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.)
Jefferson Community Center is again offering the $2 Try It program, in which you can try a class or program once for only $2. Class dates are between January 4 and January 30, and classes include Zumba, Yoga, Pottery, Pilates, Pickleball, Badminton, Hapkido, Ballet, Hip Hop Dance, Cartoon Drawing, Instructional Basketball, Little Dribblers, Creative Dance, and Line Dancing. See the Winter class catalog here.
Thanks to Doreen Deaver for the info!
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Craig Thompson writes on the BAN list that many volunteers have been hard at work on Beacon Avenue and at Jose Rizal Park:
“Washington State Department of Corrections supervised a cleanup of street litter [Saturday] along Beacon Avenue and adjacent streets. Next week, WSDOC will continue cleanups of litter and trash in the East Duwamish Greenbelt, on the west side of Beacon Hill.
“At Jose Rizal Park, 20 volunteers, EarthCorps crew members, and community court service workers cut blackberries and moved 300+ potted native plants into the woods; these will be planted on Saturday, January 16, in a large volunteer event (100 people expected) that will kick off the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend of volunteer work in Seattle. On Saturday, January 9, the community court service workers will return for a general cleanup.”
If pedestrian issues are your interest, you still have a day to apply for the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Board. Three volunteers are wanted for the board, which advises the Mayor and City Council, as well as participating in planning and policy activities relevant to pedestrians. The board meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at City Hall. Board members serve for two years, and must be Seattle residents who are not city employees. Those interested in serving should submit a resume and cover letter by Wednesday December 16 to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, email Brian Dougherty, or call him at (206) 684-5124, or e-mail him at the address above.
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The International District Housing Alliance (IDHA) is a non-profit organization that provides housing services and community building to the Chinatown/International District and greater Seattle’s low-income, Asian Pacific Islander, immigrant and refugee communities, including many who live in Beacon Hill and surrounding neighborhoods. The IDHA is holding a Holiday Dinner on Wednesday, December 16 from 4:00 to 7:00 p,, and a Holiday Gift Drive until December 18. The dinner, at the Four Seas Restaurant in the International District, will help elderly neighbors celebrate the season with friends and family. Activities will include live entertainment, a six course Chinese banquet, a raffle, and door prizes. In the gift drive, CID elderly residents, youth and family clients send in gift requests, and Sound Transit and the University of Washington Law School help distribute gift requests and collect presents for participants. Presents will be wrapped and delivered between December 18-23. If you would like to donate to the holiday dinner, or to volunteer to wrap and/or deliver gifts, or you need information, contact Alma Dea Michelena at email@example.com, or call 206-623-5132, extension 322.
The City of Seattle is seeking qualified candidates interested in serving on the 2010 Design Review Boards. The boards have 12 volunteer positions for terms beginning April 4, 2010. The is Southeast board will have two openings; general community interests representative and development interests representative. Would you please forward this to anyone you might know; members of organizations/community groups and anyone who would be a good candidate? We especially welcome applications from women and people of color.
The Design Review Board reviews mixed-use developments, multifamily housing, and commercial projects. It evaluates the design of these projects based on the city’s design guidelines. Board members are design professionals, developers, and community and business leaders with a passion for design in their our community. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/designreview
The first DPD Neighborhood Plan Update Open House was on Sunday afternoon at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service building on MLK Way South. Neighbors had the chance to see the current draft proposals and comment on them. There is one more open house, this Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at the same site. If you’re interested in the future of North Beacon Hill (or North Rainier, or Othello, both of which will also have draft proposals featured at the open house), this is an important chance to give your opinion on the various proposals.
(Our unscientific, quick impression from looking at the posted comments at the open house on Sunday: North Rainier residents seem to strongly favor redevelopment and density around the pedestrian wasteland that is Mount Baker Station. Othello residents are unhappy about planned new density in their neighborhood. Beacon Hill residents seemed to be somewhere in the middle — wanting improvements but skittish about some of the possible changes, particularly the “tower” zoning option.)
From 1 to 5pm on Sunday, September 27th and also 6 to 8pm on Wednesday, September 30th the City of Seattle is hosting Neighborhood Plan Update Community Open Houses.
These community open houses are another opportunity to take an active role in addressing the local issues and concerns that affect you, your family, and your neighbors. All stakeholders are invited to participate — residents, renters, business owners, property owners, various community organizations and institutions. Please join us for this important community event!
Unlike previous planning updates, these open houses will not be held at El Centro. Instead, they will be at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, 3639 Martin Luther King Jr Way S.
Amharic, Cantonese, Khmer, Mandarin, Oromiffa, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese interpreters will be available to assist attendees.
(Freddie is heading up an effort to wrangle the city’s planning department, to get it to more fully engage with the community and develop concrete neighborhood-enhancing proposals, with an ad-hoc group of neighbors as the North Beacon Hill Planning Advisory Committee. At tonight’s committee meeting, Lyle Bicknell with the Seattle DPD was invited to come and discuss the next steps in the neighborhood planning process. See the event calendar for upcoming meetings. — Ed.)
The City is speeding to a conclusion on our neighborhood plan update! Lyle Bicknell, our man at Department of Planning and Development (DPD), came and chatted with 17 residents who attended the North Beacon Hill Planning Advisory Committee meeting tonight. He shared sketchy preliminary plan recommendations and described next steps for the process. Here are my best notes on what I heard. Please pipe in with your own views if you attended. We met at El Centro thanks to Executive Director, Estella Ortega giving us a nice space in room 307.
Mike Podowski from DPD, who is an expert on zoning, generously gave us 30 minutes of his time to start. We received a “primer” on the neighborhood commercial zone rules and proposed multi-family zone rules. He provided handouts and I am putting the extras at the library. I won’t go into all the details but here are points of note:
Most of the existing zoning in our urban center is neighborhood commercial (NC-40) with a pedestrian orientation.
We also have some multi-family zoning intermittently along Beacon Avenue and on 14th (L2, L3)
Within the lightrail overlay near the station, there is no requirement for parking to be built for new multi-family housing or for commercial development.
We have a pedestrian overlay which also precludes the construction of parking or street entry between any new business development and the sidewalk.
Many of our existing businesses do not meet this code but are grandfathered in, so the pedestrian character will only develop as new buildings are constructed.
The meeting is public and open to all. Lyle Bicknell has been leading the Neighborhood Plan Update process for North Beacon Hill, Othello, and the Mount Baker Station area in Rainier Valley. He will present zoning change options, as well as preview other components that DPD expects to include in the update.
Frederica Merrell of the North Beacon Hill Planning Advisory Committee, a group formed to address issues connected with the city’s intended revamp of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan, sends this status report regarding the committee:
Last call for innovative proposals for our neighborhood plan update! The City is still proceeding at a rapid pace to complete our update this fall. Our last community meeting with the City is coming up in September (date unannounced yet). If people want to get a general or specific recommendation on any topic in the plan, it needs to get to the City pronto.
A small group of folks from the diligent North Beacon Hill Planning Advisory committee met with Councilmembers Sally Clark and Tim Burgess and Lyle Bicknell (our man in the planning department) to talk about the process and next steps. There was a lot of baffling lack of clarity about dates and next steps. No notes from the last big meeting held in May have been provided to the community. It seems clear that DPD is making it up as they go along and is probably having a really hard time keeping up with their own timeline. Continue reading DPD rep to preview neighborhood plan update proposals at August 20 meeting→
The North Beacon Hill Council met tonight at 7 at the Beacon Hill library. Very briefly, here’s what went down:
Reps from DPD present talked about outreach and prep for the next planning meeting May 30th.
An ad hoc committee and an outreach subcommittee of the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee is seeking a six month delay in the DPD neighborhood planning process to get outreach to more of the community and focus more closely on neighborhood issues specifically instead of Southeast Seattle issues generally.
Beacon Mountain Playground is moving forward with phase 1 of the project.
An SDOT representative will be at the June meeting to provide an update.
Some background on the Sound Transit tunnel voids was given by Roger Pence. There are believed to be only two unfilled voids remaining and they are being actively worked on.
Some discussion of the pedestrian safety, zoning, and environmental issues around the new car wash occurred, leading into a proposal to form a committee to work on attracting additional businesses to the hill and a motion to write a letter to the DPD concerning the zoning conflict with the transit overlay area.
Police updates included notice that staffing hours will likely change soon, focusing more bodies during the times of day when they’re needed. Also brief discussion of car prowls, burglaries, graffiti, car accidents, prostitution, etc.
Asian Express’s liquor license renewal is mentioned to be coming up soon, and it may be an opportune time to work out a “good neighbor” agreement to reduce the sales of high-alcohol beverages.
Volunteers were sought to staff the NBHC booth at the Jefferson Park festival on June 6th.
Michael Richmond mentioned the possible upcoming city council and mayoral candidate forums this fall. Previous candidate forums are said to have been especially well attended here on the hill.
The Piñata Party will be on July 18th this year — the same day as the Sound Transit Link Light Rail grand opening. This may be both good and bad.
Newly elected board members:
Did I miss something or get something wrong? Let us know in the comments.