- Earl Johnson was a hero who helped police arrest a man suspected of being the Beacon Hill Groper, but since then, his life hasn’t been very easy. — The P-I
- The 15th Annual Seattle Celebration of Neighbors, or Neighbor Appreciation Day, is this Saturday, February 6, and two Beacon Hill community centers are participating. Jefferson Community Center and Van Asselt Community Center will serve cookies and juice “and friendship” from noon until 2:00 pm.
- An application has been filed with the city to change an 1,134 square foot portion of a church at 6115 Beacon Avenue South to a child care center for 20-25 children.
- And last but not least, this lovely succulent plant was photographed on Beacon Hill recently:
The warehouse “retail food store” that’s been for rent on the corner of 15th & Beacon looks to be actually transforming. Almost all of the pallets have been moved out of the front area, leaving a large vacant space in a prime location. Here are a couple of photos of the inside taken earlier this evening:
(Sorry for the blur.)
- Beacon Hill artist Mimi Torchia Boothby’s watercolor portrait of Barack Obama was recently featured in Time magazine. Congratulations! — Rainier Valley Post
- The North Beacon Hill pedestrian-oriented retail zone has prime retail space being advertised for rental as “light industrial,” reminiscent of the situation with the warehouse across the street, which is also zoned for pedestrian-oriented retail. But, hey, who pays attention to zoning, anyway? — Mid Beacon Hill
- The Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision of Seattle Schools (ESP Vision) group is planning a march and rally against school closures, to be held on January 25, starting at the park next to T. T. Minor Elementary School in the Central District — via the BAN email 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.)
The City is beginning a process of updating most of the 38 neighborhood plans throughout Seattle, but because of the light rail line opening next summer, Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, and Othello have been fast-tracked for station area planning and neighborhood plan updates. And they do mean fast. The stations open in July, and there is some indication that the city wants rezoning of the area done simultaneously with the plan updates. Things may be changing quickly, folks.
On Saturday, October 25 at 12:00 noon, the Southeast District Council and the Greater Duwamish District Council are hosting a community event to discuss the new neighborhood planning process and “how to create vibrant, successful neighborhoods at these stations.” The event is at the New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Avenue South, and food, beverages, and child care will be provided.
Also in the neighborhood planning arena, the city’s Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee (NPAC) needs four at-large members, “with a good mix of neighborhood knowledge, new passion, and a commitment to healthy communities,” to sit on the committee. The deadline is today, October 17, at 5:00 pm. If you’re interested in helping guide the forthcoming neighborhood planning process as an NPAC member, fill out this PDF and get it in ASAP.
Thanks to the SDC and GDDC for the postcard about the event, and the Rainier Valley Post for getting the news out about the NPAC applications.