Laurelhurst Community Club
Meredith Getches, Seattle Hearing Examiner
1320 Alaska Building
618 Second Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104-2222
Re: Seattle Department of Design, Construction and Land Use Master Use Permit, January 17, 2002, Project No. 2007975, page 49 (University of Washington Master Plan)
Dear Ms. Getches:
I am here today as the Laurelhurst Community Club representative to the City University Community Advisory Committee (CUCAC) and am commenting on the University of Washington's request for a rezone for its golf driving range to allow it to enlarge its facilities and build new fencing that would go as high as 100 feet. The current fence is 37 feet tall.
I have served on CUCAC for approximately one year and in that time have heard a number of presentations by the University of Washington on its proposed golf driving range expansion. Moreover, discussions about the golf range proposal were already underway when I joined CUCAC. In fact, CUCAC has voted formally three times on the golf range:
The changing votes reflect both the ambivalence of CUCAC members about the project, and with the most recent vote against (on January 8, 2002), the emergence of new information about the project and its impacts. These votes also demonstrate a serious shortcoming in the way that CUCAC and the University interact. Among CUCAC's duties are to advise the City of Seattle and the University on the orderly physical development of the University and the greater University area and provide advice regarding the protection of the surrounding community and business areas from adverse effects of University and City actions.
In connection with the golf driving range, some CUCAC members cannot provide well-informed advice or review because of the complexity of the relevant land use law, including the State Environmental Policy Act. I, and I suspect others, are only superficially acquainted with the relevant law and related questions that arise with this rezone request. That puts CUCAC members such as myself at a profound disadvantage in providing well-informed advice and makes it impossible to carry out our duties as CUCAC members effectively. The City should provide CUCAC member with a way to consult with neutral city attorneys who are expert in land use law, to ask questions and get answers in a non-adversarial environment, so that we can do our jobs. Otherwise, we are being set up - members of CUCAC versus the experts. Please do not leave us hanging.
The University has argued in meetings that we CUCAC members should support the rezone and that our concerns will be addressed in the SEPA review. However, that argument ignores the powerful momentum that will be created for the project if the rezone is approved. If CUCAC members and the community clubs and councils they represent had equal resources - money and staff - with the University, that might be a reasonable argument. But the communities surrounding the University have only one resource - dedicated volunteers willing to take time off from their jobs to come here today to testify. No one testifying here today from the University is doing it on his or her own time. (Moreover, no UW student - other than the CUCAC student representative - has ever participated in or attended any discussion on this golf driving range proposal at which I've been present).
I want to stress in the strongest possible way that the Laurelhurst Community Club is not opposed to the presence of the existing golf driving range, and in fact many members of our community use it regularly. The community club is opposed to the expansion because of its concerns about these issues:
In summary, I hope that I have conveyed that as a CUCAC representative, I have serious concerns about the process by which CUCAC has tried to advise the City on this rezone. I have substantive unanswered questions about impacts of the project itself. On behalf of the Laurelhurst Community Club, I urge you to recommend against the rezone at this time.
Jean Colley, CUCAC Representative
Laurelhurst Community Club
3811 NE 41st
Seattle, WA 98105
206-525-5013 / 206-448-1772