Tag Archives: change

Community members learn about urban design and density at “Coffee Talk”

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Lake City residents that want to have a voice in future planning of the neighborhood gathered for the second in a series of “Coffee Talks” at the Community Center on Tuesday night. (Coverage from first meeting here).

The Coffee Talk meetings are part of community efforts to educate community members as they plan for future development in Lake City. The family of longtime Lake City auto dealer Bill Pierre is looking to redevelop some of their significant property holdings along Lake City Way and in the neighborhood’s hub urban village. The redevelopment has potential to completely change central areas of the neighborhood.

“Lake City is very fortunate that the Pierre family has come to the community,” said Gerald Hansmire, founder of MAKERS architecture, planning and urban design during his presentation. “Sometimes developers come in and do what they want because no one has suggested different,” he said.

The potential redevelopment opportunity of a large swath of urban land is attracting attention from urban planners and government leaders. The City of Seattle has formed an Interdepartmental Task Force to address neighborhood issues in anticipation of redevelopment (a draft scope of interdepartmental work is expected in the next few months).

During the Coffee Talk the group discussed urban design and density after presentations by Jeanne Krikawa, co-chair of the Seattle Planning Commission Land Use and Transportation Committee and partner at The Underhill Co., Geoffrey Wentlandt, senior urban design planner with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development and Hansmire of MAKERS.

Community members discussed zoning and design review at the meeting and how the two can be used as tools for a neighborhood to guide development. The limitations of design review were also noted. There was much discussion around the fact that the last time neighborhood design guidelines were approved was in 2007, guided by the Lake City Community Council. Some in attendance said that the Lake City Community Council represented a relatively small geographic area in greater Lake City at the time and with significant plans for redevelopment in Lake City, the guidelines should be updated.

Also discussed at the meeting was The North District Neighborhood Plan for Lake City, a massive effort in the late nineties that brought dozens of community members together with the City of Seattle to create a document to guide the future of the neighborhood.

The document looked at the development of Lake City from 1999 to 2014. Much of what was written into the plan still applies today. Also, much of what was planned was never realized.

Some at the meeting had never heard of The North District Neighborhood Plan for Lake City, and many in the general community likely also have not. Therefore, it is embedded below, broken into 10 sections. The first section is immediately below this text. The remaining nine are below the jump. This document is worth browsing as it lays out plans and ideas for Lake City, many that still apply today.

Download (PDF, 274KB)

Section 1

More sections below:

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Claire’s Pantry shuts down, Schmetzer’s Sporthaus plans to leave Lake City

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Claire’s Pantry shown in a photo from the Seattle P-I story. Used on Lake City Live with permission.

Earlier this week, diners that arrived at the doors of Claire’s Pantry, a longtime business at NE 125th Street and Lake City Way, were surprised with a sign on the door. In all capital letters the sheet of paper read: BUSINESS CLOSED.

The simple sign was the apparent end of a business that many longtime Lake City residents have visited or passed by for decades. Inside, the business looked as if the closure was unexpected. Tables were still set, napkin holders and condiments still on table tops.

A story in the Seattle P-I on Wednesday said the business had been open since 1974. The story by reporter Casey McNerthney also gave the history of the site of the longtime diner. You can read the story with more details here.

Rumors were flying among people as to why the business closed so suddenly. We tried to sleuth out the reason for the closure on Tuesday but were unable. Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson sent the message below on Twitter. Others in the neighborhood discussed a more unfortunate rumor for the restaurant’s sudden closing. But honestly, no one was quite sure why the business shuttered.

But in recent years regular diners noticed significant change at the restaurant. The food changed, portion sizes were said to be smaller and the building seemed to be falling into disrepair. Online reviews became harsh for the business. On Tuesday broken light fixtures were seen on the exterior of the building, the awning over the entrance seemed to be missing or torn and brick work on the brick building seemed to be crumbling on the west side.

The closing of the restaurant comes with the equally sad news that another longtime Lake City Business will leave the neighborhood— although this one will continue in a new location.

Pedestrians walk past Schmetzer's Sporthaus soccer store on Lake City Way.

Pedestrians walk past Schmetzer’s Sporthaus soccer store on Lake City Way in this photo from the Seattle P-I. Used with permission on LCL.

Schmetzer’s Sporthaus, which has been a fixture in the business core on LCW, selling soccer gear and attracting youth from Lake City’s vibrant youth soccer scene, will reopen on Aurora Avenue on May 1st. The P-I reported that Schmetzer’s will relocate to a larger space near the old Chubby and Tubby building. A staff member of the business also said on Tuesday that the daily gathering of chronic inebriates and drug users in front of the business was also a significant influence in their decision to leave Lake City. Many of those gathered there seem to be attracted by the nearby Dollar Plus store known for its cheap, fortified beer and wine.

The departures of the Lake City businesses come almost one year after the hugely successful opening of Elliott Bay Public House & Brewery, a business that is packed almost every night. Elliott Bay’s huge success has proven that there is a hunger among neighborhood residents for quality businesses. Nearby Kaffeeklatch coffee and bakery, the Lake City Bakery are examples of other businesses that have become favorites of locals, and recently more of north Seattle as they are both “discovered.”  The Beer Authority, a full service beer bottle shop with 400 labels of beer, also recently moved to a larger space to accommodate its increasingly popular business.