The North Beacon Town Center Action Team meeting has been shifted to an earlier time than our original announcement stated. It’s now scheduled from 9:00 am to noon this Saturday, October 16, at Beacon Lutheran Church, 1720 South Forest Street.
The meeting’s objective is to confirm the process for the action team’s work, and review and refine draft concepts for the North Beacon Urban Design Framework.
Here’s the draft agenda sent to us by Lyle Bicknell from the Department of Planning and Development:
9:10 Outline of the Day (Lyle Bicknell)
Review schedule and approach to the action team’s work
Overview of Urban Design Framework
What it is and isn’t
Basic elements to address in N Beacon
9:40 N Beacon Opportunities and Perspectives (10 minutes each)
Sara Robertson, Transportation issues/opportunities.
Sound Transit (tent)
10:00 Town Center Walking Tour
11:00 Breakout Groups
List of questions designed to take the community members to make recommendations taking the earlier panels/sessions into context. (Small group facilitation)
Starting today and running through the 15th, the Goodwill Job Training and Education Center, just below the north tip of Beacon Hill on Lane Street, will register people for free classes in the eight-week session that runs from October 18 through December 9.
Classes include a Retail and Customer Service Training Program, Community College 101, the National External Diploma Program, and Adult Basic Education classes covering English, computers, reading, writing, math, and cashiering.
Additional classes may be available. For class availability and enrollment information, call (206) 860-5791.
* * *
ART’s on Beacon is hosting a Culture Forum Acting Workshop from October 11 through December 19, for “actors and non-actors alike focusing on the healing aspects of performance.” Workshop participants will have the opportunity to share their work in a three-night performance to be held at the ART’s on Beacon theater.
Workshop participation is limited. Workshop sessions will run Mondays through Thursdays from 6:30 through 9:30 pm. For more information, contact Michael Perrone at 206-861-6260 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
There are a couple of volunteer work parties scheduled on October 10 to improve local parks. We previously posted about the Maple School Natural Area Invasive Species Removal and Native Planting work party from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Sunday. Find out more about that event and RSVP at the website.
Elsewhere on the Hill, the Friends of Lewis Park are also holding a work party at the same time on Sunday. The work will involve planting native trees and shrubs, and removal of invasive plant species such as English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry. Afterwards, the volunteers will gather for a celebratory party. To find out more and RSVP, see the website.
* * *
Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 16 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm for a North Beacon Town Center Action Team meeting at Beacon Lutheran Church, to help plan the North Beacon Urban Design Framework for the Town Center. We will post more about the meeting as the information becomes available.
What if you could start from scratch and locate the Beacon Hill Central Park, the neighborhood’s focal point, anywhere on Beacon Hill—without disrupting existing businesses, without relocating current residents, without demolishing any of the many buildings of character on Beacon Hill? Ideally it would be located on Beacon Avenue, in the heart of the Urban Village, close to the transit station… and that is exactly what we are proposing.
The Parks and Green Space Levy Oversight Committee announced that there are funds available for the acquisition and development of park space. The intent of this project is to acquire the land surrounding the light rail station (see a map of the area here) to create an urban park in the heart of the North Beacon Hill Urban Village.
Our neighborhood has seen great changes in the past few years with the addition of a new library and the recent opening of the Beacon Hill light rail station. As both the adopted North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan (NBHNP) and the 2009 Draft Plan point out, the central area of our neighborhood is still missing public spaces that provide opportunities to play for young (play structure) and old (chess table), talk to friends and neighbors (benches, picnic tables), and for community gatherings (plaza). The adopted NBHNP points out that with the existing population North Beacon Hill does not even meet the minimum city standards for the ratio of open space to residents.
A park-like setting in the core will also help alleviate the lack of tree cover and vegetation. It would give residents and visitors a great opportunity to connect with nature, the environment, and the larger landscape of the Pacific Northwest, and for all to share the spectacular Beacon Hill views.
With community backing, this acquisition would most likely score highly due to the central location in our community, the consistency with the adopted plan, the coupling with the transit station, and the vacancy of the desired land. All these factors combine to make this an unique and creative opportunity.
Please comment on this blog about what you think and what you would like to see in the Beacon Hill Park. This proposal will be submitted to the North Beacon Hill Community Council for endorsement at the meeting on Thursday April 1, 2010. Please come out to express your support!!
Andrea Leuschke is a landscape architect who has worked on the Beacon Ridge Improvement Community (BRIC) stairway project. Tim Abell is a resident of Beacon Hill and an architect who designs and develops work force housing in Seattle.
(All images courtesy of Andrea and Tim. Click on each thumbnail image to see a larger version.)
(approx. 20 minute mark) Brief discussion of the goals of the presentation, including mention of the recent appeal of the plan update process, and how the appeal may affect Council actions on the plan (basically, the Department of Planning and Development advising the Council to honor whatever decision the Hearing Examiner makes on the appeal).
(approx. 43 minute mark) Richard Conlin and Sally Clark discuss the idea of easing the transition between the “Urban Village” and the surrounding single family area, perhaps by changing the zoning of the single family area around the station. There’s also an interesting discussion of the definition of “Urban Village” and “Urban Core” — “it’s a thing.”
(approx. 51 minute mark) Lyle Bicknell describes an idea for collecting community input and making the work plan section of the neighborhood plan. Council members discuss the pros and cons of this new format versus the existing matrix.
Overall, committee members showed interest in supporting the community desires for continuing public input in neighborhood planning and implementation of specific goals.
After the committee meeting, Dennis Saxman approached me to discuss the three appeals to the SE neighborhood plan updates. He mentioned he had helped draft the appeals and stated that there is nothing notable in the appeals being identical. Saxman also expressed concern about media coverage of the appeals. (We agreed that comments on some blogs went too far and became personal attacks.) Saxman is familiar with challenging DPD via the Hearing Examiner’s office, most notably in this case on Capitol Hill.
City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is the SPUNC chairperson. This committee is responsible for legislative matters including:
Water, drainage, wastewater and solid waste services provided by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), including SPU environmental services and utility rates, regional water resources and endangered species recovery plans
Neighborhoods, including neighborhood plan updates and implementation
If you are able to attend SPUNC committee meetings and/or City Council meetings in person, it’s a fantastic way to engage with our local elected officials and play an active role in shaping our community. Feel free to contact Esther Handy in Councilmember O’Brien’s office with questions about the neighborhood planning process: email@example.com, (206) 684-8800.
Are you tired of looking at gravel lots surrounded by wire fencing next to the Beacon Hill Light Rail station? Do you dream of potential businesses that would be perfect for our community? The comments on Joel’s post “Beacon Hill’s Post Alley” indicate community support for development around the light rail station. For any development to occur, the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan Update must be approved.
That plan is being challenged. A community member has filed a petition with the City of Seattle Hearing Examiner (see the earlier news post in the BHB) calling the update process into question and requesting that the DNS (Determination of Nonsignificance) be vacated. Concerns listed in the petition include construction noise, increased traffic, lack of specific guarantees regarding service improvements, and overall disregard for community opinion and the existing neighborhood plan.
Simply put, it’s a request for DPD to be required to throw away over a year’s worth of community input and other work on this project—essentially starting the entire process over.
“Increased density is a worthy goal… We need housing, employment, and services for our future neighbors.”
Neighborhood, City and transit groups have worked hard to update the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan in a way that respects the core values of our community and includes the reality of introducing mass transit into the neighborhood. Two critical considerations for an urban neighborhood served by mass transit include increased residential density accompanied by increased employment, service, and other business development.
Increased density is a worthy goal for our neighborhood: people should live and work near transit. We need housing, employment, and services for our future neighbors. This doesn’t have to/shouldn’t mean increased vehicle traffic—the entire point is that new residents will be using light rail.
If the North Beacon Hill Urban Village is ever to develop, we must move forward as a community. Change can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to improve.
Get involved. Learn more about this issue and take action to make Beacon Hill the place you want it to be. Please attend the North Beacon Hill Council meeting on Thursday, February 4 at 7:00 pm. Meetings are held at the Beacon Hill Public Library. The full agenda is here and also here.
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.
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.