Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

July 16, 2001

Kristian Kofoed, Land Use Planner
Department of Design, Construction and Land Use
700 Firth Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, Washington 98104-5070
Fax 233-7883

RE: Request for Consultant's Report relating to Council Bill 113692, a Video Sign Proposal

Dear Kristian:

Thank you for your letter regarding our request for the draft consultant's report on the video sign proposal. Our Board of Trustees is interested in reviewing this report due to our concerns about traffic safety issues associated with video signage. You indicate that the draft report is exempt from public disclosure under RCW 42.17.310(1)(i). We disagree.

You state that the draft report prepared by the consultant is exempt from public inspection as part of DCLU's action in formulating its policy recommendation to the City Council. We have reviewed RCW 42.17.310(1)(i) and note that the law includes an exception where the information must be provided if the report has been cited in connection with official action. We believe that the following actions demonstrate that the draft report has been cited in official action and thus must be provided to the public:

  1. The consultant's draft report is cited in the official DCLU Report and Recommendations to the City Council, which we received on June 22, 2001.
  2. The consultant's draft report is cited in an analysis dated June 15, 2001 of the video sign proposal prepared by Mary Denzel of Council central staff.
  3. A public hearing on the video sign proposal was held on June 13, 2001. We understand that the DCLU's Report and Recommendations to the City Council citing the draft consultant's report was available to the public at that hearing.
  4. The June 20, 2001 agenda of the City Council's Finance, Budget and Economic Development Committee included discussion and possible vote on the video sign proposal. Materials prepared by DCLU and Council central staff for this meeting included references to the draft consultant's report.
  5. The City Council's Finance, Budget and Economic Development Committee considered the video sign proposal at its July 12, 2001 meeting and materials provided by DCLU and Council central staff. Because this meeting in our view amounts to official action and the draft report was cited, we believe we are entitled to a copy.

These are only a few examples that demonstrate that the draft consultant's report has been cited in official action and therefore must be provided to the public.

Despite DCLU's refusal to provide the consultant's draft report, the Laurelhurst Community Club did submit comments on the video signage proposal prior to the July 12th meeting of the City Council Finance, Budget and Economic Development Committee. At that meeting, Councilmember Jan Drago, the committee chair, instructed DCLU and Council central staff to provide a final copy of the consultant's report to the public by July 19, 2001. We would still like to review and study the draft report.

All we want to do is check out the possible traffic safety hazards with video signs and review other issues addressed by the consultant. We believe that we are entitled to the draft report and we would like to compare it to the final report, as you have done or will likely do.

At the July 12th committee meeting, Councilmember Nick Licata was disturbed that councilmembers and the public have been unable to access the consultant's report. He expressed concern that public funds had been dispensed for the study, yet the study has not been made available to the public. We share this concern. As you know because you were present at this meeting, Councilmember Drago noted that the draft report has not been provided to councilmembers. She and Councilmember Conlin voiced concerns about the lack of availability of the report.

On June 21, 2000, we requested a copy of the Director's report and recommendations on the video sign proposal, the draft consultant's report and any other background information you have about the video sign proposal. DCLU has not been responsive to our requests. Fortunately, Councilmember Drago's office obtained and forwarded a copy of the DCLU Director's report and recommendations and Council central staff provided materials she had prepared relating to the proposal. In Council central staff materials, there is reference to a DCLU cover letter about the proposal and an assessment of an environmental impact finding of no significant impact. We would like copies of these documents, which are likely available in electronic format. The DCLU report indicates that you have undertaken a review of other jurisdiction's regulations of video sign display methods. We would also like to have this material. We believe that we are entitled to copies of these materials as they are cited in official action.

We look forward to receiving the draft and final consultant's report and the other materials we have requested at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,


Jeannie Hale
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
525-5135 / fax 525-9631
jeannieh@serv.net

cc: Mayor Paul Schell, All City Councilmembers, Mark Sidran, Judith Pippin, Carol Van Noy, Rick Krochalis, Diane Sugimura; Mary Denzel


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