Laurelhurst Community Club†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Serving 2800 Households in Seattleís Laurelhurst Neighborhood

 

March 14, 2005

 

 

 

Linda and Robert Lewis

63 Tempe Wick Road

Mendham, New Jersey  07945

 

Re:  Waterway No. 1

 

Dear Linda and Robert,

 

            For many years the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) has received complaints about Waterway No. 1, located adjacent to your property.  Much of the year, the lot is an eyesore overgrown with weeds, blackberry bushes and tall grass.  There have also been complaints from neighbors about the gradual erosion of the boundaries of the public property for private use by adjacent property owners.  LCC has been addressing concerns about Waterway No. 1 by working at the state and local level to implement a program similar to the cityís highly successful shoreline street end program.  In doing so, we hope to work with neighbors to transform the vacant lot into an amenity for the community, while at the same time respecting the privacy of neighbors on each side of the lot.  We would like to work with you on this and hope that you will be available to discuss the various issues or perhaps designate those living in your Laurelhurst home to act on your behalf.

 

            The city ordinance relating to shoreline street ends states that "shoreline street ends shall be preserved as public rights-of-way, to allow improvement for public uses and access."  That law allows adjacent property owners to apply for a permit to use the shoreline street end if conditions are met.  Permit fees are then placed in a fund and used for maintenance and improvement of shoreline street ends.  This is the approach we are following in addressing Waterway No. 1.  One important difference is that the State has proprietary authority over Waterway No. 1.  We are working with the state to accomplish its goals for aquatic lands.  The state Department of Natural Resources will be in touch with you regarding the required separate state permit. 

 

The LCC developed policies to implement the Cityís shoreline street end program in 1999 that we will follow in addressing issues relating to state waterways.  These policies call for respecting the privacy and working closely with adjacent landowners and developing consensus among neighbors regarding future changes to the public property shoreline area. 

 

Progress on Waterway No. 1 continues.  The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are working on an agreement to manage the property under rules similar to the shoreline street ends program.  You will be hearing from SDOT on the rules that will govern your private use of the public property and the permit fees.  The fees are intended to provide incentives to ultimately minimize or eliminate use of the public property by adjacent owners.  The fees in the case of Waterway No. 1 would cover the upland area as well as the pilings in the water and portion of your dock that are in the public area.  We know that this will be a gradual process as one of the goals is to respect the privacy of adjacent property owners.  But, in the meantime the fees collected with help pay for maintenance and improvement of the public lot. 

 

With your assistance, the LCC would like develop consensus on how to transform the vacant lot into a community amenity.  Our initial plan has been to create a drought tolerant, low maintenance garden.  That could change depending upon what neighbors would like to see happen at the vacant lot.  In the meantime, SDOTís landscape architect has preliminary ideas about creating a meandering pathway to the water and using native and non-native plants to improve the aesthetic character of the site and to improve public safety by facilitating access.  Our plan is to schedule a meeting of neighbors to move forward with improvements to Waterway No. 1.  Before we do so, we would like to discuss the various issues with you and your preferences.

 

Please let us know if you have any questions about preliminary planning for Waterway No. 1 and your ideas for improving the site.  We look forward to transforming Waterway No. 1 into a community amenity and to working with you in this effort.

 

Sincerely,

                                 

Jeannie Hale, President                                     Liz Ogden, Transportation Committee

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                                  5005 48th Avenue NE

Seattle, Washington  98105                                          Seattle, Washington  98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631                              206-517-5862 / fax 206-729-5132

jeannieh@serv.net                                                        wizzet@comcast.net