Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

 

September 16, 2004

 

 

 

Council President Jan Drago and

Members of the Seattle City Council

600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2

P.O. Box 34025

Seattle, Washington  98124-4025                                             Fax 206-684-8587

 

 

RE:  Committee Vote on UW Lease Lid and Compliance with the Order of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board

 

 

Dear Council President Drago and Members of the City Council,

 

            We appreciate the preliminary work you have done on UW lease lid issues.  The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees supports revitalization of The Ave and providing the University with the flexibility it needs to meet its needs—goals we know that you share.  We do, however, have concerns about issues that surfaced at today’s meeting of the Council’s Government Affairs and Labor Committee meeting.  The Order of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board finding the City in continuing noncompliance with the Growth Management Act regarding the lease lid legislation has allowed the City until December 14, 2004 to comply.  We urge you to follow the mandates of the Growth Management Act and address the issues we raise below.

 

            The Growth Management Act requires you to “[e]ncourage the involvement of citizens in the planning process and ensure coordination between communities and jurisdictions to reconcile conflicts.”  RCW 36.70A.020(11).  It does not appear to us that you have taken any steps to reconcile conflicts.  Amendment 4, offered by Councilmember Licata, is a compromise.  It would require a review of University leasing after seven years.  If the University acts responsibly and there are no adverse impacts as a result of new construction associated with University leasing, it can be expected that at that time the leasing restrictions would be removed.  As pointed out at the meeting today, without this amendment the City would have no leverage whatsoever to reimpose leasing restrictions as it would require agreement by the University’s Board of Regents—something that would never happen.  Why take this chance and jeopardize the livability and vitality of surrounding communities and the economic vitality of The Ave?  It’s not sufficient to rely upon the Land Use Code or other regulatory restrictions.

 

            It appears to us that the City is continuing to blindly follow the wishes of the University with no regard to the impacted communities.  Yes, we want the UNICO development to move forward.  Yes, we want to improve and revitalize The Ave.  And, yes we want to provide the University with the space and flexibility it needs to meets its many diverse and critical needs because of its important mission and the role it plays in our economy.  What concerns us from today’s meeting is that you asked the University to document what it has done to work with the community.  Yet, there was NO mention of asking the impacted communities about what the University has not done or how to reconcile the conflicts as required by the Growth Management Act.  The affected communities should and must be a part of this process—and the partnership between the City, the University and the Community has not happened to date.

 

            Finally, it appears from today’s Committee meeting that amendments to two of the amendments that you all voted on today were offered and approved.  We were unsuccessful in getting copies of the amendments to the amendments after the meeting.  The community had no notice of the changes adopted today in Committee, nor any opportunity to comment.  Perhaps these are amendments that would be supported by the community, but we have no way of knowing because there was no notice and no opportunity to comment.

 

            We hope you will reopen this process and involve the Community as required by the Growth Management Act.  Thank you for considering our concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Jeannie Hale, President

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington  98105