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

February 8, 2002

Ken Bounds, Superintendent of Parks
Seattle Parks and Recreation
100 Dexter Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109
Joseph Olchefske, Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools
815 Fourth Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109

RE: Joint Athletic Facilities Development Program (JAFDP)

Dear Superintendents Bounds and Olchefsky:

The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees is disturbed at the divisiveness that has surfaced between advocates of organized playfield sports and playfield neighbors over the Joint Athletic Facilities Development Program (JAFDP). This divisiveness was very evident by the lack of civility at the January 24th public hearing before the Board of Park Commissioners. We believe that there must be an appropriate balance to address the growing need for athletic fields, while at the same time being sensitive to the concerns of impacted neighbors.

It is the mission of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department to work with ALL citizens. To us, it does not seem like this has happened because legitimate concerns about lighting, parking, traffic and environmental impacts have not been addressed in the JAFDP. The JAFDP will govern how public Park and School fields will be developed in Seattle. Rather than strengthening protections for neighborhoods in the plan, Parks has recommended addressing these issues at a later date. We find this unacceptable. The JAFDP must include standards to address the needs and concerns of field neighbors.

We appreciate the fact that Parks held three public meetings last fall to obtain citizen input on the new JAFDP. Despite the large outcry by neighbors over longer hours of use, lights and parking overflow into neighborhoods, however, Parks and Schools have decided to exclude these issues from the JAFDP. The JAFDP's goal to "be a good neighbor" mere states that they will "manage development and use to be good neighbors by being sensitive to the needs of field users and neighbors." The guiding principle under this goal states that they will "minimize the potential impacts of field use on surround neighborhoods to the extent possible given site considerations, resources, etc." Based upon our experience with Parks on other matters, we are not convinced that these issues will be addressed.

We support the Seattle Resident for Fair Field Lighting and the Seattle Community Council Federation in recommending no further ballfield development until the JAFDP contains provisions to meet the needs of neighbors in earnest.

Sincerely,

Jeannie Hale

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

cc: Board of Park Commissioners, Mayor Nickels, City Councilmembers, Alix Ogden


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