West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to Karen Derby for the photo from another event in The Admiral District tonight – the West Seattle Motorcycle Club‘s monthly ride-in at Pizzeria 22. She reports “a good turnout,” adding, “Hopefully next month will bring even more folks and more variety of bikes.” If you’re an interested rider, next month’s ride-in is Tuesday, August 9th. (It’s a standing listing in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, as are meetings of other clubs that are open to new participants/members – e-mail us at email@example.com if you’re interested in adding yours.)
7:17 PM: We don’t often report live on neighborhood-council meetings, but tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting has at least two hypertimely guests – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (as previously announced) and Tom Lee from Madison Development Group (which is redeveloping the PCC site at 2749 California SW) – so we’ll be updating as it happens.
First, we’re in a variety of quick updates – including the eighth summer of the ANA-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series. The first concert (six Thursday nights, 6:30 pm, east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center) is July 21st, with Smokey Brights performing – here’s the full lineup. (WSB is a co-sponsor again this year.)
7:29 PM: Tom Lee from Madison is talking about the 2749 California SW project now, a last-minute agenda addition. As we noted in our coverage this morning when PCC (WSB sponsor) announced it would be part of the project, he’s noting the company’s other projects in the area, including Spruce and Element 42. He’s accompanied by reps from Hewitt, the architect for the project, whose Julia Nagele said: “What we’re here to do tonight is to just give you a taste of what we’re going to be bringing to the Design Review Board for our Early Design Guidance” – that meeting is July 21st. “We’re looking for neighborhood input on what you guys like, what you don’t like, and what’s important.”
The architects are putting up a few boards – too dark in this room to photograph but they say they’re the ones already available online, as linked in our earlier coverage. (Here’s the “design packet” on the city website – remember that at this stage in Design Review, it’s all about size and shape of the buildings.) They say they’re working on incorporating the California SW bus stop between the building’s two entries. They are also working on options for how to get the truck traffic into and off the site. “Code compliant” would have the trucks exiting the alley onto Lander, but they are pursuing the possibility of an exit onto California instead.
Their goals include the building being “a good neighbor … good place to live … good place to shop,” recognizing that the grocery store will be more than a place you just run into and out of, but also “a community hub.” They’re also working on how the building will respond to Hiawatha Playfield across the street. The site is 300′ long and 113′ deep. Hewitt is showing a “preferred option” that breaks up the building “into five pieces” over the grocery store.
One comment post-presentation – Mark Wainwright (a past ANA president) suggests that, since the neighborhood already has been through supermarket redevelopment – most recently, Admiral Safeway – the project team come out and walk some of those projects. Asked how long the new lease with PCC is, Lee replied “20 or 30 years – it’s a long-term lease.”
7:44 PM: Now it’s Councilmember Herbold’s turn. She mentions that the topic she was to address, the future of Seattle’s neighborhood districts, is suddenly “politically charged” (the sudden announcement of an impending mayoral action would be why). First, she’s giving background info, before getting to the latebreaking developments – that the mayor is “announcing a new system that we haven’t had a chance to review.” As she notes, the original directive to review the district situation came from the City Council. The fact a new system is about to be announced without final council input is unusual, to say the least.
The draft report, she mentions, talked about how to ensure district councils could be more inclusive. She notes that the district councils whose demographic information was included in the draft report was incomplete and at least three years old. “From our perspective, this was just their first cut at this work … my response at the time was yes, district councils could be more representative of our city … but I didn’t believe there was anything inherently undemocratic about the district council system, but that we should figure out ways of supporting (them) and (setting up metrics). … People who have been doing this work have been spending their time and their energy … and it’s a little bit disrespectful to throw out the system and set up a new one.”
Nonetheless, as she pointed out, the one-line preview emerged today, “and we’ll find out more tomorrow … how that is going to be implemented (we don’t know).” She said she will seek to ensure the City Council has a role. “There will be some changes that have to be made to different kinds of legislation that (set up) roles for the District Councils,” which, she recalls, were set up by an ordinance – “an intent document” – almost 30 years ago. “I think the challenge right now is to figure out where we have some input. If there are funding decisions to be made, that will likely be made in the context of the city budget process, which begins in September.”
Whatever the new system turns out to be, she said she hopes it will involve more people, not fewer, than what is in place now. She also notes that there have been past efforts to dismantle what was considered a world-class neighborhood-involvement system – neighborhood planning, the matching funds – set up under past Department of Neighborhoods director Jim Diers.
Herbold concluded, “I will pledge to keep you as informed as I can be, and share with you whatever information and opportunities that might arise for advocacy from you to the city … but where I am right now, I don’t know how these recommendations coming from the mayor are going to (engage) the council (or not).”
First question – does the mayor’s action dissolve neighborhood-level groups like this one? No, said Herbold, as these are freestanding groups. The main effect would be the staffing that district councils have had from the Department of Neighborhoods. “If you continue to meet as a district council” – for example, Admiral NA is a member of the Southwest District Council, along with other western West Seattle groups and organizations – there wouldn’t necessarily be any access to help from city-employed neighborhood-district coordinators. Budgetary changes would require City Council approval, Herbold says.
Also, points out David Whiting, ANA past president, who is co-chair of the SW District Council, the district councils currently meet in venues that require some nominal rent payment, so concerns would include where that funding would come from, if not the city. He subsequently asks Herbold if she had seen any sort of preview copy of the second report on the neighborhood-district evaluation, and she says she had not, though sometimes council central staffers get previews, and she will check if they did.
The Q&A is open to other topics, it’s mentioned, and another attendee asks about the Seattle Police Officers Guild contract vote and overall oversight. “One of the objectives of this contract is to implement recommendations of the Police Commission,” she notes. “We’ve been engaged in bargaining for almost two years now … We really hope they will vote for it because I think the contract goes a long way toward supporting the recommendations of the (commission).” She mentions that there was “a leak” of not only the contract proposal but also the city analysis “that basically (suggested the city) ‘won'” and that, she says, has led to current talk of a “no” vote.
An ANA member goes back to tomorrow’s district-council-dismantling announcement, saying it seems “disrespectful” to all the work neighborhood council volunteers have done. Councilmember Herbold says that one of the offshoots of the new City Council district system is that they’re hearing from more constituents, and she hopes that will mean more collaboration between residents and their representatives.
Another ANA member says he’s concerned about city spending “and it feels like property taxes are going out of sight.” He also says that the “process” seems to be taking forever on some projects, such as the SW Admiral Way Safety Project, and asks where that stands. Herbold says she thinks more community engagement is ahead (which is what we’ve been told, but without a date – the webpage still says “mid-2016”). Flyers are forthcoming, and possibly some “walk-and-talks.” It was also pointed out that SDOT reps were due twice at the Alki Community Council and canceled both times, and that they haven’t accepted invitations to come to this council – “they seem to feel they no longer need to come to the community councils,” suggests one attendee who’s been involved.
8:22 PM: Since Herbold had suggested getting involved in the budgeting process to possibly have some effect on what’s happening from here, an attendee asks what’s the most effective way to do that. “A variety of approaches” is what she suggests – “mix it up, some phone calls, some group e-mails, some individual e-mails, mix up your interaction with the decisionmakers … it sort of conveys the sense that you’re in advocacy mode from all different sides.” To influence the mayor’s budget proposal, Herbold says, get your comments in by the end of this month. And she’ll know more tomorrow what the council’s process will be “for considering these changes … and I might have different advice. It’s quite possible there’ll be another presentation before the Affordable Housing and Neighborhoods Committee before” any budget changes related to this are made.
In response to the next question, the councilmember says some of the language in the first draft of the report on this suggests “a fundamental misunderstanding” about what city councilmembers’ staffers do (in relation to the suggestion they will do all the work that neighborhood-district coordinators – like Kerry Wade, who is here – do). “Council staff is focused on policy work and budget – to the extent that council staffers get involved in implementation of work that departments do, is because something’s fallen through the cracks in the department; we’re a safety valve.”
The meeting ended shortly thereafter; ANA is taking August off and will be back in action the second Tuesday in September, 7 pm, The Sanctuary At Admiral.
The 26-year-old suspected prowler arrested in Highland Park/South Delridge six days ago has not yet been charged, but she’s still in jail because of two previous cases. Since she is charged in those cases and documents show she has pleaded guilty and been sentenced, we’re identifying her: Taylor A. Church. Neighbors caught images including the one at right before she was arrested last Wednesday in Highland Park/South Delridge; as we reported after her bail hearing last Thursday, documents say neighbors reported her trying to break into homes in the 8600 and 8800 blocks of 17th SW and the 8800 block of 18th SW. Police found her at 18th SW and SW Thistle. While the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told us a case hadn’t been referred to them yet for what happened last week, police did find Church had two warrants, for trespassing and theft. According to Seattle Municipal Court online records, she appeared in connection with those cases yesterday, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with credit for time served. City court documents are less comprehensive than the ones available through the county, so we’re not sure how much time Church is credited with – the jail register indicates she’s spent a cumulative total of 100 days in jail in connection with 7 bookings over the past 11 months, but they’re not all necessarily related to those cases, both of which involve businesses at Westwood Village.
(Left, map of 13 Seattle “neighborhood districts”; right, map of 7 Seattle City Council districts. Both from seattle.gov)
2:36 PM: Just out of the inbox – a media advisory for tomorrow, about something related to what’s been a hot topic in neighborhood groups for months. This is the media advisory in its entirety:
Murray to announce the formation of Community Involvement Commission
Tomorrow Mayor Ed Murray will join neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to announce the formation of the Community Involvement Commission, which will replace the District Council system.
WHO: Mayor Ed Murray
WHAT: Executive Order signing, press conference
WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 2:30 PM
Tomorrow’s announcement isn’t a public event but is happening at City Hall. Working to find out more …
3:27 PM: Of all the people we have messages out to, the first to reply: Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office. Legislative assistant Newell Aldrich says they didn’t get an advance alert on this either and are also trying to find out more. As he says, the deadline for the City Council to get the Department of Neighborhoods’ report on potentially aligning the 13 neighborhood districts with the 7 City Council districts wasn’t due until this Friday; a draft report had been in circulation for two months. Our most extensive report on local discussion of this is here.
P.S. Councilmember Herbold was already expected to talk about this topic, among others, at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander), all welcome.
1:39 PM: Thanks to Brad at West Seattle Cyclery for being the first business to mention to us that there’s a multi-state Comcast Business phone outage right now. We’ve verified through Twitter:
Business customers may be experiencing issues w/ phone svc. We are aware & working to resolve. For updates visit: https://t.co/XNCSSB4luL
— Comcast Business (@comcastbusiness) July 12, 2016
Brad says Comcast told him it might take until at least 3 pm for this to be fixed. He’s encouraging his store’s customers to e-mail instead – firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know if this is affecting you and if you have an alternate way for customers to get through.
3:45 PM: Some local businesses have commented below on how to reach them (if you’re seeing this from the WSB home page, get to the comments by either clicking the word “comments” under the headline, or clicking the headline to open the full story page). Meantime, Comcast’s most recent update, from a little more than an hour ago, says they’re still working on it.
4:45 PM: Junction True Value texted a few minutes ago to say their service is back.
(From last year’s second Early Design Guidance packet for the CVS project)
Three years after we first reported the plan to bring a CVS drugstore to 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW – we’ve learned that plan has apparently quietly died.
We found this out as a spinoff of research for Monday afternoon’s update on two developments, including 4754 Fauntleroy. The CVS plan had already gone through Early Design Guidance, first stage of the Design Review process, twice, but the second meeting was more than a year ago, and no third meeting on the schedule. So we looked deeper into the files and found a document dated in May, a note to the city from CVS’s developer representative Velmeir, saying “Our client has decided not to move forward with this project…”
We’ve tried to reach Velmeir and CVS to find out more; no replies yet. We also stopped by West Seattle Produce, which was going to have to move because of the CVS project, and staffers told us they haven’t heard anything new for a while and are still on month-to-month tenancy. And we asked the city to verify that the CVS project file is closed, and DCI spokesperson Wendy Shark said yes, it is, by request of the applicant. The project had generated some controversy because it was far less than could be built on the site, which is zoned for up to eight stories.
So will CVS surface somewhere else in West Seattle? At one point, The Whittaker across Fauntleroy was supposed to have a drugstore space; we contacted its leasing executive and were reminded that since one potential pharmacy tenant didn’t pan out, they decided to split up the south retail space into several smaller spaces – no tenants to announce yet. We’ll update with anything more we find out, meantime, about the 4722 Fauntleroy site’s future.
We’ve received several reports/questions about overnight explosion-type noise west of The Junction that seems to be a mystery in need of solving – maybe you can help. One report today is from Lisa, who says it’s been going on for a few weeks, in the very early morning hours, and seems too loud to be any kind of fireworks. Other reports are from north of The Junction, including “huge booms” heard around 2:30 am near California/Andover. Lisa, meantime, summarizes: “I would like to figure out how to get this out and report it effectively to make it stop; if illegal, to have more done.” We know from scanner traffic that 911 did get some calls, but nothing conclusive appears to have resulted, so far.
(Preferred ‘massing’ rendering by Hewitt, from Early Design Guidance packet for 2749 California SW)
8:01 AM: For more than a year, we’ve been reporting on changes at the longtime West Seattle site of PCC Natural Markets (2749 California SW; WSB sponsor) – first an ownership change, then indications a redevelopment project was ahead. PCC promised all along that once it knew whether it would be part of the redevelopment, it would let us know as soon as its staff knew. Last night, PCC closed its West Seattle store early for a staff meeting, at which time employees were told what the co-op is sharing with us and you this morning: PCC **WILL** be part of the redevelopment project, which means a closure during construction, but then a brand-new store:
PCC Natural Markets is finally able to announce that we have secured our long-term future in West Seattle, a community we have served for over 25 years. While the co-op’s current location on California Avenue SW will be redeveloped, PCC reached an agreement with the new landlord and will return as the retail tenant in the building once the project is complete.
Demolition will begin next year and, as a result, we anticipate the West Seattle PCC will temporarily close in early 2017. While we are sad to close for a while, we are pleased to confirm that we will be able to serve our West Seattle members and shoppers for decades to come.
We will reopen on California Avenue S.W. in the second half of 2018 with a 25,000-square foot store that will feature all the best that PCC has to offer. During the closure, we will continue to offer delivery to West Seattle through both Instacart and Prime Now.
PCC’s dedicated, knowledgeable, and friendly staff is a true key to our success, so during the closure, we will place our current West Seattle employees in our other PCC locations. Our hope is that many will stay with the co-op and return to West Seattle when the new store opens.
We look forward to continuing to welcome you into our West Seattle store over the coming months, and we hope to see you at our other stores, including the not-too-far away Columbia City PCC.
PCC has been a tenant at this site for more than a quarter of a century; as we first reported last May, Madison Development Group – bought the site for $5,750,000, but its plan for a new mixed-use building did not emerge until last month. As we reported along with news of a July 21st Design Review meeting, Madison’s early-stage plan is for 112 apartments over 25,000 square feet of retail space, with below-ground parking as well as the existing surface lot on the southwest side of the site.
This will be the second grocery-store redevelopment in the area; barely a block away, Admiral Safeway was rebuilt in 2010-2011. Madison Development Group also was part of that project – not the store itself, but the apartment building on the site’s east side, which another developer had initiated but couldn’t finish; Madison also was the final developer of the Spruce West Seattle site on the east edge of The Junction.
2:52 PM: We talked this afternoon by phone with PCC CEO Cate Hardy, to ask a few of the questions that have come up in comments, plus a few that we had.
First – the new store is not yet designed, so what it will and won’t include is yet to be determined. But it will be almost twice the size of the current West Seattle store, 25,000 square feet (current one is 13,000). The current store has 86 offstreet parking spaces; the current plan (subject to change) is for about 40 underground spaces in the new building, plus the 31 existing ones in the surface lot at 44th/Stevens.
Hardy was careful not to promise that anything you’re seeing in the newest PCC stores – Bothell, which opened today, plus Columbia City and Green Lake – would be replicated in the new West Seattle store, but she mentioned some possibilities: Full-service meat/seafood counter, for example; an “extensive” selection of made-in-store meals; rotisserie meats. And, “More of what’s already great,” including more room for more produce, bulk foods, etc.
The store’s 125 staff members are being offered not only employment in other PCC stores, but also incentives to stay at West Seattle until it closes next year, something Hardy says might be “unprecedented” for a situation like this.
Again, the PCC-plus-112-apartments project, which is being developed by the site’s new owner Madison, goes before the Design Review Board on July 21st.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:06 AM: Good morning. Nothing reported on the main routes but we’re heading over to check out a crash at 20th SW/SW Cloverdale.
7:24 AM: In the meantime, regional road-work alerts to share:
OVERNIGHT TONIGHT, NORTHBOUND I-5: The northbound lanes of I-5 downtown will be closed at Seneca Street 11:30 pm tonight until no later than 4:30 am Wednesday, WSDOT says, for repair work.
7:33 AM: The crash at 20th/Cloverdale was a one-car rollover – only logged as a basic “motor-vehicle incident” with one engine originally dispatched to the call around quarter till 7, so didn’t catch our attention until a reader texted us (206-293-6302 any time – thank you!).
Police at the scene say the driver was taken to the hospital by private ambulance to be checked out, but not seriously hurt. The tow truck is arriving and this should be clear shortly.
The place to be on Monday night was Delridge Community Center – for three events, inside and out:
Inside, a celebration of Eid al-Fitr – the end of Ramadan – a party that was part of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association’s Cultural Events Series. Above, DJ Sam and friend; below, facepainting for kids:
DNDA’s next Cultural Event will be part of the Delridge Day festival on August 13th – also at DCC, but outside this time – on August 13th.
Outside the center, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council barbecued as part of their July meeting:
At center are NDNC’s Nancy Folsom and Michael Taylor-Judd. NDNC meets second Monday, most months, with locations varying in the warm season – watch for updates at ndnc.org.
Across the park from the meeting, Trio Camellia performed in Seattle Chamber Music Society‘s second “Music Under the Stars” concert:
Concertgoers from toddlers to seniors sprawled out across the grassy lawn and slope to listen until the trio made way for a live stream from Benaroya Hall.
Here’s our video of the first section of the trio’s performance in the park, as introduced by Noel Evans from SCMS:
Bach, Haydn, Schubert, and Mozart were part of the program. Two more chances to enjoy live chamber music outside Delridge Community Center in this free series – 7:15 pm the next two Mondays (July 18th and 25th).