Sharonn Meeks from the Fairmount Community Association went to last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting to hit the point home: West Seattle neighborhoods need to represent in a big way at next Tuesday night’s “Neighborhood Plan Status Report” meeting at Delridge Community Center (where she’ll be a facilitator). Five West Seattle neighborhoods have Neighborhood Plans crafted a decade ago — The Junction, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Delridge, Highland Park/Westwood (all linked in the right sidebar here). Some have called for revisiting them in a big way – that’s not on the drawing board yet, but next Tuesday’s meeting is designed to revisit them all in a small way, with official “status reports” and gathering of residents’ opinions.
There’s no shortage of those opinions, as evidenced in discussions here on WSB and in the few public meetings that relate to planning processes, such as Design Review Board meetings. But if ever you’ve wanted to say something about the future of West Seattle – and its state right now – this meeting is the place.
Meeks will facilitate one of the discussions at the session – each of the five neighborhoods will have its own discussion, and Georgetown will be part of this gathering too. Advance reading material, from the original plans to “status reports,” is now available on the city site – we’ll get to the direct links at the end of this story.
What Meeks told HPAC last night gets to the heart of why this meeting matters: She listened to what was discussed in the meeting before it was her turn, and she heard concerns about issues like traffic and safety. They all play into long-term planning, she stressed.
Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Pablo Lambinicio (seen in the background of our photo, facing the camera) then spoke. He said he’d been part of the process 10 years ago as a Westwood resident. At the time, he noted, the “urban village” was the central idea and all neighborhood planning was to revolve around the “urban villages.” That idea didn’t really draw Highland Park residents into the process a decade ago, Lambinicio noted, but now it’s a chance to take a step toward building a plan from the ground up, rather than the top down.
Rory Denovan, former HPAC vice chair, said it’s vital for this to be handled at the neighborhood level, since the neighborhoods live with the consequences. He urged others to get involved and make sure Highland Park residents are at Tuesday’s meeting to be heard. HPAC’s current chair Dan Mullins said he plans to follow up by gathering members to try to arrange a meeting with City Councilmember Sally Clark, who chairs the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee. He also offered to accept questions/concerns from anyone who cannot make next Tuesday’s meeting.
The city is taking online comments too – but it can’t be stressed enough, there’s no substitute for being there, if there’s any way you can spare 2 hours next Tuesday night. Even if you don’t live in one of the five neighborhood-plan zones, you have a stake in one or more of them – particularly The Junction, with another major new building about to open and more in the wings once the economic bumpiness is past.
Each group at Tuesday’s meeting – again, those groups are Admiral, The Junction, Westwood Village/Highland Park, Delridge and Morgan Junction – will tackle four questions:
1. Most of the neighborhood plans were adopted about 10 years ago and are in their mid-life. How has your neighborhood changed in the last decade since the plan was adopted, (or since you’ve been there)?
2. What changes or aspects of your neighborhood are you most pleased about? Most dissatisfied about?
3. How well are your Neighborhood Plan vision and key strategies being achieved? Are they still the priority?
4. The city is completing neighborhood plan status reports focusing on demographics, development patterns, housing affordability, public amenities and transportation networks. What should there be more focus on (or less focus on) as the neighborhood status reports are completed in the coming months? Are there any important gaps in the draft status report?
See the draft status report and other documents by following links from the “Status Reports” list at the bottom of this page – note that the West Seattle neighborhoods are woven in with others. The documents are at local libraries, too. Again, the meeting is 6-8 pm next Tuesday (7/28), Delridge Community Center (map). But if you absolutely cannot make it Tuesday (again, going in person sends a major message that you care about your neighborhood’s future) — participate online by going here. Then watch for word of followup meetings this fall.