West Seattle Blog... » Neighborhoods http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 13:34:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Tonight’s calendar highlight: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:08:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275376 Thornton Creek did it – can Roxhill Bog do it too? That’s one of the neighborhood issues on the agenda for today’s featured calendar highlight, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Live/work in any of those neighborhoods? Go check out WWRHAH at 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). See the agenda in our calendar listing, and the calendar itself has many more events for today/tonight, including nightlife!

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Be part of this year’s Night Out! Signups, $ applications now open http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/be-part-of-this-years-night-out-signups-applications-now-open/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/be-part-of-this-years-night-out-signups-applications-now-open/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 17:20:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274928

(You don’t HAVE to have a bouncy toy, but Hillcrest does – 2010 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Be part of the year’s biggest night of block parties, the 30th annual Night Out, on Tuesday, August 5th. Sounds like a long way away, but our area’s SPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon sends word that registration is open NOW. If you sign up, you can close your street to traffic that night (provided you’re not on an arterial and a few other caveats) – go here as soon as you’re ready. Early party-planning also offers the chance to apply for a Department of Neighborhoods matching-fund grant – the deadline is June 23rd; find out about it here. More than 1,400 neighborhoods around Seattle had block parties last year – this year, join ‘em!

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Townhouse-rezone endorsement and more @ Morgan Community Association’s quarterly meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/townhouse-rezone-endorsement-and-more-morgan-community-associations-quarterly-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/townhouse-rezone-endorsement-and-more-morgan-community-associations-quarterly-meeting/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:13:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=270722 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Morgan Community Association is now officially on the record as supporting the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene‘s proposed six-townhouse plan for land it owns south of the church and its parsonage at 42nd and Juneau.

The vote came at the end of last night’s meeting, after a return appearance by developer and area resident Joe Paar (above), who said he and the church – planning to sell the townhouses but retain ownership of “park” open space on the rest of the site – wanted MoCA’s blessing since they are about to take the first part of the rezoning proposal to the city. The room was full of church members/supporters, about triple MoCA’s usual turnout in the lower-level meeting area of The Kenney (WSB sponsor).

They had a multipage glossy color handout with renderings and Q/A on the project. (Previously, they set up a website.) A sign and painted-on-the-ground outlines are now set up, said Paar. He said they’re still working out where to put the park on the open space that will be left between the townhouses and 42nd SW. He said they’ve been designed to look like “Craftsman-style townhouses,” not the “modern” design that is prevalent in new construction today. The community will be asked to vote on color schemes.

He noted that he and church leadership already have made three appearances at MoCA and will be back often as the proposal proceeds – “you’re going to get sick of us.” A community garden and movie screen are proposed as part of the park section of the site. The project will require a zoning change, as noted previously. The townhouses will have a private porch transitioning into a semi-private yard, then a public path, and the community park area. Their garages won’t be connected to the homes – residents will have to walk to their homes, “which is intentional,” Paar said.

They propose 12 spaces of parking for the townhomes, in addition to 11 parking spaces for the church. The biggest townhomes will have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in addition to basement space that could be used for a bedroom or office. It was reiterated that these will be sold, not rented, townhomes on fee-simple land. “Would somebody be allowed to buy them for an investment and rent them out?” an attendee asked. “That’s not what we’re looking to sell these for,” said Parr. The church retains ownership of the “park” portion of the land, as well as the parsonage house between the “park” site and the church building.

One attendee said “I commend you on how these buildings look; the buildings they’re building now, they look terrible.” Parr reiterated that he lives nearby and he was afraid a “bad-guy developer would get a hold of the site and build something (we didn’t want to see).”

He outlined a timeline:

*May 2014 – rezoning proposal going to City Council
*May 2015 – response expected from council
*Construction not expected until 2016 or even 2017

It’s a two-step rezoning process, he said, and it requires community support. So far, he says, they have 33 letters from neighbors voicing support, but they all but pleaded for MoCA’s support. The brochure they circulated even included a public accounting of what the church would do with the expected $760,000 revenue, including $200,000 work on the church’s exterior.

MoCA president Deb Barker stressed that the comprehensive-plan amendment being proposed here to facilitate a contract-rezone proposal would only affect the lots on the site. And Parr noted that what they were presenting involves the public benefit they would be required to provide. MoCA’s Eldon Olson said the “park” portion of the site – which would be open to the public but remain church-owned – was attractive, as urban areas are supposed to have more of those.

In the end, MoCA went on the record as voting unanimously to support the comprehensive-plan amendment proposed to change the zoning from single-family to Lowrise 1 on the site. Since MoCA allows anyone present to vote, those who came to show support were part of the vote too.

Earlier in the meeting:

LAND-USE INFO: Cindi Barker from the MoCA board (no relation to president Deb) led this discussion – it’s become an increasing specialty of hers, tracking “what the city is proposing that we believe is going to affect our neighborhood.” She mentioned two projects, 6917 California and 5949 California, which “woke people up to (the fact that) you can build stuff in places and not require parking any more.” Now, MoCA is among the groups getting involved BEFORE rule changes are finalized – and next one up (as reported again here last Friday) involves new rules for microhousing, “to standardize so that when developers say they want to put microhousing in, the neighbors understand what’s about to show up in their landscape … It’s time to get involved if you’re interested in (this).” She explained that microhousing is defined as buildings with “up to eight sleeping rooms around a centralized kitchen.” She said that’s based on the fact that a house can have up to eight unrelated people living in it, under city rules. She mentioned that tomorrow, there’s a City Council committee briefing; May 19th, a public hearing; June is when the council might vote on whether to make it law.

MoCA has not yet taken a position on it; Barker said she’s still going through it, but key points include the fact microhousing would be allowed in “any area zoned lowrise”; she noted that she has talked to someone paying $1100 for a 250-square-foot studio in another part of the city, so this isn’t cheap housing, but on the other hand, that person gets to live in the area where they want to live. But she exhorted people to go in and read through the legislation. (Find the city’s docs and other info by going here.)

Pedestrian zoning: Barker mentioned DPD staffer Aly Pennucci‘s briefing at the last MoCA meeting regarding these possible changes for certain business district. MoCA has “gone through the pros and cons” and has found “hidden things … that we just gotta ferret out,” so they’ve come up with six conditions before they would think about considering one of these zones here. For one, they don’t like the city proposal that this zoning wouldn’t allow lawyers and other service professional, nor the barring of businesses such as gas stations. The city is “shooting for one size fits all” but that won’t necessarily work for Morgan, she said. The ped zoning also would mean that if Thriftway, for example, ever went out, building would be required on that site. The lack of a parking requirement was also troubling, she said – it doubles how much building space would be exempted. And they would want to see some kind of funding mechanism – preferably from developers – for the mandated features such as bike racks; right now, she said, weather overhangs are the only amenities that developers have to provide. She also says they’re looking for more clarification on the floor-area ratio part of the proposal. MoCA voted in favor of sending a letter to DPD and City Council, not necessarily to voice support or opposition, but: “This is the start of a dialogue.”

Height in low-rise zones: MoCA also sent a letter about this; the legislation isn’t out yet, but they’re hoping for a fix to the height-determining changes that suddenly found five-story buildings allowed in zones that had been three-story max. “As daunting and mind-numbing as land use is, it’s the thing that affects you … it’s all around you. Right now the city is entering into a comprehensive-plan-update process,” president Deb Barker reminded – “taking us out to 2035.”

CAL SEATTLE: Deb Barker talked about the letter this new group is asking other organizations to endorse. She has signed it as an individual citizen; others are invited to sign it (go to calseattle.wordpress.com to read it, which Barker did, aloud, at tonight’s meeting after it seemed few in attendance had familiarized themselves with it ahead of time). Here’s an excerpt, what the group is asking for:

1) institute a system of development impact fees to ensure that developers pay their fair share of the costs of growth on our transportation network, utilities, parks, and schools;

2) approve rules requiring every developer to replace, one-for-one, low income housing they remove with low income units of equivalent size;

3) adopt rules and allocate funds to help tenants buy and ‘co-op’ their apartments before they’re sold to speculators or demolished;

4) approve new zoning rules that prevent out-of-scale development in all lowrise and single family zones;

5) adopt new budgeting that guarantees “equitable distribution” of tax dollars to all Seattle neighborhoods and newly created council districts; and prevents misallocation of the city’s general funds into downtown and special interest boondoggles; and

6) adopt stiff regulations protecting our declining older growth tree canopy and fragile urban streams.

The group debuted at the city’s Neighborhood Summit a week and a half ago (as mentioned in our coverage of the summit), handing out flyers with its manifesto and URL. MoCA tabled further discussion of a possible group endorsement until its next meeting. The group is having an organizational meeting on the 30th, it was noted.

SDOT UPDATE ON CALIFORNIA/FAUNTLEROY: Mike Ward from the Seattle Department of Transportation came to talk about California/Fauntleroy, post-RapidRide work (for which he was the project manager). It was late summer 2012 when the changes were largely complete; since then, Ward says, some traffic counts have been ordered for the intersection – they were requested in October but he said he just learned it hadn’t been done; asked by an attendee how that happened, Ward said there were a variety of reasons but he took the blame for not following up. (They’re looking to evaluate the “level of service” is graded A-E, good through clogged; last check 2009-2010, he said, was C to D in both peak periods.) He promised to have that information by MoCA’s next meeting in July. Ward also mentioned that Metro has been checking the California/Alaska signal timing for possible tweaks. He was asked about the new sounds at California/Fauntleroy; that wasn’t part of Ward’s project but he’ll inquire.

MURRAY CSO PROJECT UPDATE: King County’s Doug Marsano was back with an update on the combined-sewer-overflow-control storage-tank project across from Lowman Beach Park. The “soil-nail wall” is what’s in progress right now; that work will continue into early May, and will be followed by shoring work, required since the groundwater is high at the site. “Secant piles” will be installed through the summer, and then excavation for the tank itself will begin. Projected completion date: September 2016. Asked how Barton Pump Station (north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock) is doing, Marsano mentioned that most of the work will be complete this summer, ahead of schedule.

FRIENDS OF MORGAN JUNCTION PARKS: “It’s the season again,” as Tod Rodman noted – so May 4th, with the help of Peace Lutheran Church, they’ll be having a work party – 10:30 am; it’ll be followed by mulching at 11 am May 11th at the biggest Morgan park. Watch the MoCA website (and our calendar) for more details.

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: On behalf of the organization for which she is an interim board member, Deb Barker talked about the WSTC’s endorsement of Proposition 1, “with some caveats.” Voting deadline, attendees were reminded, is Tuesday (April 22nd). Another interim board member who’s part of MoCA, Rodman, stood up and said that without passage, a lot of bus service “will disappear – we’ll still have the C Line and Route 21 here in West Seattle, but that’s about it … please understand that if you vote no or don’t vote and this doesn’t pass, we’re in a world of hurt.”

SIDEWALK-CAFE APPLICATION FOR THE BRIDGE: Deb Barker mentioned the comment period under way now for the proposal at The Bridge (California/Graham), 8 tables. The deadline is next Tuesday (April 22nd); here’s how to comment.

MoCA WEBSITE RENOVATION: If you have a business or organization in the Morgan area, reach out to MoCA so you can link to its renovated website, where you’ll find community news, meeting agendas, e-mail addresses, and more.

EMERGENCY HUBS DRILL: Cindi Barker updated the group about a 9 am-noon Saturday, May 17, drill – “the scenario was picked before Oso,” a lahar – the “ash flow after a volcanic explosion.” Two West Seattle hubs will join up in Ercolini Park and actors (you’ll get a script) are needed to portray people who might arrive at the hub looking for help. More info at morganjunction.org.

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Photos/updates: The city’s Neighborhood Summit @ Seattle Center http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/happening-now-the-citys-neighborhood-summit-seattle-center/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/happening-now-the-citys-neighborhood-summit-seattle-center/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 16:14:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=269666

(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)

FIRST REPORT, 9:14 AM: We’re just arriving at Seattle Center to check out the Neighborhood Summit (agenda here) that’s a fulfillment of one of Mayor Ed Murray‘s campaign promises – under way at the Exhibition Hall (3rd/Mercer) until 1 pm.

(Video feed no longer active but keeping box as a placeholder for archived video Monday)
We’ll be adding some photos and updates, but for starters, clicking the “play” button above should take you to live coverage from Seattle Channel, including remarks from the mayor before 9:30 or so. If you’re there and posting to social-media channels, #SNS2014 is the hashtag. More to come.

10:03 AM UPDATE: We’ve been here for about 45 minutes. The mayor has spoken, stressing that this isn’t a self-contained event, but meant to be “the beginning of the conversation.” Here’s a 15-second Instagram video clip we took, panning the space here at the Exhibition Hall, as he spoke:

We’ve seen West Seattleites from Admiral, Arbor Heights, Fairmount, Genesee, Morgan, North Delridge, Pigeon Point, Westwood; we’ve seen South Park’ers. We’ll have a photo gallery later; we’ve put up cameraphone pix on our Twitter feed at twitter.com/westseattleblog (you should be able to see it even if you don’t use Twitter – that’s the web address). There IS password-free wi-fi here, and it seems to work pretty well.

10:32 AM UPDATE: Former City Councilmember Jim Street (above, at podium on the stage, with the mayor at left) is speaking and taking Q/A; most of those who’ve spoken seem to have issues more for current councilmembers – including land use – microhousing and rowhouses have come up. Now, a question about crime/public safety, which Street again can’t answer as he’s not a current councilmember. (Maybe the council should have been here. If they are, we haven’t seen them yet.)

11:34 AM UPDATE: We had to leave midway through, but coverage continues in the video window above (currently, it’s a discussion about the search for a new SDOT director) and on Twitter. Re: council presence, the mayor subsequently mentioned Councilmember Sally Bagshaw was there – not surprising since she chairs the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee – and there was a Twitter mention of Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

The first declared candidate for the West Seattle-specific City Council seat in next year’s elections (District 1), Chas Redmond, was there too (above right, with North Delridge’s Dorsol Plants at left).

12:23 PM UPDATE: Mayor is giving closing remarks (it’s open another half-hour, but speeches/discussions are ending onstage) and says more than 600 people participated in person, in addition to others online or watching the stream. He also gives a shoutout to Kathy Nyland, who put it together.

5:26 PM: Finally getting a chance to add our photos – interspersed above and below.

Above, Amanda Leonard and Holli Margell from North Delridge. Next, Sharonn Meeks from Fairmount and Cindi Barker from Morgan:

Cindi was also there for official “peer networking” regarding preparedness. Next, SPD’s crime-prevention coordinator for the Southwest (and South) Precinct, Mark Solomon:

Next, Jim Cavin from Admiral and Mary Fleck from the West Seattle Green Space Coalition:

Below, from left, Amanda Kay Helmick and Joe Szilagyi from WWRHAH and the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, with Deb Barker from Morgan:

Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point:

She’s not from West Seattle but much WS-related information has been shared over the years on the Seattle Schools Community Forum website by Melissa Westbrook:

(A few more to add – stand by)

Meantime, here are a few links potentially of interest:

-“Live blog” coverage by city staff, with notes, curated tweets (including a couple of ours) and photos

-Coalition for an Affordable Living Seattle was handing out flyers outside, headed “Developer impact fees now! Growth controls now!” with a URL that isn’t working, but we found them online here

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Going to the city’s Neighborhood Summit? See the agenda http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/going-to-the-citys-neighborhood-summit-see-the-agenda/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/going-to-the-citys-neighborhood-summit-see-the-agenda/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:35:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=269332 This Saturday at Seattle Center‘s Exhibition Hall (Mercer/3rd), Mayor Ed Murray hosts the “Neighborhood Summit” he promised to have within 100 days of taking office. If you’re thinking of going, the agenda is now available so you can make up your mind – or, if you know you’re going, you can preplan how to spend the four hours. See it here. Child care and light refreshments are promised; we see at least one West Seattle name on the list of “peer networking” participants – Cindi Barker, community-preparedness guru, who has provided lots of info here on WSB to help you get prepared. The summit’s scheduled 9 am-1 pm on Saturday, though the agenda looks conducive to dropping in for just part of it if you can’t commit to that entire time frame.

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Pedestrian changes for business districts? City survey extended http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/pedestrian-changes-for-business-districts-city-survey-extended/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/pedestrian-changes-for-business-districts-city-survey-extended/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 23:10:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=269240 Almost every local community council got a visit in recent months from Aly Pennucci of the city Department of Planning and Development regarding potential changes in “pedestrian zoning” for business districts As part of the city’s comment-gathering, an online survey was made available. Community leaders just got word that the survey has been extended for another month – so if you haven’t taken it yet, go here. It’ll ask you first about a specific “region” – West Seattle is in the south region, so start there; next screen will ask you about specific zones. Our first coverage of this issue during a local community-council meeting was at the Morgan Community Association‘s meeting in January.

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Admiral Neighborhood Association: Adopt-A-Street tomorrow; new meeting location http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/admiral-neighborhood-association-adopt-a-street-tomorrow-new-meeting-location/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/admiral-neighborhood-association-adopt-a-street-tomorrow-new-meeting-location/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:22:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=266968 News from the Admiral Neighborhood Association:

ADOPT-A-STREET CLEANUP TOMORROW: Join ANA on Saturday morning by the main entrance of Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor), 9 am, to help clean up nearby streets. As noted by ANA president David Whiting in the announcement, “As always beverages, refreshments and sack lunches are provided, as well as gloves and tools.” So all you have to bring is yourself! (Youth helpers welcome, too.)

MEETINGS MOVE TO THE SANCTUARY: After years of meeting in the basement at Admiral Congregational Church, ANA is moving its regular meeting site starting this month. Meetings will now be at The Sanctuary at Admiral (northeast corner of 42nd/Lander), starting next Tuesday (March 11th), 7 pm. Speaking of which:

TUESDAY’S AGENDA: Pedestrian retail zoning – a topic at several other local community-group meetings this winter – will be discussed, along with the WSHS “Steps at Stevens” pedestrian-connection project.

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Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council looks back at Year 1, ahead at what’s in the works http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council-looks-back-at-year-1-ahead-at-whats-in-the-works/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council-looks-back-at-year-1-ahead-at-whats-in-the-works/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:59:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=266959 One year into its existence, West Seattle’s newest community council – Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights, aka WWRHAH – has taken a look back at that momentous first year (here’s our report on their 2013 launch meeting). Chair Amanda Kay Helmick delivered a “state of the council” report at the monthly meeting earlier this week. It’s part of the meeting report that secretary Joe Szilagyi published to the WWRHAH website. He also noted toward the start of the report that the meeting (and therefore the wrapup) also touched on these questions:

How is the public feedback on the Roxbury safety study?

Are we going to re-channelize (road diet) Roxbury?

Should we have bike lanes on Roxbury?

Should we move some bus layovers to Roxbury from Westwood?

How are the safety changes going for the Westwood Rapid Ride stop?

Are buses causing shaking detectable as earthquakes on Barton, 26th, and Roxbury?

When will SDOT start working on 35th Ave SW safety?

Will re-hydrating the bog in Roxhill Park help reduce flooding across West Seattle?

Interested in any of the above? See the report here – and note that WWRHAH (all volunteers, like all local community councils) could use your help as its advocacy and other community work continues.

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Mayor sets date for ‘Seattle Neighborhood Summit’: April 5th http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/mayor-sets-date-for-seattle-neighborhood-summit-april-5th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/mayor-sets-date-for-seattle-neighborhood-summit-april-5th/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:54:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=264619 Mayor Ed Murray promised he would hold a “Neighborhood Summit” within 100 days of taking office – and today he’s announced the place and date: 9 am-1 pm Saturday, April 5th, in the Pavilion Room at Seattle Center. From the announcement:

Summit planners say this is the first step in what they hope to be an ongoing relationship aimed at rebuilding the trust between the City and neighborhoods. In addition to holding this traditional forum, they plan to use social media and technology so more can participate whether or not they are able to attend.

That part of the effort starts now – with this new city website. It includes a survey to which you can respond right now; go here.

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See which West Seattle spots are proposed for new ‘pedestrian zoning’ – and a dozen other topics @ Morgan Community Association http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/see-which-neighborhoods-might-get-new-pedestrian-zoning-and-a-dozen-other-topics-morgan-community-association/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/see-which-neighborhoods-might-get-new-pedestrian-zoning-and-a-dozen-other-topics-morgan-community-association/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 17:13:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=261950 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“That was amazing,” exclaimed one attendee at the end of what was probably the busiest community-council meeting this month. In the basement at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), one room away from bingo, spanning 2 hours and 20 minutes on Wednesday night, it was the quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, with sixteen items on the original agenda – not counting what president Deb Barker had said she was “adding and subtracting” in the minutes before the meeting.

Hottest of the 13 topics we’re recapping is one of interest even if you DON’T live or work in Morgan – yet another city zoning initiative, one that arrived with preliminary recommendations even before the “public engagement” phase had begun:


(Click image to see full-size citywide map)
PEDESTRIAN ZONE MAPPING PROJECT: The briefing was provided by city Department of Planning and Development rep Aly Pennucci. She says this zoning overlay, if ultimately approved and implemented, would “add some requirements for new development” – including that the ground level of buildings in designated “pedestrian zones” would include commercial activity. She says the project has “started and stopped a few times over the years.” In 2012, the City Council decided about 60 areas around the city could potentially be part of this zoning – they’re shown in the map excerpted above (see the full citywide map here), and here’s the list of proposed West Seattle zones – each name links to a city doc that, if you scroll down, shows a specific map of that area (the titles are exactly as designated by the city):

Delridge Way SW between SW Brandon St. and SW Juneau St.
Westwood Park (Delridge Way SW at SW Roxbury St.)
Morgan Junction
35th Ave. SW at SW Morgan St.
35th Ave. SW at SW Holden St.
35th Ave. SW at SW Barton St.
35th Ave. SW and SW Roxbury St.
Harbor Ave. SW – N of Fairmount Ave. SW
Admiral

In some areas, this zoning could potentially further reduce parking requirements, Pennucci noted – doubling the amount of commercial space exempt from the requirement (from 2,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet). She said this process also would formalize some of the emergency rules passed last fall after low-density commercial projects were proposed in high-density zones (specifically the potential CVS pharmacies here in West Seattle and a few other neighborhoods). She said it’s now time for community input – since what she called the “very preliminary recommendation” is out there. If an area disagrees with a recommendation to be included, the city wants to hear why, she said. Home page for the project is here; you can answer an online survey here.

The city’s assessment of Morgan Junction had holes poked into it from the start – no, it is NOT low auto/pedestrian-conflict zone, no, it is NOT a sidewalks-in-good-shape zone, pointed out Barker and MoCA vice president Chas Redmond. There are physical limitations to the space, Redmond pointed out, calling the zoning proposal “an attempt by DPD to put something into place that is not needed.”

“This is good feedback,” Pennucci responded, even as she continued to hear strong words of concern and criticism. One person finally observed that overall, “we have a lot of anger at DPD” – which Pennucci did not dispute, semi-laughing, “I feel it!” – so, she was told, some time should be taken to look more calmly at this before the city plows forward with it.

Then there was the point that this happened to be the first city presentation to a West Seattle neighborhood group, while nine proposed zones are on the “preliminary recommendation” map. This was noted by meeting attendee Dave Montoure, asking when the city would be presenting to the West Seattle Junction Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (both groups he has chaired). Bennucci replied she can be there by request, saying Morgan just put in an early request.

Before she wrapped up, Redmond speaks up again and says Morgan is already pedestrian-friendly, but some parts of this recommendation would go unnecessarily far: Until we “get rid of internal-combustion vehicles, we’re not going to get rid of the Shell station” (on California a block south of Fauntleroy), for example. And with increasing fury, he took issue with the fact that DPD had come forward with a “preliminary recommendation” before any community conversation.

Climbing out of the hot seat, Pennucci said final recommendations are supposed to be presented to Mayor Murray by late summer/early fall.

Now, highlights rom the rest of the MoCA agenda – shorter recaps ahead, starting with more development-related info:

CALIFORNIA/FAUNTLEROY INTERSECTION: Barker presented a followup on the preceding meeting’s discussion with SDOT’s Mike Ward, who couldn’t come tonight, and specifically on whether the “level of service” at California/Fauntleroy had declined since RapidRide launched more than a year ago. Stats show there were 13 collisions last year in the general intersection area involving pedestrians/bicyclists, up from 9 in 2012, 8 in 2011, 10 in 2010. The intersection, Redmond picked up, is at “Level D” now, one step above failing, he said, while adding that SDOT is still not providing traffic-count information for the intersection. They will investigate the feasibility of a right-turn-only lane on northbound California at Fauntleroy, Redmond said. MoCA overall is still frustrated with not getting all the information they’ve requested, but they vow not to let up.

ROAD WORK AHEAD: As reported here last Monday, SDOT’s work list for the year includes repaving on California between Fauntleroy and Holly. Barker mentioned that it’s happening because of a Neighborhood Project Fund $90,000 allocation, and the timing will be vital because if that stretch is used in the “haul route” for the excavation at the Lowman Beach/Murray CSO project, the repaving shouldn’t happen until after that is done. Speaking of which …

MURRAY CSO UPDATE: King County Wastewater Treatment presented the latest on the million-gallon-storage-tank plan for what had been a residential block across from Lowman Beach Park. Recent changes at the site were recapped – construction trailers in the northeastern corner of Lowman, fencing around the Murray Pump Station which “will be there for the duration of the project,” but it was reiterated, “There will always be access to Lowman Beach Park.” The western sidewalk at Lowman will always remain open.

What’s happening now: Final permits, some pre-construction survey work on-site, checking conditions such as settlement (which can be an issue on a site like this with a “high level of groundwater,” he said). “The biggest major activity you’ll see on the site is installing the soil nail walls … on the eastern side, Lincoln Park Way, stabilizing that hillside with 15-to-30-foot steel rods, likely starting mid-to-late February. It will be followed by excavation for the tank itself.

Some specific issues: Workers will park in available on-street parking nearby, but will try to limit the impact in ways such as carpooling. The haul route is not yet finalized. The heavy-duty hauling will last into the third quarter of this year, the project team said. Then of course there will still be truck traffic for concrete, etc. Work hours will be 7 am-6 pm, and “higher noise levels” can’t begin until 8 am.

Last weekend’s power outage was brought up and it was noted that the noisy portable generator might be needed now and then for scheduled intermittent power interruption during construction.

WEST SEATTLE-WIDE LAND USE COMMITTEE? Other neighborhoods have them – so maybe West Seattle should start one too, looking at peninsula-wide issues, inviting in development applicants, as Barker explained, to talk about projects – in a non-binding way, but at least “not feeling like things are running amok and wondering who’s in charge.” If you’re interested, you can contact Barker and/or Redmond via the contact info listed on the MoCA website.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES: The microhousing proposal at 5949 California SW has its permits, but has yet to start construction, Barker notes, adding that no public process was required. 6917 California, also no-parking but NOT a microhousing project, is “on hold” at the moment because the city is requiring studies including one related to parking.

TOWNHOUSE PROJECT BY CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE: Developer Joe Paar, architect David Neiman, and church pastor Terry Mattson brought a quick update on the six-townhouse 5911 42nd SW project we first reported in September.

“This is a project we requires that we go through a Comp Plan Amendment [rezoning] to do it, and that requires the endorsement of the community,” Neiman noted. He said they had a formal neighborhood meeting last month to present the plan: “In general, we got a lot of support about the project -folks understood that project was essential to saving the church and protecting it as a neighborhood institution … They were glad it would save the exceptional trees on the site, and that we would preserve the open space as a park, and that the parking ratio is 2 spaces for each home … much more generous than what would be required … and that it’s aiming for an aesthetic and scale of single-family homes.”

Concerns he mentioned included: Regrading on the site, building close to the trees, building in what’s been a “park” and whether it would feel like a community asset or like the homes’ front yard, would the townhouses be owned or rented (answer: owned). Neiman says their plan has been approved by an arborist who says “it is possible to build that close” to the trees. The homes are “a three-story stack,” two living floors over garage, but the garage level will be “buried” by the six feet of fill they’re planning. Timeline: In February/March, they plan “show and tell” meetings with neighbors and also with MoCA, so that by MoCA’s April meeting they can seek the group’s endorsement. May is the annual period of submitting for a Comp Plan amendment to pave the way for their rezoning proposal, so their goal is to have community support by then. It is then pointed out that this might not be just a “spot rezone” – this might also then wind up rezoning more nearby properties. (Watch the project via the city DPD’s website.)

LETTER RE: 4755 FAUNTLEROY: Following up on a previous meeting’s discussion, Barker discussed a letter that the board has sent supporting “better design” for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW project, after declining to sign on to a letter supporting the Getting It Right for West Seattle campaign.

BETTER BIKE RACKS: Tod Rodman says MoCA is working for nicer-looking, more-usable bicycle racks for Morgan Junction. They’ve taken an informal survey – “We’ve got plenty of bike racks now, but nobody’s using them” – and plan to talk with SDOT about the possibilities. One attendee suggested that sidewalk repair might be needed before upgraded bicycle racks could be installed.

WEBSITE UPDATE: Redmond says the morganjunction.org website has been upgraded so that more items can be, and are being, posted, and you can comment there too.

FRIENDS OF MORGAN JUNCTION PARKS, YEAR ONE: Barry White recapped FoMJP’s first year, saying the work of volunteers has made a huge difference over that time. “If you’d seen the enormous pile of weeds we’d produced coming out of the ground, you’d be impressed,” he said, noting that – among major accomplishments – the horsetail “is under control.” In fall, the group branched out into properties including the “triangle” property next to West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), where 20 volunteers from Peace Lutheran Church joined in. FoMJP is hoping to “add some foundational plantings” this year, particularly to that site, underneath the crossroads sign. SDOT might even provide the plants if FoMJP provides design and labor, White said, adding that the group is hoping to put in some storage facilities, hoping to obtain a small city grant; the storage could also be used for emergency preparedness. Down the road, they’re hoping for more trees and shrubbery for Morgan Junction Park. Find out more about FoMJP via its Facebook page.

MORGAN COMMUNITY FESTIVAL DATE: Saturday, June 21 – be there! (And yes, Barker said, Bubbleman will be back.) Lots of volunteers are needed. Musical applications too – credmond@mac.com.

PRECINCT ADVISORY GROUP LIAISON NEEDED: MoCA still needs a rep for the Southwest Precinct Advisory Group, as a liaison between the neighborhood group and local police, not just for “involvement” but also for “community appraisal,” as Eldon Olson put it, providing “feedback in and around the reforms taking place in and around the Police Department.” The group has been meeting in the evening on the second Thursday of the month, 10 months of the year.

Morgan Community Association meets every three months – agendas and much more can be found any time on the MoCA website at morganjunction.org.

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Neighbor Appreciation Day: 3 West Seattle fire-station open houses http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/3-west-seattle-fire-station-open-houses-on-neighbor-appreciation-day/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/3-west-seattle-fire-station-open-houses-on-neighbor-appreciation-day/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 02:08:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=261946 Plans are in the works for Seattle’s Neighbor Appreciation Day on February 8th – and fire-station open houses are among the most popular features every year. The schedule is out, and it looks like this year, you’ll be able to stop by Fire Station 11 at 16th/Holden in Highland Park, Fire Station 32 at 38th/Alaska in The Triangle, and/or Fire Station 37 at 35th/Holden in Sunrise Heights. Tour times on February 8th (a Saturday) will be 11 am-1 pm. What else can you do on Neighbor Appreciation Day? See the suggestions here (including e-card templates).

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Roxhill Park safety updates, ideas @ WWRHAH: New police patrols, zero tolerance for youth drinking, more http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/roxhill-park-safety-updates-ideas-wwrhah-new-police-patrols-zero-tolerance-for-youth-drinking-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/roxhill-park-safety-updates-ideas-wwrhah-new-police-patrols-zero-tolerance-for-youth-drinking-more/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 05:45:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=255158 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Less than a year into its existence, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has taken on some of the area’s thorniest issues – safety in Roxhill Park, Westwood Village, and environs.

Chair Amanda Kay Helmick called it “the meat of the meeting” for WWRHAH last night; she was one of the volunteers who helped build Roxhill’s new Castle Park playground and says she’s there with her family at least three times a week. She wants to apply for a grant for the park – but wants public input “what should we do with the money?”

That opened a discussion about the park’s components – which go far beyond the newly renovated playground and the newly installed skatepark. Safety topped the list because of incidents in recent months from armed robberies to an incident just last weekend in which someone was threatened with a knife at the playground.

The discussion led to revelations including a Seattle Police announcement that the park now has regular foot patrols.

Some on hand were worried about Roxhill’s restored natural area – the results of years of hard work by volunteers – being scapegoated as unsafe.

“It’s not the bushes’ fault,” Rory Denovan said, defending the diversity of native plants in the area and saying he doesn’t want to see the restored bog/wetlands area blamed for the crime/safety problems. His ideas include improving the water flow in the area and also altering a path into the area so bicycle riders could use it and so police could get in if necessary.

Native-plant steward Scott Blackstock picked up the discussion, saying sightlines have been improved lately. But he said one big problem is easy to find there – he’s found hundreds of liquor container components. And he said the transit stop’s increased traffic is a huge factor as well. But “You do have to realize, you have a jewel in that park,” Blackstock implored.

That’s why they want to know what the community would want to see, Helmick reassured him. Blackstock subsequently suggested lighting, for example, wouldn’t necessarily cure everything, since many problems have happened in broad daylight.

A resident who has long been active in the neighborhood mentioned seeing police in the park earlier in the day and seeing them there daily recently (something SPD elaborated on later). “The park is high on the radar,” said Andy Thompson from Westwood Village management.

Seattle Parks’ Phil Renfrow said they’ve been aware of issues there for years and have been working with Blackstock and volunteers. “We feel like the wooded wetland is going in the right direction.”

Could a grant be used to encourage more volunteerism to help maintain the bog, to “put people there and help the plants?” wondered Chris Stripinis of WWRHAH. Volunteers are hard to draw, Renfrow and Blackstock noted. It was suggested by a representative of nearby Roxhill Elementary that the school community might be able to help. Listening to that potential connection being made, “that’s why this group exists – to make connections,” Helmick observed. Former Roxhill principal Carmela Dellino, who now works for the city, noted that other area schools could be brought in to help, too – Denny, Chief Sealth, Arbor Heights (which she pointed out will soon have an eSTEM curriculum) – “These young people are the people who are going to help take care of this.”

Mat McBride, an area advocate who’s been helping facilitate during WWRHAH’s first year, said that getting students to the park had been a challenge in the past; it was subsequently suggested that perhaps buses for that purpose could be a target of the grant.

Another idea: An alternative to interpretive information that replaces the current signage, which one attendee pointed out is frequently hit by graffiti vandals.

McBride suggested ideas could eventually be woven together into a vision. “A well-used park” is a park that doesn’t have so many problems, he suggested, and if Roxhill Park was even more of a destination, that could help. “Is it possible for us to create something that brings more people (to the park) to do more things?”

Even more discussion of the park’s layout challenges ensued – which path is passable, which is not.

Michelle from park-adjacent Daystar Retirement Village said they are dealing with issues, too, from campers to loiterers, and they are calling 911 whenever something comes up.

Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores entered the discussion at that point. He explained that Officer Jon Kiehn usually handles this area but has been on medical leave (and is coming back soon). “I understand Roxhill has become a major point of concern for most of you … we are well aware of the issues.” He said many issues about a year ago ‘could be traced back to gang tensions,” yet they also know some issues are not related, such as drinking and camping. “The campers you’re seeing at Roxhill are a lot different than many of the transient encampments we deal with – it’s more of a 4-hour motel stay as opposed to an extended stay.”

Officer Flores then confirmed there are now routine foot beats in the park, particularly involving the Anti-Crime Team. If you don’t think you’ve seen them – “that’s the point,” he said, because they might be low key, undercover, starting in the late afternoon. “They are walking the park.”

Regarding last Sunday’s confrontation and knife-pulling at the park, he said that a suspect has been identified but not arrested. He said it seems the suspect thought someone was a rival gang member (but apparently wasn’t). He says “checking out Roxhill” is a high priority for all officers who work the area, even if they’re just passing by. Also: “They’re taking a zero-tolerance policy with underage drinking and narcotics use. You might say, ‘why is that happening just now?’ Much of what we do is at officer discretion – enforcement could be a warning or ‘aren’t you supposed to be in school? we’ll take you back’ but now it’s zero tolerance … citations for adults, report for juveniles that could be referred for criminal prosecution … if it is something more, there could be an arrest made. … They’re going to see that we mean business now … there are consequences.”

Liquor theft from the QFC is also a focus. He mentioned the charges announced this week against 5 suspects including a local restaurant owner (WSB coverage here) and that “some of those suspects” were involved, and this has led to a closer relationship with the stores, including reviewing surveillance video. “A lot of these bigger stores typically handle liquor theft internally,” but now with Roxhill Park concerns, that has changed, and the stores are working more closely with police. He notes that the rush for private sales last year didn’t necessarily come with close security scrutiny – but that is changing “because they are seeing the losses. … Safeway, QFC, Target, they are definitely aware of it now and changing practices.” However, Officer Flores also noted that drinking in the park is often done with legally purchased alcohol – it’s not all from thefts.

He also said they hope they are not cleaning up the park to leave it empty – “we want to see a park that’s being used.”

What about “you’re being watched” type signs in the park? asked McBride. Maybe that’s something for the potential grant, it was suggested. Carol Baker from Seattle Parks said they do need more eyes on Roxhill Park.

The wall of buses on Barton is a factor preventing some of that. “We recognize that problem too,” said Officer Flores, noting that West Seattle sees few Metro Transit Police, though the buses and stops are technically that agency’s responsibility.

Parks’ Carol Baker brought up the park sign recently proposed by the Morgan Community Association for Morgan Junction Park (as mentioned in our coverage of MoCA’s recent quarterly meeting). It could be considered for Roxhill Park, she said. Blackstock warned of the vandalism targets that signs tend to be, though.

What’s the best way to make the park safer?

“Get legitimate people in there.”

Daystar is a neighborhood-watch community and its residents have called in incidents, said Michelle. And it has walking groups, too.

Wrapping up the discussion, Renfrow pitched for the Green Seattle Partnership, and getting involved. “We need more understanding, we need more people who are trained … we need to get kids involved, move forward .. The city has this fabulous program. … We need residents that are in it for the long haul.”

ROAD-SAFETY UPDATE: Stripinis, who leads WWRHAH’s infrastructure committee, says SDOT finally answered the council’s request to take on SW Roxbury safety issues. Starting early next year, you can expect public meetings for area residents to voice their concerns, he said.

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: WWRHAH is now officially on record as supporting it, after a vote at the meeting.

Keep up with WWRHAH and its future meetings at wwrhah.org.

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Morgan Community Association: The park, the tank, Rapid Ride revisited, and more http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/morgan-community-association-the-park-the-tank-rapid-ride-revisited-and-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/morgan-community-association-the-park-the-tank-rapid-ride-revisited-and-more/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 10:00:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=252986 At its quarterly meeting, the Morgan Community Association voted to support the new West Seattle Transportation Coalition, got an update on the about-to-be-built sewer-overflow-control project at Lowman Beach, heard about efforts to improve cleanliness and safety at Morgan Junction Park, discussed a new development – and that was just the start:

(WSB photo, taken the day after the MoCA meeting)
FRIENDS OF MORGAN JUNCTION PARKS: In addition to the volunteer work this group is doing, talk turned to those who loiter in Morgan Junction Park. Park volunteers say they have engaged the people who hang out, but so far the loiterers are not complying with trash rules. And they say not enough people are calling 911 when they see rulebreaking; more should be making those calls, for wider community representation. The behavior is getting worse, it appears – one week earlier, there was a big drinking party, and a big bonfire was started in the park; Seattle Fire came but police were never able to respond because that happened concurrently with the Westwood Village-area stabbings. To address this, MoCA is working with police to find an official sign to put up regarding, “Drinking is against the rules, here’s who to call.” Also call in matters of public safety – somebody passed out, someone injured … “Don’t be shy,” said Friends of MJP’s Tod Rodman. “It’s your park – if people are there, the bad stuff will (recede),” added FoMJP’s Barry White.

Back to the group’s main work: One more planting and mulching event will be happening in early November, an afternoon event after the Seahawks game, White said. “It’s been a great ride, and we’re getting more and more people involved.” The triangle park just north of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) had a great planting party recently with 20 volunteers from Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood. The current planting project in the streetside strips by Thriftway is the store’s doing, it was revealed in subsequent discussion. Next, the Friends of MJP is going to look at the Fauntleroy/Juneau triangle property to find out how it can help.

NEXT STEPS FOR MURRAY CSO: Doug Marsano from King County Wastewater Treatment District made another of myriad appearances at MoCA to talk about the project, which is approaching construction now that demolition is complete. In addition to the announcement of the November 6th meeting, he mentioned:

*Contractor Shimmick Construction is officially on board
*Next two months will be all about getting permits
*Biggest one: The shoring permit – lot of shoring for a million-gallon tank

“Ultimately, we expect the contractor will be under way mobilizing at the site just before the holidays,” Marsano said.

RAPID RIDE IN MORGAN JUNCTION, ONE YEAR LATER: Two SDOT reps came to answer MoCA’s request for a report on how things are going. Mike Ward and Reiner Blanco. First, they took on the bus bulbs – California northbound north of Fauntleroy, Fauntleroy westbound west of California. Action they’ve taken: Move other routes to another side of the intersection. They’ve also addressed the issue of Access buses at the northbound stop – they’re supposed to use the curb north of the RR stop, so as not to hold up traffic south of the bus bulb. The intersection’s overall operation hasn’t changed – aside from a little tweaking – Ward said. The collision rate at the intersection has not changed since the RapidRide-facilitating features were first installed in summer 2012, he said.

Concerns voiced:

*An apartment manager south of the intersection said her tenants tend to cross at mid-block because walking up to Fauntleroy and crossing “takes forever.”

*MoCA VP Chas Redmond suggested there should be no parking on the east side of California by Thriftway and the cell store to help traffic move. Blanco said that wasn’t feasible.

*Redmond also asked about how truck traffic would be dealt with for the upcoming excavation at the Murray CSO site. The city reps promised to look into that.

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Joe Szilagyi from the WSTC interim bard briefed MoCA on the coalition’s backstory and creation – starting with the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s advocacy for SW Roxbury safety (which will bring a public meeting with SDOT sometime soon, he noted). The new group’s big issues include possible transit cuts, road capacity, densification without transportation/transit mitigation, and the peninsula’s natural barriers. “No one’s more isolated than us in total.” He mentioned the letter WSTC had just drafted and sent days earlier to dozens of entities, politicians, and media, laying out what they want the city, county, and state to do to fix transportation challenges. He recalled Councilmember Richard Conlin at the WSTC launch meeting (WSB coverage here, with video) saying there was a West Seattle transportation plan somewhere. Szilagyi said they found it – “and it was kind of stupid.”

He says WSTC wants to get as many organizations represented on the board as possible – the board, the Chamber of Commerce, Nucor, etc. – and whenever there are giant issues, this will be a voice. They also want to get neighborhood councils’ endorsement/support to say that the West Seattle Transportation Coalition can speak on their behalf when big issues come up.

MoCA agreed to officially offer its support, and will be drafting and sending a letter.

GETTING IT RIGHT-WEST SEATTLE: Shawn Terjeson brought a presentation about what he described as a “coalition” focused on the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project. Its goal is a “community benefits agreement” in exchange for granting the alley vacation the project requires. Terjeson said, “I’m just a guy on the street asking these questions … totally new to any kind of civic involvement.”

The group is trying to “get as many community councils on board as possible … get as many neighbors on board as possible … (and) talk to as many City Councilmembers as possible.” He said that after hearing the developers met with councilmembers downtown, he went downtown. So far, he said, they’ve met with Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien, and he said they support the goals of Getting It Right-WS. O’Brien believes the design process should be reopened on the project, he said, while acknowledging that’s not in writing. He said he is meeting November 6th with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who runs the Transportation Committee.

He says Getting It Right has hired Sharon Sutton from the UW to design alternatives for the block. They want to enliven Alaska – he showed a photo of “the worst block in West Seattle,” further west with the blank north wall of Jefferson Square on one side and the similar Alaska frontage of Capco Plaza on the other. In a sneak-preview fragment of the alternative proposal, he showed that their consultant is proposing small retail along Alaska St. and Whole Foods along Fauntleroy. That would then move the parking entrance onto Edmunds. “The biggest ask is, give us some non-automobile public space,” he said.

What exactly do you want to do? he was asked.

“Make major adjustments,” answered a supporter, Jim Guenther, from the audience.

Rather than later circulate the letter MoCA was being asked to sign, the group asked that it be read aloud, to decide whether to act on it.

After that, there was no motion to sign onto the letter. There was a motion to table the issue until the next meeting January 15th. That failed. A Getting It Right-West Seattle rep in the audiene said maybe if MoCA didn’t want to sign the letter, they could draft their own; there was a motion to pick up on that idea and draft a letter expressing their own specific concerns.

MoCA member Tod Rodman said while some issues are valid, “The horse has left the barn,” and the issues should have been brought up earlier in the project.”

Guenther said, “If you say it’s too late, you’re accepting this for 50 to 75 years in West Seattle. … Go to Vancouver, B.C., see the setbacks, the light … the only way you’ll get that right now is if the city says (the project) has to change.”

Regarding Morgan not having gotten involved earlier on, Deb Barker said they had asked the developers to speak to the group and they had never showed.

Ultimately, MoCA did vote to draft and send its own letter.

WEST SEATTLE GREEN SPACE COALITION: The meeting was running long by the time vice president Redmond stood up to mention the City Light property disposition process; the coalition wants the City Council to slow down the potential sale so that there’s time for better proposals for the sites, instead of just selling them off fast to whomever has the money. Some of them might match city grants that take time to apply for. None of the properties is in Morgan.

HOMES PROPOSED FOR CHURCH LAND: The project we have reported on previously (here and here) – rezoning some of the site south of the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene – got a few minutes before the MoCA meeting ended, with a short presentation by developer and area resident Joe Parr.

He said Village Builders is the contractor for the project. “The church is really really run down,” Heather Parr noted, recounting how the project came to their attention. She explained that the church learned that selling the land off as single-family homesites would not have brought in enough money, so they came up with the idea of rezoning part of it to the west for six smaller townhomes. The site on which they’ll be built is mostly parking right now, she explained. They’re seeking to rezone to Low-Rise 1, from single-family home, and believe they have a 90 percent chance of it going through. They restated that the only tree to be lost would be an apple tree behind the parsonage. Two of the townhouses would have a smaller footprint. “It will be an 18-month process before we put shovels in the ground,” said Joe Parr.

SAWANT CAMPAIGN: Two City Council candidates were on the agenda; neither showed up, but candidate Kshama Sawant sent her campaign manager, who spoke for a few minutes. He says she is running because there are too many corporate candidates, and because the council is giving itself too many raises, now making the second-highest council salaries in the country (behind Los Angeles, he said). He listed Sawant’s three top issues are $15/hour minimum wage, funding for child-care and schools via taxing rich people and corporations, and transit/transportation. The potential 17 percent Metro cut is “insane,” he said. “We should be increasing funding for public transit.” Her opponent Richard Conlin “has been in office for 16 years with very little to show for it,” he alleged, concluding, “You can help us make history by electing somebody like this to the council.”

Other quick notes:

GROWTH TARGETS: Cindi Barker said Morgan is close to 70 percent of its growth target … not necessarily including the 5900 block of California microhousing, let alone the project we wrote about just before this meeting. But the West Seattle Junction is at 187 percent of its capacity, she noted.

STREET TREES: Also from Cindi Barker: SDOT will be flyering about street trees in the area, finishing a survey this month, with planting next month.

MORGAN FESTIVAL PLANNING TO START IN JANUARY: If you’re interested in helping MoCA plan next summer’s Morgan Junction Community Festival, planning will start in January and you can contact Deb Barker (look for contact info on the MoCA website) to talk about ways to get involved with the committee.

BIKE PLAN UPDATE: Cindi Barker says the next steps on the city Bicycle Master Plan Update are: Mayor’s office sending its revised plan to the City Council later this fall; the council Transportation Committee would have a hearing in December and then a vote, so the plan would be accepted either in late December or early January.

NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT FUND: Deb Barker said the city notified MoCA it’s considering a $900,000 project for California/Fauntleroy – and they’re still trying to figure out exactly which one it is (official number, 2013-50).

The Morgan Community Association meets quarterly – next meeting, January 15th; watch for community updates in the meantime at morganjunction.org.

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West Seattle’s top cops talk trends at Alki CC, WS Crime Prevention Council meetings, with Fauntleroy up next http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/west-seattles-top-cops-talk-trends-at-alki-cc-ws-crime-prevention-council-meetings-with-fauntleroy-up-next/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/west-seattles-top-cops-talk-trends-at-alki-cc-ws-crime-prevention-council-meetings-with-fauntleroy-up-next/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 11:08:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=250403 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

West Seattle’s two highest-ranking Seattle Police crimefighters are making the neighborhood rounds.

This Thursday, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler and operations Lt. Pierre Davis are scheduled to brief a Fauntleroy Community Association-organized crime-prevention meeting (as previewed here).

This past week, we heard from both at the Alki Community Council, and from Lt. Davis at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, which, because its originally scheduled guests had been postponed, turned into a lengthy Q/A session.

Ahead, key points from both meetings:

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL (Thursday 9/19)

Planning helped lead to a relatively trouble-free summer at the beach, the council was told. No one disputed that description.

“I hope Alki looked a lot better this summer,” Kessler said. He listed two points that factored into police planning – SPD chiefs and precinct commanders sitting down to talk about how to improve “emphasis patrols,” by allocating resources directly to the precinct leaders – “So we had a lot more money and a lot more time” for overtime devoted to Violence Prevention Patrols. “In this precinct, we focused it primarily on the business districts primarily in The Junction and on Alki. We were able to hit Lincoln Park pretty hard.” And, he says, it seems to have made a difference. He spoke of serving several shifts as overnight commander during the course of the summer, and checking out key locations firsthand – “and it really did look different to me.”

Because of the resources they could spend, they not only had extra resources at night, he said, they also put extra officers on Alki, for example, during the day. “You have to set the tone early” in the season, he noted. The “visitors” from outside the area “need to be able to see a lot of officers.” And, he says, they were able to staff the key areas from the start of the summer. which he believes made a difference, and he’s hopeful to get the extra money for overtime and staffing next summer too. Some will stretch into fall, though he said they staff wisely, and if “crowds are down or the weather’s bad” they pull back.

They also used the Anti-Crime Team as needed, Kessler said, observing that the precinct’s violent-crime rate is low, with the exception of the late-summer street-robbery spike (“primarily resolved” with arrests, he said), so the ACT is working primarily 1 pm-10 pm, focusing on burglaries and repeat offenders. (They are “our hunters,” Lt. Davis said.)

Lt. Davis reiterated that taking action early in summer made a difference, and in terms of violence, “it was a pleasant summer.” Not pleasant in terms of burglaries – especially suspects “based in the southeast area (of the city)” who headed this way. Alki is almost burglary-free at the moment, he said, and he hit the familiar theme of citizens calling in when they spot something suspicious. Asked about the earlier burglary wave, he mentioned a “crew” blamed for almost 40 in one week, but said one member of that “crew” had been arrested. A woman who had been hit by burglars said she found potential blood evidence long after the initial investigation and had trouble reaching anyone at the precinct – Capt. Kessler said the non-emergency line is a good backup, and provide them with a case number, and request that an officer come out.

He talked about the arrests of “one-man crime wave” suspects, and said yet another one is likely to get arrested soon thanks to some evidence just found. And Capt. Kessler provided a lively rendition of how a suspect – apparently the one we had written about earlier in the week – went around with detectives recounting his crimes in detail.

ACC vice president Randie Stone asked if there was any word of progress in solving the Beach Drive murder of Greggette Guy a year and a half ago. It’s a “pretty important open homicide,” said Capt. Kessler, and detectives “are actively working it.”

Asked about the school-flasher incidents – “we’re looking (intensively for) that individual, because that’s BAD, really bad,” said Lt. Davis.

They also touched on the informal encampments that are just about everywhere in greenbelts, and said that Community Police Team officers are working with other city agencies to “coordinate the response” to them.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL (Tuesday 9/17)

The scheduled guests – principals of Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School – were postponed due to a conflict for Sealth’s new principal, Aida Fraser-Hammer (PTSA meeting). That led to Lt. Davis, who usually speaks for a few minutes at the WSCPC meeting’s start, but this time ended up with a lengthy Q/A session following the briefing.

“We are faring a lot better than other areas in the city,” he began, saying that’s usually the case. He sounded a familiar theme: People say they’ve been burglarized or otherwise hit by crime – “did you report it?” – he says a majority of the time, people say they did not. He also noted that police do sometimes have trouble responding to non-emergency calls in a timely manner, but they need to know what’s happening where, so they know where to assign resources.

Advice: Keep your car locked – don’t fall victim to the myth “if I lock the car, (prowlers) will break the windows.” Don’t leave windows open at your home, even if you’re just running to the store. Burglaries, car prowls, other property crimes are the majority of what happens here. What it takes to keep somebody in jail depends on the information that victims and witness can provide. Sometimes people don’t want to testify, Lt. Davis said – but they should; “help us help you” – it’s not enough for them just to get arrested.

“We did have a pocket of individuals running around doing burglaries citywide,” he said – it wasn’t just West Seattle. He suggested that West Seattle is suffering from sharing a border with the unincorporated area to the south, where the King County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have as many resources as SPD. A prolific burglar, for example, who had been busy in city limits was just picked up “over there.” He says home surveillance cameras can be invaluable – and in that case, they have him caught red-handed, and he alone might be responsible for “half our recent spree.” He also referred to a three-or-four-person “wrecking crew” that had been working citywide. But he also mentioned people getting out of jail after short sentencing and getting right back down to business, often to support drug habits. In July, burglaries averaged 9 or 10 per week; then there was that busy time in August, when there were 39 in one week. One suspect was nabbed – and as soon as he was in custody, the crime rate dipped, even though they didn’t get his accomplices, Lt. Davis said. He said local officers are “making a full-frontal attack on these individuals.” Extra resources were moved from nights to days at one point “just to combat the burglary problem.”

Are surveillance cameras helpful? he was asked. Recent meetings focusing on them were mentioned. (Here’s our coverage of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network discussion last January.)

The question of graffiti came up – Lt. Davis reminded people to paint it out as soon as possible, to discourage people.

Another question: What about suspicious people hanging around photographing kids at local skateparks and elsewhere? If you’re worried – call 911, Lt. Davis said.

Speaking of skateparks, one person was worried about skaters being solicited for/asked about gangs at Roxhill Skatepark – asked whether they’re red or blue – Lt. Davis acknowledged it might be time for the Gang Unit to go check it out. Overall, though, he said there wasn’t much gang activity this summer. He said there were emphasis patrols this past summer in areas including Alki, “dedicated” there – and continuing right now – to try to stop trouble before it even started.

How is police staffing? “I’m a greedy person and we’re never going to have enough,” Lt. Davis laughed, while then lauding the mayor for trying to add officers, “And we do need them, we really and truly do.”

There’s trouble at Hiawatha, with youth using drugs and alcohol, one attendee said. Lt. Davis said he didn’t have much information on that specific location but once alcohol went on sale in grocery stores, it was trouble. There’s somebody dealing drugs from a backpack in Hiawatha and somebody else going into Safeway “ripping off booze and selling it to the kids,” other attendees said. But “our kids don’t want to be the snitch,” said parents, but they are trying to keep an eye on Hiawatha now.

They have a community meeting set up at WSHS on October 10th, 7 pm, with a variety of participants expected, including local schools, Safeway, police, and more.

Lt. Davis said getting the school involved first would be paramount to success against this type of problem.

One attendee asked: What steps as a citizen can I do to make a drug dealer feel uncomfortable?

Don’t put yourself in danger, Lt. Davis warned. “Call us – that’s what we do. Our main goal is to protect you.” He wouldn’t elaborate on the “legal rights” she kept asking about – “because that involves risk,” he said. He again stressed, call police. “What about talking to a fellow citizen?” she pressed. “Don’t put your hands on him. …” She said the activity had been seen mostly right after school – 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon – though she subsequently acknowledged it had lessened lately.

Community Police Team Flores said they would do what they could to get the Anti-Crime Team out to the park, and if someone appears to be selling illegal drugs, call 911 when you see it and stress that it’s happening *now*.

Other questions included “what if you see someone doing illegal drugs on their property?” You can ask that police go by. What if they did and they see it? They’ll do a “knock and talk,” Lt. Davis said. And that might alert them to “something interesting” happening in a particular house, raising the question “where did you get your drugs?” (It was stressed that they were talking about something stronger than marijuana.) “Is there a meth problem?” asked one person. “Not necessarily a problem – but it’s the drug of choice among some of our undesirables,” he said.

Another issue that came up: When burglars are caught, how can a victim find out if their belongings are found? “Via our detectives,” said Lt. Davis.

He talked about the “victim followup” left when an officer responds to an incident. – make sure you document what was stolen – if it’s found, that’s what officers would review to correlate – the more information the better, as investigators try hard to connect evidence found “in the area” with a suspect they might have arrested.

The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s meetings are usually on third Tuesdays, 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct. But again, if you’re interested in crime-prevention/trend info, come hear from precinct leadership at the Fauntleroy Community Association-presented community-safety meeting this Thursday, September 26th, at The Hall at Fauntleroy – ice cream at 6:30, meeting at 7.

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West Seattle Green Space Coalition forming to push for ‘balance’ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/west-seattle-green-space-coalition-forming-to-push-for-balance/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/west-seattle-green-space-coalition-forming-to-push-for-balance/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 05:23:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=250675

A new West Seattle-wide effort to preserve and advocate for open space – as a balance to “high-density development” – is in its formative stage, we learned from Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council reps tabling outside the Farmers’ Market today.

The spark is the current Seattle City Light process to decide the fate of former substation sites, including six West Seattle properties. GSNC is advocating in particular for the open-space prospects of the one at 49th and Dakota. But they believe the entire multi-site process should be put on hold until the community has a chance to try to rally resources to keep at least some of the sites as open space. Today, they were collecting signatures on a petition asking City Light and the City Council to delay decisions until at least 2015. And they’re forming the West Seattle Green Space Coalition to advance this cause and related issues – here’s how it was explained atop the petition sheets:

There are two dates coming up soon that you’ll want to make note of, if you’re interested in fighting for green space:

-Next Saturday (September 28th), a formation meeting for the Green Space Coalition, 4:30 pm. (We’re verifying the location and will update the story with final word – update, High Point Branch Library, 35th/Raymond.)

-October 2nd, 6:30 pm at High Point Community Center, the official city public hearing on the ex-substation sites’ fate. (Here’s what GSNC wrote about this earlier.)

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