@ MORGAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: HALA followup; Gatewood Elementary playfield preview; other quick updates…

October 22, 2017 8:59 pm
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 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

We’ve already reported one story from this past week’s quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting – the installation plans for City Light’s new metering system – and we have one more to go, an update on a development project that’s taken a surprise turn. But first, tonight, other hot topics from Wednesday night, first of which was a followup from the city’s HALA-related open house the previous evening:

COMPREHENSIVE-PLAN AMENDMENTS, THE NEXT STEP: While Tuesday night’s open house in High Point (WSB coverage here) tackled two topics, one is of the most interest to MoCA – the proposal to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan to override neighborhood-plan-related language related to single-family zoning. (We previewed this here.)

MoCA had proposed its own amendments before the city came up with its counterproposal, and offered that specific language to interested attendees on Tuesday. What the group wants is a new neighborhood-planning process to look at the big picture before HALA upzoning is finalized, not just “dots on a policy,” as MoCA board member Cindi Barker put it, referring to the sticky-dot method of feedback utilized at the meeting. MoCA’s Phil Tavel added that the city made it clear they don’t consider the neighborhood’s views as important. First they were “ignored,” then they were told there would be “two meetings,” when it was really one open house for all the south-end urban villages and then the same one for the north-end urban villages. “No coming back to the community to talk to us after that, no discussion of whether they even looked at our input …”

So they’re campaigning for more public outreach. “We want to stop the city from railroading our community and just doing what they want.” Cindi Barker noted that after they offered attendees slips of paper to vote for the group’s proposed comprehensive-plan amendment language – which would keep the plan’s current language until “the conflict between MHA Recommendations and Morgan Junction Neighborhood Plan Goals and Policies is resolved through formal community planning engagement.” That got 26 votes, while the city’s suggested language got only a third of that.

Next step, MoCA will have a “working meeting” at 6:30 pm Tuesday, November 14th. Also next month, the final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning is expected. “It affects our future – it’s a big deal,” said MoCA’s president Deb Barker.

GATEWOOD ELEMENTARY: Linnea Westerlind, a Gatewood Elementary parent, talked about how the playfield is barely usable, given drainage and other problems, so the kids are playing kickball and soccer on pavement. They’ve been working with the community to see what a new playfield could look like, and the city has given them a $100,000 matching grant – they’ve collected volunteer hours and some money to match some of that, but they need $50,000 more to get the rest of the way there. “To do everything we want to do, it’s about $150,000 … for a new grass field that’s flat, seeded, with new irrigation” – the old system is broken and has to be scrapped – “a running track that will be permeable pavement, available for walking and biking and jog-a-thons, on the perimeter of the grass field” – and then natural play areas on the outside of the field, with rocks, boulders, logs, “places to explore that are safe” or maybe a place to curl up with a book. They also want a wheelchair-accessible spot. “We have grand ambitions” – Karen Kiest, well-known landscape architect, is working with them, and they’re moving forward in hiring a contractor and hoping to close the fundraising gap. They are planning a fundraising campaign next month. “We want to point out that this project benefits the community as a whole, in addition to the 400 students who use this playground every single day,” including a nearby preschool/afterschool-care program, and kids who use the field in the summer. “Our playground also is open outside school hours, so this would be a nice walking track for the community, a nice place to play – we see it as a community benefit so we’re going out to the community to ask for help.” Watch for more details soon regarding how you can help.

WESTSIDE NEIGHBORS NETWORK: Judie Messier and Phil Tavel spoke about WNN, which has been a topic at just about every neighborhood-group meeting we’ve covered in recent months. Its key points: This network of support for “aging in place” is officially launching in January, so they are signing up “founding members” now. First question: What if you can’t afford the dues? Judie replied, tell us what you are truly comfortable paying. Second question: What does the money go to? Operating expenses and staff, coordinating the support requests, for example.


*November 29th, there’ll be a meeting about the Lincoln Park South Play Area project (likely at The Kenney), following up on last July’s abrupt closure of the play structure.

*Consulting firm ESA‘s draft report about the Lowman Beach Park seawall (following last June’s community meeting) has just been received by Seattle Parks, and MoCA expects a presentation at its January meeting, by which time Parks expects to have a “good sense of their next steps.”

*MoCA is collecting information about the tree maintenance at Lincoln Park.

*MoCA has a new point person keeping an eye on planning for the landbanked site that will become an expansion of Morgan Junction Park and will be setting up conversations about what the community does and does not want done with it, before Parks gets around to its process.

*This year’s MoCA-produced Morgan Junction Community Festival (WSB coverage here) finished in the black, per treasurer Eldon Olson.

*The most-recent Southwest Precinct Advisory Council meeting yielded information that SPD is working to break up a package-theft ring, and that police are asking neighbors to keep close watch on recently vacated houses to let police know when squatters show up.

END-OF-MEETING CONVERSATION: Someone brought up the bikeshare bicycles that have recently appeared in relatively large numbers, particularly along California SW. One person counted more than 60. (Deliveries were made shortly after the pilot project passed the three-month mark in early October, enabling providers to increase the number of bicycles they have in circulation.)

The Morgan Community Association meets quarterly – usually the third Wednesday in January, April, July, and October, 7 pm at The Kenney. Watch morganjunction.org for updates between meetings.

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