By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Should the Fauntleroy Boulevard project include undergrounding utilities – considering that could cost an extra $6 million or so? That’s the question Councilmember Tom Rasmussen raised at this month’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting.
The undergrounding cost was first mentioned publicly a week earlier, at the Southwest District Council meeting (WSB coverage here), with SWDC’s immediate past co-chair Sharonn Meeks reporting on a conversation with Rasmussen. This is the first time he had subsequently discussed it publicly with a West Seattle group. Taking utilities underground, he noted, “can be … transformational,” but the project has to be designed that way, and it’s now at a crossroads, with about two-thirds of the design completed: Should it be designed with underground utilities or not? The councilmember says he’s looking for community feedback. A few points to consider:
-The Fauntleroy Boulevard project currently is, he said, “kind of in the middle” of the list of city priorities
-If it’s a community priority, it needs to get into the budget cycle that starts this spring, looking ahead to the capital-improvement plan for 2016
-Utilities will indeed be out of sight (“undergrounded” via vaults) at The Whittaker‘s site, which is at the west end of the Alaska-to-35th Fauntleroy Boulevard plan
What other projects for West Seattle are already in the mix? he was asked. The 35th SW and SW Roxbury safety improvements, for starters, he pointed out. Neither would be as costly as the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, but they’re both already well into the pipeline, after recent community meetings. Speaking of which, Rasmussen wondered if a “large community meeting” might be merited for gathering feedback on undergrounding Fauntleroy; instead, after some discussion, it was decided the February 4th Southwest District Council meeting (which, like all district and community-council meetings, is open to the public – 7 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle) would be the best, and soonest, venue.
Also discussed last week at the JuNO meeting:
NEIGHBORHOOD CONSERVATION DISTRICTS: Previously, these were discussed in council committee back in September, as a way for the city to support neighborhoods looking for ways to preserve some of their “character” even amid growth and redevelopment. Watch for official proposals soon; they might include “affordable-housing goals,” according to Rasmussen, who said those proposals will be unveiled for community comment and public meetings, likely starting in March, before legislation is finalized and taken to the full council. The new city budget does have funding for at least a part-time person to be assigned to the project.
NEW HUB: The Junction will be the site of another hub to be added to the West Seattle Be Prepared Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hubs, and will need lots of volunteers to help. It’ll be in the Hope Lutheran Church parking lot. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
JUNCTION PROJECT UPDATES: JuNO’s been talking to development teams including the forthcoming CVS at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW (here’s our December update), which JuNO director René Commons says has a 15-year lease for the site. Project consultants, she says, are “looking at neighborhood character” rather than just working on a “typical suburban strip mall” type of project. … The Junction 47 project (California/Alaska/42nd) is proceeding with its art plans (mentioned here in October), and JuNO is working with the developer and its curator Sara Everett, who Commons says is “selecting artists right now.”
DESIGN REVIEW: Cindi Barker from Morgan Junction, who’s been an advocate on housing/development-related issues citywide, told JuNO that the city’s expected to start “public outreach on Design Review changes” soon.
WEBSITE: JuNO has one coming online soon – it’ll be at wsjuno.org.