DESC Delridge project: Advisory committee sets public hearing date; Design Review moved up to March 8thFebruary 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
There’s one more week to go for public comment on the land-use-permit application for the DESC Delridge project (details here). And we just discovered tonight that the tentative date for the project’s next Design Review Board meeting has been moved up two weeks to March 8 (West Seattle Senior Center, 8 pm). But those are not the only opportunities you have for input on the proposed 66-unit homeless-housing project at 5444 Delridge Way SW. We’ve reported before on the community advisory group formed as part of the process – and tonight, its first public meeting has just been announced for February 21st. The official announcement was sent by Pete Spalding, who is co-chairing the group: Click to read the rest of DESC Delridge project: Advisory committee sets public hearing date; Design Review moved up to March 8th…
10:59 AM:The main point of the big sign that’s up on the site of the planned 66-unit DESC homeless-housing project at 5444 Delridge is to let people in the area know that the land-use-permit application is officially in, and that this is their chance to send the city comments. And in fact, the only West Seattle item on the Land Use Information Bulletin circulated this morning by the city is official electronic notice of this – including a February 15th deadline for comments. Here’s the notice; here’s the e-mail comment form. One other update: The North Delridge Neighborhood Council website now features the newest information on the community advisory committee that will “gather input and prioritize the neighborhood’s concerns …” The date for its first community meeting is not finalized yet, though.
11:46 AM UPDATE: The date for the DESC project’s next Design Review meeting IS tentatively set, however, we just discovered – 8 pm on March 22nd. (No location listed yet.)
Four lots were for sale on the east side of Delridge, north of SW Findlay, when the Downtown Emergency Service Center bought the site of its planned 66-unit homeless-housing complex. DESC bought three of them. The fourth, south of the project site, is still for sale – and now it has a sign that shouldn’t be there: The official Department of Planning and Development sign letting the neighborhood know that the land-use-permit application for the project has been filed. (As of two days ago, according to the DPD website.) According to a conversation on the North Delridge mailing list, the city has been notified that the project site is actually further north, and says the mistake will be fixed. Meantime, we checked today with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to see if DESC’s revised application for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits is in yet, with the January 31st deadline pending. They haven’t received it yet, according to spokesperson Bill Wortley. As first reported here in early January, the number of units in the project has been reduced from 75 to 66, since the city says data didn’t support a waiver allowing that many extra extremely-low-income-housing units in the area after all. In addition to the pending round of tax-credit funding, the project also needs at least one more Design Review Board meeting before gaining final city approval; no date set yet. And the Delridge Alliance advisory group – explained on the North Delridge Neighborhood Council website – is expected to lead a public meeting about the project soon.
3:51 PM: The sign already has been moved and is now on the north end of the site.
(LOOKING FOR SNOW COVERAGE? UPDATES ARE HERE)
New details today about the Delridge Alliance, the advisory group that DESC committed to help convene as its Delridge Supportive Housing project plan continues. Until now, the newest major development is what we reported two weeks ago – that the plan is down to 66 units from the previous 75 because of a city decision (explained here); DESC’s Bill Hobson subsequently confirmed to WSB that the project is moving ahead:
Yes, we are proceeding. Clearly, the 75-unit plan presented at (Design Review) will now have to be modified somewhat but our architects assure me that modification will not be substantial and it will be under the WSHFC per-unit cost ceiling. And, the modification will respect the recommendations they received at EDG.
Now, the advisory-group details: This morning, North Delridge Neighborhood Council website features a detailed update this morning from Vonetta Mangaoang, who’s part of the advisory group, with details on who’s on it so far, the positions still open, what it’s about, and what happens next. Read it here. (No date set yet for the project’s second Design Review meeting, by the way.)
Walking tour today, DESC project group meeting ahead, more: North Delridge Neighborhood Council notesJanuary 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle news | Comments Off
By Karen Berge
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s (DESC) Delridge Supportive Housing project was the major discussion topic at the North Delridge Neighborhood Council (NDNC) January monthly meeting on Monday evening.
This first meeting of the new year, held at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, kicked off with brief introductions and reflections on New Year’s resolutions from the 15 neighborhood attendees. After that, meeting business quickly got underway. The very full agenda also included a proposal for a new committee on Community Design and Land Use; details about today’s North Delridge Walking Tour with City Council and SDOT representatives; information about potential Bridging the Gap grant projects; discussion of the recent request to the city regarding an update to the Delridge Neighborhood Plan; and other items and announcements.
First, since it’s about an event happening today:
NORTH DELRIDGE WALKING TOUR:
Jake Vanderplas, NDNC Transportation Committee chair, briefed the group on
details about the North Delridge walking tour set for 3-4:30 pm today (meet outside the Delridge Community Center). Tour participants will include City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, representative(s) from SDOT, members of NDNC, and any other interested Delridge neighbors or others who wish to attend. Issues include large and small items relating to bike, pedestrian, transit or driving safety (for example, a Walk-signal button that doesn’t activate the signal light when pressed). If you know of additional issues or sites that should be addressed/visited on the tour, they suggest that you post a comment on their site. A new pedestrian issue that was brought up during this meeting is an asphalt sidewalk with a mailbox positioned inconveniently in the very center of the walkway.
Next Monday, when the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meets (agenda/time/location here), the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposed “supportive housing” project will be on the agenda again, as it’s been for most meetings since news of the plan broke at NDNC’s meeting last June. The group also is helping recruit members for the community advisory group about the project, the Delridge Alliance (here’s how to apply). And tonight, we have more information about the major development we first reported two days ago – the city’s decision to cut the number of units allowed in the project, from 75 to 66. We finally heard from DESC, which had no comment aside from confirming the new unit count that we found in documents filed with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, which will review the agency’s application for key Low-Income Housing Tax Credits financing. DESC executive director Bill Hobson referred us to the city Office of Housing for the explanation. WSHFC provided us with a copy of the internal city memo that spells it out.
We don’t have a scanner handy, so we’re transcribing it. It’s dated December 12, to Office of Housing director Rick Hooper from staffer Maureen Kostyack, who attended the second of two private-home meetings where neighborhood concerns about the project were discussed. The subject is “Siting Policy Waiver for DESC Delridge Supportive Housing” and it’s on OH letterhead. (It also reveals that the roots of this project go back as early as 2010.): Click to read the rest of Followup: City explains change in approved number of units for DESC Delridge project…
(June 2011 photo of DESC Delridge project’s proposed site)
The Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposed Delridge Supportive Housing project is suddenly undergoing a redesign, according to documents filed with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission as part of the next round of financing DESC is seeking – and that redesign will be for a project with 66 units, not 75 units as originally proposed.
The city Office of Housing had originally granted a waiver to DESC, allowing it to propose a 75-unit project even though the amount of “extremely low-income housing” in the area was supposed to max out at 63 units beyond what it currently has. Neighborhood advocates had questioned the information on which the waiver was based – and now, according to a city document also on file with the WSHFC as part of the DESC application, it appears they had grounds for concern.
Documents from the city, dated in mid-December, say that newly available 2010 census information superseded what DESC had been working with, and that the site now could only support 66 units in this income range. This notification came just as DESC was about to submit its application for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the WSHFC, and since there wasn’t enough time for them to completely redo the application, they are redesigning the project right now, and expecting to submit new information by the end of this month. The documentation we just reviewed at WSHFC offices downtown includes this DESC explanation:
This late change creates both capital and operational inefficiencies. It is also driving the total development costs over the WSHFC cost limits. Our team is currently redesigning the project with a new cost estimate, and a revised development budget will be shared with WSHFC and other public funders by january 31, 2012.
We attempted to reach DESC leadership by phone and e-mail earlier today for comment, and so far have not heard back. We are still reviewing a few more documents related to this and will add any additional information of relevance.
The Delridge project first came to light last June and has since moved through stages including property purchase – $768,000 for three lots in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW, with the sale initiated last April and closed one month ago – as well as city, county, and state financing approvals, plus the first round of city Design Review (with a second round to come, though no date is set). Our coverage of the project is archived here.
From the North Delridge Neighborhood Council website: Two neighborhood-advocate positions are open on the “Delridge Alliance” advisory group that’ll work on issues related to the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s plan for a 75-apartment “supportive housing” project at 5444 Delridge Way SW. The alliance’s formation was discussed at last month’s NDNC meeting, as reported here. If you’re interested in being part of it, details and links are in this writeup on the NDNC site. The project itself passed the first round of Design Review earlier this month (WSB coverage with video, here), with at least one more round to come, though the review-meeting date is not set yet.
DESC Delridge project: ‘Alliance’ advisory-group plan laid out at North Delridge Neighborhood Council meetingDecember 14, 2011 at 7:57 am | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle news | Comments Off
By Karen Berge
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The agenda at Monday evening’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council (NDNC) monthly meeting focused primarily on discussion of the DESC project (the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s 75-unit “supportive housing” project at 5444 Delridge Way).
Parie Hines, new co-chair of NDNC, led this major segment of the meeting. She explained potential next steps as she walked the group through 2 flipchart pages — which defined a new structure and process for moving forward that integrates feedback from earlier discussions and meetings.
The basis of the proposed process is the formation of a separate advisory group, the “Delridge Alliance,” described as an advisory group of stakeholders organized to gather input and synthesize the community’s concerns regarding the DESC project; to help the community envision priorities for the DESC space; and to actively work with key decision-makers to represent the community’s needs throughout the DESC project timeline.
(DESC project site on Delridge, from “packet” for Thursday night meeting)
9:19 PM: We’re at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting looking at the proposed DESC homeless-housing project at 5444 Delridge Way has just ended. About 20 members of the public were there; about half a dozen spoke. Board members had many suggestions for the architects, but none were enough to stop the project from moving forward in the design-review process, so it has officially cleared “early design guidance,” which means DESC can apply for its master use permit. Next step: They will have to develop a fully fleshed-out design to bring to a second SWDRB meeting, date not yet set. We have video of the meeting and full details to come.
FIRST ADDITION: Interim update – The six-minute clip above is the very end of the meeting, with SWDRB chair Brandon Nicholson summarizing the recommendations the board is making to the architects and the city Department of Planning and Development. The letters/numbers he mentions right at the beginning refer to the codes on this page (scroll down).
SECOND ADDITION: Here’s the entire meeting on videotape, with two small gaps – between clips 1 and 2, our first camera ran out of power during a public comment; clip 2 picks up during that same commenter, and ends when the room shifted for the board to begin its deliberations, which are done in the open; clip 3 picks up at the start of those deliberations. Click the lower-right area of any clip to watch it either bigger-screen on the YouTube site (the logo will take you there) or fullscreen:
Two updates this afternoon on the plan for Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) to build a 75-apartment building in the 5400 block of Delridge to house currently homeless people:
SITE PURCHASE FINALIZED: DESC had said they expected to close the deal to buy the site on December 1st, and agency executive Nicole Macri confirmed to WSB today that it has indeed happened. She also says DESC is continuing to talk with area residents about establishing an “advisory committee of neighborhood stakeholders,” adding, “An ad-hoc committee of the NDNC has come together to begin identifying neighborhood constituency groups and prospective members to fill seats on the committee.” She says the group could start meeting in January. (Creation of the committee was discussed in an informal neighborhood meeting we covered two weeks ago.)
DESIGN REVIEW MEETING TOMORROW: The size and scope of the project requires it to go through the city’s Design Review process, so tomorrow is the first of at least two meetings in which it will go before the Southwest Design Review Board, a city-convened panel of volunteers (“meet” them here). As noted here last month, you can pre-review the “packet” for the meeting, including the options for the building’s “mass” and shape. If you’ve never been to a Design Review meeting before, and/or are still catching up on this project, there’s a wide array of information made available by hard-working citizen volunteers in Delridge – here are documents regarding the process; here’s info about the handy “Community Guide to Design Review”; and if you can just read one bundle of background, this post on the recently revamped North Delridge Neighborhood Council site summarizes last week’s “Design Review 101″ briefing, and the design review/permit-seeking process.
Tomorrow night’s meeting is at 6:30 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, public welcome, even if you don’t intend to speak. Meantime, our archive of project coverage dating back to first public word in June can be found here. If the timeline DESC distributed last month holds, construction would start in about a year.
‘DESIGN REVIEW 101′ TOMORROW: The next major public-input milepost regarding this project is its first Design Review Board meeting next Thursday (6:30 pm December 8, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center). Anyone interested in finding out more about how that process works, whether you want to comment at next week’s meeting or not, is welcome in Youngstown Room 111 at 6:30 pm tomorrow (December 1), where, according to the announcement, “A Land Use Supervisor from the City of Seattle’s Dept. of Planning will spend an hour talking with neighbors about the Design Review process, followed by an informal discussion regarding neighbor’s design concerns.” (You can preview the architect-prepared “packet” for the Dec. 8th meeting here. And there’s more about this meeting, plus the comment process for next week, here.)
NDNC CLARIFIES ROLE: As reported in previous WSB coverage (all archived here), the North Delridge Neighborhood Council has been trying to decide what its role is in the process, as it has not taken a position, and apparently historically has not taken positions on projects. A decision has been made, according to this statement:
A new Executive Council has taken positions for the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. Nine neighbors have filled every position on the Council, this being the first year for the new Council-Committee format to be filled. They have held an Executive meeting and voted to take an active role regarding the DESC project slated for 5444 Delridge Way SW. Moving forward, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council’s role will be to inform neighbors on the process, how and when to engage in effective participation..
DESC’s timeline, as shared at the recent unofficial meeting we wrote about here, would have the building opening in about 2 years. In addition to the Design Review/permit process, it has one more round of funding to obtain.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Public money is paying for it, so where’s the public process?
That is the still-unanswered question roiling the waters of concern over the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) plan to build a 75-unit apartment building in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW for currently homeless people living with challenges such as mental illness and substance abuse.
Put another way: A city-park playground project, for example, costing a few hundred thousand dollars and taking up less land than the average single-family homesite, might involve at least three public meetings about the site, the design, and a litany of community requests/concerns, with a city-assigned project manager and opportunities to comment by e-mail, phone, or postal mail, as well as in person. But here’s a $12 million project, publicly funded – including more than $4 million city dollars – and no clearly outlined public input process on anything beyond Design Review (by the way, the “design packet” for that 12/8 meeting has just been published to the city website – see it here).
For the second time in two weeks, concerned Delridge residents gathered for an invitation-only discussion at a private home to talk about the project and their concerns, not only neighborhood-specific, but relevant to the big picture – perhaps resulting in changes for other areas who find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
There were several differences from the first meeting, which was held at the home of Betsy Hoffmeister 12 days earlier (here’s our report).
COUNTY FUNDING MEETING TOMORROW: While the city and state have committed funding to the project, the county’s final decision isn’t in yet. Tomorrow, the advisory group that makes recommendations to King County Executive Dow Constantine, the Regional Joint Recommendations Committee, will meet on Mercer Island. They were scheduled to decide last month, but deferred the decision after hearing from Delridge residents who came to their meeting to voice concerns. Tomorrow’s meeting is at 9;30 am at the Mercer Island Community Center, 8236 SE 24th Street. 10 people will be allowed to speak, according to North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Kirsten Smith.
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL DISCUSSION: The project was a major topic of discussion at NDNC’s meeting on Monday night. Patrick Baer recapped the first Delridge Community Forum, last month’s big gathering about the project, saying it had “successes and failures,” amid “logistical issues we never expected,” but overall met the goal of providing information to the community.
As he noted, he and other DCF volunteers have continued in that role, posting copious quantities of material online at delridgeforum.blogspot.com – and if you’ve been looking into the issue and have come across information to share with the community, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meantime, NDNC’s Smith says they’re trying to set up a meeting shortly before the project’s first Design Review Board meeting (6:30 pm December 8th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center), to provide community members with information on how the process works. Since there’s “limited public comment” at those meetings, Vonetta Mangaoang suggested a “letter-writing campaign.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At 9 am last Thursday morning, city Office of Housing director Rick Hooper stood in front of TV cameras in North Seattle, next to Mayor McGinn, formally announcing the city’s $27 million investment in new low-income-housing development.
Ten hours later, he faced a tougher crowd on the other end of the city: Fifteen Delridge-area residents gathered in a living room, ready to hear his answers to pointed questions about the only West Seattle project on the newly unveiled funding list.
The city’s decision to put “up to $4.45 million” into Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)’s 5444 Delridge project was old news to them, and many others who live near the proposed site. But far beyond the project’s estimated $14.5 million cost, many questions have emerged, and many people have voiced frustration while seeking answers.
Among them, Betsy Hoffmeister, who coordinated and hosted the gathering at her home. She invited Hooper in hopes more information might help defuse the tension that has built between project supporters and opponents over the 4 1/2 months since the DESC plan came to light.
Thursday night, after more than 3 1/2 hours, a possible path forward seemed to emerge. But its future seemed to rest as much with who was not in the room, as with who was.
Delridge DESC project: City funding $ announced; Design Review date finalized; housing director answers ‘Concerned Neighbor’November 10, 2011 at 12:32 am | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 51 Comments
New developments in the ongoing debate/discussion of the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) proposal to build a 75-apartment building in Delridge to house homeless people living with mental illness:
9:49 AM UPDATE: City funding for the Delridge Supportive Housing project (reported here two weeks ago) was officially announced at a media event in North Seattle less than an hour ago. DESC executive director Bill Hobson (at right in the Seattle Channel screengrab above) was among those who joined Seattle Office of Housing director Rick Hooper at the event. The news release (read it here) describes the amount as $4.5 millon, a bit above the “up to $4.45 million” confirmed to WSB last month.
10:30 AM UPDATE: Also this morning, something else we had previously reported is now “official” – the December 8th Design Review meeting (here’s the notice just published in the Land Use Information Bulletin).
ORIGINAL REPORT (12:32 AM): Hooper has replied to 4 questions sent by “A Concerned Delridge Neighbor,” which “Concerned” had posted on her/his website here. Read on for the questions/answers as received from Hooper today (we were among those CC’d): Click to read the rest of Delridge DESC project: City funding $ announced; Design Review date finalized; housing director answers ‘Concerned Neighbor’…
The city has set a tentative date for the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting on the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s 75-unit Delridge Supportive Housing project: Thursday, December 8th. That’s according to the list of upcoming meetings on the city’s website. If that date holds, it’ll be at 6:30 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Design Review meetings are held before a city-appointed all-volunteer regional board that evaluates projects strictly in terms of design and whether those elements of a project conform to zoning (if not, “departures” have to be requested). Projects for which design review is required, like this one, will go before the board at least twice, once for “early design guidance” (the purpose of this meeting), then, for a formal recommendation to the city.
In the meantime, the project proposed for the 5400 block of Delridge (official address on city records, 5444 Delridge) has been recommended for two public-funding grants, $500,000 state and “up to $4.45 million” city, while the county-convened Joint Recommendations Committee meets November 17th to consider a request for $538,000. Other funding for the $14 million project is proposed to be raised through a tax-credits program.
Local residents researching the project continue to post information and documents obtained through public-records requests at these two sites: Delridge Community Forum and A Concerned Delridge Neighbor. The volunteers working on the DCF site say that the county staffers working on the Nov. 17th presentation suggest public comments be sent by this Wednesday; the contacts are listed in this post on their website
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Delridge residents concerned about the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s 75-unit “supportive housing” project have obtained more information about the project via public-records requests, and we have a few new details too.
Four months after news of the proposed apartments in the 5400 block of Delridge first came to light at a North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting (WSB coverage here; next-day followup here), documents posted by citizen researchers indicate the agency is close to key dates for greenlighting the project, such as a projected December 1st closing of the deal for property on Delridge. Public-funding decisions are being made; as reported here last week, the city Office of Housing says it has approved “up to $4.45 million” for the project, right after the state announced an award of $500,000.
The county is considering a grant as well; the advisory Joint Recommendations Committee was scheduled to make a decision at a meeting last week, but postponed it after hearing from Delridge residents who attended the meeting on Mercer Island to comment on the project. One of them, Karrie Kohlhaas, summarized some of the concerns that were voiced regarding the neighborhood’s characteristics: Click to read the rest of Delridge DESC housing proposal: Community members dig up details…
The proposed 75-apartment project on Delridge to provide housing for homeless people living with mental illness has been granted city money as well as state money, we have confirmed. According to Seattle Office of Housing spokesperson Julie Moore, the city grant to Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is for “up to $4.45 million.” That follows the state’s decision to grant $500,000 to DESC’s Delridge Supportive Housing project, as reported here Wednesday.
When we first spoke with Moore yesterday, at which time she had confirmed the city funding decision but not the amount (which she provided today), she also said that her department wanted to clarify some of what was written on the “Concerned Neighbor” website we reported on yesterday, and she has provided a document that she says clarifies the city’s “siting policy,” which the anonymous author suggested did not synch with the DESC plan. Caveat: As with the “Concerned Neighbor” site info, we have no way to fact-check the info we’re pointing you to – but here it is, so you can make up your own mind.
A county group was set to potentially decide on DESC project funding yesterday, but delayed its decision after hearing from a group of Delridge residents who voiced concerns about the project. Meantime, DESC executive director Bill Hobson has answered questions we e-mailed him on Wednesday. He says they have not yet closed on the Delridge property (in the 5400 block); their architects are still working on a presentation for a not-yet-scheduled “Early Design Guidance” meeting of the Southwest Design Review Board. (We have requested a digital copy of a sketch that a Delridge attendee photographed at yesterday’s county meeting; if we don’t receive one, we’ll add that photo here.) Our note to Hobson was after word of the state funding but before word of the city funding; regarding the state funding, he says that the half-million dollars represent “around 3-4% of anticipated total project costs,” which would mean those costs are at least $12.5 million.
ORIGINAL 11:46 AM REPORT: One day after reporting that the DESC proposal for a 75-unit homeless-housing project in Delridge is recommended for $500,000 state funding, we received word of a site at which an anonymous “Concerned Neighbor” has published research that s/he says is relevant to the proposal. We don’t have the research bandwidth to try to fact-check this, so we are not vouching for its accuracy, but here’s the link, so you can read for yourself if you’re interested. (Note the tabs leading to additional pages.) We asked DESC executives yesterday for comment on the funding report and still have not received a reply; if we do, we’ll ask them about this too.
2:16 PM UPDATE: We will have another story in the works for later today; we have heard from Delridge residents who attended a county meeting today regarding another funding request for the project, and we are told the decision was delayed because of concerns voiced by the residents.
4:17 PM UPDATE: Also revealed at that county meeting – the city has granted funding for the project. We have confirmed this with the city Office of Housing. As for how much – the Housing spokesperson is supposed to call us back with that information.
The state Housing Trust Fund is recommending that the Downtown Emergency Service Center get a $500,000 grant for its 75-unit Delridge project to house homeless people living with mental illness. According to online records, that is the full amount that DESC sought from the state. DESC also is seeking city and county funding, and according to the website kept by Delridge Community Forum, which organized a meeting about the project 2 weeks ago, there’s a county meeting tomorrow about funding. That information is here, including who to contact with opinions about the project. DESC planned to complete the purchase of three parcels in the 5400 block of Delridge if it got funding for the project, and has said construction wouldn’t start any sooner than next fall.
(Photo courtesy Holli Margell)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Three and a half months after first word of a proposed apartment project meant to house 75 homeless people living with mental illness and possibly substance abuse, questions and concerns still abound in Delridge.
That was the bottom line of last night’s first Delridge Community Forum, launching a new volunteer-organized series of mediated conversations on major topics of local interest. The DCF organizing group spun off from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, after a June community meeting about the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposal left a lot of dissatisfaction, particularly the fact it was in a tiny venue that led to a lot of turnaway.
For last night’s forum, which brought an estimated 150 people to the theater at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, organizers went to extensive lengths to try to ensure the event would not lean too heavily toward either the pro or con direction, and that it would not dissolve into an angry brouhaha. The only real flash of the latter potential happened when the meeting was already running overtime – and resulted in a quick adjournment.
Ahead – the key points of information and concern, including video of the presentations that preceded the Q/A: Click to read the rest of Video: Questions, concerns about homeless-housing project abound at first Delridge Community Forum…
(NDNC hearing from SDOT consultant Josh Stepherson; photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Major discussion points included a look ahead to tonight’s first Delridge Community Forum, about the DESC homeless-housing proposal, was a major item, as were the potential North Delridge traffic effects of the Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit Project bridge/road work.
THE FORUM: DCF is a spinoff from NDNC, putting together a series of mediated community forums with the help of a city grant. Patrick Baer briefed the meeting on plans for tonight’s discussion (6:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center), the first real chance for a big-group discussion about the 75-apartment projects that first came to light last June, including a meeting from which people had to be turned away. He has drawn a big-name guest list.
*Child care has been secured for the meeting. The room at Youngstown (4408 Delridge Way SW) has room for 300 (and there’s a room next door as backup for overflow); volunteers delivered 1,300 flyers around the area, in Spanish/English/Vietnamese, to get the word out. The format will be “world café,” including small-group discussions that report back to the full gathering. After conversations, there will be an opportunity for anyone interested in further action to convene and talk about it, but that will not be led by those who are leading the meeting. (More info at delridgeforum.blogspot.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/delridgeforum.) The next forum is already being planned; anyone interested in helping is invited to a get-together at 6:15 pm October 24 at Delridge Library.
Ahead, the city consultant who’s been briefing community groups on the bridge-retrofit project, and other traffic/transportation issues, plus prospective Delridge Community Center cuts, and an announcement with NDNC elections ahead: Click to read the rest of North Delridge Neighborhood Council: Previewing tonight’s DESC forum; traffic concerns; more…
New details today for the first major community forum to be organized to talk about Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)’s proposed Delridge project to house 75 homeless people living with mental illness. We’ve reported previously that a group spun off from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council has planned the event for October 11th – one week from tomorrow – at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; the time is now set (6:30 pm) as are other details of the format and invited participants. Read on for the official announcement: Click to read the rest of Homeless housing in Delridge? New details of upcoming forum…
It wasn’t just celebration at Saturday’s Delridge Day festival, presented by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council – it was also about information, including one of the hottest current topics in the neighborhood, Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposal for 75 apartments in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW to house homeless people living with mental illness (and in some cases, sustance abuse). One week earlier, we reported on Delridge neighborhood advocates’ tour of two DESC facilities in Columbia City and Cascade, and mentioned their plan for a town-hall-style forum. The date has now been announced: Tuesday, October 11th (evening, time TBA), at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. NDNC distributed flyers on Saturday in multiple languages. They also have launched a website with info about the forum; see it here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposal for a 75-unit Delridge building to house mentally ill homeless people is still in an early stage, though three months have elapsed since it first came to light.
It’s not a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Far from it. Delridge neighborhood advocates are planning a town-hall-style meeting for next month, with more discussion of and information about the 5444 Delridge Way project, and this past weekend, a small group toured DESC’s two newest buildings to try to get more of a feeling for what might be headed their way.
They have Department of Neighborhoods assistance in trying to bring the community more information about the proposed project, as part of a small matching-funds grant, and so district coordinators Yun Pitre and Steve Louie were along for the tour, in a city van that set out for a three-hour tour that turned into four on Saturday.
Highlights from this week’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting included a push for another community forum about the proposed Downtown Emergency Service Center 75-unit apartment building to house homeless people living with mental illness. NDNC leaders said that DESC was suggesting smaller gatherings, but discussion at the meeting solidified a sentiment that a big-group forum was important, as there hadn’t been one yet – given the June 27th meeting (WSB coverage here, with video) from which dozens were turned away given the small size of the venue. No meeting date yet. As reported here two weeks ago, the proposal is now in the city permit system.
NDNC attendees, meeting Monday night outdoors in the Delridge/Genesee park area, also heard a presentation about a new business headed to Delridge:
Stockbox Grocers‘ founders were in attendance to announce they plan to open its first West Seattle prototype on September 1st, in a parking lot at the Westhaven Apartments (24th/Holden).
Presenting the plan to NDNC, Stockbox’s Carrie Ferrence explained it’s a “miniature grocery,” meant to be permanently housed in a recycled cargo container, though the two-month West Seattle experiment will be in a 20 x 8 “portable office” structure. Stockbox is a for-profit startup that hopes to grow to multiple locations with mini-corner-store type operations, but for now, they’re planning to start in the Delridge and Skyway areas. They’re also trying to raise $15,000 more capital via a Kickstarter campaign. They’ll start by being open 3-8 pm (to catch people heading home) weekdays, 8 am-8 pm weekends.
Also at NDNC: A round of voting resulted in a choice for the organization’s new logo:
That was one of nine entries in the council’s open-to-the-public logo contest. Turns out, though, the artist isn’t from Delridge – but rather, from Edmonds, according to NDNC’s Patrick Baer, who spearheaded the contest.
NDNC also discussed plans for upcoming events including the Delridge Day festival, 11 am-3 pm on September 17th, which they’re organizing – vendor booths (still time to apply), food, and more, plus the centerpiece of the day, the skatepark dedication – the festival site will be in the adjacent park area. Asked if there will be live music, project lead Amanda Leonard said Parks is working on that. NDNC needs lots of volunteer help to make Delridge Day a success;
NDNC also reiterated the public invitation for this weekend’s Longfellow Creek walk: Meet at 26th/Brandon (Greg Davis Park) at 1 pm Sunday (August 14th) – kids and pets welcome.
You can find out more about the North Delridge Neighborhood Council at ndnc.org; meetings are first Mondays, 6:30 pm, Delridge Library unless otherwise announced – like this summer’s outdoor versions!
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