The Laurelhurst Letter

October and November 2001


Deserving candidates sought for LCC annual
Good Neighbor Awards
Higher poles can lessen light spillover
Tenants find buyer for low-income housing complex Traffic, parking main concerns of Battelle-site near neighbors
Predesign meeting solicits neighbors' ideas and opinions Laurelhurst books make ideal gifts for holiday giving
Bigger EIS called for Planned funding cut restored
Thank-you, neighbor!

Deserving candidates sought for LCC annual
Good Neighbor Awards

Laurelhurst is full of great neighbors. Do you have one?

If so, why not give him or her a wonderful gift for the new year - a Laurelhurst Community Club Good Neighbor Award!

All nominees will receive their award at a special ceremony hosted by the community club on Feb. 9, 2002 (Neighbor Appreciation Day). In previous years, awards have gone to people who watch over vacationing neighbors' houses, who drive elderly neighbors to doctors' appointments, who look after neighbors' children, or who bring food to neighbors who can't cook.

It's the little things like this that make our neighborhood a special place to live.

To nominate your neighbor, please write a short note describing the things that he or she does and submit it to Coco Sherman, 4113 55th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98105. Or email Coco at (Please include your nominee's full name and address as well as your own.)

Nominations must be submitted by Jan. 31.

Higher poles can lessen light spillover

The LCC continues to support the efforts of the citizens' group Seattle Residents for Fair Field Lighting to limit the adverse effects on neighbors of illuminated school-district sports fields. In October, the club contributed $100 toward the cost of a lighting consultant's report and another $100 toward the group's general expenses.

The gist of the lighting consultant's report is that it's possible to contain "light trespass" - that is, the spillover of light from one property to another - to 0.1 footcandle (a very low level). However, the school district and the Seattle Parks Department advocate a level that is eight times brighter. Seattle should adopt more stringent light-trespass criteria, the report recommended.

One way to accomplish that is to use higher poles (between 70 and 100 feet) so that aiming angles are much steeper. Last February, the Seattle City Council passed legislation authorizing 100-foot-tall light standards on public-school playfields.

Not everyone is thrilled about higher poles, however. "It's not just a question of light," said LCC trustee Kate Lloyd. "It's the visual blight during daylight hours."

The trustees reluctantly agreed to the higher poles but favored a 70-foot, rather than a 100-foot, limit. They also called for using fewer, slimmer poles where feasible.

Tenants find buyer for low-income housing complex

The Provail Burke-Gilman Tenants Committee has thanked the LCC for supporting the tenants in their efforts to avoid being forced out of their homes when the low-income housing complex for disabled people is sold.

The committee has identified two nonprofit organizations that are willing to purchase the complex, located in two buildings at 5020 and 5120 40th Ave. N.E., Both organizations have promised to keep the buidlings well maintained, affordable, and open to disabled people.

The tenants have asked one of these organizations, the Low Income Housing Institute, to enter into negotiations with Provail, the buildings' current owners.

They also have called upon the LCC for community support to secure funding for the purchase, if necessary.

Traffic, parking main concerns of Battelle-site near neighbors

How the Talaris Institute's plans to redevelop the Battelle site will affect traffic and parking in the neighborhood was the overwhelming concern of a majority of the people who spoke up at a public "scoping" meeting Sept. 25.

"The basic infrastructure of this area cannot contain the extra 600 or so cars generated by this project," said one person. "Laurelhurst will cease to be Laurelhurst."

The meeting, which attracted some 40-odd participants, was conducted by the city Department of Design, Construction, and Land Use (DCLU) at Laurelhurst Community Center. Its purpose was to help determine the scope of of the environmental impact statement (EIS) that must be prepared before a permit for the project can be issued.

Neighbors asked that the EIS consider the cumulative effects on traffic and parking of all the various projects taking place around Laurelhurst - not just the Battelle-site redevelopment. Specifically, they asked that the Children's Hospital parking garage, the development of condominiums on Blakeley Street, and the expansion of University Village shopping center be taken into account.

Referring to the area around University Village, one resident said, "Traffic there is a zoo." Another called Northeast 45th Street "unusable" and said the Seahawks games in Husky Stadium are "a nightmare."

In response, DCLU Senior Land-Use Planner Stephanie Haines assured the audience that the environmental analysis will take into consideration both existing traffic and the traffic that will be generated by other projects currently underway.

As for parking, the Talaris Institute has requested a reduction from 734 to 474 in the number of parking spaces required by the city land-use code. The 734 figure is based on the square footage of the new building and its projected use as office space. The developers argue that since most of the building will be labratories rather than offices, the demand for parking will be diminished.

Others are not so sure. "We will find out that they will have to park on public streets such as Northeast 41st," one audience member predicted.

LCC president Jeannie Hale reminded Haines that the number of on-site parking spaces is governed by a 1991 agreement between the city, the community club, an independent group known as Battelle Neighbors, and Battelle Memorial Institute. The agreement, which subsequent owners of the property must abide by, is more restrictive than the land-use code.

"We oppose a reduction of the parking requirements in any way," Hale said.

Many neighbors who attended the meeting, especially those living close to the site, also were concerned about the size of the proposed development. "I'm distressed with the bulk and scale of this building," said one near neighbor. "My concern is that it is, in fact, a major institution."

Others expressed concerns about the preservation of documented wetlands; continued public access to the site; the removal of many large trees; the lack of a sidewalk on Northeast 41st Street; construction issues, such as noise, hours of work, and the removal of dangerous substances; and environmental issues, such as rats being driven off the site into neighboring homes and the loss of salmon habitat.

Only one person spoke in favor of the project as presented. That person, a near neighbor, said Talaris is the best option available for redevelopment of the site. "Look at the quality of the owner," he said.

With everyone's comments recorded, Haines told the audience that it is now up to DCLU Director Rick Krochalis to set scope of the EIS. Talaris will then have 12 weeks to prepare a draft, which the city will publish. At that point, the public will again be invited to comment.

Predesign meeting solicits neighbors' ideas and opinions

Laurelhurst neighbors and other interested persons are invited to attend a meeting to discuss options for rebuilding the Center for Urban Horticulture's Merrill Hall, which was destroyed by arson last May.

The meeting will take place Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. in the center's Northwest Horticulture Society Hall. Architects from the Miller Hull Partnership will be on hand to explain the predesign process and seek comments from participants.

One issue to be considered is how to construct a building of similar size and materials using the $2.3 million appropriated for that purpose by the state Legislature. Also under discussion is how the building might be enhanced using the many private donations that have been received in the aftermath of the fire.

The design is expected to be finalized by mid-2002, with construction of the new building to be finished by January 2004. In the meantime, donations continue to be accepted. Make checks payable to the Urban Horticulture Recovery Fund and send them to Linda Kaye, College of Forest Resources, Box 352100, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195-2100.

Laurelhurst books make ideal gifts for holiday giving

Looking for a great holiday gift for family members, friends, and relatives? Something they will cherish through the years?

How about a copy of A History of Laurelhurst, by Christine Barrett?

This fascinating account of the neighborhood's beginnings, published by the Laurelhurst Community Club, is filled with many colorful characters and the occasional tall tale. It contains numerous archival maps and clearly reproduced photographs of Laurelhurst from pioneer days to the present.

Printed on acid-free stock, copies of this handsome keepsake volume cost $18 each, including tax. They are available for purchase at Great Harvest Bread Co., 5408 Sand Point Way N.E.; Capriccio Flowers, 3713 N.E. 45th St.; Varlamos Pizzeria, 3617 N.E. 45th St.; and Miller-Pollard Interiors, 2575 N.E. University Village.

Thanks to the generosity of Ms. Barrett, all proceeds from the book's sales go to benefit the community club and its projects.

Bigger EIS called for

The Seattle Audubon Society has requested that the scope of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Magnuson Park Wetland Habitat Restoration and Sports Fields Project be expanded. Specifically, the society would like the EIS to include the upland area adjacent to the project as well as the entire shoreline of the park.

The society has also asked that the effects of playfield lighting on birds and other wildlife be investigated.

Planned funding cut restored

The city has dropped plans to cut funding for the Sand Point Community Housing Association by 60 percent next year. Funding will remain at the level promised by the city in1993 not only for the benefit of SPCHA residents but to alleviate fears that inadequate financial support for the facility could cause problems in the community.

Thank-you, neighbor!

People living in the vicinity of Northeast 35th Street and 43rd Avenue Northeast would like to thank neighbor Gerry Gettel for mowing the vacant lot at Waterway No. 1 several times this past summer. It's quite a chore!

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