This Wednesday, a City Council committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal to rename what’s currently single-family zoning “neighborhood residential.”
Last Wednesday, a staffer from the office of citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the West Seattleite who’s sponsoring the proposal, was at the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting to talk about it.
That was one of several major topics at the online meeting led by MoCA president Deb Barker. Our recap is ahead:
There’s no legislation yet, stressed Mosqueda staffer Erin House – that is expected to follow, for a vote in September. She said a major reason for the proposed change is that “single-family” doesn’t accurately describe neighborhoods, because of older small apartment buildings or duplexes/triplexes, plus the recent rule changes that have seen DADUs built throughout the city. House insisted it would be strictly a name change and not a change to building codes.
Some at the meeting thought the name change might be the first indication of a larger policy change. Despite assurances from both House and Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who dropped into this meeting after attending the online West Seattle Bridge meeting immediately preceding it, attendees wondered aloud whether the change was useless and disingenuous. Herbold said that she’s tried looking at this from the layperson’s perspective and she can see how the name change would be confusing to someone who is coming to this for the first time. She noted that it would be easy for someone to assume “neighborhood residential” meant allowing a broader variety of development than “single-family.”
In response, one attendee observed that this “is like watching a card trick go down,” contending that the name change was merely obfuscation.
After Wednesday’s public hearing at 9:30 am – for which the council has yet to publish an agenda (MONDAY UPDATE: Here it is) – there’ll be other opportunities to comment once legislation is proposed. That’s expected next month.
LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL: David Graves from Seattle Parks and Recreation was back with an update. He said the project to remove the crumbling seawall and restore the shore has gone out to bid but they haven’t awarded a contract yet because all the bids came in high. Depending on what they work out, construction could start as soon as late August. The window for in-water work opened in mid-July. but they didn’t want to interrupt peak summer park usage, he said. Depending on what happens with settling on a contractor, the project could be approached by land or by sea.
As we’ve reported, the seawall-removal project also will take out the Lowman Beach tennis court, and Parks announced recently that it would not support building a replacement tennis court elsewhere in the park, though it would consider a pickleball court – which would have to be community-funded. Parks’ Pam Kliment was at the MoCA meeting and said the cost of that would be a little less than what was cited at the recent community meeting – probably more like $375,000.
Will the tennis-court supporters pursue that possibility? A statement from Lisa Corbin of the Seattle Sports Complex Foundation was read; she said they’ll talk with community members, including pickleball players, to decide on their next steps.
MORGAN JUNCTION PARK ADDITION: The future of the long-landbanked site north of the current Morgan Junction Park also was discussed. Parks says it and other parks-development projects (including 2 others in West Seattle) were shelved because of a $50 million capital shortfall – and it isn’t expected to be re-funded until the 2023-2028 “funding cycle.” Even that would take a lot of community clamor, it was suggested.
Meantime, as we reported, some work is happening at the site, where a Seattle Public Utilities water-main project has been staging; it was revealed at the meeting that the project is on SW Othello in Gatewood. In exchange for the staging area – for which a $22,000 fee would otherwise be paid – the contractor will do work at the site. The site also still has funding for digging up and removing soil contaminated by a dry cleaner’s operation there, but that would be ideal coupled with park development, Parks reps said.
SEWER PROJECT: An SPU rep talked about another upcoming project, sewer-line work at the dead end of SW Beveridge Place, just southwest of Morgan Junction Park. It’ll be a two-week project starting in late August or early September. The project will require removal of six trees.
MORGAN CELEBRATION: Though the Morgan Junction Community Festival was canceled for a second year, MoCA is planning a lower-key event for Saturday, September 11th, with The Bubbleman and musician Gary Benson, two festival regulars.
NEXT MEETING: MoCA meets quarterly, third Wednesdays in October, January, April, and July.