By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Some promising news emerged on multiple fronts at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting.
CRIME DROP: WWRHAH was briefed by Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The area covered by this community group, he said, has had 56 incidents in tracked categories compared to 119 a year earlier. That includes one fewer robbery, one more aggravated assault, 7 crimes against persons compared to 5 – but property crime is down dramatically – one more burglary, one more commercial burglary (3 compared to 2), but larceny (much of it shoplifting) is down dramatically, about a fourth of what it was. Also: 15 car prowls compared to 17, 8 car thefts compared to 13. 49 property crimes in all – less than half it was at this point last year. Police continue working harder to get repeat offenders kept in jail – including for example making sure the “(law enforcement) objects to release” box is checked on reports.
The subject of the arrest of officer-assault suspect Jorge Cruz-Benitez two nights earlier came up; he was allegedly first spotted doing graffiti vandalism in the area (Delridge/Henderson). Lt. Smith echoed what we noted in a previous discussion, that not all tagging is gang-related. (This meeting was on Tuesday night; one night later, on Wednesday night, Cruz-Benitez was released from jail, according to the KC Jail Register.)
(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from 2014)
ROXHILL PARK AND BOG: WWRHAH has been pushing forever to get the bog water-flow fixed –
here’s an extensive report we published in 2014 – and is making progress. Your involvement can accelerate things. First:
Rory Denovan recapped a wetland tour on a rainy day a week and a half ago that included city reps from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks, plus Duwamish Alive!, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and Councilmember Lisa Herbold. He said they took a look at areas of settlement and other problems such as camping and drug use. “We didn’t really get the chance to start talking about solutions,” he said, but a project plan has been drafted and the next steps are to apply for grants, so some proposals will be written for that. The city is pursuing green stormwater infrastructure on 29th SW just west of the park, but he feels that there needs to be a bigger-picture plan for the area first – more of the diverted stormwater could be channeled into the bog, for example.
More advocacy is needed to solve the bog’s woes – and WWRHAH needs another point person to advocate and communicate as a liaison between the various agencies. Get involved and help make sure the progress continues! Contact WWRHAH if that resonates with you.
9201 DELRIDGE DESIGN REVIEW: As we’ve reported here, a storage building is proposed to replace the automotive business at 9201 Delridge Way SW, and its first Design Review Board meeting is coming up next week (see the design packet here). “Something’s wrong in orienting the building the way they have, where they don’t have eyes on Delridge,” WWRHAH co-chair Kim Barnes said. She plans to be at the hearing to share her concerns. Eyes on the street are vital in “a developing neighborhood,” she said. In ensuing discussion, it was noted that this area of Delridge is supposed to become pedestrian-friendly, with walkable businesses, as it densifies, and it’s unfortunate that this project – while allowed by current zoning – isn’t going to enhance that. The meeting is at 6:30 pm February 15th; more info here.
HALA APPEAL: WWRHAH is among the community groups involved in the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, so Barnes updated the group on what was going on. “We have a really good case,” she believes, while saying she can’t elaborate. She also noted that, as has been discussed at other community meetings recently, the appeal hearing is expected to be delayed until June, because preparations will take longer. She also noted that the appeal coalition is continuing to raise money. WWRHAH and other participating groups want the city to address neighborhood-specific concerns in the Environmental Impact Statement, which has been alleged to have been published as a “one size fits all urban villages” type of plan instead.
ROXHILL PARK COMMONS: WWRHAH continues to be involved with the concept of getting Roxhill Park involved with the Parks Commons Program, “to help increase park usage and enrich the life of the neighborhood.” A kickoff meeting is planned 6:30 pm February 27th at Southwest Library – all welcome.
SOUTH DELRIDGE COMMUNITY GROUP: Home Depot to Roxbury, three blocks on either side, is the area for South Delridge Community Group, which is relaunching meetings – they will meet on second Tuesdays at 7 pm at Two Fingers Social (9211 Delridge Way SW), starting February 13th.