The Laurelhurst Letter

February 2004


Club's legal expenses climb Please don't speed!
Crime Prevention Meeting Developer scales back plans

Going to the dogs?

City takes charge of Waterway No. 1
Neighborhood Appreciation Day  

Club’s legal expenses climb

The 2004 annual dues statements were mailed in January; by now, every household should have received one.

Please give generously!  Our membership dues are our main source of income.  They help pay for new and ongoing projects, special events, membership in other organizations, sponsorship of worthwhile causes, web-site maintenance, newsletter publication, and various legal and professional expenses.

This past year, our legal and professional expenses have been exceptionally heavy.  Not only has the club had to act to defend the 1991 settlement agreement that protects single-family zoning on the Battelle site, we have also been engaged in two major legal battles with the city and the University of Washington over the UW master plan and the lifting of the university’s “lease lid.”

Our actions to defend the Battelle-site settlement agreement have paid off.  The developer has agreed to scale down the size of the proposed new building and to add additional parking to meet city and settlement-ageement standards (see separate article, this issue).

But the battle with the city and the university is still going on.  In March 2003, the LCC joined with four other neighborhood groups whose boundaries abut the university to appeal city approval of the UW master plan, which governs how the university will expand over the next 10 years.  Foremost of the groups’ concerns is a master-plan provision that does away with a longstanding prohibition on the university acquiring property in two concentric “impact zones” around the campus (these zones encompass most of Laurelhurst).

In June, the community groups were dealt a setback when the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board, citing lack of jurisdiction, declined to hear the case.  The groups are now appealing that decision in King County Superior Court.

At the same time, they are petitioning the Growth Management Hearings Board to review the city’s June 16 decision to eliminate all restrictions on the university leasing property in surrounding neighborhoods (the “lease lid”).  The LCC had hoped to persuade the city that increasing the limit on university leasing would suffice, but the university took an “all or nothing” approach and eventually got its way.

Unless they are overturned, the effect of both these decisions—approval of the master plan and abandonment of the lease lid—will be to give the university an entrée into our community, either by lease or through outright purchase.

“Our big concern is that they would try to get the Battelle property,” said LCC President Jeannie Hale.

Please help us prevent this from happening.  If you have not yet sent in your dues, take a moment to do so now.  If you have lost your dues statement, a replacement form can be downloaded from our web site (®

Crime prevention meeting

A community-wide meeting on the subject of crime prevention will be held on Thursday, March 11, at 7:15 p.m., in Laurelhurst Community Center.  Seattle City Councilmember Nick Lacata, chair of the Public Safety Committee, will speak, along with Dianne Horswill and other officers from the North Precinct.

 Come meet with neighbors and Block Watch captains and discuss how to protect yourself against vandalism, car theft, identity theft, and other common crimes.  For more information, call LCC Crime Prevention Coordinator Pat Wright at 522-0871.®

The new ambulatory-care wing will bring together some 50 specialty out-patient clinics in one central location.  The clinics are currently spread throughout the hospital building and serve 160,000 patients a year.

Construction of the new emergency facility, to be located on the site of the existing emergency department, is slated to begin in spring 2006 and take one year to complete.  It will give Children’s the ability to handle the continuous growth in emergency-room activity that is seen primarily as the result of poor access to primary care for children living at low-income levels.®

Going to the dogs?

They’re man’s best friend, but sometimes the relationship gets a little strained.  Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about dogs—on the streets, in the park, and at home.

It seems there are dogs running loose in the playground, dogs defecating on parking strips with no one cleaning up after them, and dogs barking incessantly in their yards, disturbing nearby neighbors.  All of these behaviors are illegal, and the fines for each infraction really are substantial.

Anyone wishing to report an incident is advised to call Seattle Animal Control at 386-7387.

But why wait for the dog catcher? If your pet is one of the offenders, the LCC urges you to be a good neighbor:  leash your animal when out walking, pick up after him, and don’t allow him to bark nonstop!®


Please don’t speed!

Neighbors living on Surber Drive are becoming increasingly alarmed about cars speeding along their street.  Nearly a dozen children under the age of 10 live near the intersection of Surber and 41st, where cars regularly exceed the posted 25 m.p.h. speed limit.

“I’m concerned that one of our neighborhood children may be in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone speeds by,” one neighbor said.

Speeding is a problem on many of our neighborhood streets.  Please respect your neighbors and drive within the speed limit!®


Developer scales back plans

After a lengthy interval with no news, the LCC learned last month that the Talaris Research Institute is preparing to move forward with a modified version of its original proposal to build a new institute of advanced study on the former Battelle Memorial Institute site at 4000 N.E. 41st St.

The new plans, which should be ready by March, call for reducing the size of the proposed building to address height, bulk, and scale concerns.  The plans will also include an additional level of underground parking to bring overall parking capacity up to the required standard.

Development on the site is subject not only to the city land-use code but to a 1991 settlement agreement between Battelle, the City of Seattle, the LCC, and a group known as Battelle Neighbors.  According to the developer, the new plans are intended to meet the provisions of that agreement.

Originally, Talaris had proposed building a 127,230-square-foot facility on the northwest corner of the site (to be followed at some time in the future by construction of a second, 163,000-square-foot facility on the northeast corner).  Failing that, it had proposed the alternative of redeveloping the entire property as a single-family subdivision of either 81 or 60–68 lots.

Both proposals attracted opposition from neighbors, many of whom submitted comments on the project’s draft environmental impact statement in December 2002.  In summer 2003, Talaris asked the city Department of Design, Construction, and Land Use (now called Planning and Development) for more time to work on design issues.®


City takes charge of Waterway No. 1

The LCC has brokered an agreement between the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to transfer authority over Waterway No. 1, located on 43rd Avenue Northeast at Northeast 35th Street, from the state to the city.  The property, which comprises a vacant waterfront lot, will now be managed under the same rules as the city’s Shoreline Street Ends Program.

The primary purpose of that program is to open up  for public enjoyment any unused city street ends that provide access to the water.  In Laurelhurst, two such street ends have already been developed for public use.  However, because Waterway No. 1 was managed by the state, there were previously no rules to govern how it might be developed.

SDOT has promised the community the assistance of its landscape architect in drawing up a plan for the waterway.  It also has pledged its workforce to help in clearing brambles and tall grasses from the property, as well as leveling it, providing topsoil, and developing a maintenance plan.®


Neighbor Appreciation Day

Event draws enthusiastic crowd

Some 80 to 90 guests attended the LCC’s annual Neighbor Appreciation Day awards ceremony at Laurelhurst Community Center on Saturday, Feb. 7.  Mayor Greg Nickels presented the awards, and Councilmembers Jim Compton and David Della also were present.

Among those receiving awards were Winston and Irma Johnson, whose names were submitted by Children’s Hospital.  Long before Ronald McDonald House existed, the Johnsons began opening their home to parents of sick children, giving them a roof over their heads, a warm meal, a sympathetic ear, and much, much more.  Today, they continue the tradition by giving music lessons to children and entertaining at holiday events.

“The Johnsons don’t openly acknowledge the many lives they have touched but instead express gratitude for what others have brought to their life and home.  Children’s is fortunate and thankful to have such kind and giving neighbors in the Johnsons,” a hospital spokesperson said

Similar messages of commendation were received on behalf of the other award recipients.  Laurelhurst is indeed fortunate to have these people in our midst!  The other recipients were: Gary Baldwin; Dick Barnum and Sydney Hallum; Tommy Bowden; Jean, Paul, and Reid Ekman; Susan Erak; Rita Gill; Tim Hennings; Debbie Jenner; Sue and Al John; Mike Matthews and Karen Anderson; Curt O’Connor; Chip Painter; Ame Simon and Marc Carter; Molly and John Torkelson; and Fred and Pat Wright.

Laurelhurst Elementary School 5th-grader Christina Chung and Washington Middle School student Max Herrmannsfeldt also were honored at the event. Both won honorable mention in the citywide Neighbor Appreciation Day card design contest .

The LCC trustees would like to thank organizer Coco Sherman and, for their generous donations of goods and services, Great Harvest Bread Company, Noah’s Bagels, Mrs. Cook’s, QFC, the University Frame Shop, and University Village.  We couldn’t have done it without you!®

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