Delridge Council: Backyard harvests; neighborhood plans; jail sites

June 19, 2008 11:19 pm
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 |   Delridge | Delridge District Council | Neighborhoods | West Seattle jail sites | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Belated report on last night’s monthly meeting of the Delridge District Council, one of two “district councils” in West Seattle (as per the city’s “district” map) – Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle is getting ready for the second year of its program to harvest fruit from residents’ trees; City Councilmember Sally Clark talked about the latest changes in the process for reviewing neighborhood plans (and got to hear about some hot local issues since she arrived early, including the jail-sites fight); details ahead:

COMMUNITY HARVEST OF SOUTHWEST SEATTLE: We first heard about this group last year, as it gathered a small group of volunteers to harvest fruit that might otherwise just go from ripe to rotten on residential trees; this year, it’s growing, and it’s expanded into other areas of helping make sure people have access to freshly grown food. (Same group working on a tour of “edible gardens,” as reported here.) Last night, board member Mary Ellen Cunningham told Delridge Council members the goal is to double what was harvested and distributed last year. So if you have a fruit tree, or know of a neighbor with one, get the word out; you can find contact info (and details on other programs such as the container-gardening class we told you about this spring) on the group’s website at

NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING: Councilmember Clark heads up the Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee, and her main focus during this appearance was to talk about the neighborhood-plan-updating process — in explaining the backstory, she said the plans were meant to last 20 years, but now it’s clear that in “middle age” they need to be revised (they were made in the late ’90s). She summarized the changes recently made in the intention for that process – there was a controversial proposal to break the city into six sectors and review one sector per year, but Clark acknowledged that didn’t go over well. Now, the idea — first presented “in committee” last week — is to create a Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee, drawing from around the city, and having it spend more than a year looking at all the neighborhoods (plans are linked on the right side of this page) citywide to develop a report on “here’s what’s happened in those neighborhoods since their plans were created.” Then, armed with that information in “almanac” form, each neighborhood would be asked whether it wants to change its plan. Exactly how that would work — and exactly how people would be involved beyond “the same people who go to all the same meetings all the time” as it was put — hasn’t been hashed out yet. Lots more feedback to come on this one; keep an eye on this website. Clark did not discuss the other hot topic that’s on its way to her committee sometime soon, the Multifamily Zoning Update, which was discussed at her recent townhouse forum (WSB article here).

PARKS LEVY: Delridge Council chair Pete Spalding, who’s on the Parks Levy Citizens Advisory Committee (WSB coverage of this week’s public hearing, here), asked Clark if she thinks the council will go ahead and try to get the levy on the ballot (a decision that must be made by mid-August). Clark didn’t sound terribly enthusiastic about the idea; though she insisted “I don’t think you’d find a councilmember that doesn’t agree we need more (park money),” she went on to say, “I’m nervous about the economic situation – I’m nervous if there’s a Sound Transit sales-tax proposal on the ballot, and the Pike Place Market levy on the ballot too – the big question is, do we put this before voters this year (or later)?” (The council considers the market levy next Monday; read more here.)

JAIL-SITES FIGHT: Rory Denovan of the Highland Park Action Committee took the opportunity of Clark’s presence to call her attention to some of HP’s concerns about being home to two potential city-jail sites: The Highland Park/Westwood neighborhood plan, he noted, talks about the importance of the area’s gateways in representing the area – yet both of the sites (map) are in gateway spots. He reiterated some of the main HP talking points — the community has worked hard to improve safety and its image. Clark said bluntly, “Each of the neighborhoods (near the four sites) is having the same conversation, about having worked hard (to improve), and about public safety concerns.” Clark also cautioned HPAC, and other concerned neighborhoods, not to get complacent because of the County Council proposal to extend the jail agreement a while until a “regional solution” can be found. “Other cities think a regional solution is great,” she said, “as long as it (the jail) is in Seattle.” She also contended that the city is behind on planning if it’s going to need its own jail, and so that extension wouldn’t really buy any time. HPAC’s next meeting, by the way, is 7 pm Monday at Highland Park Improvement Club; then the official city forums focusing on the West Seattle sites are June 26 in South Park and July 26 at SSCC (full details, times, locations here).

ONE MORE NOTE: The Delridge and Southwest District Councils – the two that together cover all of West Seattle – will have a joint meeting September 3 (location TBA) to focus on the status of The Viaduct. (As reported here yesterday, a West Seattle public hearing on the environmental assessment for the South Viaduct project is coming up July 15th.)

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