New leaders for Southwest District Council, as year wraps up

December 4, 2014 5:26 pm
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 |   Southwest District Council | West Seattle news

Meet David Whiting and Eric Iwamoto, new co-chairs of the Southwest District Council:

Passing the torch was part of the short official agenda for last night’s monthly meeting of the SWDC, which includes reps from community councils and other key organizations around western West Seattle. Whiting is president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association and Iwamoto co-chairs the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council.

This past year’s co-chairs got a fond farewell – Sharonn Meeks of the Fairmount Community Association and Vlad Oustimovitch from the Fauntleroy Community Association.

The major item on the short agenda was a followup on proposed Neighborhood Matching Fund grant changes, which have drawn concerns from district councils around the city, especially because those groups would be removed from their role vetting applications for grants before they move to citywide review. (We covered last month’s discussion at the SWDC and, before that, to the Delridge District Council, as well as the letter written and sent by the latter.)

So far, no changes have been implemented, reported Neighborhood District Coordinator Yun Pitre, city liaison to the SWDC.

Members said they would like to book Department of Neighborhoods director Bernie Matsuno to come talk with them about this issue and others.

SEATTLE NERD REPS DISCUSS APPEAL RULING: Two days after the Hearing Examiner’s ruling on their challenge to an Avalon Way development (as reported here), Paul Haury and Chuck Burkhalter were at SWDC, and were asked to talk about it a bit. Asked how much the fight cost, their reply: $100,000. They said they went door-to-door in their neighborhood, 32nd SW north of the Avalon Way apartment row, to raise money, among other methods (selling T-shirts and sweatshirts, for example). Neighbors had been extensively involved since the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting two years ago (WSB coverage here).

“Hopefully the next neighborhood won’t have to go what we went through what we went through,” Haury says. “Our name was what it was about, all we wanted was reasonable development …” He stressed that the neighborhood didn’t want to stop development on the site, but instead sought something “reasonable.”

“We had so many (neighborhood) meetings about this – (thinking) hopefully we would win and hopefully this sets a path for other people … you have to do something and it was either let them walk on us or give it a try.” Haury recalled that the decision was so complex, that after reading it, he called their veteran lawyer, Peter Eglick, to say, “Did we win?”

They hope “the more people that know about this, the more people who will know (they can challenge a decision).”

Oustimovitch, who had been called as a witness during the appeal hearing (which we covered over three days in October) and had served as a fill-in DRB member during the original reviews, observed, “Winning was not a foregone conclusion at all .. it was like taking on Goliath there, two Goliaths.” (The neighborhood group faced off against the city Department of Planning and Development as well as the prospective developer, Northlake, represented by eminent land-use lawyer Rich Hill.)

P.S. We requested comment from DPD after the decision came in late Monday; as of right now, end of day Thursday, we’re still waiting.

SUBSTATION CLEANUP: As published here earlier this week, City Light was planning a cleanup at the former Dakota ex-substation, supposedly starting earlier that day. Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, which has been working to get the ex-substations saved as open space rather than sold off, protested. We checked the site today and saw no activity, so we’re checking to see if the cleanup work has been delayed or called off.

The SW District Council meets at 6:30 pm on first Wednesdays at the Senior Center of West Seattle, public welcome.

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