Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for June 11, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA

 Attending: Barb Bender, Jeannie Hale, Joe Herrin, Mark Holden, Marian Joh, Colleen McAlleer, Brian McMullen, Liz Ogden, Don Torrie, Mark Trumbauer, Leslie Wright

 Excused:  Emily Dexter, Heather Newman, Lora Poepping (leave of absence), Stan Sorscher, Maggie Weissman

 Meeting called to order at 7:12 PM.

 ADMINISTRATION:

Changes to the Agenda:  Add purchase of a Legacy Brick to support the playground project, six-month leave of absence by Lora Poepping, Holly oak update, Sidewalk Safety Program

 Treasurer’s Report:  Joh distributed the monthly Treasurer’s report.  As of May 31, 2007, of the 1,318 families, businesses and others with Laurelhurst, 632 have paid their 2007 dues.  Joh pointed out that our stationary and newsletter indicates 3,000 households and business within LCC’s geographic boundaries.  It would be more accurate to reflect the number of residents.  Ogden will check on the census data that is available through the County.

 Laurelhurst neighbors, institutions, businesses and others have been invited to purchase a Legacy Brick for the Laurelhurst School community playground.  The engraved bricks will be placed in a more welcoming walkway entrance to the school off of 47th Avenue NE.  MOTION by Mark Holden, seconded by Don Torrie to purchase a Legacy Brick.  Motion passed unanimously. 

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the minutes of the May meeting.  On page 1, under the paragraph about replacement of the Holly Oak, “driver” should be changed to “driver.”  On page 5, under the section on board meeting format, the word “is” at the end of the second line should be deleted.  MOTION by Leslie Wright, seconded by Barb Bender to approve the minutes as corrected.  Motion passed unanimously. 

 Assignments:  The board reviewed the draft listing of committees and assignments.  Marian Joh and Leslie Wright volunteered to serve on the bylaws committee with Jeannie Hale and Liz Ogden.  Barb Bender agreed to work on the Sidewalk Safety Program.  Wright suggested adding a committee for environmental sustainability.  She volunteered to provide info for the website.

 

Election of OfficersMOTION by Mark Holden, seconded by Don Torrie to re-elect the current slate of officers.  Motion passed unanimously. 

 CALLS AND CONCERNS:

1.    Housesitting:  Former Laurelhurst resident, Susan January, called and emailed on 5/16 to see if LCC knew of any housesitting opportunities in the neighborhood.  She was put in touch with another neighbor. 

 2.    Beach Club:  Jenny Anderson emailed on 5/16 to inquire about the Beach Club.  Mrs. Barnett called on 5/22 to inquire about her lifetime membership in the Beach Club.  Both were put in touch with Karen Donohue.  Alan Rabinowitz reported that the stairs going down to the Beach Club need to be cleared.

 3.    Property at SE corner of 36th NE and NE 44th:  On 5/18, Michael Adler called about the house on NE 44th across the street from the rooming house behind the business district.  She was out for a walk, people were working there, so stopped to inquire what was going on with the property, and the owner was quite hostile, saying something to the effect that he could do "anything with his property he wanted to."  She said that--literally--the entire house has been gutted (no one lives there)--not even any appliances in sight (even the backyard where they were before).  Ogden followed up and learned that Malhodra Sunita has a permit issued for an estimated $10,000 in improvements for interior alteration/replacing sheetrock, replacing windows, replacing siding, and replacing roofing material.  The DPD permit number is #6110181 for 4316 36th Avenue NE.  Records indicate that a junk storage complaint was filed against Sunita on March 6.  He got a citation for it which he took to the hearing examiner and the citation was sustained on May 1, 2007.  Since Sunita has gutted his house, it is possible that he is exceeding the limits of his permit. 

 4.    Lost cat:  On 5/18, Janet Countner reported that she found a lost calico cat crying pitifully near the Laurelhurst School playground.  It has a black collar, but no tag.  She canvassed the neighborhood but found no signs for a lost calico cat.  If anyone owns the cat they can contact her. 

 5.    Babysitter:  On 5/22, Salome Dewell emailed to see how she can post info to offer her babysitting services.  She goes to Seattle Girls School, is certified in CPR and first-aid and has looked after up to three children before.  Dewell was put in touch with the Laurelhurst moms group.

 6.    Compliments on the newsletter!  John Shepard emailed on 5/24 to compliment LCC on its newsletter.  He lives on the border of Laurelhurst and Ravenna and asked for contact info for the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association.  Info was provided.

 7.    Break-in and car thefts:  On 5/26, someone broke into Susan and Erik Rucker’s house across from the Playfield sometime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.  It looks like they got in by climbing from one deck to the upper top deck and then broke open the door.  They took all their car keys and then stole their van.  Kim and Mark Dales’ daughter’s old jeep was also stolen.

 8.    History book:  Steve and Diane Adam emailed on 5/27 to inquire about how to purchase a Laurelhurst history book as they wanted to give a copy to a new neighbor.  They stopped at Hale’s house and picked up a book.

 9.    Attempted child abduction:  In the last week of May, a Laurelhurst Elementary School girl was approached by a stranger at her bus stop on 23rd near Garfield High School.  She tried to get away from the man, but he followed her onto the bus.  The girl did all the right things and the police were called and arrested the man.

 10.  Noisy neighbor:  Neighbors who live on 44th Avenue NE emailed on 5/28 to inquire what could be done about to discourage a neighbor from using loud machinery, such as electric saws at certain times of the day.  The neighbor uses his garage frequently to cut wood and the garage faces their back yard, deck and kitchen.  Hale emailed the city’s noise contact and forwarded the response received to the neighbors.

 11.  Block Watch Program:  On 6/2, Karmann Kaplan emailed to suggest reorganizing our Block Watch program.  She suggested each Block Watch have its own email network and that Block Watch captains coordinate with one another.  Amick supports this approach.

 12.  Pedestrian safety:  On 6/2, Alan Rabinowitz emailed about the need to keep clear and usable the 35th Street steps between 47th Avenue NE and 46th Avenue NE and the pocket park at the east end of NE 36th Street.  He said there are many such places in the neighborhood that need attention.

 13.  Campus grounds group:  Elizabeth Campbell emailed on 6/2 to see if there would be anyone interested in serving on a “Friend of” committee for the UW campus.  Its purpose would be to provide an oversight and advisory function in a variety of matters that are related to the UW campus operation, but predominately related to the campus grounds, their maintenance, improvement, the planning related to them, historical preservation aspects of the campus, and the capital projects which affect them.  All of this has a component that relates to those neighborhoods off-campus, and even, to citizens in general, the taxpayers who fund the UW operation.  Weissman has expressed interest in volunteering for this.

 14.  Deteriorating roadway:  A neighbor named Sophia called on 6/4 to report that the streetway on 53rd Avenue NE and NE 43rd is broken and moves and has potholes.  LCC provided the number for the Pothole Rangers. 

15.  Car prowl:  On 6/5, LCC was alerted that someone broke into the Collees’ car on East Laurelhurst when it was parked in their driveway.  A briefcase was taken and the culprit ran off when the car alarm sounded. 

 16.  Reckless driver:  Stuart Taff called on 6/6 to report a very bad accident on 5/18.  While he was driving on 41st, someone ran a stop sign from 42nd and totaled his car.  He was not hurt.  The driver left the scene, which makes this a hit and run, which is classified as a gross misdemeanor.  Ashley Becker and Marilyn Lytle witnessed the accident and a police report was filed.  The car was a souped-up white 1990 Honda Prelude, license plate 907SPT.  The driver was identified as Jose Morales Romero.  Officer Kennedy responded to the accident and Taff was told that the police do not follow up unless injuries are involved.  It turns out the driver’s license was suspended.  Officer Kennedy said he would have ticketed the offender for running a stop sign had he remained at the scene.  The suspect car has been seen in the neighborhood driving at high rates of speed and it is believed that the owner is a day laborer.  LCC followed up with SPD on this.

 17.  Children’s acquisition:  At the 6/7 meeting, Children’s reported that it had purchased the Bielys’ home after being approached by the homeowners. 

 18.  Median maintenance:  Ed Curtis emailed on 6/8 to inquire about the lack of maintenance on the portion of the Mary Gates/NE 41st Street median that is the UW’s responsibility.  LCC has contacted the UW about this as the tall weeds are starting to go to seed.

 19.  Late night basketball:  On 6/8, Miriam Muller sent LCC a copy of her message to Laurelhurst Elementary School principal Kathy Jolly about late night basketball on the playground.  She said that in the last few weeks, people have been playing basketball until midnight or after and that 6/8 was a particularly bad night.  She went out at 10 p.m. to let the people know that the court was closed.  They left, but another group arrived and stayed until 12:45 a.m. and she didn’t feel safe going out at that time to ask them to leave.  She called School Security at 11:30 p.m. to report it.  She called again at 12:15 to ask about the status of the complaint and was told they don’t respond to that kind of thing.  Muller asked Jolly who are the people that can respond to these kinds of complaints.  She asked that the signage about hours the court is open be moved to the entrance on 46th Avenue NE, something she requested last year.  The sign is now on NE 46th where no one can see it and where there is no entrance. 

 20.  Waterway No. 1:  Ruth Kousky called on 6/10 to inquire about the article that appeared in Seattle Weekly about the waterway.  On 6/11, Kate Lloyd called Ogden for an update about planning for the waterway.  Lloyd also called Trumbauer a couple of times about the waterway. 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

 2.    Thank you, Trustees and Committee Members!  Thanks to Jean Amick, Barb Bender, Jennifer Biely, Jeannie Hale, Joe Herrin, Mark Holden, Marian Joh, Cheryl Kitchin, Colleen McAleer, Brian McMullen, Susan Rupp, Stan Sorscher, Don Torrie, Mark Trumbauer, Maggie Weissman, and especially to Liz Ogden for helping out and attending the Annual Neighbors Meeting.

 3.    Walkway replacement:  On 5/23, UW president Mark Emmert emailed LCC in response to its letter requesting replacement of the deteriorating walkway on Mary Gates.  He said he would look into it and add it to their “to do list,” although he said that list is long.  LCC emailed back neighbor Les Podgorny who brought this issue to LCC’s attention to give him an update.

 4.    Congratulations:  The Department of Neighborhoods has awarded the Laurelhurst School Community Playground Renovation Project a $90,000 neighborhood matching fund grant.  The award is subject to approval from the city council and the mayor so a final award may not be made until late summer or fall.

 5.    Spiger Signage:  Kocer Consulting and Engineering, a new tenant in the Spiger Building, has been in touch with LCC regarding signage restrictions and the required LCC approved in a 1993 Settlement Agreement with the Spigers.  Kocer was invited to provide background information about proposed signage and/or to attend an LCC meeting.

 6.    Upgrades at UW Golf Driving Range:  David Elaimy followed up with LCC on 6/7 regarding his proposal to upgrade and manage the UW’s golf driving range.  He reported that meetings with University officials did not work out as well as he had hoped and it does not look as if his group’s vision and plans will be moving forward.  The dialogue with the University is still open, but the money that had been earmarked for the renovation has been removed.  Elaimy thinks the plan for the Department of Recreational Sports Programs is to invest a smaller amount of money to address major problems that exist at the range and to wait on the big renovation.

 

REPORTS/ACTION:

Children’s Hospital

1.    Community meetings:  Children’s hosted two community meetings, one on May 19th and the other on June 7th.  LCC asked the hospital if they would be interested in cosponsoring the meetings so that we could work together on setting the agenda, but Children’s was not interested.  Approximately 150 people attended the meeting on May 19th.  Children’s hired Enviroissues to assist with facilitating the meeting.  The meeting started off with the facilitator stating that they would not be taking any questions, other than when neighbors divided into small groups.  Representatives from Children’s spoke as did Steve Sheppard from the Department of Neighborhoods.  Sheppard introduced Councilmember Jean Godden and representatives from two other councilmembers’ offices.  The four small groups were transportation, open space, green development and buildings and facilities.  Most neighbors attended the buildings and facilities group, with only a handful in each of the other groups.  Comments from the small groups were relayed to the larger group by facilitators from Enviroissues.  Neighbors attending the meeting were frustrated with the meeting format and inability to ask questions.

 Approximately 144 attended the follow-up meeting on June 7.  The format was modified to reflect concerns of neighbors (see letter in the correspondence packet).  The meeting was more cordial than the earlier divisiveness meeting on May 19th.

 2.    Master plan advisory committee:  LCC interviewed all of the people on the draft list provided by Children’s of its preferred nominees to serve on the committee.  Children’s list included representatives from Seward Park, Madronna, Inverness, Montlake, View Ridge and Gig Harbor.  The Major Institutions Code allows only one citywide representative on the committee.  The Code calls for representatives who live in adjacent communities who are directly impacted by the actions of the institution.  Other than one citywide representative, LCC does not believe that representatives from other parts of the city should be included on the committee.  To include those individuals would mean excluding others in Laurelhurst, Ravenna and Hawthorne Hills who are directly impacted.

 Children’s submitted a revised list of nominees to serve on the committee that included the representative from LCC, Cheryl Kitchin.  LCC then submitted a revised list of nominees.  So far, there is no representative who lives in Laurelon Terrace, although there is someone proposed who owns property there.  Children’s list includes one person from Seward Park who missed the application date.  LCC met with representatives from the Department of Neighborhoods twice; the second meeting also included representatives from Children’s.  Stella Chao, the director of the Department of Neighborhoods will be making her final decision regarding committee composition soon.  The list will then go to the city council which may approve the committee as recommended or change the size or composition.

 3.    Annual Neighbors Meeting:  Sixty neighbors attended the Annual Neighbors Meeting where there was a frank discussion of issues relating to the proposed expansion at Children’s Hospital.  Neighbors had the opportunity to ask questions and get them answered. 

 Crime Prevention:  Weissman and McMullen briefed the board.  Bender noted that the night before the trustee meeting, a Honda was broken into near her home on a deadend street.  The windows were smashed and a purse stolen.

 SR 520 Update:  Nothing new to report.  The UW is working on mitigation measure.

 Trustee meetings at the community center:  LCC has been exploring the possibility of having trustee meetings at the community center.  There are issues relating to cost, having to be out by 9 p.m. and consistency in room availability.  Currently, St. Stephens allows LCC to use its Red Carpet Room for free.

 Dena Schuler advised that there is a $15 booking fee and rental fee of $5 per hour in addition to the cost per hour of various rooms.  The fireside room would cost $25 per hour, the multipurpose room $45 per hour and the activity room $35 per hour.  This means to use the fireside room would cost $75 per meeting.  The multipurpose room would cost $115 per meeting and the activity room would cost $95 per meeting.  Groups renting facilities are responsible for set up and clean up of the space and must be out promptly by 9 p.m.

 LCC can write to the Parks and Recreation Department asking that the rental fees be waived.  Schuler also asked how much LCC could afford to pay for rentals.

 It was agreed that LCC would start working on moving meetings to the community center if the rental fee could be waived and there would be a guarantee that LCC could meet there each month.  The goal is to start meeting at the community center in 2008 if issues could be resolved.

 Waterway No. 1 update:  Liz Ogden updated the board on waterway issues.  The City has pulled funds dedicated to improving the waterway due to a difference of agreement between the old and new street use director.  The pavers on the lot will be used for a seating wall and the leftover pavers will be given to another interested group.  The State Department of Natural Resources offered the use of a dump truck to deliver a load of soil and asked the City to provide a loader.  Trumbauer will follow up on this with his contact at the Parks Department.  There will be a no-fee permit for the basketball court.

 The following trustees still need a tour of all of the shoreline street ends and waterways:  Bender, Trumbauer, McMullen, Holden, Wright, Joh and McAleer.

 Neighborhood Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund (NSF/CRF):  At its June 7th meeting, the Northeast District Council (NEDC) ranked projects submitted for funding by the NSF/CRF.  Ogden attended the meeting to brief NEDC member organization reps on the projects from Laurelhurst.  The proposed asphalt walkway on Sand Point Way near Katterman’s tied for first place with a traffic circle request from Laurelhurst.  Both are included in the North Laurelhurst Transportation Master Plan.  Two other Laurelhurst projects were also ranked—a curb median on 47th Avenue NE and NE 54th was ranked sixth and installation of curbs and parking strips behind the Laurelhurst business district was ranked 13.

The ratings are listed in an NEDC letter that is included in the correspondence packet.  Those ratings are (shading indicates Laurelhurst projects):

 

RANK

POINTS

PROJECT#

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

1

157

263

Sand Point Way between 45th and 47th Ave NE—install asphalt walkways for pedestrian safety (design money provided last year in NSF process)

1

157

292

NE 47th St and 48th Ave NE—install traffic circle to calm traffic speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety (priority in Laurelhurst Transportation Plan)

3

135

035

Magnuson Park—install additional stairs on one-mile trail system from Kingfisher Basin to the upper trail where traffic and erosion have occurred and address drainage issues (park project)

4

127

100

5520 Ravenna Ave NE—landscape renovation including plantings and benches (park project)

5

125

343

Harvard Ave E and Roanoke, Edgar and Boylston Ave NE—provide walkable route to Seaward School and a pedestrian light on the north side of the intersection at Harvard Ave E and Roanoke

6

108

261

47th Ave NE and NE 54th St—install curb median for traffic calming to calm traffic speeds

7

106

429

35th Ave NE and NE 80th St—install pedestrian crossing light or other crossing aid at this intersection

8

100

451

NE 77th and 25th Ave NE ad Dahl Playfield—park access improvements to increase pedestrian visibility, including pathways, landing areas, parking lot and ADA accessibility, signage and crosswalk (park project)

9

96

524

Decatur School Playfield/7700 block of 40th Ave NE—construct restroom facilities particularly for school programs, Little League and soccer; renovate/replace field irrigation to benefit school, summer youth/fall youth programs (park project)

10

93

037

Sand Point Way and NE 52nd St—install traffic light, marked crosswalk, defined curbs and sidewalk or standing pads at street corners and bus stop

11

88

049

20th Ave NE from NE 50th to Ravenna—install traffic calming

12

81

431

NE 77th St from 40th Ave NE to 43rd Ave NE—sidewalk improvements near Decatur Elementary School and  Decatur Playfield

13

73

262

NE 43rd and NE 44th between 36th NE west to dead-end—install curbs and parking strips

14

70

230

NE 95th between 35th Ave NE and Sand Point Way (near Mathews Beach)—solution to address pedestrians walking in the roadway going to and from the Burke  Gilman Trail

15

51

161

1700 and 1800 blocks of Ravenna—road surfacing including speed bumps or construction of one or two marked pedestrian crossings (traffic circle at NE Ravenna and 17th failed to calm speeds)

16

35

430

2720 NE 85th near Wedgwood School—sidewalk improvements

 

Holly Oak replacement:  Ogden is following up on this.

 Sidewalk Safety program:  In 2001, LCC embarked upon the Sidewalk Safety Program.  The program was prompted by an older neighbor who attended a trustee meeting complaining about the dangerous condition of many of our sidewalks in Laurelhurst.  At the time, one of the trustees who was a physician took the lead on the project.  He was very concerned because he realized first hand what a fall on a concrete sidewalk can do to an older neighbor.  That person’s life can be changed forever as broken bones often do not heal very well for older adults. 

 LCC began working with the Seattle Transportation Department (SDOT) and received a commitment from SDOT of $25,000 if LCC would pay $10,000 and neighbors needing sidewalk repairs would pay about one-quarter of the cost.  The idea is that completing a number of sidewalk repairs at one time would save money.

 The plan involved educating neighbors about sidewalk safety problems, developing an inventory of Laurelhurst sidewalks where problems exist and then developing a plan for the City, the Laurelhurst Community Club and neighbors to work together and to share some of the cost of safety repairs.

 LCC developed a sidewalk safety inventory form and a brochure and many neighbors submitted sidewalk forms indicating areas of the neighborhood where sidewalk repairs were necessary.  After meeting with SDOT and using its criteria, an inventory was created listing the projects that met SDOT criteria for replacement.  All of this took about two years.  The inventory results were presented to the neighborhood at the 2003 Annual Neighbors. 

 A new trustee took over the project after the trustee who initiated the project left the board.  During the flooding in December 2006, all records of the project were lost due to flood damage.  SDOT has been unable to find any of the documents that were provided to the department.

 If LCC can recreate the program, SDOT is interested in working with LCC to move forward.  Funds are available under the Bridging the Gap Levy for sidewalks.  Bender will work with Hale and Ogden on the project.   

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.