Category Archives: Development

Seattle Mayor, local leaders participate in Lake City ‘Find it, fix it’ walk

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Local leaders came to Lake City Monday night for Mayor Ed Murray’s sixth “Find it, Fix it” community walk. Previous walks have visited other Seattle neighborhoods and crime hotspots.

Murray, along with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Sen. David Frockt, and other officials and City of Seattle department representatives, toured the neighborhood with about 50 local residents. The tour highlighted troubled areas and elements of the community that are in need of improvement.

The walks, as described in a press release, allow community residents, police, and city officials to “walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it.” The goal of the walks is to help Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

As noted during the walk, city departments often rely on reports from residents about transportation problems, crime, derelict properties and other issues in a community. One speaker said that if a problem area is not continually reported by the community, it is more difficult to deal with because it has to then be noticed by a department employee. And that can take much longer.

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Reporting a safety or crime concern is easy to do with the City of Seattle’s Find it, Fix it mobile app (the app can be downloaded by clicking here for iOS and Android.) The app allows users to easily report graffiti, potholes, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, and other issues. You can also use the City’s website to report problems by clicking here.

During the Monday walk, plenty of those reportable items were found, and eight large trash bags of litter were gathered by volunteers from the North Seattle Family Center and Hunger Intervention Program.

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a dump site on a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

The walk with community members —and an earlier walk with members of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and city leaders— gave people a chance to air concerns about the community.

When a speaker from the City stood in front of the dilapidated Aqua Dive site to talk about graffiti removal, the structure provided a strong backdrop for the way some property owners have allowed their buildings to become eyesores and contributors to behaviors that negatively impact the community. The Aqua Dive and neighboring structures are know to be popular places for drug users and others that have been kicked out of homeless housing projects in the neighborhood. At one point, one of the leading advocates for Lake City’s homeless community shouted out that the structure needs to be torn down.

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The walk also meandered over to the old Fire Station 39 and the Lake City Community Center —both city-owned properties in the core of Lake City that debate has swirled around their future use.

The City has proposed leasing the old fire station to the Pierre Auto Centers for two years, delaying development of the property. A previous proposal was to build transitional housing for formerly homeless people on the site. That proposal generated significant opposition and some would say was a catalyst for the formation of some of Lake City’s current active community groups.

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

The walk ended at the Lake City Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray thanked community members for taking the time to walk around the neighborhood. Earlier discussion with the Mayor and Lake City leaders centered around the future of the building, its lack of amenities, and spaces that are not ADA accessible. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance earlier sent a letter to the Mayor’s office advocating for a new, full-service Lake City Community Center to support the youth, families, and seniors in the Lake City Hub Urban Village.

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

The walk gave community members a brief moment to point out issues in the core of Lake City, a likely more effective way than trying to explain a problem in a meeting environment. General topics such as our overall lack of sidewalks —a topic that historically dominates community meetings here— was only discussed a few times as other specific problem areas prompted residents to enter discussions with representatives from the City of Seattle Departments.

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

The walk was led by Seattle Police officers and roads were shut down by officers for the group of pedestrians to safely walk on the streets —something that one resident pointed out is not available to pedestrians that regularly have to walk in Lake City streets.

As city officials and residents dispersed after the evening walk, another crowd started to fill in the Lake City Mini Park. The usual suspects were out there drinking tallboys, with one man pacing back and forth yelling at passing motorists. Officials from the walk watched the scene unfold as they returned to their cars near the Mini Park.

Construction kicks off on Olympic Hills Greenway

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Construction has kicked off on Lake City Greenways’ Olympic Hills Neighborhood Greenway with the installation of new speed humps on 25th Avenue NE, NE 127th Street and one block of 27th Avenue NE.

The project, largely led by community members, will try to create a safer street that gives more priority to pedestrians and bike riders. New features will attempt to enhance safety on the road. Speed humps, stop signs, bike sharrows and other safety improvement elements are part of the project.

The Olympic Hills Greenway is the first in a planned network of routes for cyclists and pedestrians in Lake City.

More about the project from the City of Seattle Department of Transportation:

Seattle is building a network of neighborhood greenways. Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family, neighbors and customers. On streets with low car volumes and speeds a greenway can:

- Improve safety
- Help people cross busy streets
- Discourage cut-thru traffic
- Protect the residential character of our neighborhoods
- Keep speeds low
- Get people to where they want to go like parks, schools, shops and restaurants

Neighborhood greenways are not car free zones, do not add bike lanes and there are minimal if any on-street parking impacts.

Speed humps installed in front of Olympic Hills Elementary

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As part of a an effort to make the walking and biking route to Olympic Hills Elementary School safer, speed humps were installed by the Seattle Department of Transportation on NE 130th Street in recent days.

The speed humps are intended to slow traffic in the immediate vicinity of the school. The Safe Routes To School program and a grant from the Washington State Department of transportation also recently completed a segment of missing sidewalk on the route to the school along NE 130th Street. Previously students were regularly seen walking to school in the street.

Although many streets in the area of the school still lack sidewalks, the recent additions show government officials are paying attention to pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. The topic of pedestrian safety has been the dominant topic of public meetings in the Lake City area for decades.

More speed humps and other traffic calming measures are planned for a stretch of 27th Avenue Northeast, NE 127th Street, and 25th Avenue Northeast as part of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways project to make roads more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

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

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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 katie.sheehy@seattle.gov.

 

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 - steve.sampson@seattle.gov.

Ed.Murray@seattle.gov
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
sally.clark@seattle.gov
jean.godden@seattle.gov
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
nick.licata@seattle.gov
mike.obrien@seattle.gov
tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov
kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

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

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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.

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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.

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The park, looking east.

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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

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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.