Delridge Neighborhoods District Council expands, even as city ties are severed

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By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Even as the City Council gets closer to finalizing the city budget containing the resolution formalizing the mayor’s slashing of ties with neighborhood district councils, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council is charging forward, and even growing.

Here’s what happened at its meeting last night:

DISTRICT COUNCIL’S FUTURE: Chair Mat McBride says that so far, discussions have focused on having the group work more as a cooperative as it goes forward, centered on how the groups at the table can “assist each other” in meeting their goals for the Delridge community. Certainly the group might still seek the occasional city presentation, but those likely won’t be as common, as the focus will remain more intra-Delridge.

One member asked what engagement with the city will look like from now on. “What do you think it should look like?” asked Pete Spalding. “I think it’s up to us now.”

Other topics of discussion included where to meet – an issue now that the city will no longer be providing the ~$500 annual funding that covered costs of renting meeting venues. It was decided that at least for the first quarter of next year, the group will meet at Highland Park Improvement Club. The meetings will still be 7 pm on third Wednesdays. As per longstanding tradition, DNDC won’t meet in December, so its next meeting will be January 18th.

What about the area covered by the council? asked one member – should it be smaller? larger? Could be bigger, McBride acknowledged. Some wondered if South Park might be a good addition. In the meantime, the list of member groups/organizations/institutions grew by one last night:

SOUTH DELRIDGE COMMUNITY GROUP: This new community council is now an official voting member of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council and got a raucous cheer as that decision won official approval. Mike Riedel was presented with an official name placard that had been standing at the ready, pending the vote. (If you live/work/study in South Delridge, you can check out the group at its next meeting this Sunday – see this WSB story.)

NORTH DELRIDGE ACTION PLAN: David Goldberg from the city’s Office of Planning and Community Development brought a draft of this plan, which has been the subject of various meetings and other events over the past two years – we’ve covered some of the events at which information was presented and gathered (including here and here). Goldberg pointed out that even though the process of creating it is wrapping up, what’s important now is what’s being done to make it happen. The plan can help “create a narrative of what the community wants to be,” he said, saying it’s not intended to be a document that “languishes on a shelf.” You can review the draft version of the plan here (PDF) – then let him know what you think. (His contact information is on this page.)

Questions asked by DNDC attendees included, will there be specific city funds dedicated to some of the goals in the plan? Goldberg said it would be more a case of bringing neighborhood goals into various projects that already are in progress – “an opportunity to leverage resources,” he said, acknowledging that “might not be fully satisfying” for some, but saying, “this does work – this does change outcomes.”

Some neighborhoods not included in the North Delridge Action Plan wondered how they could get something similar. Just to get this took years of agitation, it was noted.

HALA UPZONING UPDATES: Kim Barnes from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council briefed DNDC on the proposed rezoning that’s now being discussed because of the draft maps the city has released. Here by the way is the clarified Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village map we received earlier in the day:

The WW-HP area had a city-led community design workshop last week, though the outreach to let people know about it could have been better, Barnes said, noting that, despite the city’s stated goal of diversity and equity in participation, that didn’t manifest in those who showed up. The points that participants made about neighborhood goals, Barnes said, included hopes for walkable business areas, and for improvements to the WW Village transit hub, to make it a truly great transportation/shopping/living center.

She urged everyone to attend the November 29th community-led event at HPIC that will help educate people on how to comment on the plan, whether online or at the official city open house coming up December 7th in The Junction: “Even if you don’t live in an urban village, it’s going to affect everyone in Delridge … and we want to make sure the city hears us.”

A side discussion ensued, with frustration about HALA’s failure to address the infrastructure that will be needed to support the increased number of housing units. The idea of bringing in a city rep to discuss the issue was brought up. One question lingered: Would they listen?

PUBLIC SAFETY SURVEY: Have you taken it yet? Two more weeks to go, and Southwest Precinct researcher Jennifer Burbridge told the DNDC that the number of replies so far is lagging behind their goal, though the survey is a relatively easy way to have a say on crime, safety, and policing issues. You can answer it at publicsafetysurvey.org. While it’s a citywide survey, there is a place for you to specify your neighborhood and ensure that neighborhood-specific concerns are registered. You can also comment on your neighborhood micropolicing plan. So far, 5,500 people have answered the survey around the city – just under 700 of them from West Seattle, Burbridge said.

PREVENTION SURVEY: We just featured this one on Tuesday – a community survey about alcohol/drug-abuse concerns. A Southwest Seattle Wellness Coalition rep asked the group for help in circulating it. The coalition, which is working on a strategic plan, meets at 4 pm third Tuesdays at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

DESC ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING: Speaking of meetings – as previewed here earlier this week, the advisory committee meant to be liaisons between DESC’s supportive-housing complex Cottage Grove Commons and neighboring residents is being reconvened, next Tuesday, 6:30 pm at CGC (5444 Delridge Way SW).

ROXHILL ELEMENTARY NEEDS TUTORS: Amanda Kay Helmick from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council is also president of the Roxhill Elementary PTA and told NDNC that Communities in Schools needs tutors at Roxhill. Here’s the organization’s webpage for Seattle volunteering.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets on third Wednesdays; as mentioned above, the next meeting will be January 18th, 7 pm, at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th SW and SW Holden).

2 Replies to "Delridge Neighborhoods District Council expands, even as city ties are severed"

  • Joe Szilagyi November 17, 2016 (10:01 pm)

    Mat & co, you’re probably reading comments. If the City Council and Mayor cut the cord an you all want to keep rolling, there’s a simple solution model to emulate. It’s already worked and done good. 

    Get with the Southwest District people. 

    Liquify BOTH groups… into a West Seattle Council? 

    Crazier ideas, right? It works for the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. 

  • Pete November 18, 2016 (6:34 am)

    Joe , that idea has been discussed at both the SW and the Delridge Neighborhoods District Councils. For the immediate future both groups have made the decision to continue as is.  There will be ongoing discussions when there could be items that might take on more importance if both were behind it. This of course is a work in progress since we do not know how the city will choose to interact with the council’s going forward. I think that the city, it’s departments and the city council members should not underestimate what these groups can and will do moving forward. 

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