4/12. Lloyd emailed again on 4/13 offering to pay for the kinds of plants that she wants. Ogden responded that it is not a matter of the expense, rather complying with the requirements of the Department of Planning and Development. Ogden expressed appreciation of Lloyd’s interest in serving on the landscape committee and in researching native plants. Judith Thornton called on 4/13 expressing concern about Japanese Knot Weed at the waterway. Ogden responded that there will be an effort to develop a weed control plan in the future. Lloyd emailed on 4/14 again expressing concern about the plantings at the waterway.
On 4/14, Hale reported to Ogden that a young boy was running back and forth on the water’s edge with his dog close to the edge of the rockery. Hale went down and found out it was the Jackie Donohue. Hale called Jackie’s mother to report the dangers of running so close to the edge as he could fall off the embankment since there is no berm. Karen Donohue was appreciative of the call and also mentioned that she liked the new stone steps but thought that the area might need to be broader to safety launch kayaks. Odgen is following up on this and has arranged to have someone from Washington Water Trails Association view the launching area.
On 4/14, Hale spoke with Doug Armintrout about a City Light contact and the waterway came up in the discussion. Armintrout said that Kate Lloyd was in error in stating that he does not support the current plantings at the waterway. He does not support removal of the red twig dogwood or the rosa rugosa. Armintrout also asked it some kind of pad could be installed on the parking strip for the mailbox to get it off the sidewalk. Ogden will follow up on this.
On 4/22, Thornton contacted Ogden about a large log that had floated into the cul de sac of the waterway. She does not think the log floated in accidentally. She said she saw two young boys running along the log (although they would have to wade in to reach the log). Lloyd also called Ogden about the log. Ogden responded that the point where the log is located is where winds from the south flow and therefore the point to which floating objects will move whether on face or on point. Ogden thought it could be one of the protective logs for the Foster Island area which could have come loose and floated across the bay. Ogden said she would try to find a way to get the log removed. Lloyd followed up with another message to Ogden on 4/23 also expressing concern about maintenance of the vacant lot. Thornton sent a follow up email to Ogden on 4/27 about the log.
On 4/27, Lloyd emailed with a photo of beavers at the waterway. On 4/28, Lloyd emailed again about the log and also expressing concern about the pavers have been delivered as part of the plan. LCC with the assistance of SDOT was fortunate to have the pavers donated to the project. Lloyd thinks they are unattractive and asked if she should complain to SDOT. Odgen responded on 4/29 that the pavers are to be stacked, coupled with some other materials, to support the graded lawn area and separate it from the planted area and will serve as a low seating wall. On 4/29, Thornton called to complain about the pavers. She described them as pink, aggregate pavers. She was afraid the waterway upland area would be paved over with the pavers. Ogden responded with the same explanation provided to Lloyd. Thornton responded on 4/29 about the pavers with concerns due to her perception of the appearance of the pavers and asked who donated them. Ogden responded that SDOT came upon these pavers which were up for grabs, leftover from a city project, and asked if they would be okay instead of buying stone or hauling in some sort of other rubble that we might be able to find. Ogden pointed out that SDOT has been very resourceful on LCC’s behalf and that we should be grateful. SDOT is helping LCC to stretch the few dollars LCC has to make the design the neighbors wished for work. Ogden added that there are no plans to do anything different than the approved plan other than the schedule delay.
10. Newsletter Ad: Betsy Lee emailed on 4/10 to inquire about procedures for placing an unclassified ad in the newsletter. She was put in touch with John Burge. Jason Logsdon emailed on 4/27 inquiring about business ads in the newsletter—the cost, frequency of the newsletter, service area, etc. Burge will respond.
11. Fireworks on Union Bay: Neighbor Susan Marten sent LCC a copy of her email message to the city council and others regarding Windermere’s planned fireworks display over Union Bay. She had concerns due to the proximity of the display to the Union Bay Natural Area where bald eagles and other birds are nesting. After a meeting with the city’s Special Events Committee, it was decided that the display be moved to about 2,000 feet off of Webster Point to avoid interference with the nesting birds. Officials from the City of Kirkland were at the meeting and pointed out that they had gotten in trouble with the federal government over a fireworks display they had authorized as it resulted in the death of baby bald eagles due to the parents disorientation and abandonment of the nest due to the fireworks. On 5/03, Windermere issued a press release announcing its decision to cancel the fireworks display due to the impact on nesting bald eagles. Materials relating to this issue are included in the correspondence packet.
12. Dead End Signage: On 4/30, neighbor Lisa Horwish emailed to inquire about installation of a dead end sign on the 4300 block of NE of NE 44th. LCC will follow up on this.
13. Suicide Hill and Speeding: Neighbor Mark Nagle has been in touch about traffic calming devices at the top of Suicide Hill and speeding along 43rd Avenue NE. Neighbors in that area are working on a speed study (clocking drivers using radar guns provided by SDOT). This is a difficult location because NE 41st is a collector arterial and there are few options, as traffic circles are generally not allowed. Installation of a four-way stop at the top of Suicide Hill has been rejected in the past as there have not been enough reported accidents. Nagle will keep LCC informed on the efforts of his neighbors and is working with Liz Ogden. Ted Millan also emailed about problems at Suicide Hill on 4/27 and is working with Nagle. He pointed out that he has seen numerous collisions at the location of NE 41st and 43rd Avenue NE. It is likely these accidents were not reported.
14. Park Restoration at Magnuson: Ellen Aagaard reported that on 4/22 in honor of Earth Day, a group of Laurelhurst Elementary School families met to help establish native plants and trees at Promontory Point in Magnuson Park. The group weeded, cut burlap and mulched. Great Harvest Bread Company donated delicious cheese and cinnamon bread-sticks. Twenty-one out of 24 of those attending used earth-friendly transportation to get to the park (biking or walking). The other three carpooled as they had a baseball game to get to.
15. Short Plat on 47th: Kim Dales send LCC a message from developer Richard Bennett on 4/27. That message is included in the correspondence packet. Bennett wanted LCC to know that the three new homes will be designed specifically to fit into the surrounding neighborhood and will be aesthetically pleasing both in their architecture and landscaping. He thinks they will be a visual improvement to the current house and garage. He said that if LCC appeals to the hearing examiner, the delay would mean that demolition and excavation work would begin when school starts, instead of during summer break when parking and disruption to the school community can be minimized.
16. Beach Club: Roberta and Story Cation called on 4/19 for information about the Beach Club. Information was provided.
17. City Light Construction: Joia Poort emailed on 4/17 to inquire about a construction trailer parked on NE 41st and the T of 45th next to the tennis courts where she lives and parks. She thought the trailer might be related to the community center expansion and LCC followed up with the Parks Department and City Light. City Light agreed to park the trailer closer in to allow room for parking and to have their workers park across the street to minimize inconvenience.
18. Access to the Playfield: Neighbor Miriam Muller emailed on 4/12 and thereafter to ask about the possibility of installing a ramp to the Playfield at the corner of NE 41st and 48th Avenue NE as it is difficult for mothers with baby strollers to get into the park. Herrin responded explaining efforts in this regard and the limited funds available for the community center expansion. Muller responded and was still unhappy at the lack of ramps. Herrin responded again after walking the perimeter of the park. He pointed out that there is ramp-access at the north end and via trail access by the tennis courts at the south end (which the Parks Department has re-graveled for this purpose).
19. Pedestrian Obstruction on Sand Point Way: Bonnie Miller, president of the Hawthorne Hills Community Council, sent LCC a copy of her message to SDOT on 4/17 re fallen trees on Sand Point Way. The fallen trees force pedestrians into the roadway on a portion of Sand Point Way with low pedestrian visibility and a large volume of traffic at high speeds.
20. Waterway #1: Stan Sorscher had heard from Kate Lloyd that neighbors had started maintaining the site by mowing the grass. Liz Ogden said the permit requires a structured process for maintaining the area, but pending the development of that process neighbors were welcome to undertake informal activity to keep the area well groomed. Kate also reported that a gardener in the area had seen beavers, who were thought to have damaged some of the bushes.
21. Honduras Trip: John Clark said a neighbor's trip to Honduras had gone well. Volunteers had poured cement floors for 16 homes. The trip may be repeated next year.
22. Underground Wiring: Don Torrie had taken 3 calls about the underground electrical project.
23. Batting Cage: Bonnie Zinn had been in the Laurelhurst Playfield area when the batting cage was being used. It was her impression that bats with sleeves were quieter than what we experienced last year. We've heard fewer complaints from neighbors this year.
1. Thank you! Thanks to Don Torrie for coordinating distribution of the agenda packets and to Heather Newman and Jennifer Biely for assisting.
2. CUCAC: Mark Holden will be stepping down from CUCAC, but he will attend this month's meeting.
3. Public Meetings on Skate Park Siting Criteria: The Parks Department will host a series of public meetings regarding the siting and type of future skate parks in the city on June 15, 16 and 17. Additional information is not yet available.
4. Annual Neighbors Meeting: A date and location for the annual neighbors meeting has not yet been set.
5. Ravenna Creek Daylighting and Reconnection Celebration: Sunday, May 14, 11 a.m.-4p.m., Ribbon cutting is at 1 p.m. SE corner of Ravenna Park, NE 55th and 25th NE. Ravenna Creek has been reconnected and is flowing to Union Bay once more. The daylighting is truly stunning, even more beautiful than anticipated. It looks like a creek, it sounds like a creek, it acts like a creek. The final scope of the project as built: 650 feet new streambed – in which it meanders like a real creek, not a ditched channel, 200 feet rehabilitated existing stream, creation of new wetland pond adjacent to rehabbed segment. There will be live music and jugglers and clowns and unicyclists...and drinks and something to munch on. Plan to bring a picnic, come for a stroll or just come celebrate! The celebration will be jointly sponsored by Seattle Parks, King County and Ravenna Creek Alliance. Jugglers performance and instruction: 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.; RoRo the Clown making balloon toys from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; live music by steel drum band Island Jamz from noon to 1 p.m.; Ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m.; live music by bluegrass Shed Boys from 2 – 3 p.m. and face painting by Lynn Brevig from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
6. University Slough Renaming: At its May 4 meeting, NEDC voted unanimously to support changing the name of University Slough to Ravenna Creek. With the recent daylighting of Ravenna Creek, the water at the Slough is now clear and beautiful instead of muddy the way it used to be.
7. Other community committees: Mark Holden asked for clarification about how we maintain the LCC policies in support or opposition to issues raised at NEDC, CUCAC, Childrens helicopter committee and other venues.
Crime Prevention: Pat Wright’s report is included in the agenda packets. Pat prepared a job description which will help in finding a replacement for her as Crime Prevention representative.
SR 520 Issues: Joe Herrin said the draft EIS will be released soon, and it will identify the preferred alternative. He expects to see a comparison of a 4-lane alternative, and several 6-lane alternatives. Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) developed the base 6-lane alternative was developed by. A second 6-lane alternative includes a second drawbridge parallel to the current Montlake Bridge. A third 6-lane alternative would have a "second crossing" of the Montlake cut terminating at the Pacific Ave intersection (as opposed to the cut and fill concept terminating near NE 45th St.). The official LCC position, taken many years ago, favors a 4-lane design. The comment period will be in June and July.
An expert review panel will look at the project, and the Seattle City Council will conduct a review. Jean Amick participates on the SR-520 Advisory Panel.
Short Plat on 47th NE: There is not yet a decision on the developer’s short plat application on the site across from Laurelhurst Elementary School. In the meantime, some neighbors have stepped up and are willing to purchase the corner lot so that only two houses rather than three would be built. If neighbors purchase that lot, they would donate it to the Seattle Parks Department as a pocket park.
Enclosed in the correspondence is a letter to the Parks Department Superintendent opening a dialogue about purchase and donation of the property at NE 47th and 47th NE as a pocket park. The letter indicates the property is valued at about $550,000 undeveloped. The donating group is called Friends of SUN Pocket Park. SUN stands for Save Urban Nature. Funds have been secured to purchase the land, but details need to be worked out with the Parks Department and in finding a tax-deductible entity. A description of the project is included in the correspondence packet in a letter sent to nearby neighbors.
Liz Ogden expects a MUP to be approved soon. LCC has voted to appeal the MUP. However, if the park idea goes through, we might prefer not to appeal, or withdraw an appeal. Bonnie Zinn suggested supporting the park, but pursuing the appeal anyway, since a successful appeal would serve a purpose in future developments.
Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Don Torrie: LCC supports a pocket park at NE 47th St and 47th Ave NE, and, to the extent possible should preserve an appeal of the MUP if it does not interfere with the park. We would drop the appeal when the purchase and sale of the pocket park closes. Motion passed 7-4 with four abstentions: Maggie Weissman, Lora Poepping, Tom Maider and Mark Holden.
One of the issues that has surfaced is the need for a 501(c)(3) entity to allow donors to make tax-deductible donations. For over a decade, LCC has supported creating such an entity. Each time the issue surfaced, the person who volunteered to take the lead didn’t follow through due to other commitments. A couple of years ago, LCC was offered pro bono legal services by an attorney in the neighborhood who works at Perkins Coie. Due to concerns about added work, LCC has not followed up with the offer of legal assistance. The way this works with many other groups is that a 501(c)(3) if formed to act on recommendations of the 501(c)(4) (LCC is the latter.). Usually, there are four or five directors who are the same as those serving on the 501(c)(4), but the treasurer is a different person due to IRS requirements.
Motion by Maggie Weissman, seconded by Mark Trumbauer to proceed with a 501(c)(3) foundation, starting with a short presentation by a volunteer lawyer. Motion passed 13-2.
Phase 2 of Magnuson Park Development:
John Clark is a Board member of the Laurelhurst-View Ridge Soccer Club, and passed out a letter to the LCC Board saying he would abstain in voting on this question to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
At its March meeting, it was suggested that LCC revisit a statement made in its comments on Phase 2 of Magnuson Park development relating to the Field Five Campaign. Here is the statement under review and reconsideration:
“3. No component of Phase 3 of the project should be included in Phase 2. The Master Use Permit describes construction of four fields and subgrading of a fifth field that is part of Phase 3. Funds that would be used for the subgrading would be more appropriately spent on safety improvement to the NE 65th entry, on restrooms and/or on wetlands restoration. In addition, the City Council resolution approving Phase 2 development calls for evaluation and detailed monitoring for two years after construction and prior to construction of additional fields.”
The proposed Phase 2 development includes funding for subgrading of what is called Field Five. Phase 2 anticipates construction of four lit fields, but of the four fields proposed, only three would be lit. Hence, the new Field Five Campaign for an additional lit field with subgrading taking place in Phase 2 and completion at a later date.
The City Council has not yet approved the specifics of Phase 2 development at Magnuson Park, although has approved a general master plan. The Council has stated that each phase of Magnuson Park development should be a “stand alone” project that is not reliant upon future phases or funding to be fully functional. But, legislation adopted by the council encourages the Parks Department to consider opportunities and seek funding for projects in the park (such as LVR soccer’s private fundraising effort). The legislation also states that funding must be in place by March 2006 to approve Phase 2 projects.
MOTION by Nancy Haigwood, seconded by Bonnie Zinn that LCC not support field #5 at this time because the funding is not in place and the wetlands issues have not been resolved. Motion failed by a vote of 7-7 with Joe Herrin abstaining. LCC will therefore take no new position on this question.
Skatepark Siting Criteria: Bonnie Zinn reported that skateboard facilities are planned for every neighborhood in the city.
Shoreline Access: Liz Ogden briefed the board on signage issues regarding public access shoreline areas in the neighborhood.
1. Neighborhood Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund (NSF/CRF) at Northeast District Council (NEDC): At its May 4th meeting, NEDC ranked projects submitted for funding through the NSF/CRF. The rating is as follows:
· Asphalt walkways on Sand Point Way (submitted by Hawthorne Hills and LCC) received 85 points.
· Traffic circles on 59th Avenue NE/Nicklas Place NE and 50th Avenue NE/NE 52nd Street (submitted by LCC) received 66 points.
· Traffic improvements on Boyer/Fuhrman (submitted by Portage Bay/Roanoke Park) received 58 points.
· Traffic safety improvements on Delmar Drive/E Lynn Street (submitted by Portage Bay/Roanoke Park) received 52 points.
· U District Kiosk revamping (submitted by The Ave Group) received 43 points.
· Median and pavement markings on 47th Avenue NE (submitted by LCC) received 40 points.
· Pedestrian and traffic safety improvements in an alley from Roanoke to Edgar between Harvard and Broadway (submitted by Portage Bay/Roanoke Park) received 34 points.
· Street surface improvements on NE 44th and NE 43rd to the deadend against UW property (submitted by LCC) received 29 points.
LCC withdrew its request for crosswalks and curb ramps by Laurelhurst School because funding has come through from another source.
NEDC decided to submit all of the projects ranked instead of the top five as the instructions stated as some of the projects may not be feasible in engineering terms. SDOT's review of the Laurelhurst projects are included in the packets.
2. CUCAC: The University of Washington is considering a 225,000 sq. ft. amendment to the Master Plan in the medical complex. At issue is whether this is major or minor. A major amendment would require an environmental review. Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Liz Ogden that the proposed amendment for the Medical Center be considered a major amendment rather than a minor one. Motion passed without opposition, with John Clark abstaining.
3. Other Budget Priorities: LCC has traditionally written letters and testified supporting funding for parks, open space, libraries, public safety and transportation improvements. LCC has not previously commented on funding for the transportation department (SDOT) to maintain boulevards and medians. The budget materials in the packets indicate that SDOT maintenance has remained at 1990 levels, with a staff of 14 full-time gardeners and three maintenance laborers (one half-time). Since 1990, SDOT has added an average of one-two acres each year to its landscaping inventory with no increase in staffing other than one person for the tree crew. Today, there are ten full-time gardeners, one part-time gardener position and one irrigation technician.
At the May 4th NEDC meeting, Roy Francis, Manager of SDOT’s Urban Forestry Section, reported that his department lost about 25 percent of its budget in the last four years due to various reasons including the Tim Eyman initiatives. He said his crew maintains 135 acres of formal landscaping and that any project approved now must have a landscaping element. He stated that the three-person tree crew maintains 35,000 public trees. There are four categories of levels of service: excellent, good, fair and poor. Francis stated that 50 percent of the trees and landscaped areas are in fair or poor condition. Fair is defined to mean minimum maintenance is undertaken. Poor is defined as action only taken if there is a safety or security issue.
By general agreement, the LCC Board supports additional funding for SDOT maintenance.
The meeting was adjourned at about 9:42 PM.