Tag Archives: dpd

Beacon Bits: T-shirts, gift-wrapping, and the mayor

This fire truck at Beacon Hill's Fire Station #13 is festively attired for the holiday season. Photo by Joel Lee in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
Neighbor Peter heard sirens last week, and managed to get outside and some photos of a house fire in a boarded-up house on 25th Avenue South, behind QFC. See the photos here.

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News from El Centro de la Raza tells us that Mayor Mike McGinn will be joining them for their Holiday Latino Hot Meal tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

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Remember the “Know Where You Came From” t-shirts from NAMSAYIN featuring a #36 bus? Remember how the first run of 56 shirts sold out in one day?

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the shirts will be re-released at Deli Seattle, 1307 First Avenue. They will have men’s and women’s shirts, as well as onesies for babies this time. Sizes are limited, and the shirts are very cool, so if you want one, don’t let it get away this time.

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Do you have an interest in Pacific Northwest ecology? Do you like to share what you know with others? Are you over 18 years of age? Are you looking for a meaningful volunteer experience? You may be interested in the Seward Park Audubon and Environmental Center Master Urban Naturalist program. The program provides free naturalist training workshops and certification in exchange for 10 hours of donated service and completion of a final project or presentation. More information here.

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The newly-revitalized ROCKiT space has a few things going on that you might want to know about.

Need a good place to wrap Christmas gifts, or want someone to wrap them for you? You can wrap your gifts at ROCKiT space, where your loved ones won’t see what you’re up to. DIY gift-wrapping is $5/day site use fee, plus a $2 supply fee. All materials are supplied. Bring your own wrap and they will waive the supply fee.

If you’re a wrapping klutz or just don’t have time, you can also drop off gifts, and they will wrap them for you to pick up later. The fee is $2 each for small packages, and $5 each for large packages.

On Tuesday, December 28 at 7:00 pm, ROCKiT space is hosting a Tuesday Folk Club with two old time/country bands: Red Dog and Dram County. The minimum donation is $7 at the door or $5 in advance. Tickets are available at Rockit Space during business hours.

The Tots Jam with Suzanne Sumi is continuing on Wednesdays, from 9:00 – 11:00 am , but there is no session on December 29.

ROCKiT space is located at 3315 Beacon Avenue South.

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The Department of Planning and Development has approved an application to subdivide a site at 4010 14th Avenue South into five unit lots for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the lots. The property will continue to be zoned for duplex multifamily development. Read the decision here.

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There is at least one place to ring in the New Year nearby. The new St. Dames restaurant at Columbia City Station is hosting a party on New Year’s Eve, starting at 10:00 pm. The event will include appetizers, dessert and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Make reservations by calling 206-725-8879. St. Dames is located at 4525 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.

Do you know of any other Beacon Hill places that are open for New Year’s? Let us know!

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Gage Academy of Art is offering free drop in art classes for teens aged 13-18 in the Rainier Valley. Classes are on Saturdays at The 2100 Building, 2100 24th Avenue South.
Classes will be from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. For more information, call 206-323-GAGE. Art materials and pizza will be provided.

Neighborhood plan update moving forward tomorrow

The Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee (SPUNC) is meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, September 28, at 2:00 pm. One of the items on the agenda (item #5) is “recognition of the North Beacon Hill, Othello, and North Rainier Neighborhood Plan Updates,” including briefing, discussion, and a possible vote.

Key items in the proposed update include changing the zoning around Beacon Hill Station to 65 feet, and encouraging more residential development in our Urban Village.

The committee will consider and discuss Resolution 31245:

A Resolution recognizing the extensive efforts of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood to update their vision and plan for the future; approving an action plan for the neighborhood and City to undertake actions to advance neighborhood priorities and authorizing the submittal of proposed amendments to the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan for consideration as part of the Comprehension Plan amendment process.

You can read the  entire resolution online.

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien chairs SPUNC, the committee responsible for neighborhood planning (among other things).  To share your thoughts on whether the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan is ready to move forward, please attend the meeting tomorrow or contact Councilmember O’Brien via email at mike.obrien@seattle.gov or by phone at 206-684-8800. SPUNC meetings are held in Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue.

The proposed Neighborhood Plan Update was drafted during one of the worst budget crises the city has ever seen. North Beacon Hill residents will benefit from projects and goals in the plan, and will also be able to pursue funding for other projects in the future.  Action teams will be forming soon to work on specific items in the plan—stay tuned to the Beacon Hill Blog to learn how to get involved!

Our community is strong and vibrant because neighbors like you get involved in the planning process and—most importantly—in the many ongoing projects happening on Beacon Hill. Whether you have five minutes to send an email or hours to devote to meetings, thank you for helping make North Beacon Hill an amazing place to live, work, play and learn!

Analysis: Neighborhood action plan still lacks clarity

This poster from the Beacon Hill Festival in June was covered with stickers that Beacon Hill neighbors used to vote on projects to prioritize in our neighborhood plan update. Photo by Wendi.
by Frederica Merrell

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has introduced legislation to the City Council for adoption of our neighborhood plan update in Councilperson Mike O’Brien’s committee next Tuesday, September 28. You can download the Action Plan PDF file here. In the past week, they have finally put in all the details that people have been asking to see. Don’t blink, you will miss it!

For comparison, here is the matrix of projects voted on at the Beacon Hill Festival (only the ones that received an average support rating of 2 or higher). Many great ideas are not included in the DPD update.

DPD actions are phased as: o for on-going, p for planning, u for underway, or d for done. There are lots of blanks where they don’t know which phase we are in. I have to wonder why we are getting “done” projects in our action matrix for a ten-year plan for the future? I guess we need a little padding in a few spots! Here is my educated review of the Action Plan:

Goals #1, 2, and 3. DPD has put a lot of emphasis on developing low-income housing. DPD again claims to be developing an urban design framework for us, but I still don’t know what that means. Clearly zoning and land use is DPD’s main interest and expertise area. (It doesn’t hurt that every development project that gets permitted puts money in the department coffers.)

All the actions under the first three goals (housing and commercial district development) are on-going or planned. There is one interesting exception: Resolving litter issues in the town center is listed as done! I am not sure how that has manifested in our town center, exactly.

There are no housing goals, nor is there acknowledgement of the huge amount of multi-family housing going in at the north end of the hill. Rating: OK but incomplete for rest of neighborhood and maybe a little inaccurate on the litter front.

It starts to get weird under Goal 4: Parks and Open Space. They have only two policies: Preserve and support El Centro, and Seek Small Pocket Parks. There is emphasis on the El Centro Civic Gathering Space, an indoor facility, I believe (see Goal 6). The only actions with a planning designation are El Centro’s civic gathering space, El Centro’s children’s play area and an urban design framework element for Jose Rizal Park. In spite of the fact that eight different proposals for open space were submitted to the Parks Opportunity Fund this year, the only one acknowledged by DPD is the El Centro Children’s Play Area project. What about the other five: Lewis Park, North Beacon Central Park, Walker Street, 12th Street View Spot, and the Gatehouse project at Jefferson Park?

DPD pads this section with completed or almost completed projects. Beacon Hill Playground project is listed three times and is already underway, probably to be finished before the end of the year. Under Jefferson Park Master Plan, a small number of projects are underway or done. Why is “recommission the South Reservoir” in there as an action? It was completed over a year ago!
Continue reading Analysis: Neighborhood action plan still lacks clarity

September NBHC meeting agenda

The postponed-due-to-the-week-long-library-closure September North Beacon Hill Council Meeting is happening this Thursday at 7pm in the Beacon Hill Library Community Room. Everyone is welcome, and if you’ve been to at least one meeting, you’re eligible to vote!

The agenda as posted on the NBHC website with some added emphasis:

  • 7:00 Introductions and Welcome
  • 7:05 Allison Schwartz, Transportation Planner, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Mike Podowski, Planner, Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will give an update on light rail station area parking and get feedback on the Restricted Parking Zones – how are they working for us. Q & A follows five minute presentations by each.
  • 7:40 City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair, Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee: CC member O’Brien’s City Council Committee will be making a decision this month on the Neighborhood Plan as presented by DPD; he has asked for this opportunity to receive neighborhood feedback. Mike will also be soliciting members for the Action Teams which are forming to implement the Neighborhood Plan.
  • 8:10 Neighborhood updates
    • Beacon Rocks
    • Beacon Hill Business Association
    • Nomination of new North Beacon Hill Council Board Member
    • Resignation accepted from Shelly Bates, Board Member – thank you so much, Shelly, for all you have done for us!
    • Other announcements, events
  • 8:30 Executive Board Meeting (open to all, however only Board Members are allowed to speak and take any needed votes. If you choose to leave at this time, it’s understood!)
    • Election of new board member(s)
    • Updates on plans made at the August Board Social meeting

Beacon Bits: Deer sighting and lion dancing

Photo of a city deer by micklpickl.
Most of us probably don’t think of Beacon Hill as home to forest wildlife such as deer. There are occasional deer sightings, however, usually near one of the greenbelts. Neighbor Tom wrote to us last week about a deer that got a to a more unusual location:

“This past Saturday at around 4:00 am I was just south of South College and 15th South when I heard some noises in some bushes of an apartment on the west side of the street. All of a sudden, and I kid you not, a deer jumped out of the bushes, crossed over 15th and into the yard of a house across the street. I could not believe my eyes.”

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Kerrie Carbary at Volunteer Chore Services sent us an appeal for volunteers:

“Volunteer Chore Services, a program of Catholic Community Services, is a “safety net” for elders and adults living with disabilities who are unable or ineligible for state/paid chore services. All recipients are low-income, have health problems or difficulty with mobility, and most live alone. A growing volunteer opportunity in your neighborhood consists of driving clients to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or other chores. We carefully match volunteers to opportunities based on their personalities, neighborhood, and preferences.

“Currently, volunteers are donating over 3000 hours a month in the Seattle area. However, there is still a huge number of people waiting for help, and a shortage of volunteers. Volunteers are needed all over Seattle and South King County, but especially in areas like South Seattle.”

For more information on volunteering through this agency, call Kerrie at 206-328-6858, Volunteer Chore Services main intake line at 206-328-5787, or email kerriec@ccsww.org.

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There is another fundraiser scheduled for the Bar del Corso pizza restaurant on August 1 from 3:00 – 7:00 pm. Jerry and Gina say, “If you are from Beacon Hill and are curious about us, please come to this event if you can. We’d love to meet more of our neighbors!”

There will be antipasti, brick oven pizzas, and more. There will also be a special musical guest, King Corso.

The event is “pay what you can,” but suggested donation is $100. Those who attended the first fundraiser are invited to come without obligation to donate again. To reserve your spot and get the address of the event, email info@bardelcorso (please put RSVP in the subject line).

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As part of Seattle Night Out on Tuesday, August 3, the Jun Hong Kung Fu and Sports Association is hosting an event that evening from 7:00 until 9:00. There will be a Lion Dance performance, a Kung Fu demonstration, and coconut ice cream. Please bring a dessert to share. All are welcome! The Jun Hong Kung Fu and Sports Association is located at 4878 Beacon Avenue South.

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Application has been made to the city’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to subdivide two sites, at 4010 and 4012 14th Avenue South, into five unit lots each. For more information, see the website here and here. The commenting deadline is August 1.

Beacon Bits: Chickens, Conlin, and Caspar Babypants

Urban farmers may soon be able to keep eight chickens like this fat and sassy Beacon Hill hen, if DPD's proposed amendments are approved. Fresh eggs for everyone! Photo by Wendi.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is proposing amendments to the Land Use Code that concern urban agriculture, including urban farms and community gardens. The proposed amendments would allow such uses in all zones, though there would be some limitations in industrial zones. Additionally, farmers’ markets would be permitted outright in commercial zones, and the number of chickens permitted on a lot would increase from three to eight. Roosters, however, would specifically be banned. (Despite popular belief, they aren’t currently.) See more about the proposals here, and plan to attend a public hearing on July 21 at 5:30 pm if you’d like to comment on these changes. The hearing will be in Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue. A sign-up sheet will be available outside the Chamber at 5:00 pm. If you can’t attend the meeting, comments can be sent to City Councilmember Richard Conlin.

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Speaking of Councilmember Conlin, he’ll be a guest speaker at Happenin’ on the Hill, a neighborhood “green space celebration” hosted by the Environmental Outreach and Stewardship Alliance (EOS Alliance) at the Maple School Natural Area, 20th Avenue South and South Lucile Street, on Saturday, July 10. The event will include food, music, art, and speakers including Conlin and Erick McWayne (former EOS Alliance Executive Director). The event starts at 12 noon and runs until 4:00 pm, with a rededication of the Maple School Natural Area at 3:00 pm.

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The Touch of Sweden garage sale we mentioned a couple of weeks ago was postponed (due to cold and rainy weather) until Saturday, July 3, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 12th Avenue South and South Judkins Street. Kajsa and PopTop are moving away on Sunday, first to PopTop’s home in Minneapolis and then to Sweden where Kajsa’s father is suffering from cancer. Kajsa sent us a message to the community with an appeal for help; we added it in its entirety to our earlier post. See it there.

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Wellspring Family Services on Rainier Avenue South and South Plum Street is holding a “Kids Helping Kids” fundraising drive this summer. The drive benefits programs for homeless kids, including the Baby Boutique (a free boutique where homeless families can shop) and Morningsong (a childcare center for homeless children).

Kids who participate in the coin drive and turn in their donations on time will be entered into a contest for a chance to win their own original song by Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America). To participate, kids must register at the website.

Wellspring and “Kids Helping Kids” will be at the Columbia City Farmers’ Market on South Edmunds Street on Wednesday, July 21 with Caspar Babypants from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

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The Seattle City Light Powerful Neighborhoods pilot program is helping South Seattle residents install energy- and water-saving technology in their homes. Since April, more than 800 homes have been served by the program, in which trained installers come to customers’ homes and install free light bulbs, showerheads, faucet aerators, and smoke detectors. Yes, free. (The installation is free, too.)

To qualify, you must live in a single-family home or 2 to 4-unit building in the zip codes 98144, 98118, 98178, 98108, 98126, 98106, and 98134. If you would like to participate in the program please call the Powerful Neighborhoods multilingual phone line at 206-449-1132, or email scl_install@seattle.gov.

Neighborhood Plan Update Action Team Kick-Off meeting tonight

DPD Action Teams Kick-Off poster
Click for the full-size version with contact information for foreign language speakers.
A reminder: Tonight is the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan Update Action Team Kick-Off meeting announced previously in this blog. The meeting is tonight from 6:00 to 7:45 pm at Asa Mercer Middle School, 1600 S Columbian Way.

There will be childcare and refreshments. 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.

North Beacon Hill DNS appeal resolved

On May 3, the Seattle Hearing Examiner decided in favor of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and El Centro de La Raza when reviewing the appeal filed in late January by Frederica Merrell against the DPD regarding the Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update process. (Previous coverage and discussion of the appeal can be found here.)

The full text of the decision is here. The decision is based on findings that DPD environmental reviews were adequate in regards to the proposed update to the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan. It also states that the proposed updates do not significantly change growth targets or other aspects of the City of Seattle Comprehensive Plan with regards to Beacon Hill:

“There is no evidence in the record that the Plan Update would result in increased density within the North Beacon Hill Residential Urban Village beyond that anticipated in the Comprehensive Plan. The proposed goals and policies in the Plan Update and those in the existing Neighborhood Plan both anticipate greater density in the town center area and near the light rail station. The Plan Update is a document that begins the process of determining how the growth that is already anticipated by the Comprehensive Plan’s existing growth targets for the Residential Urban Village will be accommodated and shaped.”

To learn more and to become involved in planning the future of North Beacon Hill and the Neighborhood Plan Update, attend the Neighborhood Plan Update Action Team Kick-Off meeting next Friday, May 14 at Asa Mercer Middle School, 1600 South Columbian Way.

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.

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.