Category Archives: Development

Lake Washington beach access at end of NE 130th St no longer public, appeals court rules

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

A Washington State Appeals court ruled on June 30th that a beach on Lake Washington is private property and not a place the public can access the water. The ruling may change nearly 80 years of public use of the small property.

The court ruled 3-0 against the City of Seattle and King County and sided with property owners on either side of the land at the end of Northeast 130th Street.

Lake City Live first reported about the dispute in April 2013 after signs were placed on the property announcing coming improvements as part of a Parks and Green Spaces Levy. When the sign was erected announcing the street end improvements by Seattle Parks and Seattle’s Department of Transportation, the adjacent property owners filed a dispute of title, saying the land was private property. As the case made its way through court, the project at the site was put on hold.

The dispute stems from the 1926 purchase of property from the Puget Mill Company. In 1932 King County vacated the street that separated the properties. The timing of the street vacation led to the dispute.

Some residents advocating for public Lake Washington access have expressed their disappointment via a Facebook group, and are now advocating for the City of Seattle to condemn the property for public use.

Area resident David Pope wrote in letter to City leaders, “The North end of Seattle has very limited access to Lake Washington and it would be irresponsible to let this public beach be taken over by two land owners who already enjoy water access.”

The beach is the only public access to Lake Washington between Matthews Beach and the Log Boom Park in Kenmore.

You can see a Google Street view of the area below:

View Larger Map

You can see the Washington Court of Appeals ruling below.

Download (PDF, 710KB)



Taco Time restaurant planned for Lake City


tt_contact_357x389The former site of Pierre Auto Center’s fleet and commercial sales and leasing is slated to become a Taco Time restaurant, according to permits filed with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

In recent weeks the fleet vehicles were moved from the location and workers have been seen preparing the building. Permits issued by the City of Seattle are for the building to be demolished and replaced with the new business. The proposal is for a 2,096 sq. ft. restaurant. No changes to the parking lot are noted in the application. The site is adjacent to Thornton Creek, where it flows under Lake City Way, see map below.

Ricks Permits New 16 Foot Sign

A sample image of what Rick's new sign might look like from Lake City Way.

A sample image of what Rick’s new sign might look like from Lake City Way.

Rick’s will soon have a new electronic two-sided pole sign to help advertise its adult entertainment along Lake City Way. A new permit approved by the Dept. of Planning & Development (DPD) allows Rick’s to install an 8’ by 16’ double-sided display board. The digital board will include changing imagery – up to 7 different images per minute. This will be similar to the pole sign installed earlier this year at the Pierre-owned car lot across the street. Neighborhood advocates already working to address safety issues via the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor project are concerned this will add even more visual clutter to an already busy thoroughfare.


Backpack sign advertising Ricks at the intersection of LCW and 125th

Backpack sign advertising Ricks at the intersection of LCW and 125th

Rick’s is also known in the neighborhood for “pushing the envelope” when it comes to its advertising. Just last month, Rick’s was cited for illegally topping the street trees located in front of its existing billboard display. Before that, neighbors successfully fought provocative backpack boards worn by Rick’s employees along the sidewalk during rush hour. And before that, they successfully fought the Rick’s Dreamgirls van (pictured below) parked streetside for days at a time.

Van parked in front of Ricks

Van parked in front of Ricks


But this new sign is legal and DPD does not have legislation to enforce the content of the sign. Signage issues have been a challenge throughout the city as legislation has not kept up with changing technology.


Parents with curious youngsters are already familiar with the questions these images generate. Rick’s location makes it well-suited for catching the eyes of school children, as school bus routes for John Rogers and Jane Addams travel through the intersection of 115th and Lake City Way twice daily during the school year. High school students are also known to frequent the bus stop just across the street from Rick’s.


So what can you do?
Get involved! The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance can help you get connected with your local community group, or if you’re interested in bolstering positive economic growth in Lake City, consider volunteering with Lake City Future First.


An Urban Design Framework (UDF) is currently underway for the Lake City hub urban village (HUV). Request a signage “overlay district” be added as part of this process. An overlay district would require a Lake City design review board to approve ALL exterior signs and would restrict the sign type, size, quantity, lighting, material, shape, etc. Katie Sheehy has worked closely with the Lake City community to develop the UDF. Contact her at


Raise awareness among elected officials. Write to City Council and the Mayor’s office to request updated sign codes. This isn’t just a Lake City issue, similar signage concerns have cropped up throughout the city businesses find new ways to outpace dated signage laws. Be sure to cc DPD’s Steve Sampson on any message -

Rick’s strip club adding new 16′ x 8′ illuminated sign on LCW


DreamGirls at Rick’s strip club is installing a new, 30-foot-tall, illuminated pole sign, according to a permit issued by the City of Seattle. In recent days, painters have also been working on the building, painting it bright red.

20140626-133650-49010322.jpgThe illuminated sign and paint job come just weeks after the business severely pruned street trees along Lake City Way. The city has ordered the business to replace the trees that they say were cut illegally and improperly, according to a report from KIRO Radio. The cost of replacing the trees will be significant, said a spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

The permit for the pole sign is for one similar to the style of signs at Bill Pierre Ford and Chevrolet. The permit for the Rick’s sign says the image on the sign “shall not change more than 7 times per minute. No flashing, no video display methods, and no off-premises advertising is permitted.” The Department of Planning and development said they cannot enforce the content of the sign.

The permit also says that the existing neon roof sign must be removed before installation of the new illuminated pole sign. The new sign will be 30-feet-tall from street level, and each sign face will be 8-feet by 16-feet.

In recent years, DreamGirls, owner of Rick’s, has battled with the Seattle Mariners over the location of a strip club and notably the illuminated sign next to Safeco Field. The dispute over the strip club led the Mariners to sue DreamGirls’ and the City of Seattle. Lawsuit filed here.

The Mariners eventually dropped the suit in an agreement with DreamGirls after the strip club chain agreed to not show certain types of images during days that the team was hosting events for children.

Design ideas unveiled for Olympic Hills community park

A proposed schematic design of the Olympic Hills community park. (click for larger)

A proposed schematic design of the Olympic Hills community park (Johnson+Southerland Landscape Architecture) click image for larger

Proposed design ideas for the Olympic Hills community park were unveiled during a gathering at the site Tuesday evening.


Residents gather to learn about park design proposals.

The park, formerly a pathway through a tangle of bushes on property set between 27th Avenue NE and 28th Avenue NE, has been a project adopted by numerous residents in Olympic Hills. The community park has emphasized community as it has brought together residents to work on the project. The work they have done so far has transformed the site.

The park is planned to be a feature of a future 27th Avenue NE greenway. A Neighborhood Matching Fund grant has helped the park steering committee hire a design firm to plan the park.

Neighbors have been out in force during work parties, removing invasive species, blackberries and trash, planting native plants and spreading mulch over part of the land. A small creek usually flows through the property and would be incorporated into the design of the park.

On Tuesday, people that have been part of the park building process gathered to see design proposals and to continue planning for the space. You can see a pair of panoramic photos of the park-in-progress below.


The park, looking east.


The park looking west

Below is a map showing the location of the park.

Below is a photo from a November 2013 work party at the park.

Temporary use for old Fire Station 39 proposed, delays development for two years


A proposal that would put development of the old Lake City Fire Station 39 property on hold for two years has been made by the City of Seattle and Pierre Auto Centers.

In 2012 the City of Seattle proposed that the site be sold for development of homeless-transitional housing. That proposal generated controversy because of the location of the site in what is considered the civic core of Lake City.

The controversial 2012 proposal, along with redevelopment plans for Pierre properties in Lake City and local transportation issues, spurred creation of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, bringing together many local groups that had been working independently on similar issues affecting the community. The proposal was unveiled to the group in recent days.

The proposal would be for Pierre auto businesses to lease the site for two years for parts storage. The site would be used for warehousing and would not appear to be an active business from the exterior. The City of Seattle would generate revenue from the lease and the the Lake City organizations would be able to have more time as they work on an Urban Design Framework with the City of Seattle. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance plans to draft a letter of support for the plan that will include some ideas for community-generated enhancement of the building exterior.

Seattle Public Schools releases new names for Jane Addams K-8 and Pinehurst K-8/Indian Heritage Program

On Tuesday Seattle Public School sent the following press release:

Superintendent José Banda has approved new names for the Jane Addams K-8 program and the Pinehurst K-8/Indian Heritage program.

· Jane Addams K-8 is newly named Hazel Wolf K-8
· Pinehurst K-8/Indian Heritage combined program is newly named Licton Springs K-8.

As a result of the voter-approved Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) capital levy in 2013, a number of schools are being built or renovated. The Jane Addams building is becoming a neighborhood Middle School and as a result, Jane Addams K-8—now Hazel Wolf K-8— is moving to the John Marshall building for two years while their new home, the Pinehurst building, is being newly constructed. The Pinehurst K-8/Indian Heritage combined program—now Licton Springs K-8—is moving to the Lincoln building for three years while their new home in the middle school building on the Wilson-Pacific site is being constructed.

Jane Addams K-8 principal Debbie Nelsen and Pinehurst K-8 principal Roy Merca have worked with their respective students, staff, program’s leadership and partnerships teams and PTSA to identify and vote on possible new names. Each principal then sent a letter of recommendation with suggested names to Superintendent Banda for his review and decision.

“I am pleased to approve the new names of these two school programs, which were identified as a result of a collaborative effort that included students, staff and families,” said Superintendent José Banda. “It’s clear that the naming process was thoughtful and took into consideration the legacy of these programs and what they represent.”

Hazel Wolf was a Seattle-based environmental and social justice advocate whose causes ranged from the rights of workers, immigrants, women and minorities to the protection of wilderness, wetlands, and wildlife. She eventually became one of the most respected figures in the Northwest environmental community, passing away in 2000 at the age of 101. Those participating in the naming process noted that Hazel Wolf bridges the social justice movement represented by the Jane Addams K-8 school program’s original namesake, Jane Addams, with the environmental focus of its program.

Licton Springs, the neighborhood where the Wilson-Pacific site is located, takes its name from Liq’tid or Licton, the Salish word for the reddish mud of the springs and is one of the few Puget Sound Salish words still used as a place name. The actual source of the springs is in a small park not far from the Wilson-Pacific site and has deep spiritual significance to the Duwamish people first settled the area.

Building naming process to begin this fall. The new middle school and elementary school buildings on the Wilson-Pacific site will open for the 2017-18 school year and the naming process for each of these two buildings will begin this fall. Community residents, families, school staffs and PTSAs will be included in the naming process for each building. The School Board will then vote on and approve the two new names.

What does Lake City want? Community members respond at LC Future First kickoff

During Wednesday evening’s public kickoff of Lake City Future First, community members  were asked to write down desired elements that they think would improve Lake City. As usual, sidewalks and walkability were easily a dominant theme. But there were also a few other interesting requests and ideas. You can see a somewhat random sampling below.

What would you like to see in Lake City’s future? Add your suggestion in the comments below.



LCfuture_003 Continue reading

Olympic Hills Pocket Park Opportunities

Design discussions at the park site (photo courtesy of LC Greenways)

Design discussions at the park site (photo courtesy of LC Greenways)

Volunteers are hard at work creating a new pocket park in Olympic Hills. The project is funded through a Department of Neighborhoods matching fund grant.

Organizers are looking for community involvement in a variety of ways, listed below. Neighborhood grants like this one rely on matching volunteer hours, so please consider participating. Even if you don’t live in Olympic Hills, this opportunity can provide a template for how to accomplish a similar project in your own neighborhood. Project coordinator, Janine Blaeloch, and other project volunteers are happy to share their expertise and insights.


Weigh in on the design of the pocket park
Wednesday, May 21, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Lamb of God Lutheran Church, 12509 27th Ave NE
At this meeting, design professionals will present two or three concepts for the neighborhood to consider.


Volunteers help clear brush at a park work party (photo courtesy of LC Greenways)

Volunteers help clear brush at a park work party (photo courtesy of LC Greenways)


Work party in the park
Saturday, May 31, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the park site (NE 133rd between 27th and 28th avenues)
This work party will be less strenuous than previous; no digging, but there will be weed pulling, grass-whacking, and mulching, mulching, mulching. There will also be lively conversation about what is wanted in this new park. Displays of the design concepts will also be available for feedback.


Final meeting and presentation of design
Tuesday, June 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the park site (NE 133rd between 27th and 28th avenues)
Come see the results of this grassroots, community-led effort to improve the neighborhood!


Join “Jane’s Walk” This Sunday for School Safety

Pink indicates Walk Zone for Cedar Park site, white indicates future enrollment boundary for Cedar Park Elementary. (photo courtesy of Seattle School District website)

Pink indicates Walk Zone for Cedar Park site, white indicates future enrollment boundary for Cedar Park Elementary. (photo courtesy Seattle School District website)

Community members are invited to join “Jane’s Walk” this Sunday, May 4th from 2:00-4:00pm. The purpose of the walk is to identify challenges children might experience as they cross Lake City Way and NE 125th Street while walking or biking to school.


Olympic Hills Elementary students will be relocated to the Cedar Park site while their building is rebuilt. For many, this will mean crossing Lake City Way – a state highway – to get to school. The walk zone for Cedar Park (indicated in pink on the map) includes areas both east and west of Lake City Way, as well as areas south of NE 125th.  After the new Olympic Hills Elementary is opened, crossing Lake City Way (LCW)  &  NE 125th will remain an issue, since the enrollment boundary for the new Cedar Park Elementary crosses both arterials.


Walk zones for Seattle’s elementary schools are typically established by a 1 mile radius from the school, as the crow flies. However, the walk zone boundaries usually avoid crossing state highways or busy arterials where crosswalks are unavailable. For example, students who attend John Rogers Elementary but live east of Sand Point Way are eligible for yellow bus transportation, even though they live less than a mile from the school. At Olympic Hills, the current attendance area spans Lake City Way, but children living east of LCW are eligible for yellow bus transportation.

A family rushes to cross Lake City Way

A family rushes to cross Lake City Way

Sunday’s walk will be led by Katie Sheehy from the city’s Dept. of Planning and Development. Ms. Sheehy is currently involved with an urban design framework project for Lake City, so short-term and long-term ideas for improvements could be incorporated into that project. The walk will depart from Kaffeeklatsch (12513 Lake City Way NE) at 2:00pm.


If you’re interested in broader traffic safety issues for students, please consider joining the Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee, which is currently seeking new members. This is a volunteer board that advises the Mayor and City Council with respect to school traffic safety. For more information visit the Council’s website.