By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
More updates today on the future of the encampment known as “Nickelsville” and its mostly-city-owned site:
First, from Highland Park Action Committee, which says it’s time for the encampment to move on, chair Carolyn Stauffer says:
We’ve just come back from the City Clerk’s office, where we filed a claim. We filed for “Declaratory Judgement” as to whether the Land Use Code, the Building and Construction Codes, and the Health and Safety Codes – all part of the Seattle Municipal Codes, apply to the SDOT property at 7116 West Marginal Way (current site of Nickelsville).
We filed with a “Permanent Injunction” requiring the City to move the encampment. This asks the court to clarify if that parcel of land exists outside of existing laws governing the entire City, and if it’s not, then we ask that the courts order the city to move the encampment. Our application was submitted with photos and maps documenting the encampment and the specific locations of activity in the West Duwamish Greenbelt.
We expect to hear back from them in 3-4 days with a claim number and confirmation, and then there is a 60 (day) wait period. If we don’t hear back, it opens the door to a lawsuit, which cannot be filed until this claim has been submitted … so the wheels of legal action are starting to turn, as of today.
Stauffer also says HPAC is continuing to circulate its online petition (first noted here last Friday), declaring it “is the number-one issue City Council is hearing about from citizens right now.” She also is encouraging turnout for this Wednesday’s City Council Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee meeting at City Hall, which will include a review of two proposed ordinances that would relate to Nickelsville (both linked in our Friday report) – public comment will be at the start of the hearing, around 2 pm. You can read the rest of the HPAC update here, including a reminder that their monthly meeting is that same day, Wednesday (May 22), 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
Other updates include a clarification from the city’s Finance and Administrative Services department on the cost of an environmental study that the mayor’s proposed ordinance would require for the encampment site to be made “semi-permanent”:
FAS spokesperson Katherine Schubert-Knapp e-mailed WSB to explain that while the mayor’s proposed ordinance lists two $150,000 line items and a “total $300,000″ regarding a possible environmental study, as we reported Friday, the study would actually cost $150,000, because the other line item is for one department to reimburse the other for that cost.
Meantime, the official Facebook group for the encampment, Nickelsville Works, has published a post from its Central Committee suggesting a different option than the two the council committee will consider Wednesday. An excerpt:
… We at the Nickelsville Central Committee are asking you to support another option – one that brings good new homes soon to both Nickelsville and Food Lifeline:
This option has us moving out of our present location very quickly and turning it over to Food Lifeline. We would then move to two locations that are ‘controlled’ (but not owned) by religious institutions. We would stay at each site for two years, and have not more than 100 people at either site. Most of the sites we are looking at could require rent payments to the owner (but not more than the $300,000 study proposed for the Glassyards.) As always, we would be glad to work with a Non-Profit Social Service Organization on Management Aspects of Nickelsville.
We are grateful to the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Low Income Housing Institute, and Food Lifeline for providing us advice, assistance and counsel on this option to move quickly.
This all comes shortly after the encampment marked the two-year anniversary of its return to the West Seattle site where it was founded in fall 2008 (days before being evicted and starting a series of moves).
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