Saturday, July 21, 2007



July 18, 2007

Council President Nick Licata and
Members of the Seattle City Council
600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 34025
Seattle, Washington 98124-4025

RE: Zoo Garage

Dear Council President Licata and Members of the Council:

At its June meeting, the Seattle Community Council Federation took action to join the Phinney Ridge Community Council and Save Our Zoo in their appeal from the Master Use Permit granted by DPD to the Zoo Society for construction of the massive zoo garage. The Federation has been monitoring trends in the management of Seattle’s parks and open space for many years including issues relating to the Zoo.

The Federation is deeply concerned by the implications of a decision to allow such a massive structure to be built in a park. We believe that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has put on blinders in order to conclude that this enormous parking garage will have no adverse environmental impacts – including aesthetic impacts – and should be permitted as a customary use in a park. There is no similar parking garage in any park in Seattle and we hope there never will be. We therefore do not want this project to set a precedent of tolerance of commercial uses and building in our parks, merely because they represent a potential to generate revenue. In the case of the zoo garage, the Council’s own staff acknowledges that the garage will be a financial drain on both the City’s general fund and the Zoo Society.

Building this huge garage sets off a cascade of other excesses most notably the plans for the Event Center, an elaborate new entry with a second large gift store and a free standing coffee shop in addition to duplicating other services already in place at the main south entrance. The effects of these projects will be to create large new impervious areas and displacement of many mature trees. These actions are hardly consistent with urgent policies and efforts to preserve what’s left of our urban forest. The actions will ultimately reduce our ecological footprint!

There appears no good reason to go ahead with this controversial project. Zoo visitors continue to park in the existing lots and on the streets as they always have. The funds borrowed for this project should be redirected to meet other looming parks needs as Pro Parks levy dollars are exhausted. The Council recently approved consideration of a Comprehensive Plan amendment to set policy about “parking” uses in parks in part because of the backlash over this garage proposal. The Federation understands that the Council does not wish to undermine the Zoo Management Agreement, however, we question the sincerely of that partnership when the Zoo Society is so unwilling to consider alternatives to this garage despite being asked to do so by a majority of the Council. We ask that the Council resolve to reexamine the Zoo Long Range Physical Development Plan and have an open discussion of the community’s vision for Woodland Park and Zoo and not merely accept the Zoo Society’s capital intensive, commercial development vision.

Thank you for considering the views of the Seattle Community Council Federation.


Jeannie Hale, President
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631

No comments: