Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

October 22, 2007


Ruth Benfield

Vice President, Facilities and Psycho-Social Services

Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center

P.O. Box 5371

Seattle, WA 98105-0371


RE:  Children’s Rejection of LCC Alternatives for Study in the EIS


Dear Ruth,


            The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) Board of Trustees has received a copy of your letter of October 19 to the Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee responding to the Committee’s request for consideration of the LCC alternatives for study in the Children’s Environmental Impact Statement.  We have asked the Department of Planning and Development to reconsider its decision to reject study of LCC’s alternatives. 


            In your letter, you indicate that elements from some of the suggestions that LCC has proposed were already incorporated into the alternatives that you have proposed.   This is true because as a starting point, LCC relied upon many of your design parameters—such as the footprint you proposed, realignment of the east/west Penny Drive spine, and reconfiguration of the Penny Drive/Sand Point Way intersection.  But these design parameters have nothing or very little to do with avoiding or minimizing impacts upon surrounding communities. 


You still do not appear to have accepted any of the important design elements we have proposed for study in the EIS—significantly lower building heights, reduced square footage or other design parameters that would help reduce significant environmental impacts.  How do you plan to address issues relating to height limits, particularly in light of the fact that Children’s has not developed up to existing permitted height limits?  What about the two new access points to the campus that you have proposed and roadways that would be built in the perimeter buffers?  Will you consider an NC2/40 foot rezone of the Hartmann property as an alternative to expansion of your major institution boundaries?  When will you disclose your intentions and/or negotiations to acquire Laurelon Terrace?  When will you provide the methodology you have used to calculate bed need in light of the discrepancies with how the state Board of Health has calculated your needs through 2020?  Just looking at ways to lower building heights does not address these many key issues.   


            You also indicate that you will follow the directions of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in its scoping report regarding development of additional alternatives.  The problem is that DPD has provided no required direction other than to request that you propose one or more alternatives with lower building heights that could attain your objectives.  Exactly, how much will Children’s lower its building and Major Institution Overlay (MIO) heights—enough to be compatible with surrounding properties or only enough to meet a technical definition of “lower?”


DPD also asked you to "consider" LCC's scoping comments (in general) as well as some specific design parameters that were in the LCC alternatives, including building underground facilities and developing north of Penny Drive.  You say that these are being "carefully considered," but based upon our experience working with you over the past several months, it sounds more like "do nothing."  The neighborhood needs a firm commitment by Children's to analyze the LCC alternatives and design parameters in the EIS—are you willing to do this?


            Finally, you indicate that you are willing to work with the Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a master plan that is responsive to your needs, the City and the surrounding communities.  We do not understand how you intend to accomplish this goal when you appear to have rejected the alternatives submitted by LCC for study in the EIS.  The Citizens Advisory Committee asked that these alternatives be studied and you appear to have rejected its request.  Please explain how you hope to work together when you have rejected outright the Committee’s recommendations. 


            As the major stakeholder in the master planning process, LCC would appreciate being “cc”d on correspondence and materials you provide to the Citizens Advisory Committee.  This will enable us to respond more promptly to issues that are raised without having to wait for CAC members to forward correspondence or other materials that they have received from you.   Both the Department of Neighborhoods and DPD have provided us (as well as CAC alternates) with all materials relating to the process.  As a courtesy, we hope you will do the same in the future. 


            We look forward to hearing back from you about the issues we have raised in this letter.




Jeannie Hale, President

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington  98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631


cc:  Members of the Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Tom Hansen, Suzanne Petersen, Desiree Leigh, Children’s Hospital; Stella Chao and Steve Sheppard, Department of Neighborhoods; Diane Sugimura and Scott Ringgold, Department of Planning and Development