DPD announces Neighborhood Plan Update Action Team Kick-Off

DPD Action Teams Kick-Off poster
Click for the full-size version with contact information for foreign language speakers
The next stage in neighborhood planning for North Beacon Hill has been announced with an Action Team Kick-Off meeting by the Department of Planning and Development. They say:

In 2009 over 1,500 people helped plan the future of their neighborhoods in North Beacon, North Rainier and Othello. Now it’s time to get things done. Come help prioritize next steps and sign up for project action teams.

The Kick-Off meeting is Friday, May 14, from 6:00 to 7:45 pm at Asa Mercer Middle School, 1600 S Columbian Way.

There will be childcare and refreshments.

Also, if you’re not already familiar with the neighborhood planning situation, you’re welcome to arrive early; a special orientation will be given at 5:00 pm.

Beacon Rocks! rolling onward

Beacon Hill Music logo The Beacon Rocks! music series project planned for this summer is moving full-speed ahead. Beacon Hill Music, the community group that is putting the event together, has been awarded a Small Sparks Fund grant. The Small Sparks Fund of the Department of Neighborhoods provides awards of up to $1,000 to support community efforts such as events and neighborhood organizing. They have awarded Beacon Hill Music $860 for the “Beacon Rocks!” series, which will pay for the permits for all four events this summer.

There are two fundraisers for Beacon Hill Music: a Backyard Party scheduled for Sunday, May 16 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, and a Dance Party on Saturday, May 22 from 7:00 pm “till we drop”. To RSVP for either event and get addresses and other information, email beaconrocks@gmail.com.

The final Beacon Idol event of 2010 is Saturday May 29 at 7:00 pm. If you live, work, or go to school in Beacon Hill, you can audition for Beacon Rocks! at the Beacon Idol event. If you’re not a performer, come and cheer the contestants on. The event will be at ROCKiT Space, 3315 Beacon Avenue South.

The Beacon Rocks! shows are a free, outdoor, family-friendly Beacon-centric music series, including all styles of music, and will be held on June 13, July 11, August 8, and August 29 at the new Festival Street next to Beacon Hill Station at Beacon Avenue South and South Lander Street.

For more information about Beacon Music and Beacon Rocks, see the website.

More places to go and things to do, late April additions

Adding to our previous run-down of places to go and things to do:

Tonight, April 28:

Friday, April 30:

Saturday, May 1:

Tuesday, May 4:

Wednesday, May 5:

Monday, May 22:

Don’t forget about the Beacon Hill Music/Beacon Rocks! fundraisers and Beacon Idol tryouts, along with numerous other still-upcoming events, mentioned in the last roundup!

A Touch of Sweden promises pastries on Saturday

Photo of Swedish bulle pastry by Dick Rochester.
A Touch of Sweden is coming to Beacon Hill this weekend, bringing Scandinavian cakes and pastries to the Beaconian masses, as well as new life to a building that has been closed to the public for the last year. This new baking business will be catering and selling baked goods to order, including Swedish pastries such as cinnamon rolls, chocolate/almond beskvis, farmers’ cookies, dream cookies, and princess cakes.

Kajsa Soderlund and PopTop Rising are hosting an opening event this Saturday, May 1, to introduce their selection of baked goods. Sampling tickets will be available and everything will be at a reduced, introductory price. There will be Mother’s Day cakes, raspberry mousse cake, and chocolate mousse cake, as well as free coffee. Soderlund says, “We will be taking orders for Mother’s Day cakes or other requests too.”

The event will take place on May 1 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the former Culinary Communion house, 2524 Beacon Avenue South.

“A Touch of Sweden” is renting kitchen space from the new tenant of the house, so it won’t be a full-time bakery just yet. However, Soderlund tells us that they plan to have open hours when people can stop by to place advance orders, though the hours aren’t yet finalized.

The kitchen will be busy; we hear that there may be a new restaurant opening in the Culinary Communion building soon. We’ll post more details about the restaurant as we get them.

In the meantime, Soderlund says “We are very happy to be able to bake at this beautiful kitchen and would love to see you there.”

Beacon Bits: liquor license, Food Forest, and Maple mural

The Bartell Drug Store at Rainier Avenue South and South College Street has applied for a new “Grocery Store – Beer/Wine” liquor license. If you wish to comment on the application, you can email your comments about license number 406481 to customerservice@liq.wa.gov.

Thanks to Shelly Bates!

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The proposed Jefferson Park Food Forest has a new website with information about the Food Forest’s design and mission.

Thanks to Joel Lee!

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Maple Elementary School is working on a mural project. Students, parents, and community members of all races will work together to create a mural for the school gym exterior that reflects the significance of The Maple Creed: “I know that our country was built by people of all races and I know that people of all races keep our country great.”

Community tile creation and tile glazing sessions will be held on the following Mondays from 3:30 – 8:30 pm: May 3, 10, 17, 24; June 7, 14. There will also be sessions on the following Saturdays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm: May 1, 22.

RSVPs are requested. To find out more about the project and RSVP, contact Terry Virdell at 206-898-5679, or email terryvirdell@gmail.com.

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L to R: Representatives Bob Hasegawa and Zack Hudgins.
Local state Representatives Zack Hudgins and Bob Hasegawa invite residents of the 11th Legislative District to join them for a telephone town hall tonight, April 27, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Hudgins and Hasegawa will discuss the 2010 legislative session, creating jobs, their priorities for the 2010 state budget, and the budget’s impact on local communities. Residents will be invited to stay on the line and join in on the conversation. You can also phone in directly between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. by dialing (toll-free) 877-229-8493, code 15512.

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Last week, Cienna Madrid at the Stranger wrote about the new Streets for All Seattle Coalition, a group fighting to fund projects for bicycle, transit, and pedestrian improvements. In the article, SASC spokesman David Hiller specifically discusses how a transportation crisis in South Seattle has drawn organizations such as El Centro de la Raza into the coalition.

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Gardeners take note — @VictrolaCoffee posted on Twitter: “Free bags of coffee grounds everyday at Victrola Beacon Hill – 3215 Beacon Ave So. – make your gardens grow!”

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Please be careful with your pets. King County Animal Care and Control sent out a recent notice that there may be an outbreak of canine distemper in area raccoons. This disease is highly contagious among dogs, ferrets, and a variety of wild animals. Cats are not affected.

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Asian Express, Dim Sum House, and Jefferson Community Center all received recent inspection visits from the Health Department. (Click each establishment’s name to see the results.) Congratulations to Jefferson Community Center for a perfect score of zero!

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The Seattle City Council and Mayor will host a joint public meeting about the City’s budget here on Beacon Hill at the New Holly Gathering Hall, tomorrow, April 28, at 5:00 pm. The New Holly Gathering Hall is located at
7054 32nd Avenue South.

New DPD Planning Director visits Beacon Hill

Marshall Foster
Marshall Foster is the new Planning Director of DPD Planning Department. Frederica Merrell chairs the ad-hoc planning subcommittee of the North Beacon Hill Council and worked on the 1999-2000 draft of the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan. She invited Foster to a subcommittee meeting on April 19 to introduce himself to the community, hear our thoughts, and share his perspective on urban planning.  Foster was professional and approachable as he discussed issues ranging from his personal background to some of the challenges in the 2009 Neighborhood Plan Update process.

A New Orleans native, Foster fell in love with the Northwest and moved to Seattle from Portland with his wife in 2006. They live in West Seattle with their two children. While in Portland, Foster volunteered with Southeast Uplift, an organization working to increase citizen participation in neighborhood planning. He is passionate about urban planning, in particular comprehensive planning that includes the needs and desires of communities for public safety and vibrant small businesses.

Foster sees the Department of Planning and Development as responsible for merging the requirements of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan with grassroots citizen involvement. The Comprehensive Plan is how the City manages the requirements of the WA State Growth Management Act.

After the meeting, I emailed Foster for more details about his philosophy and upcoming DPD events.

The SPUNC subcommittee charged DPD to look into changing zoning in a larger area around the station.  Will this change the timeline of the current station overlay plan?

“That’s correct –– we were asked to look more broadly at zoning options. We plan to work with the community to develop what we’re calling an ‘Urban Design Framework’ for each of the three neighborhoods. This document will integrate the issue of zoning with what I call ‘placemaking’ elements —  how we ensure safe and attractive streetscapes, buildings that activate the street, how we move forward with the open space connections and other community improvements described in the update. We expect this work will begin over the summer and wrap up by the end of the year.”

If you and your family lived on Beacon Hill, how would you like to see the vacant lots around the station used while we’re waiting for final zoning? Some neighborhood ideas include food carts, outdoor music, etc.

“I’d like to see creative things happen with the spaces that front on the sidewalk. I’ve spent a good bit of time in and around Beacon Ave S, and those large open parking areas detract from the community feel the street otherwise has and serves to split the business district. It would be wonderful to see some temporary uses like food carts lining the sidewalk there, to help knit the street together and give people a reason to spend time there. Perhaps also some temporary public art or temporary community uses. There is legislation moving forward that would allow and encourage these kinds of temporary uses, as well as allow commuter parking on a temporary basis. It’s a great opportunity.”

Could you summarize your goals regarding merging the comp plan with grassroots planning objectives?

“In general, the City’s Comprehensive Plan guides all of our planning work as a city. It outlines our strategy as a city to manage growth and ensure change enhances the quality of life in our neighborhoods. An important part of the Comp Plan is the Urban Centers / Urban Villages concept, which aims to channel growth to parts of the city with established infrastructure, transit, and community services. Beacon Hill is one of the city’s urban villages. With neighborhood planning, we need to bring that perspective to the table and be clear about what it means –– which is essentially that we need to offer more housing opportunities close to the new Beacon Hill light rail station, and balance it with what priorities we’re hearing from communities. On the whole, I think the goals of the Comprehensive Plan are consistent with much of what’s described in the neighborhood plans, which focus on ensuring we have the community infrastructure in place to make Beacon Hill a livable place. That perspective couldn’t be more important.”

How do DPD and DON (Department of Neighborhoods) interact with regards to neighborhood planning? Are there certain aspects that DON leads and others where DPD leads? Who are the contact people?

“DPD is ultimately responsible for delivering the planning work –– the Neighborhood Plan Update itself and the goals, policies and strategies that are intended to help implement the neigborhood plan vision. DON’s role is to design and facilitate a top-quality public outreach and engagement process to develop the plan, with an emphasis on engaging historically underrepresented communities. We work closely together as one team, and have made strides in terms of getting new voices, traditionally not at the table, to engage with the process. Lyle Bicknell is the overall Neighborhood Planning Manager at DPD, and Veronica Sherman-King, Director of Planning and Community-Building, is lead for DON.”

What can the Beacon Hill community expect over the next year of strategic planning meetings? Why should people be excited about participating?

“We’re at a very exciting point with neighborhood planning. With the broad goals established in the proposed updates, we’d like to work with the community to prioritize what we can do together over the next few years to implement the plan. We’re hosting a public meeting in May to start that discussion – Beacon Hill neighbors should be receiving postcards soon about it, but here are the details:”

Neighborhood Plan Update
Action Teams Kick-Off

In 2009 over 1,500 people helped plan the future of their
neighborhoods in North Beacon, North Rainier and Othello

Now it’s time to get things done.

Come help prioritize next steps and
sign up for project action teams.

Friday, May 14, 2010
6:00-7:45 pm
Asa Mercer Middle School
1600 S. Columbian Way

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
6:00-7:45 pm
Filipino Community Center
5740 Martin Luther King Jr Way S.


We’ll bring resources from a range of city departments to talk about what we’re doing as a city and what the community believes is most important for us to focus on in Beacon Hill, Mt Baker and Othello. This is really where the rubber meets the road so to speak: how we can work together to prioritize what’s most important and take action.

Getting more involved

Some examples of how grassroots activists can become more involved in urban planning: participate in the independent Seattle Planning Commission (also on Facebook) or take advantage of the Comp Plan Update Public Involvement Opportunity, the “Seattle 2030 & Beyond” Challenge: In 150 words or less, describe your Seattle 2030 or Seattle 2050. Send your comments to DPD_CompPlan2030Vision@seattle.gov. For more information, see the public involvement page.

Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund award winners announced

Updated with the new award information.

Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple Award winners have been announced by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Projects for Beacon Hill that received matching funds:

  • Beacon Hill Family Bike and Pedestrian Circulation Planning – $15,000 in matching funds
  • Lewis Park Reforestation Phase II – $17,000
  • Cinco de Mayo Festival – $7,125

For more details on the projects and information about projects elsewhere in the city, consult the Department of Neighborhoods’ NMF Award Winners PDF which includes brief descriptions of each project.

The next round of applications for funds are due on July 12. Requirements and application info are at the Small and Simple Projects Fund page.

Thanks to the sharp-eyed Dee for alerting us to the outdated info.

Van Asselt Community Center closed today, perhaps tomorrow

Joelle Hammerstad with Seattle Parks and Recreation wrote in to share that Van Asselt Community Center is closed this afternoon:

They had a sewage back up from one of the toilets, which caused a pretty big mess. Our plumbers are there and working to resolve the problem. We expect to get cleaning folks in later today, and open the facility for normal operating hours tomorrow. All classes and programs have been cancelled today.

We advise folks to call tomorrow before going to the center just to be on the safe side. The number is: 206-386-1921.

Thanks, Joelle!