Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

 

Government Affairs and Labor Committee

Public Hearing on UW Lease Lid Options

August 2, 2004

 

 

            The Laurelhurst Community Club appreciates the opportunity to testify again about the options before you relating to the University of Washington lease lid.  As we stated at the hearing last week, we believe the solution lies somewhere between the options before you.  We support a compromise and are disappointed that the University remains unwilling to work for a solution that will benefit all parties involved. 

 

            It was just a few years ago when the University approached its neighboring communities asking us to work with them to revise the 1983 City-University Agreement because the City’s proposal did not meet its needs.  The result—the 1998 City University Agreement—was approved by the City and the University of Washington Board of Regents.  We worked cooperatively for 18 months and negotiated hundreds of compromises.  One of the compromises related to the lease lid. 

 

            The 1998 City University Agreement we negotiated with the University retained the long-standing restrictions on the University’s ability to lease and acquire property in the primary and secondary impact zones.  We agreed to substantially increase the leasing square footage limits—from 400,000 square feet to 550,000 square feet—and crafted an exemption for patient housing to meet the University’s needs.  This compromise addressed the goal in the City University Agreement of balancing the University’s need to grow to meet its needs and the need to maintain the livability and vitality of surrounding communities. 

 

Today, Laurelhurst and other communities remain willing to compromise on the University lease lid.  We recognize that the University is an important economic driver in the region and that additional leasing space is in everyone’s best interests.  We, however, believe that restrictions are important.  The University will have the flexibility that it desires to fulfill its educational, research and public service mission with the substantial square footage increase in leasing contained in Option 2.

 

            As we stated last week, the Laurelhurst Community Club supports Option 2 with the following amendments:

 

1.      Provisions included in Option 1 restricting UW leasing in pedestrian overlay zones;

 

2.      Provisions included in Option 1 protecting the 18-acre Battelle property from University lease or purchase, with added wording to protect the property from University “control” to account for the possibility that the property is donated to the University at a future date;

 

3.      Provisions to incorporate the Heartland UW lease lid recommendation that the City amend the City University Agreement to expressly prohibit University leasing in properties zoned single family or low-rise residential for non-residential purposes—to provide added protection to residential zones;

 

4.      Provisions to implement the Housing Quality Assurance Program; and

 

5.      Provisions to reinstate the requirement that amendments to the lease lid proceed through the major amendment process—formerly a part of the City University Agreement prior to changes last year—to ensure involvement by the City-University-Community Advisory Committee in addressing and evaluating the issues.

 

Should the Council move forward with Option 1, we support incorporation of the changes above.  We also support additional language in Option 1 (page 11) relating to the 2008 review of UW off-campus leasing to provide for reinstatement of the lease lid if certain goals, conditions and mitigation of impacts are not achieved. 

 

            We appreciate the opportunity to again comment the proposed UW lease lid options.  We hope you will support a compromise.

 

 

Jeannie Hale, President

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington  98105

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

jeannieh@serv.net