Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for January 8, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA


Attending: Mark Holden, Leslie Wright, Barb Bender, Lora Poepping, Jeannie Hale, Liz Ogden, Susan Rupp, Nan Haigwood, Maggie Weissman, Mark Trumbauer, Brian McMullen, Stan Sorscher

 Excused:  Susan Bennett, Jennifer Biely Heather Newman and Bonnie Zinn (leaves of absence), Joe Herrin, Marian Joh, Don Torrie

 Guests:  John Goudge, Kathy Jolly, Jerry Sherrard, Lisa Horwich, Cary and Jim Lassen, Miriam Muller, Rod Cameron, Warren Fisher, Ra Ruidl, William Countner, John Black, C. Han Kim, Joia Poort, Leo Poort, Elizabeth Davies, Scott Fallis, Sally Cramer, Coco Sherman, Yulinda Song, Christina Koons, Colleen Richey, Sergeant Paul Pendergrass, Officer T.J. Havenor, Seattle Police Department; Royal Alley Barnes, Seattle Parks Department; Diane Horswill, Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention; Kathy Jolly, Laurelhurst Elementary School Principal; Karen Ko, Department of Neighborhoods

 The meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM.

 Guests:

Problems at the Laurelhurst Playfield:  For the past month, teen drinking and drugging parties at the Playfield, loud music, shouting and other noise associated with the parties at the fire pit at the Playfield and Laurelhurst School, littering and graffiti have increased at an alarming rate.  LCC invited Sergeant Paul Pendergrass from the North Precinct and Royal Alley-Barnes from the Parks and Recreation Department to address the issues.  A summary of the calls and concerns from neighbors about the illegal activity is included in the “calls and concerns” handout and distributed to meeting attendees.  Copies of LCC’s Block Watch brochure were also distributed.

 Sgt. Pendergrass described processes and rules used by officers at the Park. Juveniles are not booked except for crimes against people. In Seattle, juveniles accumulate "points" assigned for various serious offenses. Parents are notified. A "Focused Response Plan" has been used at other parks with chronic disruptive activities. Police received 18 calls about Laurelhurst Park in November and December - a large number, but not exceptionally so. Logged calls are used to justify reallocating resources. Officer TJ Havener and Sgt. Pendergrass talked about activity at the park, and the addition of a second patrol car, at least temporarily. They talked about how residents can make reports, collect information, and avoid escalating a problem. They warned against sensationalizing a report, even though people do get frustrated when the response is not as vigorous as they would hope.

 Sgt. Pendergrass made a point of his to limited resources. He is responsible for the University area, Greek row, and neighborhoods north to NE 65th St, and east to the Lake. Still police responded to all 18 calls in November and December within a few hours.

 Officer Havener estimated that police have broken up 500-600 parties in his recollection. His impression is that local kids cause most of the incidents, by and large.

 LCC spoke to Larry Campbell, head of Parks Department Security for the City regarding the Park Exclusion Ordinance and whether it applies to the Laurelhurst Playfield.  Campbell said that it does apply.  Copies are included in the agenda packets.  The ordinance allows the police or parks staff to issue an exclusion notice to individuals who engage in illegal activities or who do not follow park rules.  The first notice excludes the individual for one week; the second for 90 days and the third for one year.  A weapons violation automatically excludes the person for one year.  Under the ordinance, police can rely upon reports from neighbors, rather than having to witness the illegal conduct themselves.  The Park Exclusion Ordinance in an additional tool for law enforcement and parks staff.

 Some neighbors have suggested that the fire pit be removed as this is the preferred location by teenagers for drinking and drugging parties.  Dena Schuler, coordinator of the community center, is checking on the history of use of the fire pit.  She does know that it is reserved for a couple of special events held in the park each year.  It is her understanding that there must be a permit issued by the fire department to use it.  Users must have a copy of the permit with them.

 Royal Alley-Barnes offered to get rid of the fire pit, although other steps are needed, too. A mobile fire pit can be constructed, and reserved through the Parks department for events at the Park. Landscaping can be a plus or minus by making parts of the park more open or secluded, changing sight lines and the use of the space. The Community Center will be finished in April. That would be a good time to start working on the landscaping plan. The area around the park is probably not eligible for a Residential Parking Zone. The idea of private security was considered. A program at Eckstein Middle School on underage drinking might help in the long run.

 Another issue is vandalism to the Seattle Community Church. One option is to prepare a "no trespass" agreement with the Seattle Police, under which police can arrest trespassers. Civil redress can be used to break juvenile privacy rules, and is another option for getting pressure on parents of children who vandalize property.

 Neighbor Appreciation Day Reception:  Coco Sherman updated the group on plans for LCC’s 10th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day reception. This will be the 10th year for this program in the Laurelhurst neighborhood. The Villa has offered space and Coco has some nominations already. Coco asked for volunteers to help set up.

 It has been suggested that the community should honor Pat Wright for her many years as the Laurelhurst Crime Prevention representative at the event.

 Laurelhurst Elementary School Playground Project:  The final design for the Laurelhurst Playground project is included in the agenda packet. Three neighborhood meetings were held to report progress and give an idea of the phasing of different parts of the project. The current target for funding is $360,000 in financial or in-kind donations. This would go to the south portion of the site. The north portion would be another $475,000, and the covered play area would cost $800,000. The Department of Neighborhoods makes "Large Project Grants" but even with that, a lot of outside funding is required. z

 ADMINISTRATION:

Changes to the Agenda:  Add billboard relocation request and land use code amendment regarding sidewalks.

 Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer Marian Joh could not attend tonight’s meeting.  She stated that there was no significant activity in December to report.

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the December 11, 2006 minutes.  Motion by Nan Haigwood, seconded by Susan Rupp to approved the minutes as corrected by recognizing that Mark Holden's absence was excused, clarifying the reference on page 1 to funding "waterlines", and another clarification in the 4th item under "calls and concerns." Motion passed unanimously.

 CALLS AND CONCERNS:

1.     Tree Strangling Ivy:  On 12/12 Hawthorne Hills forwarded information it received the City Arborist regarding ivy-covered trees on the south side of Sand Point and west of 47th Avenue NE.  The City Arborist has asked a housing and zoning inspector to provide an opinion as to the level of risk posed by the ivy that could lead to a public nuisance or tree hazard.  He didn’t think the city could do anything with existing ordinances to mandate removal of the ivy.  He suggested that neighbors or community groups approach the property owner.  As this is in the area where there will be an asphalt walkway, LCC can follow-up with the property owner.

 2.     Accident on the Top of Suicide Hill:  On 12/14, Mark Nagle reported that there had been an accident the night before on NE 41st and 43rd Avenue NE.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Philip Sweigert was hit while attempting to cross 41st.  His car had to be towed away.

 3.     Tree Loss:  On 12/15, Shari and John Behnke reported that the wind blew down their split leaf alder—the largest of this kind of tree in the city.  The tree is featured in the new edition of Trees of Seattle, by Arthur Lee Jacobsen.  Jacobsen contacted the Behnke about their tree, which cannot be saved.  Two very large deciduous trees were lost on the Battelle property.

 4.     Good Newsletter:  On 12/15 Lois Ann Pearson called to tell LCC how much she enjoyed the recent newsletter.  She said it was excellent and that she read every word!

 5.     Lost Watch:  Bonnie Zinn called on 12/17 to find out a contact for the Beach Club as her friend had lost his watch at the Christmas Ship event at the Beach Club.  Information was provided.

 6.     Problems at the Playfield:  On 12/19, Miriam Muller sent LCC a copy of a message she sent to Sgt. Paul Pendergrass regarding parties at the Playfield.  In her message she said that problems had begun again.  She said that in the last few nights, many high school kids are showing up again for bonfire parties in the park.  As she was writing her message, she noted that six cars pulled up in front of her house and about 15 people walked across the street to the park.  Several were carrying cases of beer.  On mornings after the parties, Muller said there is trash everywhere, beer cans, open containers, fast food garbage and other trash.  She said that the kids are very loud when they return to their cars very late at night.  She said one night, a guy walked up and down her street yelling about 1 a.m., then drove off flooring the gas.  Sometimes they congregate on the school grounds after the party.  Muller and her husband have taken down license plate.  She said the smoking, drinking, smoking and littering is happening on a consistent basis, mostly on weekends, but during the holidays every night.  She said she and her husband are now routinely calling 911.  Royal Alley Barnes from the Parks Department and other neighbors were “cc”ed on Muller’s message.

 On 12/20, William Countner emailed to also express concerns at the park after dark.  He mentioned that last August his vehicle was hit with a rock thrown from the park at 10:30 p.m.  He said he walks the park every morning at 7 a.m. with his dog.  On two mornings, the fire pit was littered with beer cans and bottles that took four to clean up the mess on one morning.  On 12/28, Countner also cleaned up the area around the fire pit.  Countner also provided a Roosevelt High School contact, per Muller’s request so information could be included in the email to parents.  He supports Muller’s idea of removing the fire pit and Ruidl’s idea of developing a proactive plan.

On 12/22, Sgt. Pendergrass responded thanking neighbors for the information they provided and encouraging them to continue to contact 911 to report illegal activity.  Sgt. Pendergrass forwarded his message to Officer T.J. Havenar who patrols Laurelhurst.  Pendergrass responded again on 12/23 to answer Muller’s question about what can be done to “take back the streets.”  He agreed with her assessment that it is dangerous for citizens to contact the wrongdoers.  Instead he recommended: 

·          Be a good witness.  If you and your neighbors continue to gather information such as license plates, dates and times of incidents, how many people are in the park and what they are doing, you effectively become the eyes and ears of the police.

·          Continue to communicate with him and/or 911.  He would like to know about all situations that cause concern whether 911 is called or not.

·          He would like feedback from neighbors regarding 911 calls.  What he means is, how long did it take for patrol cars to arrive?  When they arrived, was the problem solved?  How long after the patrol officers left did the problem occur again.   Information like this will help the sergeant or other supervisors to ensure that they are allocating enough staff to take care of the problem.  Otherwise, they have to go through the commanders to ask for additional staffing, a much slower process.

·          Several neighborhoods have participated in organized "citizen patrols.”  Neighbors work out a weekly schedule where as many neighbors as possible, pick a time and place to meet and walk together for an agree amount of time.  It lets you stay in touch with your neighbors and there is safety in numbers.

·          Keep each other informed.  Whether it is email, snail mail, a bulletin board etc., letting other neighbors know about the problem and what's being done about it really allows everyone to get involved.  Ensure that any new neighbors that are interested know how to contact Sgt. Pendergrass as well. 

Pendergrass wanted everyone to know that since summer, he has lost some staffing.  One officer is on an extended injury and three other officers have been shifted to other parts of the North Precinct.  This leaves him with nine officers to patrol the areas from the Montlake Bridge to the south, Magnusen Park to 85th and Aurora to the Aurora Bridge.  Pendergrass reminded Muller and others that the precinct captain is Captain Mike Washburn and that there are monthly meetings where police staffing concerns and crime concerns are discussed.  He will advise his Captain of the concerns that have been raised, but he said it would carry more weight coming from citizens.  All supervisors ask their commanders for more officers, so it's not taken as seriously coming from him.

On 12/23, Muller reported that the evening of 12/22 was particularly bad with a lot of noise, extremely loud music, people congregating on the street and on the bench next to the basketball court on the south side of the school.  There were many kids on the school grounds, others hanging out in their cars, and others going to the park then coming back to the front of our house and loitering.  Muller passed along comments from her website:  On 12/22 one neighbor reported that on her early morning walk at the park, she saw evidence of drug abuse at the fire pit, along with empty beer bottles, a can of lighter fluid, an aerosol can of Pledge furniture polish, plastic bags and a big glass jar.  She said these materials are used for “dusting” or “sniffing” by concentrating vapors in a container and inhaling.  She added that computer aerosol “Dust-Off” is another popular abused household chemical.  She suggested this is something that parents talk about with their kids.  Parents may also want to consider eliminating aerosol sprays from their household.

Another neighbor reported on 12/23 that a few weeks ago they were awakened to loud knocking on their door at 3 a.m.  A drunk or high young person was passed out on their stoop.  Prior to that night, they have been aware of large numbers of kids congregating in the park, lighting fireworks and running around the neighborhood.

On 12/26, Royal Alley-Barnes from the Parks and Recreation Department responded to thank Muller for her stewardship of the park.  She suggested that the police should be involved and that the community meet with school staff to talk about school security monitoring the site.  She “cc”ed her message to the head of Parks Security asking that there be an evening review of the park as well.  She suggested a meeting with the community club to address the inappropriate use of the fire pit.

 On 12/27, Brian McMullen responded supporting neighbors as the “eyes and the ears” of the police and writing down license plate numbers.  He suggested additional trash cans by the fire pit.  Muller reported that there was another huge and noisy party on this evening with 15 cars parked on her street.  On 12/28, McMullen inquired as to whether the recent violent crimes in the Greek system area might involve some of the same people causing problems at Laurelhurst Park.

 R.A. Ruidl emailed on 12/28 to suggest that neighbors generate a slate of solutions prior to a meeting, along with the advantages and disadvantages, comparisons, possible costs, etc.  He is afraid that most of the meeting will be devoted to explaining the problems rather than developing productive solutions.  He also suggested a blog for neighbors to communicate about the problem.

 On 12/28, Cary Pillo suggested it is time to remove the fire pit.  She said kids have vandalized the trees looking for wood to burn.  She added that it is a park activity that is no longer environmentally-friendly as a campfire at any time is polluting.  The pit also has no supervision.

 On the same day, Dale Sherrow suggested posting the list of license plate numbers on the telephone pole or where the offenders park.  This would let them know someone is watching and interested in who they are.  The posting could note that the license plate numbers have been provided to the police.  Sherrow recognized that the offenders would likely tear down and burn the notices.

 Diane Horswill, from Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention, responded on 12/29 stating that the teens that gather at Laurelhurst Park are not connected to those who have gathered in Greek Row.  She added that in every case where officers have made contact and gotten identification from those at the park, they have turned out to be local kids or are friends of local kids.  She thinks there may be more parties at the park because the construction project has made it a lot harder for officers to sneak up on the parties so the kids have a good head start in running away.  Weissman passed this information along to neighbors.

 On 12/30, Muller responded that she does not believe the offenders are neighborhood kids.  She didn’t see how the police could know because most of the time they don’t respond to calls.  She thinks the kids are from Olympia, Renton and other parts as she has asked them.  She noted that the kids are covering our park and the surrounding area with graffiti.  She doesn’t think local kids would do that to their own park.  She thought the group could potentially be a gang.  The backboard of the tennis court is completely covered in graffiti.  The letters "PB" are all over the park and on surrounding signs around the park and on school property and around the school.  She thought the fire pit was attracting dangerous kids and resulting in collateral damage to the park resulting in thousands of dollars in costs.  She supports an immediate solution.  Muller and Weissman have exchanged emails on who the culprits might be.  Sgt. Pendergrass responded on 1/1 that all 911 calls are answered.  He added that effective this week, he is assigning an additional officer to the Laurelhurst area with specific instructions to make the park part of the normal patrol route.  Pendergrass stated that the park is being patrolled regularly.  Muller responded the following day thanking Pendergrass for added police staffing and the explanation about patrols.

 Muller prepared a flyer about LCC’s 1/08 meeting noting that the North Precinct sergeant and a representative from the Parks Department would be at the meeting.  On 1/04, Karmann Kaplan sent out the information on the flyer to neighbors on her list.  On 1/07, Muller sent LCC the following responses to her flyer.  She also spoke with another neighbor who lives next door to the church on the street behind her.  This person mentioned that there was a very large bonfire the preceding night with speeding on her street, people shouting profanities, trash, etc.  The neighbor said that there were many cars parked along her street and that a few weeks ago high school students had trespassed onto her property, went behind her house and knocked on the back door.  The neighbor and her husband spoke with the high school people and they felt very unsafe.  Residents reported as follows in response to Muller’s flyer: 

 On 1/08, R.A. Ruidl provided the following listing of illegal activities at the Playfield to Muller:

 As for solutions, this neighbor suggested that the first line of defense is to promptly call 911.  He said that patrolling may be a deterrent, but backup is necessary for those fleeing the scene.  Youth need to get a strong message that their actions will not be tolerated.  He also thought that there is no compelling reason to have the basketball court on the playground.  This neighbor provided the following list of possible solutions that he said should apply also to Laurelhurst School, its playground and the gym: 

 7.     Community Center Survey:  Rich and Kathleen Morse emailed on 12/25 to report that the community center survey had not been posted on LCC’s website.  The survey is now posted.

 8.     Code Violation:  On 12/26 Kate Hemer sent LCC a copy of an email message to Susan Mueller of the City’s department of transportation regarding a code violation near her home on 55th in the vicinity of NE 45th and 55th Avenue NE.  Hemer had been in touch with Mueller in October regarding long-term storage of building materials in the public right-of-way on her block.  The property owner thereafter applied for a permit, free for the first month and $13 per month thereafter.  The monthly fee has not been an incentive for removal of the construction materials.  The material is unsightly and has tied up the street parking for a long time.  Hemer found no record of a building permit for construction.  The lumber has simply been left there; some of it is warping from the rain.  Hemer asked that the City provide a deadline for on-street storage of the materials.

 9.     Newsletter:  Karen Donohue emailed on 1/02 for contact information to submit an ad in the newsletter.  Information was provided.

 10.  Emergency Preparedness:  Karmann Kaplan emailed on 12/28 to let LCC know that she would be receiving 500 handbooks from the Department of Military Emergency Preparedness.  She inquired about the possibility of a community meeting on this subject, with maybe speakers from the Red Cross, FEMA or the Regional Public Information Network.  Jean Amick provided the name of an excellent speaker who addressed these issues to a group in Ravenna (JoAnn Jordan, Seattle’s Emergency Preparedness Education Coordinator).

 11.  Traffic Circles near 50th Avenue NE and NE 50th and Villa Traffic Issues:  Diane Matlock and John Hartley emailed on 12/16 after reading the community newsletter to express concerns about installation of traffic circles near 50th and 50th.  They said they didn’t know anything about the circles and should have been notified because they are most closely affected.  They think the problem is poor driving habits of people who exit Villa.  They also raised concerns about overparking on both sides of the street at Villa and St. Bridget’s.  Hale responded on the same day indicating that the request for the circles was submitted by one of their neighbors and that the circles are the highest priority projects in the 2002 North Laurelhurst Transportation Plan.  Hale explained that planning process and unveiling of the plan at the 2002 Annual Neighbors Meeting, and regret that the Matlock/Harley’s had not participated in the planning effort or the annual meeting.  Hale said that Ogden would respond further as she chaired the transportation planning project.  Kay Beck also called on 12/17 with questions about the traffic circles.  Ogden agreed to call her back.

 Ogden responded further on 12/18 thanking the Matlock/Hartley’s for sharing their concerns.  She explained the traffic and pedestrian safety problems outlined in the transportation plan.  She added that LCC and SDOT do not anticipate that the traffic circles will make it more difficult for drivers to get anywhere in their cars.  LCC and SDOT believe that the circles will make the residential street safer for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.  Odgen stated that there were a number of your nearby neighbors involved in the development of the transportation priorities in the transportation plan who felt very strongly about needing to reduce speed and increase safety on that stretch.  Regarding the overparking issue, Odgen agreed that parking in the area during big events at St. Bridget's can get very cumbersome.  While people are allowed to park on neighboring streets if they want to, Villa was kind enough to also extend the use of their parking lots to church goers at our request.  Odgen also asked the Matlock/Hartley’s if they were interested in having the community club request the city widen and/or add sidewalks to the street next to their home on NE 50th Street) so that the church parking does not impact them so much.  She added that NE 50th could use some repaving and runoff management. 

 Theresa Smith from SDOT responded to the Matlock/Hartley’s concern on 12/18 and 12/19, providing the results of traffic study speeds in the area, noting the speeds are higher than the 25 mph limit.  She explained the petition process to move the traffic circle project forward and offered to provide assistance.  She encouraged the Matlock/Harley’s to continue to work with LCC and their neighbors.

 On 12/18, Ogden responded to Smith thanking her for her responsiveness.  Ogden noted that there is very strong support for the traffic circles on 50th Ave NE. 

 The Matlock/Hartley’s responded to Ogden’s message on 12/19.  They stated that water runoff is an issue and if the problem was solved, it would help with the ongoing problems with potholes.  They said that there is so much water that the asphalt deteriorates continually.  They again mentioned problems with Villa traffic and said there had been many accidents or near accidents, some they believe are attributable to drivers on cell phones.  They suggested “No Parking” signs all along the south side of NE 50th between the Villa entrance and Ivanhoe.  Ogden responded to let the Matlock/Hartley’s know that Villa is planning on reworking their traffic patter to a one-way situation, entering at NE 47th/49th NE and exiting at 50th NE/NE 50th.  She believes that the Nicklas exit would be primarily used by teachers.  Odgen will follow-up and check on the signage issue.  As the Matlock/Hartley’s did not address the sidewalk issue, Ogden asked again if they and their neighbors might want sidewalks on one or both sides of the street.  Ogden doesn’t know if this would be a priority for the City, but it wouldn't hurt to ask if there is a perceived need or wish for them.  The fact that the street abuts a school would bolster the request. 

 Diane and John Hartley emailed on 12/31 to let LCC know about alternative traffic features they saw in Kirkland that serve as speed reminders.  They suggested raised bumps, similar to what is on the freeway, that would go all the way across the street in several parallel rows, followed by raised lettering—both in reflective yellow indicating the 25 mph speed limit.  They think the planned traffic circles would be visual eye sores and emotional and physical barriers for the people who live where the circles would be put in, and suggested they wouldn’t cost as much.  They also suggested lane markers (raised or painted) for the drivers who cross the implied centerlines.  Ogden responded on 1/3 indicating that Seattle has not yet adopted the devices they saw in Kirkland, but may in the future.  It is Ogden’s understanding that Seattle doesn’t use the turtle strips in residential neighborhoods because they are unreasonably noisy.  Ogden noted that SDOT has been experimenting with something called 'speed cushions' that could feasibly be used in this case but they haven't made much movement toward recommending use of them.  Speed cushions are essentially rubber mats that grip up tires that travel over them too quickly.  They are designed to not affect fire trucks whose extra-wide axels extend their wheels around them.  Ogden stated that the two traffic circles are at the top of the priority list in the north Laurelhurst transportation plan.

 12.  Flooding:  On 12/18, LCC wrote to Seattle Public Utilities regarding flooding problems all along the east side of 43rd Avenue NE and the houses on the east side of the alley behind.  LCC’s letter is included in the correspondence packet.  The following is a summary of concerns we have heard from neighbors regarding the flooding:

 On 12/18, Phil Kezele contacted LCC about the flooding issues in his area.  He provided LCC a list of possible neighbors on 43rd affected by the flooding.  The list includes:  everyone on 43 Avenue NE, Paul Grant, Phil Kezele, Vern Buck, Larry Crites, Jane Piehl, Bo Curthis and Tammy and Loren Kaneshige.  McMullen responded that his address was included on the list, but that he hasn’t had flooding problems.  Kezele also provided an aerial photo.

On 12/18, Nan Haigwood report that her daughter had a serious flooding problem in her home due to clogged gutters.  LCC had an article in the December/January newsletter reminding neighbors to be good neighbors and clean up their leaves.  The leaves and clogged drains not only cause flooding, but the leaves on sidewalks and overhanging vegetation cause unsafe sidewalks. 

On 12/19, Larry Crites provided two possible solutions to the flooding:  first, getting the street run off north of 41st into the storm water drain and second, and probably harder, solving the bottle neck where the sewer lines from 44th Avenue and above meet with 43rd Avenue’s alley line.  Crites had dropped off a drainage/sewage map to Hale that day.

Kiki Westinghouse called on 12/19 to ask for contact information for the Happy Hauler who advertises in the Laurelhurst Letter.  She lives behind St. Stephens and had major flooding damage after the storm.  She had water in her basement and the wood floor and paneling was ruined.  Contact information was provided.  John C. Smith called on the same day to report flooding damage on NE 55th.  He said there were problems with the combined sewer hookup.

On 12/27 Phil and Karen Kezele reported that on 12/26 the rains returned and they had flooding in their utility room and furnace room.  No water came out of the toilet as it had earlier in the month.  In mid-December, Coco Sherman who lives on 55th also reported flooding.

On 12/27, St. Stephens reported that the 12/14 storm that hit Seattle flooded the downstairs level of St. Stephen's.  Water piled up 55 inches high outside the doors to the Great Hall before breaking through them and entering the choir room, Great Hall and kitchen, and adjoining storage areas, where the water level reached almost 16 inches.  Many showed up to help out including a Boy Scout packet.  Clean up and restoration will take some time and the space will be unusable for a time.

 Phil and Karen Kezele emailed on 12/31 to report flooding problems they have seen.  They said the storm sewer in the vicinity of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street was clogged and overflowing and needs cleaning.  Based on a map they reviewed, they think the root cause is the manhole for one of the legs of the system.  The leg feeds directly into the north/south line between 43rd Avenue in the alley where their home is located.  They reported a new problem—a sinkhole on the rear fence line of the Wayte’s house.  The hole is at least four-five feet deep and is in the process of swallowing a tree on the southwest corner of the property.  The sinkhole is a problem because of the small children who live nearby.

 On 12/31, Larry Crites emailed to suggest that a city drainage engineer needs to look at the whole system in the Laurelhurst flooding area.  He had been promised two weeks earlier by Carrie Parker from the City that Greg Stevens would contact him, but that never happened.  He thinks that the people from the City have basically been passing the buck.  Most just say that they can file a claim with the City.  He is unaware of any qualified engineer or utility crew looking at the sewer issue.  He said that the City has cameras that they can run down the line, but they haven’t done that.  He noted that private companies charge $250 for this service, so it can’t be that difficult to do.

 On 12/31, Jake and Susan Moe reported that they continue to call the City regarding the overflow of the catch basin just north of their driveway.  Since the 12/21 "flood," he has called the Street Engineering/Water Department three times and that only once has there been a response.  He said that in the past, they have called these folks on a regular and yearly basis, to have them "clean" out the drainage lines, and the City has responded.  The Moes said that during the recent "storm" they had major and complete flooding in their basement.  They had to repair their washer, pull out all of the floor tiles in their playroom and replace the carpeting in the bedroom.  He said that water continues to flow from the catch basin down the street and that the drainage system can not handle it.

 On 1/01, Larry Crites reported that he had five inches of water in his basement on the evening of the 12/14 rain and storm.  He provided a link of the sewer and storm water diagram that show the problem (http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/sidesewercardsv2/Images/SSC2001/FRONT/TN25/NORTH/MAP025/1953-7.JPG).  He said that the four-inch drain that runs past several homes on 43rd likely has a break in it about where it connects to the eight-inch sewer line that runs down the alley.  He noted that several years ago Bo Curtis complained to the city about a sink hole in the alley.  The City’s solution was to fill it with asphalt, but not to fix the pipe.  The broken pipe was likely a contributor to the dirt that was washed into the Kezele’s basement and the reason that the pipe has not been draining property.  Crites wondered if some of the problems could have been caused by Merlino Construction and the work it is doing on 38th at the end of the boulevard.  He wondered if Merlino used the required filter bag over the sewer/storm line.  He suggested rerouting the drainage or connecting it with a ten-inch storm water pipe.

 Mike Wayte emailed on 1/02 to report that he had someone out from the City to look at the sinkhole in his backyard.  They talked about the water issues on his block and the person from the City said that some of the problem could be blamed on the Park Department and how it deals with its runoff. 

 On 1/08, Miriam Muller reported that a majority of neighbors on her block (the block across of Laurelhurst School on 46th) had flooding.  She had three inches on her block.

 13.  Development with No Sidewalk:  On 1/04, Children’s Hospital contacted SDOT about the four-plex townhouse development on Sand Point Way at about 40th Avenue NE on the south side of the street.  The developer was not required to install sidewalks on this heavily traveled area that is the direct route to Children’s from Ronald McDonald House.  It is Children’s understanding that the Land Use Code exempts developers from installing a sidewalk and other infrastructure if the building is four units or less.  Jean Amick also expressed concern about the lack of a requirement to install sidewalks in the Code.  LCC has learned from SDOT that funding for the sidewalk is planned, but follow-up is necessary to make sure that the project is included in the City’s capital improvement program.  LCC can also follow up on the development regulation that exempts units of four or less from putting in sidewalks.

 14.  Flashing Yellow Light?  On 1/04, Mark Nagle reported that SDOT had analyzed the traffic data for Suicide Hill.  The speed study was completed for eastbound and westbound traffic on NE 41st Street on the hill west of 43rd Avenue NE.  The 85th percentile speed of eastbound (uphill) traffic was roughly 26 mph and the 85th percentile speed for westbound (downhill) traffic was 28 mph.  These are reasonable speeds considering this is an arterial on a vertical slope.  There is currently an advisory speed and a warning sign alerting eastbound drivers to the intersection of 43rd Avenue NE with NE 41st Street.  SDOT will install a flashing yellow beacon at the location of these signs to further alert drivers to the intersection.  Nagle thinks this is a step in the right direction.  On 1/08 he reported that so far, no one in his area is opposed to a flashing yellow light, although one person would prefer stop signs, something that SDOT will not allow.

 15.  Traffic Light Delays:  On 1/05, Lindsay Cornelius emailed LCC to inquire about the traffic light on 45th and Sand Point Way stating that it lasts for five minutes for traffic coming down 45th to get onto Sand Point headed towards Montlake.  Don Torrie reported similar delays at Five Corners coming out of Laurelhurst.  Ogden has contacted SDOT about this and Cornelius was emailed telling her this and that we would be back in touch.

 16.  Tagging:  On 1/08, Geoff and Kathy Osler report that their garage door (facing the alley where they keep their trash and recycling bins) was tagged last week with spray paint.  They live on 38th and 49th Avenue NE.  This is the second time it has happened. 

17.  Talaris: Stan Sorscher called Bob Wicklein at Seneca Group for a progress report on the development in the northwest corner of the site. Bob said they have not gone back to DPD regarding the conditional approval of the Master Use Permit. He has not specific schedule for a next step. Bob said that permits expire after 5 years, although they can be renewed if the plan is unchanged.

 18.  Christmas ships: Liz Ogden heard from a neighbor that the Christmas ships were particularly loud this year. Neighbors near the water were intensely insonified, but the ships could be heard far up the hill, too.

 ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

 2.     Street Lighting:  On 1/02 Bender received a preliminary response from City Light regarding her street light inquiry for the neighborhood.  Edward Smalley, the Street and Area Lighting Supervisor, indicated he would respond fully soon. As lights wear out, new ones with more modern designs can be installed. We would like to see "dark sky" styles, for example. 

 3.     Sad News:  Cliff Louie who is with the Department of Neighborhoods and staffs both CUCAC and the Children’s master plan advisory committee was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on December 8, 2006.  He has begun chemotheraphy and it is unclear whether he will return to work. A get-well card was circulated.

4.     New Class: “All About St. Stephen’s,” meets January 14, 21 and 28 in the Parish Office at 9:20 a.m.  Learn more about the parish, its history, governance and community life.

 5.     Community Building for Seattle’s Neighbors—A workshop on how to make a difference in your neighborhood and beyond:  Saturday, January 27, 9 a.m.-noon, Bertha Landes Knight Room, City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue.  Councilmember Sally Clark will be the keynote speaker.  Panel members will provide brief presentations on:

·         Identifying and coalescing around important issues,

·         Raising money and generating in-kind contributions,

·         Finding and mobilizing volunteers, and on

·         Outreach and publicity.

 6.     Roosevelt Symphony Concert:  On January 18th, the Roosevelt High School Symphony Orchestra will play with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Each will perform separately and then together (for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5).  The concert is free and open to the public; it begins at 7:30 p.m. at Roosevelt.

 REPORTS/ACTION:

Crime Prevention:  Brian McMullen and Maggie Weissman, LCC Crime Prevention Co-Chairs, briefed the board.  The December 2006 crime stats are included in the agenda packets. 

 Emergency Preparedness:  Neighbor Karmann Kaplan has suggested that LCC host a community meeting on emergency preparedness.  LCC had planned to do this two or three years ago, but the project never got off the ground.  Kaplan said she would volunteer to help out.  The event would need to be scheduled so it doesn’t conflict with the Neighbor Appreciation Day reception on February 10 and the Annual Neighbors Meeting in May.

 Nan Haigwood said King 5 recommends 3 day of supplies in the event of earthquake or power outages.

 Community Center Survey:  Trustees, committee members and neighbors are reminded to go to LCC’s website to fill out the survey on programming priorities at the new expanded center.

 Billboard Relocation:  Seattle’s land use code regulating signs allows for the nomination of one billboard sign to be relocated per year by written citizen request.  In the past, Laurelhurst neighbors have complained about the billboard at Five Corners for aesthetic reasons and because it contributes to driver distraction.  That intersection has a level of service of “F.”  Motion by Susan Rupp, seconded by Liz Ogden to nominate the billboard at five corners for removal under this City rule. Motion passed unanimously,.  

Land Use Code Change re Sidewalks:  As a result of the four-plex development on Sand Point Way and 40th Avenue NE, LCC and the Hawthorne Hills Community Council have learned that there is a Code provision that exempts developers of four or fewer units from providing sidewalks and certain infrastructure. The Board gave general agreement to follow up on this and coordinate with Hawthorne Hills Community Club to repeal or amend this exemption.

Interim Trustee Appointment: We currently have 4 trustees on leave of absence. Motion by Liz Ogden seconded by Maggie Weissman to appoint Leslie Wright as a Trustee of the Laurelhurst Community Club subject to the conflict of interest rules we have in place. Motion passed unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Minutes by Stan Sorscher