West Seattle, Washington
(Click image to see city map of Myers Parcels as a full-size PDF)
The community campaign to preserve an open-space area in the southeasternmost corner of West Seattle is ramping up and drawing new attention to the so-called “Myers Parcels” (map). A widely circulated announcement of an upcoming meeting describes the land south of the Joint Training Facility as possibly “the last large, undeveloped piece of property that could become a major park in Seattle.” The original announcement of the campaign last September was reported here; word of the new effort, including an organizational meeting, led us to check on the parcels’ current status.
First: We noticed that the Department of Planning and Development files for the site suggested Seattle Public Utilities was evaluating it as recently as last fall for possible relocation of its Wastewater and Drainage operations center. But when we checked with SPU on Wednesday, spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin told us the department is no longer considering using the site. So we moved on to the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which has responsibility for the site now. Spokesperson Julie Moore replied with background plus the status, and what’s expected to happen next:
The property was originally a gravel pit. At the time of purchase in 2003, the City intended to develop a portion as the Joint Training Facility and sell the remainder. The purchase was funded, in part, with a bridge loan for which the City now owes about $13 million. In 2006, the Seattle City Council, by ordinance 122308, declared 31 acres of the properties surplus and authorized a sale to Lowe’s, but that deal fell through. The sale transaction was not completed due to environmental and permitting issues. The subsequent downturn in the economy made a sale uneconomic.
As the recession eased, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) obtained environmental studies to carefully document environmental assets such as wetlands and natural steep slopes.
In 2012, FAS circulated an excess property notice to City departments, and some have evaluated the site for potential City use, but have generally found it to be inappropriate for their operational purposes. FAS is now considering options for selling the undeveloped portion while preserving environmentally sensitive areas. The property is zoned for commercial uses, and sale proceeds will likely be enough to repay the $13 million bridge loan. FAS expects to make a recommendation on a sale strategy this year.
The 2012 “excess property notice” – see it here – includes that year’s total assessed value of the parcels, listed as $38 million.
Meantime, once FAS makes its recommendation, what happens? Moore’s explanation:
As with all property dispositions, FAS’s Real Estate Services (RES) follows the Seattle City Council-adopted policies and procedures for the review process. Once the process is complete, RES issues a final report, which includes RES’ recommendation regarding the property (typically to either retain the property for use by another City department or sell it), and presents it to the Mayor for review. If the Mayor concurs with the recommendation, the Mayor sends the report to the City Council, along with legislation authorizing the reuse or sale of the property. Only the City Council can make the final decision on reuse or disposition of City-owned real property. If the Council approves the recommendation for selling a property, the property is declared “surplus” and a sale proceeds.
You might recall that part of the site was on the list of potential city-jail locations back in 2008; ultimately, the city decided it didn’t need a new jail, and the entire plan was scrapped.
Back to the community campaign to keep the site as open space – here’s the meeting announcement:
You are invited to come to the first-ever gathering of SAVE MYERS PARK, on Saturday, March 14th, 10-noon, at the offices of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, 210 S. Hudson. Call or email Cass to confirm and for questions. 206-783-9093. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The announcement, which you can read in full as posted to the WSB Facebook page if you haven’t seen it elsewhere, also suggests that messages be sent to the mayor and City Council.
The Fauntleroy Children’s Center, headquartered in the historic schoolhouse, is nine days away from its annual fundraiser, and hoping to get a final attendance count within a few days – so it’s circulating a reminder that tickets are available online. The dinner/auction is at 5:30 pm Saturday, March 7th, on the other side of the schoolhouse at The Hall at Fauntleroy, $65/person. The theme is “An Evening in Paris” and you can read more about it here.
By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog/White Center Now co-publishers
More than the donuts, it turns out, Mardi Gras is all about the beignets.
That’s what proprietor Michael Williams (“call me Mike”) told us.
The donuts are a sideline to the beignets (ben-YAYS, as he pronounces it in his New Orleans accent – “New Orleans born and raised,” he says proudly).
He’s been open a few days at 9828 16th SW (a storefront that’s been a bakery before). Signage just went up yesterday. No decorations inside, and when we walked in, we wondered if he would tell us he’s not really open yet. But oh, he is.
His marquee item, the beignets, are 3 for $2.25. He says he’s making and selling other types of donuts because, well, that’s expected – cakes, glazed, honey buns, apple fritters, twists, donut holes.
He’s here as what sounds to be the latest stop on a cross-country journey of sorts. He worked in a donut shop in New Orleans that gained fame via a Food Network feature in 2011. Later that year in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, he opened his first Mardi Gras Donuts shop, featured in local news there.
Deciding to make a move, Williams said he almost wound up in Fargo, North Dakota, where he owned some property. The prospect of deep-freeze winter was a little much. Talking to a wholesaler, he heard Seattle didn’t have much in the way of beignets. So here he is.
6 am-8 pm for starters (Williams says he’s still figuring out the hours depending on how the customer flow goes), and during the morning, they’ll make hot glazed donuts while you wait. Cash only, by the way.
We missed our customary morning chance to look ahead to what’s on the calendar – but it’s not too late to mention five events of potential interest:
DINE AND DANCE: Dance for Joy is presenting a dinner, lessons, and dancing event tonight at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). Salmon dinner at 6, lessons at 7, dancing at 8. Reservations required – info’s on the Salty’s website. (1936 Harbor SW)
HIGHLAND PARK KINDERGARTEN NIGHT: 6:30 pm, prospective Highland Park Elementary kindergarten families are invited to dinner and a tour tonight at the school. (1012 SW Trenton)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center. Agenda’s centerpiece:
Special guest Paulo Nunes-Ueno, the newly hired leader of our city’s new Transit Division within SDOT. We will discuss a variety of topics with him, including:
1. How the new money from the city Proposition 1 will impact West Seattle and South Park.
2. Plans that SDOT’s Transit Division has in mind and in the works to benefit our area.
3. Ideas that can be implemented to increase our local bus performance, including the idea for a dedicated bus-only lane all the way from the Junction to the West Seattle Bridge.
4. What will be the role of City District 1 in having a seat on the Proposition oversight commission, which was required by law in the Proposition 1 measure we passed.
All welcome. (6400 Sylvan Way)
CHARTER SCHOOL INFORMATION: Curious about the plan for West Seattle’s first charter school, first reported here in early January and updated in mid-January? 6:30 pm at Southwest Branch Library, its prospective operators, Summit Public Schools, have a public info session, as reported here. (35th/Henderson)
West Seattle development notes today include this demolition work:
TEARDOWN TO … ? That 1911-built house has just been torn down at 37th/Hinds; thanks to Diane for the tip.
What’s on file online with the city mentions both demolition and “additions and alterations to existing single family residence including attached garage,” rather than a teardown/rebuild, so we’re not sure exactly what’s going to follow.
OTHER DEMOLITION NOTES: A permit is granted for tearing down a duplex at 5917 Fauntleroy Way SW, one of two neighboring sites with rowhouses ahead … a permit application is in to demolish a house and commercial building at 4038 California SW, where the city notes say 7 units are planned, two of them live-works.
DESIGN REVIEW NOTICES: We’ve already published word of both of these reviews scheduled for March 19th, but in case you missed it, the formal notices are in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin:
****CVS drugstore project: This is filed at two addresses, 4722 Fauntleroy Way for the building and 4721 38th SW for additional parking, and both reviews will be held at 6:30 pm March 19th at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (Our most-recent story is here.)
— NOAA Fisheries NWFSC (@NOAAFish_NWFSC) February 26, 2015
Announced this morning – the third calf born to Puget Sound’s resident orcas in the past two months! First came the two babies born to J Pod – we learned about J50 in late December, and then two weeks ago J51 was spotted; and today, NOAA Fisheries announces a baby seen with L Pod as its scientists tracked the whales off the seacoast. “The calf looked very energetic,” NOAA’s Brad Hanson reported.
While whale experts warn that mortality rates are high even in the best of times, this is nonetheless yet another sign of hope for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. As noted when we covered one of The Whale Trail‘s orca talks here in West Seattle last fall, the resident pods previously hadn’t seen a birth in two years, and that calf did not survive.
The Highway 99 tunnel machine is back on the move, according to WSDOT. It’s protruding further into the repair pit as it moves forward; WSDOT says five more tunnel rings have to be built behind it before it stops short of the north side of the pit. What happens after that is described in today’s update on the Highway 99 project website. You can get the newest view by clicking the camera at center-left on this page (that’s where the image at left is from).
(WSB photo of Murray CSO Control Project pit, from last week)
You’ll see a Seattle Fire Department presence on Saturday at the Murray CSO Control Project site – the million-gallon-tank pit across from Lowman Beach – but it’s just a drill. We mentioned this briefly last weekend, and now have more information, as promised by Doug Marsano from King County, who writes:
The Seattle Fire Department will practice safety drills at the Murray CSO Control Project site from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 28. The drills provide training for fire personnel to practice emergency procedures on construction sites. They are not part of the project work.
The drills are being conducted in cooperation with King County’s contractor. You can expect to see fire trucks and emergency personnel working at the site on Saturday.
For information about the Murray CSO Control Project, please contact the project information hotline available 24 hours a day, 206-205-9186, or visit the project web page.
You might recall that two years ago, firefighter trainees practiced at the residential buildings that were demolished to make way for this project – here’s our photo gallery.
Update this morning on traffic effects of the Seattle Public Utilities project at Delridge/Orchard – the next two weeks will see some road closures in addition to ongoing lane closures:
Seattle Public Utilities is continuing sewer improvements along SW Orchard Street between Delridge Way SW and Dumar Way SW. Excavation and installation work is underway and will take several months to complete. Work will occur from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday east of the intersection of Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street.
The work will require the closure of the westbound lane on SW Orchard Street (east of Delridge Way SW). The lane will remain closed Monday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. through the end of April, and will be opened to traffic after non-work hours. During the closure, all westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lane with the assistance of a traffic flagger.
Starting February 26th, and continuing for two weeks, SW Orchard Street between Delridge Way SW and Dumar Way SW will be fully closed to traffic intermittently for 15 minute intervals during work hours to allow for delivery of materials.
If you have something to say about the city’s proposed rule changes regarding encampments for homeless people, tonight’s the night to say it. 5:30 pm at City Hall, the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will listen to comments during an evening meeting devoted entirely to a public hearing on the proposal (here’s the agenda).
The goal of the rule changes as they’re written now – see the legislation here – is to enable up to three encampments, up to 100 residents each, at city- or privately owned sites no closer to each other than a mile.
Since we first reported on the proposal a month ago, it’s been discussed at multiple committee meetings, and at least one more is planned. We listened in on the most-recent one, last Friday. These maps – further clarifying sites that might qualify if the new rules pass (adding overlays such as the mandated human-services and transit-stop distances) – were part of the agenda:
Many of the questions at last Friday’s discussion involved how a proposed encampment would be proposed, reviewed, and approved, including questions such as, what if more than one potential provider wanted to use a specific city-owned site.
There also was discussion of whether other types of property could be made eligible – right now, the proposed rules specify city-owned or privately owned, but, it was asked, what about other government entities, for example? (The West Seattle sites used by the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” had included state- and port-owned sites over the years.) Also asked – if an encampment “is working well,” could the proposal’s one-year limit be modified for a renewal or extension? And one housing organization, LIHI, had sent a letter expressing concern about the proposal ruling out use of parks and parking lots. A city staffer said in response that they expected they wouldn’t have trouble finding “suitable opportunities” among other types of properties.
Whatever other issues arise at tonight’s public hearing – which is for public comment, not a vote – the PLUS committee plans to discuss the proposal again next Tuesday (March 3rd). Meantime, signups for the 5:30 pm hearing will start at 5 pm – here’s the official notice. It’s in the council chambers on the second floor at City Hall, 5th/Cherry/James.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Heading into the heart of the morning commute, no problems reported on West Seattle roads or the major outbound paths.
ROAD WORK: We don’t have a report from the area so far today but Don Brubeck reports work was under way Wednesday on East Marginal Way S, south of Spokane St., “to widen the street to make a short stretch of bike path through the narrow area under the Spokane St Viaduct ramps. Another step in SDOT’s interim traffic safety improvements for East Marginal Way S. Good for people riding bikes from south of Spokane St, and for people on bikes taking the left at the light at Spokane from the WS Bridge trail, where there is now a push button for the light.”
TALKING TRANSIT TONIGHT: West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting is at 6:30 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), with SDOT’s new Transit Division head Paulo Nunes-Ueno.
8:06 AM NOTE: Just took a spin around the “live video” views via the city map (dropdown on the lower right, West Seattle and Greater Duwamish views). Things look to be moving well except for the usual chokepoints (exit lane to 99, exit lane to northbound I-5).