Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for September 11, 2006

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA


Attending: Maggie Weissman, Leslie Wright, Heather Newman, Susan Bennett, Brian McMullen, Barb Bender, Don Torrie, Mark Holden, Liz Ogden, Pat Wright, Pora Poepping, Jeannie Hale, Jean Amick, Joe Herrin, Jennifer Biely,

 Excused: Marian Joh

 Guests: Phyllis Shulman, Richard Conlin, Suanne Pelley, Julie Meredith, Kate Battuello

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

 City Councilmember Richard Conlin spoke about the 520 bridge project. He said the design is improving over time, as alternatives are refined. Safety may be a bigger issue for the SR 520 bridge than for the Alaskan Way viaduct. Other objectives are to improve transit, reduce environmental impacts such as runoff into Lake Washington, and make more dependable travel both ways on the bridge at rush hour.

 Over time, studies looked at ferries, tunnels, and different bridge options, with 4, 6 and 8 lanes. The top destinations for 520 bridge traffic are UW and downtown.

 Metro accepts the goal of a transit hub at Husky Stadium in principle, although no funds have been allocated, and Metro cannot make commitments at this point. In this respect, Conlin prefers the Pacific Interchange option, which connects HOV, bus and light rail systems. The bridge would be engineered to carry light rail on SR 520, although that would be several years in the future, with light rail going over I-90 first.

 

Conlin talked about objections expressed by UW, and how a new bridge would affect the arboretum, and surrounding neighborhoods. He said the impacts on wetlands from the three alternatives are similar, but can be mitigated further.

 Questions for Richard Conlin and Julie Meredith:

Q: Can we keep the on-ramp from Montlake to 520 westbound to go downtown?

A; That ramp traffic would require extra lanes- for a total of 9 lanes overall - up the hill to weave around the HOV lanes. Julie said the planned entrance to the east would move traffic from University Village to I-5 in 12 minutes in peak periods. A Montlake interchange requires 20 minutes in heavy traffic.

 Q: SR-520 needs more lanes on the east side to absorb traffic from the bridge.

A: That segment has 3 lanes, but the new project would provide 3 lanes plus HOV.

 Q: Height?

A: Conlin discussed the two boats that need to pass under the bridge. Long-term NOAA plans to move on of the boats to Lake Union. The Corp of Engineers will have final say.

 The City Council will hold a hearing on the bridge project on October 4.

 

 ADMINISTRATION:

Changes to the Agenda:  A revised agenda was distributed.  Jean Amick has suggested that new trustees help in agenda planning by picking out a topic or a project and organizing that part of the agenda.  She thought this would be a good opportunity for the new trustees to get involved and pick out issues or projects they might like to work on.

 Treasurer’s Report:  Joh could not attend tonight’s meeting, but provided a written report included in the packets.  She is seeking authorization to open an interest bearing money market account. Jennifer Biely said interest rates are up and the benefits outweigh costs of a new account. By general agreement, the move to an interest bearing account was approved.

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the July 10, 2006.  Motion by Maggie Weissman, seconded by Liz Ogden to approve the minutes. Motion passed without objection, with Jennifer Biely abstaining.

 Audit:  Don Torrie briefed the board on the audit he undertook.  Marian went back through the records and reconciled accounts for the period of the audit. Signatures should be updated.

 

CALLS AND CONCERNS:

1.      Curb cuts at Laurelhurst School:  Neighbors have been in touch with Ogden regarding the curb cuts going in near Laurelhurst School.  Earlier this year, LCC and the PTA jointly wrote to the mayor requesting curb cuts and crosswalk repainting.  LCC also requested funding through the Cumulative Reserve Fund.

2.      RentalClarina Marinski called on 9/07 to inquire about rentals at Laurelon Terrace.  Weissman responded to the inquiry.

3.      SR 520 politics at U Village:  On 9/06, McMullen reported that a neighbor told him that people from the Montlake neighborhood were pushing the Pacific Interchange at University Village and that incorrect information was being passed along.  It is unclear whether this took place at QFC that has loose restrictions on political activity or at U Village.  The matter was reported to U Village.

 4.      Waterway No. 1:  Kate Lloyd called Hale on 7/27 to report that someone was cutting down the Tulip tree at Waterway No. 1.  Hale checked it out and learned that a dead and hazardous branch overhanging the Lewis’s property was cut off.  This information was relayed to Lloyd.  Kate Lloyd has been in touch with Sorscher, Biely and Hale about the hedge-cutting incident. Kate asked for a copy of a letter sent in late July from the Armintrout's to LCC.

 Doug Armintrout’s letter to LCC and LCC’s response were provided to Lloyd. Doug Armintrout spoke to the Lloyds about signing a statement saying they wouldn’t do any further damage to the Armintrout’s property.  The Lloyds declined. Armintrout indicated that he intended to file a report with the police.

 On 8/09, Judith Thornton forwarded Biely an email message she sent to Kate Lloyd complaining about the lack of maintenance at the waterway and the desire for an accounting of the funds available for that purpose.  The message stated that the laurel hedge goes down the middle of the waterway.  It was critical of Phase 1 of the project improvements—installation of flat rocks to make it easier to launch non-motorized boats (part of the concept plan approved by neighbors). 

 5.      Break-in:  Brenda Ng emailed on 8/24 to report a car and garage break-in that occurred on 8/21 on Ivanhoe.  Due to the alertness of neighbors, the culprits did not make it into the house.

 6.      SR 520:  Amick has been in touch with the UW board of regents and has provided the statement from the 10 groups opposing the Pacific Interchange.  Amick responded to questions from neighbor Pat McCabe on 9/8. 

 7.      Skatepark:  Lisa White emailed on 9/01 to say she is not in favor of a skatepark at the playfield.  Eastside resident Shelene Conen emailed on 8/29 to express support for a skatepark in Laurelhurst.  She believes they are an asset to communities and provide a great physical outlet for kids.  Jim Skaden emailed on 8/23 to say he is opposed to the addition of a skatepark because of the noise.  He lives one block south of the park and thinks that a skatepark would be noisier than those playing tennis.  Julie LaFleur emailed on the same day stating that she would support a skatepark at the playfield because her six-year-old skateboards.  Mike Matthews emailed on 8/11 to express his opposition to a skatepark at the Playfield.  He’d rather spend the money on field turf for the fields so they could be used year round.  Evan Johnson emailed on 8/08 to express his opposition to a skatepark at the Playfield.  He is concerned about graffiti and kids “hanging out.”  Andrea Early emailed on 8/7 to let LCC know that even though her younger son skateboards, she is not interested in drawing unsupervised kids to the park.  She likes the nice, quiet areas and doesn’t want the graffiti that would result with a skatepark.  Sophia Eitel emailed on 8/06 stating she opposes a skatepark at the Playfield.

 8.      Rooming house:  Paul Klemond emailed on 8/31 to report that the big house behind John L. Scott is looking more and more like a rooming house.  He said on that date 8-10 identical boxes, each containing a bathroom vanity cabinet were delivered.

 9.      Assessment appeal:  Stephen Crane called and emailed mid-August to let LCC know that the Beach Club has appealed its property tax assessment, which has risen substantially.  Ogden provided a map and per Crane’s request and Kate Hemer provided information about the appeal process. 

 10. Parking strip problems:  Kathy Trumbauer emailed on 8/03 to report that the parking strip by John L. Scott is in need of attention.  She said it is an eyesore for pedestrian traffic walking to and from the businesses and that it wouldn’t take much time for John L. Scott to clean it up. 

 11. Car vandalism:  On 8/14, Stephen Crane reported that the night before a string of about nine cars on his street (52nd Avenue NE/NE 43rd) all had their windows smashed in and that some of the cars were keyed.

 12. Damage to Seattle Community Church:  Miriam Muller reported on 8/01 that police were investigating damage to the doors of the Community Church by vandals.

 13. Signage at the Playfield and the School:  Miriam Muller has been in touch a couple of times, late July and early August to request that a sign be posted at the basketball court listing the hours.  There is one on the NE 45th side, but not the 46th Avenue NE side.  The suggestion was passed along to Dena Schuler. 

14. Suicide Hill:  Ann Majercak emailed on 7/27 to thank LCC for its work in trying to curb speaking on Suicide Hill.  A couple of new signs were installed stating speeds were limited.  Majercak asked if LCC could put something in the next newsletter asking neighbors to slow down.  The speeding cars are quite loud and interfere with sleeping. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

2.      Thank you to Nan Haigwood:  Nan Haigwood testified on behalf of LCC at Councilmember Clark’s Economic Development and Neighborhoods Committee on August 17 on the mayor proposal to weaken the ethics code.  It was her first time testifying before public officials and she did a great job.  She also had the opportunity to meet Councilmembers Clark, McIver and Steinbrueck. 

3.      Take a Bite Out of Hunger Auction:  The U District Food Bank invites Laurelhurst trustees and neighbors to an auction on Friday, October 6 at 5:30 p.m.  The event will be held at St. Demetrios Hall in Montlake.  Tickets are $60 and tables of eight may be reserved.  Dinner options include lavender pecan chicken, roasted salmon in lemon and (vegetarian) baked penne pasta with olives.  There will be lots of great items to bid on including a very special dinner at Canlis, an African safari, a basket of Richard Kinssies selected South African wines, a golf outing at Pumpkin Ridge, lunch with Mayor Nickels and much more.

 4.      Free Trees: Lora Poepping said 2000 free trees will be available in October.

 

REPORTS/ACTION

SR 520:  Joe Herrin introduced a position statement and asked for Board approval, so he and Jean Amick would have an official position for public meetings. The position statement called for a skinnier footprint with less impervious area or otherwise less impact on the environmentally sensitive areas. It also asked for reduced speeds, longer lids, or other features to reduce noise. It pointed to the high cost of the Pacific Interchange option and funding shortfall at this point in the project.

 However, the funding plan typically comes after an option is finalized and a "record of decision" is made. The position statement also seeks better definition of a transit plan. In the discussion, interest was expressed in seeing a thorough study of additional bus service in the triangle area. Given heavy traffic on Montlake, Metro routes currently avoid Montlake Ave. In the Pacific Interchange option, capacity would support bus service there.

 Tunnel alternatives are technically challenging, but might be able to connect the bridge to the light rail station at Husky Stadium. A tunnel would add cost risk.

 Motion by Liz Ogden seconded by Maggie Weissman to authorize the position statement in principle, allowing Joe and Jean Amick to tweak the language consistent with our discussion. Motion passed 5-2 with six abstentions - Barb Bender, Mark Holden, Susan Bennett, Heather Newman, Jennifer Biely and Joe Herrin.  

Discussion continued regarding transit, scale of the project and wording in the statement.

 Motion to reconsider made by Maggie seconded by Liz. Motion passed unanimously.

 Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Barb Bender to remove the second paragraph and adopt the revised position statement. Motion passed unanimously.

 Crime Prevention:  Pat Wright submitted a complete report, which was included in the packets. Reviewing the key points, Pat described a letter requesting more funding for public safety. Diane Horswill had one reported forced entry burglary in July. Police responded very quickly to calls at the playfield and school. Pat talked about the good job done by liquor control boards. She gave the example of San Francisco as a model for business city government and the licensing boards working together. Pat said a sting operation was completed at a day camp in Lower Woodland Park. Diane is preparing a new brochure to help residents deal with noise problems.

 Possible Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund Grants:  The Department of Neighborhood’s Small and Simple Projects Fund accepts applications four times each year for projects that request up to $15,000.  The next deadline to apply is October 2.  Grants are only offered every six months.  It is likely that neighbors involved in the pocket park project across the street from the school will apply for a grant.  The deadline date is prior to the next LCC meeting.  An endorsement letter for the project and grant application will allow the project to receive more favorable review. The Board expressed support for writing a letter.

 It is also possible that the basketball court committee will be ready to submit a grant application to resurface and upgrade the basketball court at Waterway No. 1.  There are about eight neighbors who attended the design meeting that are involved in this phase of the improvements.  This grant application would be submitted by LCC. 

 Motion by Mark Holden, seconded by Jennifer Biely to proceed with the grant application. Motion passed unanimously.

 Short Plat Appeal Update:  Based upon assurances from the developer and neighbors interested in purchasing the corner lot across from Laurelhurst School, LCC withdrew its appeal to the hearing examiner of the granting of the short plant. The purchase is in escrow and is expected to close in October.

 Family Tree Project:  Jennifer Biely reported that the markers are going up on the trees, and she showed some samples.

 Community Center Survey:  The Parks Department is working on a survey to assess neighbor interests for future programming at an expanded community center.  Both LCC and the advisory council will have an opportunity to provide input into the survey.

 The Parks Department is interested in having the survey as an insert to a future newsletter.  This is what we did with the survey to assess neighbor preferences for an expanded survey over a year ago.  Leslie Wright got an estimate of the cost to print an insert and it would be around $500 with no extra cost associated with postage.  The community center advisory council is considering funding this.  There is also a possibility of putting a self-tabulating version on LCC’s website as we have done before.  The cost to set that up would be between $100 and $200 if that is something LCC would like to pay for.

 Motion by Heather Newman, seconded by Susan Bennett to authorize up to $200 to set up a survey on the web site. Motion passed unanimously.

 Library Funding Issues:  Sidney Hallam who monitors library issues for LCC has provided information about the Library Foundation’s advocacy plan for increased funding during the budget process.  That information was distributed.  LCC has written letters supporting funding for increased hours, the book collection and increased technology infrastructure for the past several years.  This year, the Foundation is asking that supporters tell them stories of why the library is important to them.  It can be a story or a sentence.  Barb Bender will work with Sidney Hallam on this.

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Minutes by Stan Sorscher