… watch for Alki residents vs. city land-use planners. But seriously — we have attended two Alki Community Council meetings now, and they (the officers and the members/attendees) — are a genteel bunch, as well as lively, involved, engaged. All the things you would want a community group to be. ACC vice president Randie Stone ran tonight’s meeting and she was even passing around a basket of treats during a break in the action. But before visiting DPD planner Mark Troxel was finished with his guest appearance, the room was in a lather over teardowns and soulless redevelopment. Especially considering, as calm and polite as he tried to be, his answers about why there are no rules governing some preservation of neighborhood character in redevelopment, boiled down to nothing more than (we’re paraphrasing) “well, that would cost too much, and we really have to be concerned with housing affordability.” The spark for tonight’s briefly fiery discussion was the impending teardown-to-townhome project we have mentioned before at the site of the Shoremont Apartments (photo right) at 57th & Alki (on the corner east of Alki Auto Repair). “Those townhomes aren’t going to be affordable,” one attendee pointed out, laying waste to the “things might look nicer if it didn’t cost so darn much” defense. Another audience member chided the city, in the person of stalwart Mr. Troxel, for “lack of courage.” He was actually there to talk about amendments on the drawing board for a city planning document, but that discussion got derailed. After a cathartic burst of outrage about cookie-cutter townhouses, which the city rep said he isn’t thrilled about either (because they fail to maximize density potential, as well as because of their aesthetics), all ended fairly civilly, but we were a little worried there for a moment. Randie noted that the topic is enough for a meeting unto itself, and perhaps the group can invite Mr. Troxel, or another city planner, to return. Meanwhile — we’ll have several other ACC meeting items to report tomorrow, including what the city says can be done about those rental trucks that have long been bottlenecking Harbor Ave by ActivSpace. P.S. If you live in the Alki area and you’re not an ACC member yet, you can join online.
West Seattle, Washington