Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for April 9, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA

 

Attending: Maggie Weissman, Leslie Wright, Mark Holden, Jeannie Hale, Liz Ogden, Don Torrie, Heather Newman, Stan Sorscher, Lora Poepping, Barb Bender, Brian McMullen

Excused:  Jennifer Biely, Nan Haigwood, Joe Herrin, Marian Joh and Mark Trumbauer

 Guests:  Dena Schuler, Community Center Coordinator; Katie Gray, North Operations Manager, Parks and Recreation Department; Colleen Richey, Karen White, Department of Planning and Development, Colleen McAleer, Scott Poepping, Karen White

 Meeting called to order at 7:05 PM. 

Issues relating to the Laurelhurst Gym: Katie Parks discussed the policy announced for Laurelhurst School, which generated many emails and conversations with parents. Basically, every child should have a plan for after school, whether that means an after-school program, taking the bus home, walking home, or some other plan. Children must clear the school playground by 3:30, and cannot return to the playground until 4 PM. At 4 PM, the playground becomes a public facility, not a school facility.

 The school gym is not supervised, except during registered programs. Children can play in the unsupervised gym after school. The gym becomes a Parks facility at 3:30.

 Dena Schuler reviewed hours of operation at other Community Centers in Northeast Seattle, and she passed out a summary sheet.

 Colleen Richey spoke in favor of the value of the gym and its value to children in the neighborhood. She explained how the role of staff has changed over time. Colleen wants the gym and grounds to be inviting and a positive resource for children. Don Torrie will look at possible funding from the Neighborhood Advisory Council for extended staffing in the gym, probably effective with next year's budget. Ideally, we could upgrade the staffing from "rec attendant" to "rec leader." Lora Poepping said this would help bring kids to the Community Center, too, since they could go from the school to the Community Center after school lets out.  

Mayor’s “Clean Up Your Act” Proposal

Heather Newman introduced the Mayor's proposal as resolving some problems we've had getting property owners to clean up their land.

 Background materials about the Mayor’s “Clean Up Your Act” proposal are included in the agenda packets.  LCC has had a program for the last three years encouraging landlords to voluntarily comply with the city’s various ordinances relating to junk storage, vegetation overgrowth and other issues.  LCC has had some success with its program.

 Karen White from the Department of Planning and Development briefed the trustees on the Mayor’s proposal.  The proposal involves changes to the city’s land use code, housing and vegetation ordinances.  The proposal would significantly increase fines for landlords and property owners who refuse to repair dilapidated homes, turn their backyards into junkyards or let bushes and weed grow out of control.  The changes would increase fines, add citations for overgrown yards and make it easier to charge criminal penalties for the most flagrant cases.

 Specifically, the proposal would revise the enforcement sections of the Seattle Land Use Code, the Housing Building and Maintenance Code (HBMC), and the Weeds and Vegetation Ordinance.  Highlights of the changes include the following: 

 ·         Daily fines for violations of the Housing Building Maintenance Code increase from $15 per day to $150 per day for the first 10 days of noncompliance, and then up to $500 per day.

·         Daily fines for violations of the Land Use Code increase from $75 per day to $150 per day for the first 10 days of noncompliance, and then up to $500 per day.

·         Violations for vegetation encroaching on streets, sidewalks and alleys will be addressed through a quicker, more direct citation system, with the citation for a first offense set at $150 and a second at $500.

·         The city has the option of seeking criminal instead of civil penalties. Currently, criminal penalties for violations other than hazardous conditions can only be sought if the person has received a judgment from court in the past five years.

 Karen explained that most compliance activity starts with complaints from neighbors. The City gets about 10,000 complaints per year. About 6000 are pursued, typically with a warning. Most property owners comply promptly. However, about 10-15% of the 6000 warnings result in fines and a few cases go to court. The new ordinance is aimed at the problem cases. The citations should be quicker - the old way was subject to delays.

 Criminal penalties would be considered only after fines did not compel compliance.

 A public hearing on the proposal will be held on May 9th. Written comments are accepted through May 8.

 Motion by Heather Newman, seconded by Barb Bender to endorse the Mayor's "Clean up your act" proposal. Motion passed unanimously.

 

ADMINISTRATION:

Treasurer’s Report:  The Treasurer’s report was deferred until the May trustee meeting.

 Minutes:  Review of the March minutes was deferred until the May trustee meeting. 

 CALLS AND CONCERNS:

1.    Holly Oak:  One of the Holly Oaks on the 41st Street median has been cut down.  The tree is located about where Mary Gates and NE 41st meet the portion of the median maintained by the University of Washington.  Hale contacted Dick Barnum to ask if the tree was diseased, if vandals cut it down and what happened to the memorial name plaque.  Barnum coordinates maintenance with the UW and Talaris.

2.    Laurelhurst Gym Shortened Hours:  Many neighbors have emailed in response to a decision to allow the gym to be open only between 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays to accommodate programs at the gym during the summer months.  Laurelhurst School had also notified parents that children should not remain on school grounds after school is dismissed at 3:20 each day.  LCC has heard from many neighbors, including Colleen Richey, Jean Amick, Lora Poepping, Mark Nagle, Karmann Kaplan, Jennifer Biely, Louise Louthy and several others.  One person pointed out that if the gym is not open when school lets out, kids shouldn’t be hanging around.  With no supervision, there is no mechanism to deal with incidents that may arise, e.g. the unsupervised child who broke an arm between the time school closed and the gym opened.  Lack of supervision also leaves kids vulnerable to predator types.  Another neighbor pointed out that all other community center gyms provide supervision after school.

3.    Children’s Expansion Plans:  On 4/06, Scott Fallis sent LCC a copy of a message that he sent to city councilmembers regarding Children’s proposed expansion.  He is concerned about the lack of notice to the neighborhood about the plans.  The only information he has received did not come from Children’s, but rather a neighbor.  He has heard that Children’s is planning on building two 13-story medical towers that would be comparable in size to the Safeco Building.  He also heard that Children’s was unwilling to meet with neighbors because no meeting space was available.  Fallis was also critical of Children’s new outreach person who he said worked for the Port of Seattle on the controversial Third Runway project.  He is concerned about the massiveness of the proposed expansion which he feels would be out of place in Laurelhurst.  He urged the city council to reach out to the community to involve neighbors.  Ginny Sherrow, Cheryl Kitchin, Steven Reisler and Grace Yuan have also been in touch about Children’s.

 

4.    Villa:  On 4/06, Barb Ragee called to inquire about a rumor she had heard that the nuns had sold off more of the Villa property.  LCC will follow up.

 5.    Rooming House:  On 4/06, Barb Ragee called to let LCC know that City Light trucks were at the rooming house behind the business district installed bigger wires.  She said the workers called the rooming house and apartment building.

 6.    Fire Pit:  Miriam Muller emailed on 4/05 to report a stack of wood next to the fire pit.  She said it looked like a tree with large branches had been cut down.  The Parks Department responded that the pile would be removed.  On 4/01, Bill Countner reported that around 1:45 a.m., two of his vehicles were egged.  This occurred on 47th Avenue between NE 45th and NE 50th.  On 4/04, Angela Mumford emailed to express support for removal of the fire pit.  Her husband, toddler and dog spend several days a week in the park.  Her family has had to contend with urine and feces on the tube slide, human feces in the ball fields, broken glass and beer cans throughout the hillside and putting out a fire that had reignited the following day after a party.  On 4/02, Muller reported that the weekend (after the reopening of the community center) was one of the worst.  She doesn’t think having the Playfield open will make a difference.  She heard loud parties on Friday and Saturday night.

 7.    Boulevard Maintenance:  Andrea Early called on 4/03 to ask about maintenance of the 43rd Avenue Boulevard.  She was given the name of the responsible person at the transportation department (SDOT).  Early was thereafter told that neighbors agreed to do the mowing and that the lengthy median had not been on the mowing schedule since July of last year.  The SDOT person told her this agreement was in exchange for SDOT doing some of the work on the beds.  Early said that no one on her portion of the planted median (between NE 41st and NE 45th) had been contacted about an agreement to have neighbors do the mowing.  LCC is following up with SDOT and other neighbors on this.

 8.    Boulevard Damage:  Andrea Early called on 4/03 to report that construction vehicles repaving NE 45th had run over the 43rd Avenue Boulevard on the corner leaving large ruts.  LCC contacted the transportation department to report this—damage to the grassy area and possible damage to the irrigation system.  Repairs and restoration will be scheduled soon.

 9.    Right of Way Issue:  Karl Gaskill who lives on West Laurel Drive called on 3/30 with questions about a right of way he discovered in his back yard in a recent survey.  He is in the process of selling his house and had questions about removing the right of way.  Ogden responded.

 10. Development Question:  Ogden heard from a woman on 3/29 regarding issues with the City’s 75/80 rule.  The woman indicated she wanted to build a house behind where she rents on 47th Avenue and invoke the 75/80 rule to allow a substandard size development lot.  Ogden briefed her on the requirements of the rule and the likelihood that the rule would not apply.

 11. Beach Club:  Karen Donohue emailed Beach Club members on 3/22 indicating that the Beach Club has an immediate opening for a Membership Chair.  The person selected to fill the position will carry out the term due to expire in May of 2009 and will be eligible for reelection to a three year term.  While all board members are responsible for general governance of the club, each Board Member serves with an emphasis on a particular aspect of the club.  The board member in charge of membership assists with the hiring of membership coordinators (gate guards), helps set policy with regard to member dues, club usage and guests and assists with membership enquiries. The membership chair also assists with acquiring plants and flowers prior to Opening Day. 

 12. SR 520: Several Trustees received email solicitation from Mark Stoner regarding the 520 bridge replacement.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.    Thank you:  Thank you to Don Torrie for coordinating distribution of this month’s agenda packets.

 2.    Under the weather:  Trustee Nan Haigwood had surgery on the left eye on 4/03 and will be out of action for a while.

 3.    Leave of absence:  Newman has requested a leave of absence for April and May due to conflicts with traveling.

 4.    Billboard Relocation:  The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) responded to LCC’s letter nominating the billboard at Five Corners for relocation.  Their response is included in the correspondence packet.  DPD basically said that the billboard is not legally permitted at its location so is not eligible for relocation.

 5.    UW Code of Conduct:  The UW plans to implement a two-year pilot Student Accountability Program for students that live off campus.  Under the program, the UW will keep files on misbehaving students.  Students who receive a citation from either campus or Seattle police would get a warning letter from the UW.  A second citation could require the student to attend mediation with an accuser.  A third police citation — or failure to attend mediation — would allow the UW to initiate disciplinary action up to expulsion.  Students accused of breaking the law would still be subject to any legal action brought by police or prosecutors.  The proposed rule changes would affect some 6,000 students who live in the neighborhood north of campus. To grant itself new powers, the UW needs to first gain approval from the Faculty Senate and Board of Regents and make changes to the Washington Administrative Code — a process that is expected to take at least six months.  LCC supported state legislation similar to this proposal in the past.  Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Liz Ogden to add LCC to the list of supporters of the UW Student Accountability pilot project. Motion passed unanimously.  

6.    UW Botanic Gardens Open House:  There will be an open house at CUH on Wednesday, April 25, from 3-7 p.mThis event is featured in the upcoming Laurelhurst Letter.   Drop by anytime to sample free mini programs and tours and peek behind the scenes.  Find out where the Arboretum’s plants come from, see how Herbarium specimens are made, learn about cutting-edge ecological restoration and research, and more. Children’s activities will be included, so please feel free to bring them along.

 7.    Community Policing Open House:  The Mayor invites you to a community policing open house on Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Woodland Park Zoo, ARC Building, 5500 Phinney Avenue North.  There will be details about the Mayor’s Neighborhood Policing Initiative.  The plan will add 154 new patrol officers and is intended to provide a faster, stronger and smarter approach to protecting neighborhoods. 

 

REPORTS/ACTION:

Crime Prevention:  Weissman and McMullen briefed the board. 

1.    February Crime Update: A crime statistics handout was distributed. Seven juveniles were arrested after hours at the park.

 2.    Fire Pit Update: Maggie Weissman said the fire pit was built during the 30's. The Community Center and the 10 feet surrounding it are designated landmarks, but the fire pit is not. Many neighbors have spoken in favor of keeping the fire pit. The Parks Department will decide this month whether to remove the fire pit. Motion by Liz Ogden, seconded by Don Torrie to write to the Parks Department saying LCC supports the outcome of the public process on the fire pit issue and that LCC withdraws its previous position to remove the fire pit and replace it with a portable fire pit. Motion passed unanimously.

 SR 520 Update

1.    Community Agreement Group:  The draft report from the Community Agreement Group that met on March 31st and the tabulation of votes on various mitigation measures for SR 520 replacement are included in the agenda packets.  Groups represented at the meeting include Broadmoor, Eastlake, Madison Park, Montlake, Laurelhurst, North Capital Hill, Ravenna-Bryant, Ravenna Springs, Roanoke Park/Portage Bay, University Park, Wallingford, the Arboretum, the UW, Immersed Tubes and Tunnels Group, No Expansion of 520 and Parks.  There were several items all 16 groups agreed upon regarding mitigation and tolls.

 Colleen McAleer reported that Ted Lane organized the meeting. Fran Conley facilitated. Eleven points of agreement were documented in a handout. On the question of "pre-tolling," Joe and Colleen abstained, since they were not sure of the Board's direction on this point. The idea of testing tolls was considered at the meeting. That is, a toll would be collected from some period of time, to see the effect on traffic volumes. Colleen and Joe felt they didn't have enough information on this idea. Another idea at the meeting was to build a temporary bridge to the side, and construct the replacement bridge right where the old one is, now. Quiet pavement surfaces were also discussed.

 The NE neighborhoods will make more proposals, later.

 Motion by Maggie Weissman, seconded by Liz Ogden to endorse the 11 agreed upon recommendations of our Transportation Committee as determined by the Community Agreement Group. Motion passed unanimously.

 

2.    Senate Bill (SB) 6099:  Last month, LCC voted to endorse SB 6099, which would require the state transportation department (WSDOT) to hire a mediator to develop an impact plan for the SR 520 bridge replacement project.  LCC’s letter endorsing the bill is included in the correspondence packet.  Since the last meeting, the state senate has passed the bill.  When the bill went to the house of representatives, Representative Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee and a Mercer Island resident, tacked on an amendment committing the state to a six-lane alternative for SR 520 replacement.  In its amended form, the bill passed out of the house committee and is scheduled for a floor vote.  If it passes on the floor, which is likely, the bill will go back to the senate to reconcile the two versions or to see if the senate will agree with the house amendments.  At its April meeting, the Northeast District Council voted to oppose the amendments to the bill.  Some saw the amendments as a means to kill the bill.  Motion by Liz Ogden, seconded by Leslie Wright to support SB6099 as originally written and oppose the amendments added in the House version. Motion passed unanimously.

 Villa Transportation Plan:  Liz Ogden briefed the board on the Villa’s Campus Transportation Plan, which was included in the agenda packets.  Under the plan, as of May 12, those entering the Villa campus will have three options, tailored to meet the needs of the student, the school and the driver. 

 The Green Line pedestrian option is intended for those who walk or bike or park at St. Bridget’s.  Those folks must use the cross walk and pedestrian gate, stay to the right of the driveway and wait for the bell in the area of the front stairs.  The Blue Line express option is intended for drop off children.  These students must exit vehicles promptly and follow the blue path to the north end of the main building.  Cars must use a numbered and lined space to drop off or pick up children.  The Yellow Line short-term parking option is intended for families whose kids need extra time to get their gear and or selves out of or into the vehicles.  These individuals would follow the yellow path along the driveway and continue to the short-term parking lot.  Parents would need to escort younger children to the patio area.

 Board reaction to the plan was favorable.

 Children’s Master Planning:  Plans are underway to establish a new master plan advisory committee for Children’s planned expansion.  Because the deadline to submit letters of interest in serving on the committee was about the same time neighbors will receive their April newsletter, LCC asked that the deadline be extended until the end of the month.  Because there has been lack of notice about the process in the community most affected by the proposed expansion, the Department of Neighborhoods agreed to extend the deadline for Laurelhurst residents until April 30th.  LCC also learned of Children’s interest in having a citywide advisory committee, rather than a committee composed of impacted neighbors and businesses.  LCC’s letter to Dr. Tom Hansen, Children’s CEO, is included in the correspondence packet.

 The Major Institutions Code limits the number of non-management committee members Conflict of interest rules also apply. Committee members must disclose conflicts of interest and appearances of conflicts.

 Representatives from Children’s briefed the current master plan advisory committee at its March 15th meeting, providing a presentation similar to the one provided to LCC at its March meeting.  Children’s also briefed a small group of neighbors at neighbor Gloria Henning's house last week.  LCC prepared a flyer with details on how to apply to serve on the master planning advisory committee for that meeting.

 At the meeting at Henning’s house, Children’s mentioned that they would like to host a community meeting.  A couple of years ago, Children’s had agreed to work with LCC on educating the community about the master planning process.  LCC wrote to the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) about this asking about DON, Children’s and LCC working together.  DON has responded they are willing to do this. 

 Few details have been provided regarding the proposed expansion.  In the meantime, LCC is continuing to hear from neighbors concerned about the magnitude of the expansion.  Instead of focusing on the master planning process and issues, Children’s has chosen to talk about the good work it is doing and plans for the future to expand its efforts.  It has already been established that Children’s meets the “public purpose” requirement for creation of a Major Institution Overlay (regarding zoning issues) under the Major Institutions Code.  This means that there is no need to discuss the various medical programs at the hospital. 

On another note, Laurelon Terrace has engaged LCC’s attorney Peter Eglick regarding issues with Children’s Hospital.  It is possible that LCC and Laurelon Terrace could work together with Peter Eglick’s firm on master planning issues.

 Annual Meeting Planning:  We should invite Dina Schuler, the new Community Center Coordinator. Also, the CUH students normally report on their restoration project. We can also invite Children's Hospital to talk about their growth strategy. The Annual meeting will be scheduled for late May or early June.

 Leave of Absence: Heather Newman asked for a short leave of absence which was granted by consensus.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:07 PM.

 Minutes by Stan Sorscher