Park expansion, affordable-housing ‘district’ concept, more @ Morgan Community Association’s spring meeting

As always, the quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association quarterly meeting at The Kenney was packed with information and updates. First:

MORGAN JUNCTION PARK EXPANSION: Seattle ParksKarimah Edwards and Kelly Goold were on hand to brief MoCA.

It’s been four years since the property (formerly site of two businesses) was purchased, Edwards noted. GGLO will be designing the expansion and had architect Tim Slazinik in attendance.

The first public meeting is set for the day of the Morgan Junction Community Festival on June 16th. They’ll get design ideas there, said Goold, and build some schematic designs to bring back to the community – a process similar to what’s been done for the new West Seattle Junction park on 40th SW. The project has a budget of $1.3 million and “we want to make sure the design is cohesive,” Edwards said. A street or alley vacation is likely to be requested for SW Eddy, which cuts between the current park and the expansion site, Goold said. Planning will happen this year, Edwards said, with meetings 45-60 days apart, and “hopefully we can get to design” next year, with construction in 2020.

Will the budget include “fixing the alley”? asked one attendee. Answer: No, the money is for park development – the alley is SDOT responsibility. What about the contamination believed to be on site? Goold said that will be “dealt with from a different funding source” – site demolition has to be completed (removal of concrete slab, soil investigation) first. Will there be a restroom? Not for a park of this “neighborhood” size, said Goold. They cost about half a million dollars, for one. Any questions/comments? Contact Edwards at karimah.edwards@seattle.gov

HOUSING-AFFORDABILITY PROPOSAL: The group was briefed on a “permanent affordable housing” initiative that could require a Special Review District. inspired by the impending HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning.

A committee’s been working on this. The proposal that they’re developing “would affect single-family properties inside the Morgan Junction Urban Village that [are expected to be] rezoned to multifamily (280 parcels).” One of the people on the committee said that she believes upzoning is coming and residents need to work with it, so this idea “marries the MHA requirements from the city” to maintaining existing affordable-housing stock. This works with the Community Land Trust idea (explained here). The committee member said that her parents had sold some land in the area that was redeveloped into “two million-dollar houses” with four people total living in them, plus they paid a lot of capital-gains taxes, but the family could have had a tax break, and the neighborhood could have had greater density, if they had sold to a CLT, something they’d never heard of. This is in a very exploratory stage; those on hand voted to encourage the committee to keep working on it. There’ll be an update at the next MoCA meeting in July.

COUNCILMEMBER LISA HERBOLD: She visited MoCA for quick updates on a variety of things. She started by mentioning the Ready-to-Work program expansion she visited earlier in the week. She said the program has about 16 students right now, and explained how the expansion was the result of a budget vote last year.

Next: The council’s vote approving changes to the city’s parking rules, and how she had tried to make some changes she thought were “consistent with the spirit of the goals,” allowing the city, if needed in rare cases, to require that a project’s parking impacts be mitigated. That mitigation could have included requiring that transit passes be provided, among other “tools.” But her colleagues all voted against it. And in turn, she was the only person who voted against the package of proposed parking changes. “I didn’t make any friends among my colleagues that day,” she acknowledged. “We try not to have too many of those 8-1 votes each year.”

One attendee brought up the 66 apartments/no-offstreet-parking development plan at 2222 SW Barton in an area without some pedestrian features, and noted that city leaders need to be cognizant of the results of their votes – like that. Another attendee talked about Morgan-area impacts and wondered what the other councilmembers are saying and thinking. Herbold said that the most outspoken of them sincerely believe that the policies will result in fewer people having cars, that “when more buildings are built without parking, fewer people will choose to own cars.”

She also mentioned the citywide appeal of HALA MHA’s Environmental Impact Report (MoCA is a party, and also pursuing its own appeal) and said she’s “willing to play a role in mediation if people feel that’s something helpful I can do”; she said the City Attorney’s Office updated her a few weeks ago about potential talks between the city and the coalition and groups who are pursuing the appeal.

One attendee asked whether the entirety of HALA MHA would be on hold while neighborhood planning proceeded, if that was the result of the appeals, whether mediated or not. Herbold thought it might be more like “the minimum bump” would happen, while the planning proceeds.

What about the newly announced Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy? Herbold said she found out via the news release from the mayor’s office earlier in the day. She supports the expiring levies’ renewal and is hoping that when they are “moosh(ed) together into one levy,” it will work out. She hopes that maybe the levy can be cut down a bit because of state-mandated funding that should be covering more basic education costs, which the city was covering for a while. The council does have to finalize the package before it can be sent to the ballot for voters to approve or reject.

MoCA president Deb Barker asked Herbold for an update on “Civics 101” – how best to advocate for something. The City Council has 9 committees, each of which has areas of responsibility, and oversight of particular departments – she chairs Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts. “Other committee names are even more inscrutable,” she joked. Once bills get proposed, they are heard in committee, potential amendments are discussed, and then after a committee involved, it moves on to the full Council. Best way to get involved is to know which committee deals with issue(s) that interest you the most, and sign up to get that committee’s agendas.

Other items of interest from attendees included tunnel tolls (Herbold didn’t have an update on that, which is a decision to be made by the state Transportation Commission later this year) and Sound Transit light rail (Herbold is on the Elected Leadership Group, which has its second meeting on May 17th). Regarding light rail, she also briefly mentioned something we had noted here earlier this week, a request for city advisory boards/commissions (such as bicycle, pedestrian, design, planning) to provide early input.

YET MORE HALA UPDATES: MoCA also is pursuing a Comprehensive Plan Amendment that’s “working its way through the system,” president Deb Barker said. That includes the City Council’s discussions and hearings. Whatever you think about it, “it’s important for District 1 to show up as District 1” at the upcoming open house and public hearing, “and express your District 1 opinions.” She’s been to the open houses/hearings elsewhere. Barker said the appeal is currently set for a hearing starting at the end of June, continuing with a week at the end of July. “That may change – stay tuned.” (You can see the Hearing Examiner’s calendar here.)

MORGAN COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: 10 am-4 pm on Saturday, June 16th, at Morgan Junction ParkPhil Tavel is in charge of it and says they are still looking for volunteers.

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: The next first-Wednesday meeting will be May 2nd, with an environmental theme, and guests including Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, said Tamsen Spengler, who represents MoCA on the SWDC (and serves as its co-chair). She also provided a quick recap of the April meeting (WSB coverage here).

SOUTHWEST PRECINCT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Tavel represents MoCA on this group and mentioned the spike in outbuilding burglaries. When he mentioned police’s reminder “if you see something suspicious, call them” that led to a couple people telling stories about difficulty in getting police response, though it was not regarding “happening now” incidents. Tavel urged contacting Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis if you don’t think you’re getting the attention that’s required.

WEST SEATTLE RESOURCE ROUNDUP: WS Junction Association executive director Lora Swift told MoCA the story of how WSJA and the WS Chamber of Commerce collaborated to talk with local businesses and others about challenges and what resources could help solve them. The result: This report. But, as Swift explained, they didn’t want the information to just go and lay fallow somewhere. But now, info you can use, from the findings of the report t is all in one place – wsresourceroundup.com. Is it missing something? Let Lora know! (wsresourceroundup@gmail.com)

MORGAN MINUTES: Quick updates:
April 28th – disaster drill (as previewed previously) – volunteers/actor-participants wanted! Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW) is the closest of the 3 sites

May 5thSound Transit‘s light-rail neighborhood forum for West Seattle – 10 am-12:30 pm at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW) – “they really need input from people,” said Barker, who serves on the Stakeholder Advisory Group helping vet potential routing/station locations.

May 9thOpen house for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, 6 pm at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 School (5950 Delridge Way SW)

May 27th – First of five community cleanups organized by volunteer Jill Boone, 9:30-11 am, meet at the ATM by the Shell station on California south of Fauntleroy (full announcement is in the WSB Event Calendar)

HUB BOX THEFT: The on-site emergency-preparedness box at Morgan Junction Park was stolen in February. It contained donated tools, irrigation equipment, folding table, radio, other items worth a total of about $600. “It was a heavy, heavy unit, so it was obviously a multiple-person operation.” Applying for a grant to replace it would be a lot of work, so they’re trying to handle that another way – they can round up some donated items but the box itself might cost up to $780. Those on hand voted to authorize funding for a replacement. (MoCA has no formal membership or dues – anyone on hand gets to vote, if there’s something on which a vote needs to be taken.)

How would they keep it from being stolen again? For one, said Barry White of Friends of Morgan Junction Park, it’ll be bolted into a concrete slab next time.

NEW OFFICER: A new member of the MoCA board was elected at the meeting – Marianne Holsman will succeed Cindi Barker as Public Information Officer.

The Morgan Community Association meets on the third Wednesdays in January, April, July, and October. Watch morganjunction.org for updates between meetings.

8 Replies to "Park expansion, affordable-housing 'district' concept, more @ Morgan Community Association's spring meeting"

  • rb April 20, 2018 (2:01 pm)

    $500,000 for a bathroom? Are they made of gold?

    • Wseattleite April 21, 2018 (2:32 am)

      Rb, the costs don’t have to be that high. To be fair though, if one factors in all the extensive City permits, engineering estimates costs, labor and materials rates that would not apply to a private project borne by you and I, design review, a beautiful marketing campaign to convince the neigh sayers that it is the only option, an Environmental Study (pray that an EIS in not required), mandated art provision, extra handicap parking spaces to match the handicap toilets, and so forth, 500,000 would actually not be enough. I would rather be told that upfront than being “persuaded” to provide more funds later when the money was all gone still in design phase. Tragic. You and I could easily put in restrooms for the fine tax payers that will frequent the area for less than 500k; however super smart people are in charge and say otherwise. Interesting that I know what my house is valued at, and apparently my bathroom is 85% of the value of my home according to the City. With that in mind, I will think fondly of the City when next I utilize the toilet and subsequently wipe all affected areas on my person clean. Oh, I forgot about the treatment fees for disposal that we all pay for already. (Unless the users don’t pay taxes, However I have been told that the City will cover that cost if they are unable to work due to their needle exchange program). Oh, sorry that may actualy be on you.  Please add that in to your calculations. Somehow, it can be compared to a Latte for some period of your life. Sorry if you don’t like Lattes. 

  • Morgan April 20, 2018 (3:23 pm)

    Steel more probably; penal grade to prevent constant replacement and stand the abuse on public streets. Would prefer we didn’t have one actually—or that Seattle import the Portland Loo. Bathrooms are very very expensive.

    i just hope the designs don’t become overwrought with lots of features and furniture and paving. Something very nice about a lawn and a grove of trees for birds—less can be more. Even in urban areas…maybe especially in urban areas.

  • Matt April 21, 2018 (1:55 pm)

    What is the “minimum bump” Lisa Herbold refers to regarding HALA MHA?   Did the appeal process begin at the Hearings Examiner per these dates that were published?

    • WSB April 21, 2018 (3:57 pm)

      Don’t know for sure but the minimum for most affected areas is one extra floor. Regarding the hearings, no, as noted, they’re now scheduled for June (currently starting on second page of calendar, click next page at http://www.seattle.gov/examiner/calendar.htm )

    • CMT April 24, 2018 (8:37 am)

      I believe for single family, it would mean a change to RSL (residential small lot) which currently means you could have two 25 foot tall dwellings per 4,000 square feet.  Theoretically more ADUs, cottage housing, etc.  Makes far more sense than bulky townhouses and 40’-50’ apartments as currently proposed.  RSL would mean less dramatically increased density, less displacement of existing residents, more affordable housing within our neighborhood, less strain on existing infrastructure, less destruction of trees, etc.

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed April 22, 2018 (6:24 pm)

    Did you notice the justification provided to excuse the 66 apartment building on Barton that provides no offstreet parking?  That if buildings without parking spaces are built than people will chose to do without cars.  I am disappointed to see that our local government is imposing its own views of social engineering on the people who elect them, no matter how it negatively impacts or inconveniences them.

    Please vote these elitists of office as soon as possible.

  • CanDo April 23, 2018 (9:33 am)

    Happy the park expansion is moving forward.   The current state of the property is an eyesore and a nice park would be great, in my opinion.  Laughing about alleys being an SDOT responsibility.  Call and ask them to fix an alley if you think that’s true. 

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