Rhonda from the Mortgage Porter blog recently took a pizza-making class at Culinary Communion on Beacon Avenue, and posted a Flickr set of photos of the class. If you’ve wondered what their classes are like, this gives you a good look at a class in their kitchen, and at some very tasty-looking pizza! My favorite photo, though, was the one of the chalkboard with ideas for different topping combinations: pear, prosciutto, bleu cheese; egg, bacon, spinach, feta; pumpkin, cranberry, sage, and bleu cheese… hey, that sounds like Thanksgiving Pizza!
A few days ago we wrote about a series of possible break-ins on the Hill.
There was also a series of blatant break-ins on Wednesday, with a different MO. A Beacon Hill mailing list reader from North Beacon, near Taejon Park, wrote:
“We woke up to find a young white male, early 20’s, about 5’10”, fairly thin opening our kitchen window. He already had (his) head stuck through the window. We confronted him, he said he knocked (not possible we have three dogs) said he was beaten up and his truck was stolen. We called the police. I watched where he went when he left and wanted to follow him. He preceded to go through a gate in my neighbors yard a 1/2 hour later police were back. He broke in to their house and the alarm went off. Then he went a 1/2 block down and broke a window to get in another house…
“…This guy also only had his left shoe on a grocery bag on the other foot and was limping. He has a tattoo across his neck a name of some sort, short blondish spiked hair, no coat on, thermal long sleeve shirt and jeans. Almost forgot he opened my neighbors window in her bedroom while she was sleeping and tried to get in her window… This guy was seen again in my next door neighbors yard at 3pm the same day as the break in. My neighbor asked what he was doing and he replied he was just resting.”
A BAN list subscriber this week also mentioned having confronted the same guy in a neighbor’s back yard two weeks ago.
In response to this, another reader had a good point. Neighbors should probably have each other’s contact info, so when we see strange people crawling through a neighbor’s window, we can call and ask if the strange person is a stranger or just the neighbor’s son, home from college without his house key.
Thanks to Waldene and Linda on the mailing list!
There is a big building at the junction of Beacon and 15th, a large building that seems as if it ought to be a major retail destination in our North Beacon Hill business district and urban village. But it’s not. It’s a warehouse. There is nothing visible inside but piles of boxes, and a small paper sign.
This is interesting, because the site is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 P 40. Neighborhood Commercial 2, or NC2, is “a moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood.” Typically an NC2 land use might be a coffee shop or drugstore. 40 means that the zoning allows 40-foot tall buildings to be built there. P means that it is a “P-zone” — a pedestrian-designated zone, which is designed to encourage pedestrian activity in a neighborhood business district by requiring ground floor uses that attract pedestrian activity and interest. This means things like retail stores, restaurants, hair salons, etc., but not research labs, administrative offices — or warehouses.
Regardless of the building’s P-Zone status, warehouses and wholesale showrooms are not allowed in NC2-zoned sites. This building has been used as a warehouse for some time now. The business based there, Hui Intertrading, is a rice wholesaler and importer, who supplies many local restaurants with their rice.
Hui Intertrading’s use of the building as a warehouse has been a thorn in some folks’ sides for quite a while, as was the earlier similar use of a building directly across the intersection. And people have filed complaints over these violations of the land use code, in August 2004 and May 2008. For a while, a land use notice board appeared on the building, listing a proposed change to retail use, but the board eventually came down with no noticeable change in the use of the building.
After the earlier complaint, the building failed 11 city inspections before finally passing one in February 2008. After the most recent complaint, it took 4 inspections before it finally passed, and the case was closed — in other words, it’s no longer considered to be violating land-use codes. But, have you been by there lately? It’s still a warehouse. Nothing has changed.
Oh, wait — except for that small paper sign I mentioned earlier:
It’s just a pile of boxes behind the sign, with no sign of any retail activity or retail fixtures.
Could it be that putting up a sign like this is all you need to be a retail business and get the Department of Planning and Development off your back? Business owners, take note!
On the other hand, despite appearances, maybe it is a retail shop. Has anyone tried to shop at this “food grocery retail store”? Please tell us how it went.
Complaints to the DPD may be filed online.
(Can you imagine this building as an old-style movie theater with a nice big neon marquee? I’ve always thought it looked like it should be one.)
According to the Denver Post, homes near light rail stations on the new Southeast line there have increased in value by nearly 4 percent since the line opened, even while homes in the rest of the Denver market declined by an average of 7.5 percent. The closer the home is to the station, the more the value increased, with those less than half a mile from the station increasing by an average of 17.6 percent.
The article mentions a similar effect in other markets, with single-family home values showing increases ranging from 2 percent in San Diego to a blistering 32 percent in St. Louis. The article also suggests that it is not just station location that causes the biggest increases, but transit-oriented development (TOD) that adds to the attractiveness of the area. North Beacon and Mount Baker (Rainier and McClellan) will have their stations soon, but will the TOD follow? Will we see a similar increase in housing value here on Beacon Hill? The Othello and Columbia City stations are already seeing some development, but there hasn’t been much up on top of the Hill or at the foot of McClellan.
Thanks to Seattlest!