Laurelhurst Community Club
King County Redistricting Committee
516 Third Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, Washington 98104
Att: Darryl Cook
Dear Redistricting Committee:
The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees has monitored the King County redistricting process and reviewed the redistricting criteria set forth in state and local law. We have concerns about Map 1 because it divides the University District into two County Council districts.
According to state law, redistricting must "preserve existing communities of related and mutual interest" to the extent possible. It makes no sense to divide the University District into two council districts. The University District faces common issues within its geographical boundaries--traffic, transit, growth and issues relating to the University of Washington, just to name a few. Any County redistricting plan that divides the University District will create major obstacles to implementing district-wide solutions.
Neighbors from the University District and surrounding areas worked over a several-year period to develop the University Community Urban Center Neighborhood Plan. The Seattle City Council later approved the Plan. The Plan covers the University District and the University Village area. It took hundreds and hundreds of people and volunteer hours to develop the plan and we are all now working to implement the plan. Map I would divide the area covering the neighborhood plan into two council districts, putting a portion of the University District into Council District 10. District 10 does not include an urban center or share the same kinds of challenges at the University District and its abutting neighborhoods.
Even though Laurelhurst is not included in the boundaries of the University District neighborhood plan, we participated in development of the neighborhood plan because we share many of the same challenges, particularly relating to transportation and transit. We have written letters of support for "Early Implementation Funds" for the plan and supported many projects included in the neighborhood plan. Laurelhurst and the Ravenna Springs neighborhoods were leaders in the successful effort to preserve Ravenna Woods as open space, a component of the neighborhood plan. This meant testifying on numerous occasions in support of the project, in opposition to development into a large series of rooming houses, assistance with fundraising and other efforts. Because the neighborhood plan did not include a sufficient transportation component, Laurelhurst and other neighborhoods in the area have been active participants in the University Area Transportation Study, an effort to identify transportation problems in the area and potential improvement strategies and funding sources. These examples demonstrate a clear "community of interest" between the University District and its many northeast Seattle neighborhoods.
Laurelhurst also works with the University District on issues related to the University of Washington. The University District Community Council, Laurelhurst and several other neighborhoods located within the University's primary and secondary impact zones provide representatives to the City University Community Advisory Committee. We have all worked together in shaping the new ten-year master plan that is now nearing completion--an enormous undertaking that has involved a considerable amount of time and commitment. This, too, is an example demonstrating a "community of interest" and a reason why the University District should not be split into two County Council Districts.
The University District and fifteen other area community and business organizations provide representatives to the Northeast District Council--yet another "community of interest." Through this forum, we work together to address common issues and to prioritize or rank funding requests for the Neighborhood Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund and for Neighborhood Matching Fund applications. If part of the University District is put in a separate County Council District, it would mean that the University District Community Council would have to provide a representative to another district council, as well as the Northeast District Council, and there would not be the same "community of interest" as currently exists.
Aside from the University District and its adjoining neighborhoods sharing a "community of interest," keeping this neighborhood together in one Council District is consistent with the requirement in the County Charter that district boundaries shall be drawn to produce a geographically contiguous area. State and local law also requires that districts must be "compact." These goals would be best accomplished by rejecting Map I.
We hope you will consider the views of the Laurelhurst Community Club and reject Map I from further consideration. Please keep us informed about the status of your process. Thank you for considering our comments.
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
525-5135 / fax 525-9631
ENC: LCC proposed changes to NMF Committee's draft policy and Q&A re the proposal