The Laurelhurst Letter

August 2002


Overall response to dues statements truly phenomenal School supplies needed
Representative sought Neighborhoods will bear parking burden if low-income housing ordinance passes
Store owners feel pinch Tiles to pay for extras for CUH replacement
Belvoir pump station to get new backup generator

Overall response to dues statements truly phenomenal

The Laurelhurst Community Club represents 2,800 households. Every year, we send each household a dues statement. Payment of the dues statement is voluntary, but every year, between a quarter and a third of all Laurelhurst households do pay dues.

That may not seem a large proportion, but in fundraising terms, it's truly phenomenal. Many fundraisers are more than happy with a response rate under 10 percent. We must be doing something right!

So where do your dues go? To all manner of projects, really. First, they pay for part of this newsletter (ads pay the rest), and they pay for our website. They also pay for community events, such as the annual Neighbor Appreciation Day reception, the Christmas ships celebration at Magnuson Park beach, and occasional candidates' nights at election time.

They pay for projects such as the North Laurelhurst Transportation Management Plan, which has just been completed, and the Sidewalk Safety Program, which is just beginning. They pay openŠended expenses, such as the landscaper's fee for the Northeast 41st Street Boulevard Project, which the city requires us to maintain.

They pay for professional services, including those of an attorney, a land-use planner, a traffic consultant, and a hydrologist, as well as for liability insurance. They also go to help other groups, such as the Northeast Seattle Little League, the Sand Point Community Housing Association, and the Laurelhurst Elementary School Foundation.

They pay for membership in organizations that promote the interests of our community, such as the Seattle Council on Airport Affairs, which addresses noise issues associated with lower airplane flight patterns, Seattle Residents for Fair Field Lighting, which is trying to mitigate the impact of nighttime sporting events in neighborhood school grounds, and the Seattle Community Council Federation, which is the umbrella organization for all community groups.

As a strong supporter of the Center for Urban Horticulture, the LCC made a contribution to replace books damaged as a result of last year's eco-terrorist fire. It also bought a tile to help finance the rebuilding of the center.

One place your dues do not go is to pay the LCC trustees for their time and labor. Our trustees are all volunteers; they work long hours on a variety of projects-always mindful that they represent the interests of the community at large, not their own interests!

Many also attend the regular meetings of organizations such as the City-University Community Advisory Council, the Sand Point Community Liaison Committee, the Master Plan Advisory Committee for Children's Hospital, and the Laurelhurst Community Center Advisory Committee.

The LCC is well respected at city hall and elsewhere because of its careful research into, and thoughtful positions on, the issues. We have been successful in literally hundreds of cases in promoting the health and safety of our community, protecting and preserving parks and open space, and addressing transportation needs.

However, we occasionally receive a note: "I'm not going to pay my dues because the community club took such and such a stand on such and such an issue!"

To those people we say: "Look beyond the single issue to what the community club accomplishes as a whole. Your dues pay for a whole range of projects that benefit you in more ways than you probably realize."

The 2002 dues statements were mailed in May, and the community has responded generously, as always. If, for some reason, you haven't yet paid and would like to, it's not too late. Simply mail a check for $35 (or any amount you choose) to Laurelhurst Community Club, 3711 N.E. 43rd St., Seattle, WA 98105. Please include your name, address, telephone number, email address (if applicable), and any message you care to send us (all such messages are shared with board members).

And thanks again to all those who have contributed. We're looking forward to another terrific year of helping to keep Laurelhurst Seattle's most livable neighborhood!

School supplies needed

The YWCA is collecting school supplies to give to homeless and low-income children this fall. What's needed are #2 pencils, crayons, notebooks, wide-ruled paper, glue, pencil boxes, and pee-chee folders.

Roosevelt High School freshman Emma Schachter is setting up a drop-off station in her garage for anyone who wishes to donate items. The hours are noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 31. The garage is located on Northeast 41st Street between Surber Drive and 41st Avenue Northeast.

Anyone wishing to drop things off at a different time can call Emma at 523-5588.

Representative sought

The LCC has contributed $200 to the Sand Point Community Housing Association to help pay for its operations, which provide transitional housing and services for formerly homeless families and individuals.

The LCC is also looking for someone to represent Laurelhurst in planning for a second phase of transitional housing construction at Sand Point. To volunteer, contact Jeannie Hale at 525-5135.

Neighborhoods will bear parking burden if low-income housing ordinance passes

LCC trustees have urged city councilmembers to reject a proposed ordinance that would reduce the number of parking spaces required for new low-income housing developments.

The ordinance would eliminate parking entirely in developments where tenant families earn 30 percent or less of median income in the area. Where families earn 50 percent of median income, just one space would be provided for every two two-bedroom units.

The goal of the ordinance is to increase the supply of low-income housing by reducing construction expenses. A single parking stall can add as much as $25,000 to the cost of a project.

While praising the goal of the ordinance, the trustees say it would shift the responsibility for providing parking onto neighborhoods. Not all low-income households are without vehicles, they say. What's more, low-income housing does not always remain low-income housing-often it is converted to market-rate housing, where the inhabitants almost certainly own at least one vehicle per household.

"When this happens in the future, there will be no parking available," LCC President Jeannie Hale told Councilmember Judy Nicastro, chair of the Land-Use Committee.

Hale told Nicastro that the proposed ordinance will be difficult to enforce and will further complicate the already complex land-use code. In addition, the impact of on-street parking from low-income housing could have a negative effect on neighborhood businesses.

"Parking is already a problem in these areas," she said. "When people cannont find a place to park, they ultimately decide to shop or eat, go to the movies, or take care of their business elsewhere."

Hale pointed out that the upcoming Seattle public-housing levy, which will go before the voters in September, deliberately excludes any provisions to reduce the cost of housing by reducing parking requirements. "The levy likely would not pass had they been included," she said.

"The only long-term possible solution is for the city to subsidize parking for low-income housing," Hale said. "This will be less costly, protect neighborhoods and the business community, and maintain the integrity of the code."

Store owners feel pinch

The LCC trustees are asking area residents to make a special effort to patronize the businesses on Sandpoint Way Northeast, if at all possible.

Business owners report that their individual store proceeds are down about 30 percent on average because customers living west of the thoroughfare are unable to access the stores easily while the Princeton Bridge is closed.

After four months of construction, the Seattle Department of Transportation reported in mid-August that the bridge replacement project is now at the halfway point and is on schedule for completion in December.

Tiles to pay for extras for CUH replacement

The LCC has donated $275 to buy a 12-inch-by-12-inch polished concrete tile engraved with the figure of a maple leaf and the words "Laurelhurst Community Club/serving neighbors since 1920." The tile will be placed in the lobby of the reconstructed Merrill Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture.

The hall, which was destroyed by arson in May 2001, is being reconstructed using funds appropriated by the state legislature. However, private individuals are banding together to pay for enhancements to the basic structure such as a new entrance and information desk and a Master Gardener Diagnostic Clinic.

Anyone who would like to help out is invited to purchase a 12" X 12" tile for $250, a 12" X 6" tile for $150, or a 6" X 6" tile for $85. Each of the three sizes features an engraving of a different leaf: a bigleaf maple (12" X 12"), a Garry oak (12" X 6"), and a red alder (6" X 6").

The engraving of up to 30 characters (including spaces) for the two larger tiles, and 20 characters (including spaces) for the smallest tile, is included in the price. A second line of similar length can be added for an additional $25.

To purchase a tile, send your check, together with the wording you would like to appear on it, to Center for Urban Horticulture-Donor Tiles, University of Washington Box 354115, Seattle, WA 98195-4115. Your donation is tax deductible.

Belvoir pump station to get new backup generator

The King County Wastewater Division announced this month that it will be replacing the emergency generator at the Belvoir Pump Station, located on the west side of Surber Drive at Belvoir Place. The generator provides power to the pumps and prevents sewer overflows or backups during a loss of City Light power.

Most of the work will take place underground; however, a new air-intake fan will occupy a small concrete "penthouse" on top of the facility. The roof of the penthouse structure will still be about two feet below the level of the roadway.

In conjunction with this work, the county announced that it will build an enhanced, wheelchair-accessible bird-watching platform on top of the structure. It has also said it will restore the on-again, off-again decorative fence that has long been promised for the site.

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