Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for August 13, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA

 

Meeting called to order at 7:05 PM.

 

Attending: Brian McMullen, Heather Newman, Leslie Wright, Maggie Weissman, Jeannie Hale, Mark Trumbauer, Stan Sorscher, and Don Torrie


Excused:  Barb Bender, Joe Herrin, Marian Joh, Lora Poepping (leave of absence), Mark Holden, Liz Ogden, and Colleen McAteer.

 

Guests: Emily Dexter, Jean Amick, Amber Luten, and Jud Crane

 

Amber Luten, Jud Crane spoke about Enotria, a new restaurant in the Union Bay location on 45th St in Laurelhurst. It will be a small neighborhood restaurant, similar to restaurants they operated in Minneapolis. The menu is "Italian inspired." The preliminary menu was distributed at the meeting - mouthwatering. The chef prepares everything from scratch.

 

Enotria will serve dinner, expanding to lunch and possibly catering at some time in the future.

 

Treasurer’s Report:  Joh is on vacation and reported that there is minimal activity on the books this past month.

 

Updated Roster:  A draft 2007-2008 roster was distributed.  Corrections should be provided to Hale.

 

Minutes:  The board reviewed the minutes of the June meeting.  MOTION by Brian McMullen, seconded by Leslie Wright to approve the minutes as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.

 

CALLS AND CONCERNS:

1.    Pedestrian Safety Improvements:  Richard Ettinger emailed on 8/08 to congratulate LCC on the new sidewalk being installed on Mary Gates and to suggest other safety improvements:  1) Drivers turning left onto NE 45th Street from 47th Avenue NE encounter a blind spot looking west.  His solution is, (not recommended in inclement weather), involves opening the car windows in order to hear oncoming traffic.  Perhaps something might be employed like a large mirror (low tech) or a less likely high tech method like a small yellow light activated by approaching vehicles.  2) The next suggestion involves placing a "stop" or "yield" sign at the intersection of NE 50th Street and 50th Avenue NE.  3)  The third idea, based on a personally witnessed accident on the steep sidewalk in front of 4511 NE 38th St. during which a woman slipped on the pictured utility cover.   He suggests applying some water and testing it for ourselves.   Some kind of abrasive or non-slip coating needs to be applied to the metal cover before the rainy season begins.  4)  Finally, the much anticipated replacement cover for the sidewalk hole on the east side of 45th Avenue NE just north of the intersection with NE 38th Street has never materialized despite attempts to enlighten the utility company representatives.  Photos provided by Ettinger were passed around.

 

2.    Children’s:  Allene Cady contacted LCC on 8/08 expressing dismay at the magnitude of proposed expansion of Children’s Hospital.  She was directed to the master planning website and encouraged to attend the 8/14 advisory committee meeting.  A neighbor reported that Children’s has entered into an agreement with the Laurelon Terrace board to purchase condominium units as they come on the market at the market appraisal rate.  There is a confidentiality agreement that prohibits Laurelon Terrace residents from talking about the contract.  Children’s has approached the owners of another home on NE 45th to purchase the house, which is on the market.

 

3.    Laurelhurst Boundaries:  Fritz Hansen emailed on 8/04 asking about LCC boundaries and how they differ from the Beach Club boundaries.  He was interested in historical information. 

 

4.    Change of Address:  Julie LaFleur emailed on 8/04 asking if LCC could mail its monthly newsletter to her in Sun Valley.  LCC offered to email her a PDF of the newsletter.

 

5.    Website Malfunction:  Matt Thomlinson emailed on 8/5 to report that the link to send comments to LCC isn’t working and to request that minutes for the last few meetings be posted.  LCC webmaster is on vacation for August and these items will be addressed when she returns.

 

6.    Dilapidated House:  Neighbors behind the Laurelhurst business district have complained about the house on the southeast corner of 36th and 44th NE.  The property was foreclosed and the house is an eyesore. The property will be auctioned off, the building will most likely be torn down and replaced.

 

7.    Crime Prevention:  Emily Wilson emailed on 8/02 to ask why Block Watch Captains were no longer getting crime prevention newsletters from the city to distribute.  Hale responded that the City cut funding for crime prevention. 

 

8.    Overgrowth:  Jo Bramwell emailed on 7/22 to ask about sidewalk overgrowth.  Hale responded requesting for specific locations as LCC can follow up with responsible neighbors.

 

9.    Playground Scam:  Coco Sherman emailed on 7/19 to report a playground scam at Laurelhurst School.  A boy wearing a Lake City jersey and a baseball hat was going door to door asking for contributions for the playground project.  One neighbor knew it was a scam when the boy was unable to verify that he had been a Laurelhurst student as he didn’t know any teachers names.  She still gave him $20.

 

10. Spiger Signage:  Avanti Sports contacted LCC about signage issues.  In June, Kocer Consulting and Engineering, a new tenant in the Spiger Building, has also been in touch with LCC regarding signage restrictions and the required LCC approved in a 1993 Settlement Agreement with the Spigers.  Holden is following up with Kocer.   

 

11. Talaris:  On 7/29, Sara Mockett reported her conversation with Roy Mann who works for Richard Ellis who has been hired by the LLC that owns the Battelle property to find people to lease space.  She learned that Talaris is trying to pre-lease the space and if it is able to do so, then the construction project would move forward.

 

12. Potluck Complaint:  Lou Johnson called on 7/23 to complain that neighbors on her block were planning a big potluck and would have the street closed for a few hours.  She lives in the vicinity of 50th and NE 41st up from the Beach Club.  It was suggested that she and attend the potluck.  She was interested and was given the phone number for the mayor’s citizen information service to lodge a complaint about the street closure.

 

13. Pavers:  John Behnke emailed on 7/05 to inquire there the pavers came from at the vacant lot.  Information was provided.

 

14. Playground Container:  Coco Sherman emailed on 7/03 to let LCC know that the container on the north playground at the school will serve as a collection site for the used sports gear sale.  She said that there was a lot of thought put into where to put the container and it was decided the current location would be best.  There are plans to paint and re-roof the portables this summer so the container cannot be too close to the buildings.  The gear sale is September 22nd.  Dale Sherrow complained to Sherman about the container.  LCC hasn’t heard from any neighbors complaining.

 

15. Tree Planting:  Alice Goodfellow called on 6/27 to report that neighbors had planted trees on her property on Laurelcrest Lane.  The trees will grow very tall.  Goodfellow was encouraged to work directly with her neighbors to resolve the issues.

 

16.  Christmas Tree sales lot: Emily Dexter asked about the open area where NE 45th St becomes Sand Point Way. The City persuaded the owners to clean that up after the Christmas tree selling season ended.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

 

2.    Outdoor Public Pool:  Christine Larsen is working with others to explore the possibility of a public swimming pool in northeast Seattle, possibly at Magnuson Park.  She is working with the University of Washington, which is willing to contribute $3.5 million.  There is a 12-year waiting list for the Wedgwood pool.  There is a seven-year waiting list at the View Ridge pool, but they have strict boundaries as to who may join. By general agreement, the LCC Board supports the idea of a new public pool in northeast Seattle.

 

3.    Walkway replacement:  The University of Washington has begun work to replace the deteriorating asphalt walkway on Mary Gates with a concrete sidewalk in response to a request from LCC.  Thank you, UW!  This is a major pedestrian safety improvement and much appreciated. We will send a thank-you note.

 

4.    Large Project Transportation Open House:  Transportation applications will be on display at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center on September 11th from 5-8 p.m.

 

5.    Large Project Review Team:  At its August 2nd meeting, the Northeast District Council (NEDC), representing 20 neighborhood and business groups, voted unanimously to nominate Liz Ogden from Laurelhurst to serve on the Large Project Review Team and Bonnie Miller from Hawthorne Hills to serve as alternate.  The Review Team will evaluate transportation projects that will be funded out of the Bridging the Gap tax measure approved by voters last fall.

 

6.    Children’s Master Plan Meeting:  Tuesday, August 14, 6-8 p.m., Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way, Wright Auditorium.  The Wright Auditorium at Children's Hospital is located on the first floor of the Janet Sinegal Patient Care Building.  Attendees to this meeting should park in Lots 2 or 3 (on the left from the main campus drive).  This will be the first formal meeting of the Children’s Master Plan Advisory Committee.  The Committee will make recommendations regarding the master plan that will guide future development at Children’s.   The Master Plan will lay out the type and location of new physical development at Children’s and establish guidelines for the design of development on campus, and the management of traffic to reduce the possible negative impacts of proposed development on the surroundings neighborhood.  Children’s plan is to add 1.5 million square foot of development.  A model of the proposed development will be presented and there will be an opportunity for public comment. 

 

7.      Hearing Examiner Rules:  The Hearing Examiner is considering amending its rules of practice.  Because LCC has filed many appeals with the hearing examiner, we were invited to review the draft and submit comments. 

 

8.    Webmaster: Susan Rucker has been volunteering for a long time and would like us to find another webmaster. As a policy, we should consider whether this is a volunteer job or a paid job.  Stan Sorscher agreed to ask around for pricing. Going forward, Jeannie would like to use Constant Contact to handle email distributions.

 

REPORTS/ACTION:

Crime Prevention: Brian McMullen went reported news from the crime prevention meeting: car vandalism on 43rd Ave NE - a large rock broke windows and dented a car; complaints of partying in the neighborhood; police responded to a party where shots were fired; car thieves have begun to steal cars when the owners are in church, then the thieves drive the car to the owner's home where they break in and burgle the house!

 

Cameras were mounted on light poles at several intersections in the City to help reduce instances of running red light. The automated system generated 1129 tickets so far.

 

 

Children’s Hospital

1.    Children’s Resolution and Memorandum of Agreement between the City and the Hospital:  LCC submitted detailed comments on the resolution and the memorandum of agreement and testified before the Council’s Urban Development and Planning Committee on July 25th.  LCC recommended four amendment, three of which the Council incorporated into the final legislation.  The amendments were intended to ensure strict adherence to the Major Institutions Code.  The first amendment tracked the language of the Code in stating the objective of the citizens advisory committee.  The second amendment ensures that vacancies on the committee are first filled from the list of alternates appointed by the city council.  The third amendment removed the language that allowed Children’s to jointly decide or veto members appointed to the master plan standing committee, which is not allowed by the Major Institutions Code.

 

The Council chose to include representatives from Montlake and View Ridge on the Committee, something LCC opposed because the Code only allows representatives from communities directly impacted by hospital expansion.  As it turns out based on the committee’s two orientation meetings, both of these committee members have allied themselves with Children’s.

 

2.    Children’s Master Plan Advisory Committee:  The City Council has appointed 15 people to serve on the advisory committee and four alternates.  Nine of the voting committee members (Cheryl Kitchin, Delores Prichard, Miriam Muller, Bill Nichols, Kathleen Sabo, Doug Hanafin, Catherine Hennings, Gina Trask and Cathy Higgins) and two of the alternates (Kim Dales and Christine Barrett) are from Laurelhurst.  Other voting committee members include Karen Wolf from Ravenna-Bryant, Michael Omura from Hawthorne Hills, Wendy Paull from Children’s, Yvette Moy, the citywide rep, Robert Rosencrantz from Montlake and Bob Lucas from View Ridge.  Theresa Doherty from the UW was designated as the alternate citywide rep and Shelly Hartnett as an alternate from Hawthorne Hills. 

 

Bill Nichols resigned from the committee on August 8th due to a conflict of interest as his architectural firm NBBJ represents Children’s in its South Lake Union development.  Both Steve Sheppard from DON and Hale tried to convince Nichols to remain on the committee.  The appearance of a conflict issue surfaced during the interviewing phase of committee appointment.  Because Nichols had nothing to do with the South Lake Union project, DON, LCC and the city’s ethics commission saw no conflict.  Nichols, however, thought concerns may be raised in the future and that he might be perceived as acting on behalf of Children’s.  DON has indicated that Nichols will be replaced on the committee with one of the Laurelhurst alternates.

 

Nominations are being taken for the officers of the committee. Cheryl Kitchin and Miriam Muller will be nominated from Laurelhurst. Bill Nichols' position should be filled by someone from Laurelhurst.

 

3.    Bylaws:  The Department of Neighborhoods presented proposed bylaws to the advisory committee at the first orientation meeting.  Cheryl Kitchin developed seven pages of proposed changes, many of which require greater transparency, adherence to the Major Institutions Code and information exchange with the community.  All but two of the proposed amendments were adopted.  A compromise was reached on the applicability of Robert’s Rules.  The remaining issue involves a provision that allows a person to be expelled from the committee for “disruptive” behavior, defined to mean “either creating a hostile and/or intimidating atmosphere, or unreasonable delays in decision making.”  Kitchin had suggested that adhering to Robert’s Rules relating to decorum, the standard for most community organizations, would be sufficient.  Kitchin and Miriam Muller provided leadership during the discussion of the proposed bylaws. 

 

4.    Officers:  Four individuals have been nominated or nominated themselves to serve as officers of the advisory committee.  Miriam Muller nominated Cheryl Kitchin to serve as chair and Bill Nichols as vice chair of the committee and both agreed to serve if elected.  Bill Nichols has since resigned from the committee.  Robert Rosencrantz from Montlake, after consultation with Children’s, nominated Catherine Hennings and Doug Hanafin to serve as officers.  Hennings has agreed to serve if elected.  Karen Wolf from Ravenna-Bryant nominated herself as an officer, but initially indicated her desire to serve as chair of the committee.  She has allied herself with Hennings.  Christine Barrett has nominated Miriam Muller to serve as vice chair of the committee and Miriam is willing to serve.  The committee will elect its officers at its meeting on August 14th

 

5.    Children’s Master Plan Application:  On August 7th, LCC wrote to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) asking that the comment deadline, set at August 19th be extended 14 days.  The Land Use Code allows an automatic 14-day extension if requested by anyone.  The new comment deadline is September 4th, the day after Labor Day.

 

6.    Scoping Deadline:  Despite a unanimous vote by the advisory committee to postpone the scoping meeting until the second week of September, the Department of Planning and Development scheduled the meeting on August 23rd.  Scoping is extremely important because it is during that process it is determined which alternatives and what issues will be studied in the draft environmental impact statement.  The advisory committee has just received Children’s concept plan and only 50 minutes of its meeting on August 14th is devoted to discussing the plan and developing comments.  In its letter, LCC also asked that the scoping process be expanded to 30 days as allowed by the city’s environmental policy act.  As a result of LCC’s letter, the deadline to comment on scoping has been extended to September 5th.  The advisory committee commented via email on the scoping issue and the email exchange is included in the correspondence packet.  Kitchin, Muller and Barrett expressed concern about an early scoping meeting at the height of vacation time for many neighbors and committee members and insufficient time for the committee to prepare their comments.  Bob Lucas from View Ridge and Theresa Doherty from the UW, as expected, sided with Children’s and the Department of Planning and Development in keeping the scoping meeting at the earlier date. 

 

7.  Development Alternatives Proposed:  In addition to the “no action” alternative required by the state environmental policy act (SEPA), Children’s has proposed two alternatives, both with approximately 1.5 million square footage of development.  Both alternatives would increase the maximum building height from 90 feet to 240 feet.  The preferred alternative would include expansion on Children’s main Laurelhurst campus and across the street at the Hartman Building.  The height of the one-story Hartman Building would be increased to 120 feet.  Under the alternative, all of the expansion would occur on the Laurelhurst campus.  Both alternatives include two new access points in the neighborhood—on NE 50th Street and on NE 45th Street. Laurelhurst representatives walked through the campus to visualize the height increases.

 

8.   Consultant: LCC' LCC’s Major Institutions Committee has recommended that LCC hire Carol Eychaner to assist in preparing comments on Children’s concept plan. Discussion covered events in the development of the Childrens' campus and an outline of the steps LCC will take over the course of the new development. MOTION by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Heather Newman to authorize up to $2000 for Carol Eychaner to evaluate the Childrens' concept plan on behalf of LCC. Motion passed  unanimously.

 

Proposed City Charter Amendments:  Council President Nick Licata has proposed a charter amendment that would require the Mayor to deliver the annual state of the city address before the city council at city hall.  This is how it has been done for many years, except for the current year when the Mayor gave his address at a luncheon before a private group with a $50 fee for lunch.  Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck proposed charter amendment would add a preamble to the City Charter.  The proposed preamble addresses the basic purpose of government in protecting and enhancing the health, safety, environment and general welfare of the people.  It specifically references promoting citizen participation in government, as well as transparency, accountability and ethics in government.  The Federation letter endorsing both of the proposed charter amendments is included in the correspondence packet.  Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Mark Trumbauer to support a charter amendment that State of the City address be at City Hall, free and open to the public. Motion passed unanimously.

 

NOAA on Lake Union:  Bellingham is actively lobbying the federal government to house NOAA’s Seattle research and science agency.  NOAA’s lease on Lake Union is expiring and efforts to rebuilt piers and two buildings lost to fire have been slow.  NOAA has been a good neighbor to Seattle’s citizens for many years.  It allows the Federation monthly meeting space for free and has assisted with community projects at Magnuson Park.  NOAA has 60 employees at its Lake Union facility and pays livable wage jobs.  The Federation’s letter supporting keeping NOAA in Seattle is included in the correspondence.  At its August meeting, the Northeast District Council voted unanimously to write a similar letter.  Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Leslie Wright to support keeping NOAA in its current location on Lake Union. Motion passed unanimously.

 

SUN Park Update:  In June 2007, SUN Park proponents were awarded a $15,000 neighborhood matching fund grant from the Department of Neighborhoods to develop a design for the pocket park.  Girl Scout troupes held five lemonade stand days to raise money for the pocket park.  The committee has held two work parties so far and hosted an ice cream social on August 7th.  There have been 148 donors.  The committee has $24,000 in hand and a construction goal of $80,000.

 

Jean Amick said several proposals were made to design the park. Interviews and selection of a landscape architect should be finished in a few weeks. A design should be available by the end of the year. About 30 volunteers have helped at recent work parties to prepare the site, and about 60 volunteers over the course of the summer. Private donations will go toward landscaping. The Land Conservancy owns the property.

 

Red Light Runner Device at Five Corners: Jean Amick started a petition to get a camera installed at 5-corners to ticket red lights. She has about 250 signatures, so far. That intersection is rated at a level of service (LOS) of “F” due to traffic congestion and long waiting times.  The City installed six red light runner devices last year at four key accident intersections.  The four locations were in downtown Seattle, south Seattle, near South Lake Union and the University of Washington (Roosevelt Way NE and NE 45th).  The devices have resulted in 14,000 tickets, raising over $900,000 in revenue between June 2006 and May 2007.  The first time being caught results in a warning, rather than a ticket.  The number of crashes has not been reduced at these intersections, but the severity of the crashes and injuries has reduced.  Red Light Runner cameras are revenue-neutral.  The City is expected to expand the program to another 12 or 18 intersections. Motion by Stan Sorscher, seconded by Emily Dexter to support red light runner cameras at 5-corners. Motion passed unanimously.

 

SR 520 Update:  McAleer's report was distributed, updating the group on SR 520 issues and a letter from the “Communities Forming Agreements on SR 520” that was written yesterday and sent to the mediator’s consulting firm.  The state hired the Keystone Group to serve as the official mediator.  McAleer met with one of the consultants on July 11 to provide feedback on the issues.  McAleer expressed concern over the lack of inclusion of representatives from communities north of the Cut.  She and others contacted excluded neighborhoods, Seattle Audubon and the Center for Urban Horticulture encouraging them to get involved.  The eastside has many more representatives than Seattle. 

 

A meeting was held on August 11th to discuss the mediation process and how SR 520 replacement affects the upcoming vote on the RTID, which includes about $1 billion in funding for SR 520 in the tax package.  Seattle representatives on the committee agreed to write to the Keystone Group, legislators and the governor to express concerns about the limited options to evaluate for SR 520 replacement, to request that the tube tunnel and other options be studied and to reiterate opposition to an eight-lane option. 

 

The “Communities Forming Agreements on SR 520” letter expresses concern that the membership on the mediation committee is being defined broadly that disadvantages Seattle communities and that the issues are being defined too narrowly.  The group expressed concern that the cost issues may limit the realistic options on the table and that funding should be addressed.  The group will develop a report for the mediators after the next meeting.  The Communities also wrote a separate letter to the governor, legislators and others regarding the legislation passed and the purpose of the mediation which mandates the study of additional alternatives (other than the six-lane base and Pacific Interchange).

 

Jean Amick and Colleen McAleer attended a meeting on August 11. Jean explained interpretations of the mediator's role. The Governor wants a 6-lane bridge, so the mediator was instructed not to discuss 4-lane alternatives. Also, Jean talked about which representatives will be involved in the mediation effort. An SR-520 Mediation Oversight Committee is being formed with no representatives from the 46th Legislative District. Representatives from the 43rd LD, and the 36th LD are on the oversight committee. Jean suggested a letter to the mediator and Governor asking for a representative for the Mediation Oversight Committee. Motion Maggie Weissman, Heather Newman to write a letter asking that Laurelhurst be added to the Mediation oversight Committee. Motion passed unanimously.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.

 

Minutes by Stan Sorscher