Neighbor files petition against Neighborhood Plan update process

Community comments posted at the Neighborhood Plan Update open house in September 2009. Photo by Wendi
North Beacon Hill resident Frederica Merrell has filed an appeal with the City of Seattle Hearing Examiner, regarding the Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update process.

In the appeal (read it in full here), Merrell states that North Beacon Hill residents and visitors will be “directly and significantly impacted” by the changes, including changes to zoning, density, protected views, pedestrian/bike/auto access, and more. She states that, among other problems, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) erred in making a determination of non-significance, failed to take necessary steps to assess the impact of the plan changes, and also failed to give proper notice to the community.

The appeal requests that DPD’s DNS for the North Beacon Hill plan update be vacated, and DPD be required to take other actions including additional community notification and environmental impact analyses.

The Neighborhood Plan update process began in Fall 2008 and continued through 2009 with community meetings and open houses in March, May, and September, resulting in the recently published update.

(ed. note—Frederica has occasionally contributed opinion articles to the Beacon Hill Blog.)

16 thoughts on “Neighbor files petition against Neighborhood Plan update process”

  1. I just read Frederica’s appeal. I had been wondering if there were any studies done on predicted future population growth of our area to see if there was any need to increase building height zoning. It sounds like there has been and the current zoning heights would be sufficient.

    I would hope that if new buildings do go in for mixed income residential opportunities, that they would also consider the same for the rent paid by business owners. I wouldn’t want a local business owner to be told they could lease a new space, have to relocate their business outside of the neighborhood to only find out that they couldn’t even afford the leases in the new buildings.

    Finally, a large tunnel has now been dug underground for the lightrail. People are talking about underground parking for these new buildings and very tall/heavy structures to be above them. I would hope that significant soil studies are conducted as I have read about sink holes already occurring in peoples’ yards.

  2. I wish this appeal hadn’t been filed. Beacon Hill seems to only be represented by people who take a reflexive oppositional stance to any plan coming from the city. As someone who believes that increased density would be positive for people who live in the neighborhood, for local small businesses, for the Puget Sound region, and for the planet, I wish there was a “yes, in my backyard” group. Antagonism isn’t getting us any neighborhood development grants to help the business district.

  3. I think that everyone essentially wants the same thing. To have a nice livable Beacon Hill. But the problem is that when you start asking specifics then you realize that everyone has a different idea of what that means.

    I would love to hear from Frederica and although I might not agree with her, I’m happy that she cares for our neighborhood enough to put herself out there and I want to hear her thoughts.

  4. Brook, What the heck are you talking about? Do you attend meetings? Quit taking pot shots and write your own darn grants. What? That doesn’t even make sense. Grants aren’t approved/disapproved because of this. What are you talking about?

    Read my response to Melissa’s article.

  5. Joel, Freddy doesn’t need to answer to us to act as a concerned citizen.

    Folks, I’d encourage everyone to read her comments via the above link. She’s pretty clear about what her thoughts are. And then consider the time it must have taken for her to put that together. Kudos to her.

  6. Meetings aren’t the only way for people to express their opinion. Commenting here on the blog is another. Some folks do both. (Though, of course, DPD doesn’t pay attention to these blog comments, as far as I know.) 🙂

    I encourage everyone to keep posting, no matter which side you may fall on in this discussion.

  7. Adam, if I’m taking pot shots at anyone, it’s at the Beacon Hill business owners and commercial property owners who haven’t kept a neighborhood Chamber of Commerce (or any similar group) going to represent their interests. Other neighborhoods have multiple groups representing multiple points of view to the city. Beacon Hill does not.

  8. Brook, reacting to what you’d written not what you are thinking. Thanks for clarifying.

  9. Could someone please post a link to the DNS documentation? I can’t seem to find it. I am a bit confused about the approval process for the plan. I understood the DNS to be simply a part of the SEPA process, not the actual approval of the plan. I could see how nulifying the DNS would stall the process by requiring further SEPA review, but would it really open the plan development process back up for further review or addition?

  10. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE PEOPLE! Appeals are part of the process in a democracy. If the Plan included a Wal-Mart, I’m sure many of us would be filing appeals. People are naive to think this dream urban village is going to happen during a major recession, anyway. NOW is a good opportunity to let the objections play out while making sure the redevelopment plan is everything we want it to be.

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