Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Vivian McLean and the
Seattle Community Council Federation
invite you to Our Holiday Party
December 19th at 7:00 P.M. at the home of
Vivian McLean, 3814 20th Ave SW

Bring and enjoy refreshments and meeting old and new friends and the warmth of West Seattle at its best


Driving Directions

Take the Delridge off ramp from the West Seattle Freeway,
Go south on Delridge Ave SW to the traffic light,
Then (left) east to 21st Ave SW,
North (left) to the street end,
East (left) to 20th Ave SW
Finally, south just a tad on the east (left) [even-numbered] side of the street.
It's the big white house with the Christmas lights on the porch .

Meeting Highlights - November 20, 2008

(Based on the editor's notes --- these are not official minutes)

President’s Report:
The Federation sent letters to the City
(a) Urging delay of its proposed long-term leasing of buildings in Magnuson Park, an action illegal under the Washington Shoreline Management Act;
(b) Opposing earmarking of $43 million for rebuilding Mercer Street as two-way street;
(c) Urging the mayor to reconsider his plan to evict the Nickelsville homeless encampment at the University Christian Church, NE 50th St and 15th Ave NE;
(d) Supporting funding for a comprehensive aquatics plan; and
(e) To preserve the trees at Ingraham High School.

Jail Siting:
Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, and Shoreline formed a municipal jail planning coalition to evaluate six potential sites for a new regional jail, and hired a consultant at a cost of $380,000. Three of the sites are in Seattle (5th & Jefferson; 1600 W. Armory Way; and Highland Park Way S.W. and West Marginal Way S.W.); one in Bellevue, one in Shoreline, and one in-unincorporated King County. The group plans a series of public for in early December and scoping meetings for a draft environmental impact statement in early January (January 8th at 6 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall). King County will continue to house felons. The jail would be planed for 445 jail beds. Its estimated cost is $ 220 million.
Real Change Executive Director Timothy Harris said the money could be better spent on alternative programs. Jailing offenders spoils the convict's future: a jail record reduces potential earnings by 18%; it makes loans for college difficult to obtain; it will deny public housing and food stamp allotments. Many are convicted for drug offenses and really ought to be receiving medical and psychological treatment. 85% of the people on welfare wind up in trouble with the law, and more active intervention and assistance at the first brush, would head off later offenses. Seattle citizens called for more emphasis on alternatives to jailing, and the City stipulated that the jail siting study consider alternative methods of punishment and rehabilitation as part of the study.

Voting Machines:
Our next election comes February 4th -- for King County Superintendent of elections and for schools in many districts. A plurality wins -- no run-offs. King County plans to conduct the election by mail with a few in-person voting places using touch screen voting.
Motion passed to ask King County and the Washington Secretary of State to provide a paper trail for all ballots from the time received by mail or cast until counted so that a recount by hand can verify them.

Children's Hospital master plan:
Laurelhurst will appeal to the Seattle Hearing Examiner the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Children's Hospital Expansion. The EIS understates the impacts, failed to study alternatives, and erred in many other respects. Children's rejected the recommendation of the Citizens Advisory Committee ("CAC") to exclude the Hartmann site from the new major institutions boundary. The City also left testimony of witnesses in the neighborhood out of the record.
Rick Barrett testified at the Children's Citizens Advisory Committee in support of the position taken by the Laurelhurst Community Council. Our letters and testimony were not heeded.
Motion passed for the Federation to join in the appeal.

University Village Expansion:
QFC applied to the City to build a two-story garage with parking for 585 cars topped with 3 or 4 floors of market-rate apartments at the north end of its site; a 10,000 square foot food court; and a 21,000 square foot expansion of its store on the south along NE 45th St.
The Laurelhurst Community Council will write to the City Department of Planning and Development to ask that a declaration of significance be issued with environmental review of the project; that the City require that the QFC project be coordinated with the University Village's expansion; and that the traffic impacts for both projects be done or redone to consider the cumulative impacts of both.

City Council Elections:
Pundits speculate that three City Councilmembers may not seek re-election, leaving open seats on the City Council. So far half a dozen candidates are exploring a run for office.
Motion passed to send a letter to City officials in support of the request of the Lake Union Opportunity Alliance (LUOA) that the environmental impact statement for the South Lake Union upzone consider the alternative that LUOA proposed.

Initiative 409:
Albert Fong explained Initiative 409 and circulated it for signatures by those present. The concise description says: "This measure would require state and local agencies to cooperate in enforcing federal immigration laws and would require verifying immigration status of persons seeking employment, receiving driver's licenses, and receiving some public benefits."

Burien Annexation:
The mayor will try again for legislation that will provide a subsidy to Seattle in order that it may annex White Center/North Highline. A draft letter was circulated asking Seattle area legislators to reject the proposal.

Interim Tree Protection Ordinance, CB 116404 is coming up for hearing on December 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Incentive Zoning Proposal

The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Seattle Association, the Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties, and a score of major developers wrote to the Mayor and the Seattle City Council recommending that the incentive zoning proposal be amended as follows
[This abstracts their letter with some of its text deleted but not changed; bullets are in the original. It is copied here so our members may know their views]

• Develop an incentive zoning policy framework by resolution, and establish specific incentive zoning requirements for each neighborhood through the legislative rezone process. One size does not fit all neighborhoods. When complete, the legislative rezones currently being considered by the City (and future rezones) may indeed result in different bonus height limits for each neighborhood. By establishing a single city-wide incentive zoning standard, the city would create a situation where it could cost more to develop in one neighborhood with lower height limits than another neighborhood with greater height limits. If a developer can elect to participate in the incentive zoning program in one neighborhood with 125-foot bonus height limits, why would they choose to develop in a neighborhood with 85 foot height limits if the incentive zoning requirements will have a greater impact on the profitability of a project in an 85 foot zone? By adopting a one size fits all approach, the City would be effectively creating an uneven playing field and favoring one neighborhood over another for future development.

• Limit program to Urban Centers and Urban Villages

• Focus incentive zoning requirements on heights 85 feet and above. Projects at heights between 45 and 85 feet present inherent construction challenges. Adding a costly incentive zoning requirement below 85 feet will only further discourage developers from using bonus heights to build more housing.

• Maintain fee in lieu option eliminating this option would definitely dissuade many developers from electing to take advantage of bonus heights and create the unintended consequence of more projects being developed at the base zoning heights. (The two projects under construction downtown that have taken advantage of the incentive zoning program have elected to exercise this option).

• Allow affordable housing credits to be transferred if a developer builds or provides extra, non-required affordable housing units, then the developer has "credits" that can be sold to another developer who needs the units.

• Include a sunset clause or a regular, mandatory review an incentive on paper must be one that also works in practice.

• The City should require an annual review of all incentive zoning policies to ensure that they are meeting their stated objectives.

• The review should be conducted by an outside, independent consultant and be informed by an oversight committee representing diverse interests.

• Base the performance fee off of "net" bonus area, not "gross" and include an annual review of the appropriate fee amount, not an automatic escalator.

• Basing the performance fee off of net bonus space would keep the policy consistent with downtown requirements.

1 comment:

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