The Laurelhurst Letter

December 2002


Neighbors have till Dec. 30 to comment on Talaris EIS Public Meeting
LCC makes contribution Club gets new address
History book a great gift Drivers: Slow down or suffer speed bumps
Cuts force library closure for second time this year Who's a good neighbor?
When dogs disturb, talk to owners first!

Neighbors have till Dec. 30 to comment on Talaris EIS

On Nov. 14, the Department of Design, Construction, and Land Use (DCLU) published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) relating to the proposed redevelopment of the former Battelle Memorial Institute site at 4000 N.E. 41st St. in Laurelhurst.

The developer, Talaris Research Institute, has proposed to construct a 127,230-square-foot institutional building in the northwest corner of the site and a second institutional building with a maximum floor space of 163,000 square feet in the northeast corner. Construction of the two buildings would be phased, with the first phase to be completed in 2005 and the second to occur about 2010.

Alternatively, the developer has proposed to redevelop the 18-acre site as single-family housing.

The purpose of the draft EIS is to identify any significant adverse effects either of the two proposals might have on the environment, as well as to propose measures that could mitigate those effects. Altogether, the EIS evaluates five different scenarios, including two that relate to an "institute for advanced study" and two that relate to single-family housing. The evaluation of a fifth, "no-action" scenario is mandated by state law.

The two scenarios that relate to an institute for advanced study differ chiefly in the perceived bulk and scale of the proposed buildings and in the amount of on-site parking each would provide. In the first scenario, the buildings would appear larger and bulkier than in the second scenario, but they would meet the city standards for parking. In the second scenario, there would be significantly less parking, but the buildings would be designed in such a way as to reduce their perceived bulk and scale.

The two scenarios that relate to housing differ chiefly in the intensity of development and the degree of protection afforded to wildlife and environmentally sensitive areas. In the first scenario, up to 81 5,000-square-foot residential building lots would be developed, for a maximum build-out of the site. In the second scenario, between 60 and 68 lots would be developed, while buffers would be left in place to protect wetland areas and steep vegetated slopes.

In addition, the first housing scenario would involve the opening of 38th Avenue Northeast, which currently is undeveloped and provides a buffer between the Battelle campus and the Town of Yesler to the west.

The no-action scenario assumes that no development will take place on the site in the near term and that it will likely continue to operate as a conference center.

For each of these scenarios, the draft EIS evaluates the direct, indirect, and cumulative long-term impacts of development, as well as the short-term impacts of construction. It addresses a number of issues that surfaced during the public process that preceded publication: parking and traffic, bulk and scale, the impact on wetlands and wildlife habitat.

The EIS notes that people in Laurelhurst and the surrounding area are concerned that their residential neighborhoods are being squeezed by ever more intensive land uses by institutions such as Children's Hospital, the University Village Shopping Center, and the University of Washington. However, it states that such concerns are better addressed by "comprehensive land-use planning efforts," rather than in an EIS document, which is confined to "specific impacts to the natural and built environment."

The EIS also notes that neighborhood residents are concerned about the relationship between the Talaris Research Institute and the University of Washington: "In particular, some individuals (have) raised the concern that the proposed project constitutes expansion of the university beyond its zoning boundaries." The EIS states that the relationship between the two entities is incidental and of no greater consequence than the relationship between Talaris and any other institution.

The draft EIS and any comments on it will be used by the director of DCLU to decide whether to approve, condition, or deny the project. Written comments may be submitted directly to Marina Haufschild, Land Use Planner, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104. They will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 30.

In addition, oral or written comments may be presented at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St., in N.H.S. Hall, rooms B and C.

For anyone wishing to review the draft EIS, the LCC has arranged for a copy of the document to be kept on reserve at the center's Miller Horticultural Library. The library is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be closed Dec. 2326 for Christmas.

Other copies will be kept at the downtown and university branches of the Seattle Public Library, and a limited number are available for distribution free of charge from the DCLU Public Resource Center, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104.

Public Meeting

A meeting to record the public's comments regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed redevelopment of the Battelle site will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St., in N.H.S. Hall, rooms B and C.

LCC makes contribution

The LCC has contributed $200 to the Sand Point Community Housing Association to assist in planning a second phase of public housing at Sand Point. SPCHA currently operates 94 units of transitional housing in six former Navy buildings. Phase 2 will add 106 units in new construction.

Club gets new address

It's official! After years of imposing upon our treasurers by having mail sent to their homes (as many as 1,000 pieces at dues time), the LCC at last has its own address. It's Laurelhurst Community Club, PMB #373, 4603 N.E. University Village, Seattle, WA 98105.

In the future, all dues statements should be directed there, and anyone wishing to communicate formally with the club may send a letter to that address. As always, we encourage you to communicate any immediate concerns directly to our trustees, whose names and telephone numbers are listed on the back page.

History book a great gift

Looking for a great holiday gift? Something that family members, friends, and relatives will cherish? Why not get them a copy of A History of Laurelhurst, by Christine Barrett?

This handsome keepsake volume is printed on acid-free stock and contains numerous archival maps and clearly reproduced photographs of Laurelhurst from pioneer days to the present.

Copies are $18 each, including tax, and can be purchased 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.

All proceeds go to benefit the community club and its programs and activities.

Drivers: Slow down or suffer speed bumps

Residents of 50th Avenue Northeast between Northeast 41st and Northeast 45th Streets are considering whether to install speed bumps on their street to slow traffic and make conditions safer for children and other pedestrians.

In early October, 11 families participated in a traffic study that monitored the speed of vehicles on 50th. A radar gun was used between the peak traffic hours of 79 a.m. and 37:30 p.m. Of 199 cars observed, 168 were clocked at speeds ranging from 10 to 15 miles above the 25 m.p.h. speed limit.

There are currently 24 children living on that stretch of 50th, as well as many more who walk or bike on the street to the neighborhood schools. Fortunately, there have not been any life-threatening incidents in the past five years; however, it is clear from this study that an accident is waiting to happen.

The residents on 50th Avenue Northeast would prefer not to have speed bumps installed and are hoping this information will encourage drivers not to exceed the 25 m.p.h. speed limit. They need your help to ensure the safety of citizens and especially our children by driving cautiously.

Cuts force library closure for second time this year

If you're thinking of curling up in front of the fire with a good book over the holidays, you'd better start planning now!

Because of citywide budget cuts, all branches of the Seattle Public Library (except the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library) will be closed from Tuesday, Dec. 17, through Monday, Dec. 23. The libraries will reopen Thursday, Dec. 26, after the usual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day holidays.

During the closure, SPL book-return slots will be locked shut and the on-line catalogue turned off. Late fees will not accrue.

For anyone suffering literary withdrawal, branches of the King County Library System will be open during normal hours, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Who's a good neighbor?

Don't forget that Neighbor Appreciation Day is Saturday, Feb. 8. To nominate someone for a Good Neighbor Award, please write to LCC special events coordinator Coco Sherman at 4113 55th Ave. N.E. or email her at Include a brief description of your neighbor's deeds.

When dogs disturb, talk to owners first!

Have you ever lain awake at night listening to the incessant barking of a neighbor's dog? Do you ever try to work at home but find it next to impossible, thanks to the animal sounds coming from next door?

Noise is an inevitable part of our urban environment, but no one should have to live with the continual noise of a neighbor's pet. In fact, a city ordinance states that it is unlawful to "permit any animal to bark, whine, howl, or otherwise vocalize" in an "unreasonable" manner. It defines "unreasonable" noise to include "loud and raucous, and frequent, repetitive, or continuous sounds made by an animal."

Animal control officers advise residents who are bothered by animal noise to talk to their neighbors first. "Let the pet owner know that you are disturbed by the noise created by the animal," they say. They also say to make a note of all contacts and responses, as well as the dates and times of the noise violations.

If talking to the owner doesn't work, they offer a "declaration form" to fill out, and this form then becomes the basis for legal action by the city. Complainants must be willing to testify in court and to verify that the information in the declaration form is true and correct.

For more information or to obtain a declaration form, call Seattle Animal Control at 386-4254.

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