Frederica Merrell’s appeal filed recently against the Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update (also discussed here and here) is not unique. The Beacon Hill Blog has been made aware that Merrell’s appeal is one of three nearly-identical appeals filed on January 29 by residents in each of the Southeast Seattle neighborhoods that recently went through a neighborhood plan update: Othello, North Rainier (Mount Baker), and North Beacon Hill. (Read the Othello appeal here, the North Rainier appeal here, and the North Beacon appeal here.) The appeals are nearly word-for-word identical, with only a few minor differences (such as the sections describing each distinct neighborhood and the appellants’ connection with them).
The Othello appeal was filed by Ron Momoda, Patricia Paschal, and Jenna Walden. The North Rainier appeal was filed by Pat Murakami and Barbara Marino. Most are well-known neighborhood activists in Southeast Seattle, and several were active last year in speaking out against House Bill 1490 and Senate Bill 5687, which would have created incentives and requirements for transit-oriented development and density near light rail stations.
The three appeals all request the same thing: that DPD’s Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) for each neighborhood’s plan update be vacated, and that DPD be required to take other actions including additional community notification, review, and validation, and environmental impact analyses.
The North Beacon appeal has been the subject of some heated controversy in the comments sections of the BHB posts linked above, with some commenters suggesting that the appeals are specifically intended to cause the entire update process to be scrapped, or that they were filed in order to block any upzoning or increased density, while some others say the update plan was flawed from the start, and that appeals such as this are a necessary and important part of the process of making this update work for North Beacon Hill.
El Centro de la Raza, who have had plans to develop their property just north of Lander Street, have filed their own motion to intervene and dismiss Merrell’s appeal.
The recently published Neighborhood Plan updates (the North Beacon one is here) were developed through a process that began in Fall 2008 and continued through 2009 with community meetings and open houses in March, May, and September.
(ed. note—Frederica Merrell occasionally contributes opinion articles to the Beacon Hill Blog.)