Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Go to to see the work of the Housing Taskforce
Go to to see Seattle biosafety laboratory locations

Regular Meeting
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union
1801 Fairview Avenue East
Thursday, March 27, 2008


The Future of Seattle’s Libraries –
A Dialogue with City Librarian Deborah Jacobs

The $196.4 million Libraries for All bond measure approved by voters in 1998 is coming to its conclusion. In addition to a new Central Library, projects have been undertaken in Wallingford, NewHolly, Delridge, Capitol Hill, Green Lake, Rainier Beach, West Seattle, High Point, North East, Beacon Hill, Columbia, Greenwood, Fremont, Ballard, the International District, Lake City, Northgate, Montlake, South Park, Douglass-Truth, Southwest, Queen Anne and the University District. So, what is next? What are the Library’s future needs?

How will the Library continue to build on its history of excellence in serving citizens? Will there ever be sufficient funding to maintain staffing to ensure open access to information, resources and services for our diverse communities and collections on par with King County? Will funding ever be available for the Library’s reciprocal borrowing agreement with King County? How will the Library and the Board of Trustees modify its service plan with funding limitations? These are just a sampling of questions that will be asked of City Librarian Deborah Jacobs and Library Board of Trustees member, Rajiv Shah at the March Federation meeting.

7:00 Call to Order and Introductions
1. Changes to the agenda
2. Treasurer’s report
3. President’s report

7:15 The Future of Seattle’s Libraries—City Librarian Deborah Jacobs and Library Trustee Rajiv Shah.

8:15 Round Robin—Bring Your Issues!
1. Multi-Family Code Update Task Force Report
2. Pike Place Market Improvement Levy
3. Updating Neighborhood Plans—Advantages and Pitfalls
4. Will the Magnuson Park wetlands be filled?
5. Children’s Hospital Proposed Expansion—Update
6. Other Issues/Projects

9:00 Adjourn

NOAA is a federal facility on high security alert, so attendees must enter by the security gate and may need to present photo ID. If you haven't attended a recent Federation meeting, please send your name, contact information, and address to to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.

Please check with your organization to see if your annual dues are in arrears. Although the Federation has a “tolerance policy” and nearly infinite patience with member organizations which often face financial challenges similar to our own, we certainly appreciate your attention to keeping your membership up to date. We need to all work together to really be effective



Dues. Annual dues are $50. Please send your payment to: Doris Burns, Treasurer, Seattle Community Council Federation, 2511 West Montlake Place East, Seattle, Washington 98112.

Background. Founded in 1943, the Seattle Community Council Federation is one of the nation’s oldest federations of neighborhoods. Its only regular source of funds is the annual dues of its member organizations. Membership is open to any community-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with its primary focus in Seattle. We always welcome comments and suggestions, to SCCF President Jeannie Hale, or 206-525-5135. Bring the issues of your community to a broader forum.

Contacts Please designate your organization’s representative and an alternate to the SCCF board, and please also list other contacts and those who would like to receive notices of SCCF’s monthly meetings. SCCF does not share its mailing list with other organizations. Please also list name, address, phone and email address for the following positions, and any separate address, website or email for your organization.

Your Organization:

Representative and Alternative to SCCF Board:

President or Chair:

Vice President/Chair:



Please list others in your organization who would like to receive notices of SCCF meetings on the back of this sheet.

Miriam Stuart Barnes

Miriam died peacefully at home, February 6th, 2008, after a lengthy, hard fought battle with congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis. She was born January 3rd, 1925, in West Union, West Virginia to Effie Lee and Harold Lyle Stuart, and was preceded in death by her younger brother, Wendell (Sam) Lamar Stuart. She was a caring, loving, and devoted wife, mother and friend, and spent most of her life caring and fighting passionately for others less fortunate than herself. She loved gardening, worked tirelessly as an educator, lab technician, civil rights advocate, and realtor, and was very active in the Unitarian Church. She was an active member in the Mount Baker Community Club, Franklin High School Booster Club, on the Board of Equalization in the King County Assessors Office and was a co-founder, along side husband, Glover, of the Rainier Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in 1998. She and Glover received a letter of salutation from then governor, Gary (Mona) Locke, noting "Through your abiding love and commitment to one another you have set a wonderful example for all of us and....we salute and thank you". They also received the City of Seattle Proclamation of Miriam and Glover Barnes Day from Mayor Greg Nickels in honor of their 30 years of service to the Mount Baker Community Club and their 50th wedding anniversary on January 26th, 2002. Miriam is survived by Glover, her loving husband of 56 years; sons, Erik (Lisa) Barnes of Dallas, Texas and Noel (Nancy) Barnes of Renton; and 3 grandchildren - Ivan, Jalen and Zoey. She will be deeply missed by her family and others touched by her tireless generosity. A Memorial Service is planned for 2:00 p.m. on March 27th, 2008 at Eastshore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd Street, Bellevue, WA 98005.
A second Memorial Service is to be held on March 30th, 2:00 p.m. at the Mount Baker Community Club, 2811 Mount Rainier Dr. S., Seattle, WA 98144. No flowers, if you wish, please send a charitable contribution to the charity of your choice.
May she Rest in Peace; she has certainly earned the right to do so.

We at the Seattle Community Council Federation are deeply saddened by the Miriam's death. Miriam and Dr. Glover Barnes have been long-time Federation stalwarts. In the 1970's, when United Way withdrew its support because the Federation had taken a stand on the design of Interstate 90, Dr. and Mrs. Barnes led the Federation through that crisis and have continued to give invaluable guidance and assistance, which continues to this day.

For many years, Dr. and Mrs. Barnes have hosted the Federation's annual potluck at their Mount Baker home, and Dr. Barnes will continue to do so. They have proved to be the best of hosts, with Mrs. Barnes cooking an outstanding casserole and fruit pies. Politicians came for the feast as much as to shake hands and keep in touch. During her final years, Mrs. Barnes was on a respirator, but despite this handicap, she actively participated. She had a strong commitment to good schools, to fair treatment for the less fortunate amongst us, and for the quality of life in Seattle. Her comments were insightful and often became the theme of Federation letters.

On their 50th wedding anniversary, well-wishers filled the Mount Baker Community Clubhouse even though it had snowed and the roads were icy that night in 2002. The praise was lavish and well-deserved. Although almost 80, she danced with the energy of one half her age.

We truly miss her.

The Livable Seattle Movement is online!

The Federation’s Multi-Family Code Update Task Force has produced a brand new website and several documents, all to be available at the newly-born website,

Check it out for news and articles about Seattle’s neighborhood housing issues, but remember to be patient, it’s just getting started.
Soon it will include more downloadable articles that will help you to maintain your community’s affordability and livability; links to authoritative commentary on local housing and zoning issues; things that you always wanted to know about why increased density doesn’t seem to result in affordable (or even livable) neighborhoods; and what you can do to improve the current dismal Seattle housing situation.

So far you can download the Four Point Work Plan for the Seattle City council. It’s page 4 in the March 3, 2008 Commentary on the proposed multi-family updates. Click on the Livable Seattle Movement link above, then the Publications tab to get the entire report. Print at least page 4 and take copies to your neighborhood council. ask them to urge the City Council to adapt the four points.

February, 2008 Meeting Notes (These are not minutes)
Our February meeting featured a presentation by a group that has drawn up a proposal for independent oversight of Seattle’s numerous biological safety laboratory laboratories, as outlined here:

Proposal - Independent Oversight of Seattle Biosafety Laboratories

Seattle got a wake-up call three years ago when the University of Washington campus in the center of the city was temporarily proposed as the site for a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, a large-scale high-security facility to study disease-causing agents. One result was public awareness of biosafety laboratories already operating within the city.

There are currently no provisions for the protection of human health that govern the siting of such laboratories. There are inadequate provisions governing the operations of such labs.

To remedy this situation for the future, we have drafted regulations for the City of Seattle that will create an independent biosafety oversight committee located within our public health institution, the Seattle-King County Board of Health.

Self-regulation is insufficient for the protection of the public or for the development and preservation of public trust in both government and industry. The biotechnology industry is playing an increasingly important part in the local economy. Independent oversight is essential, by representatives of the public who are unconnected to biohazardous research and who have no financial or other self-interest in the conduct of such research.

Although publicly funded labs are subject to the National Institute of Health Guidelines, these do not have the enforcement power of regulations. Privately funded biosafety labs have no governmental oversight and may not even be identified to local authorities.

These regulations will create a level of transparency and accountability which will help ensure that the biotechnology industry in Seattle operates safely and responsibly. We seek your endorsement of this concept and your backing to forward these draft regulations to City Council for review.

Submitted by Kit O'Neill, Steve Reisler, Randy Baker and Mike McCormick.
For background and the draft regulations, go to
Contact: Mike McCormick

Motion passed to support the above proposal, and to write to the Seattle-King County Board of Health and other governmental organizations as appropriate.
Note: This proposal is also being supported at a state level by House Bill 3385 (attached).


For a comprehensive overview, go to

Friday, March 21, 2008

The first of these is:
Commentary on the proposed multi-family updates. This document includes history, photographs of good/bad multi-family homes, analysis of lot coverage suggested by these updates, and an action plan for addressing the unintended outcomes of these updates.
The Four Point Council Work Plan below is on the fourth page of the Commentary, which has been well received by the City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUNC) and several Community Councils. We urge you to download the entire document and present it to your Community Council or other neighborhood group for endorsement.
Other documents will soon be posted on the Livable Seattle website.
You can copy the Four Point plan and distribute it to other interested parties. This is a March 27, 2008 Federation Agenda item.

Four Point Council Work Plan

1. Clarify and strengthen the urban village strategy so that buildings outside villages actually do conserve the diverse and individual characteristics of Seattle’s cherished neighborhoods and so that the buildings inside villages actually do produce over time new or revitalized neighborhoods of comparable merit.

2. Keep and strengthen the following time-tested, essential standards of the existing code. They are really all it takes to assure predictability and a “sustainable” city.
a) Setbacks (known to us variously as streetscapes, yards, gardens, outdoor rooms (e.g, play areas, sun rooms, dining rooms, patios, etc.) Even very different buildings fit together well if they have similar setbacks.
b) Height limits, preferably in stories and without excessive “exceptions” for various features or groups. The current method of calculating heights needs to be re-examined, for heights have been going up without a change in standards, so that new buildings in 30-foot-height zones are often forty feet. This is not what was expected, the result is appalling, and the public is confused. (See the attached photo essay for some representative photos of wrong-size buildings that are probably legal, but all wrong for their location – and for their hapless neighbors.)
c) Meaningful lot coverage limits are the least expensive, surest way to implement the “low impact development” initiatives now being discussed by other Council committees. If the City wants to debate high-tech versus low-tech solutions to its runoff problems, people in the City are more than ready to join the discussion. But it should not be rushed through, half-baked, as part of something else.
d) Open space, with a new definition that incorporates the upcoming “low impact development” initiative as well as the City’s urban tree cover goals. Again, this requires careful consideration, with all the parties involved in the discussion—not a dialogue of planners.
e) Parking that is accessible, not just in name only with the burden shifted to the streets. See the attached photo essays for some really bad examples of what goes on now in the name of parking. This is the sort of problem that needs fixing, not expansion.

3. Enforce existing code(s), then amend as necessary so that townhouses are restored to their standing as a very desirable housing type.
a) Correct problems in the land use, building, and fire codes themselves
b) Correct informal, probably illegal interpretations
c) Decide what to do about existing townhouses that are now hard to resell, hard to access, and neighborhood fire hazards

4. Change the planning culture to one that invites us all to participate as we come to public judgment, instead of one that imposes expensive misunderstandings, wasting time, money of all varieties, and our physical environment.
a) Correct planning processes to avoid the use of narrowly selected “focus” groups substituting for real citizen involvement (and hearing from skeptics).
b) Correct problems that result with personnel who simply don’t have enough expertise to be doing what they are trying to do.
c) Correct problems in the Design Review Program and the proposal to turn the review over to plan-checkers
d) Correct problems between City Departments so that, for example, design review, storm water drainage and fire safety issues are properly addressed.