Tag Archives: mid-beacon

Valentine’s Day street clean-up follow-up

Bags of garbage collected
Some of the 50+ bags of garbage collected Sunday in the Valentine's Day clean-up. Photo courtesy Pat McGannon. Click for more photos from the album.

Pat McGannon wrote to follow-up on the outcome of the Valentine’s Day clean-up effort between Alaska and Dawson near MLK yesterday (emphasis added):

The weather could not have been much better for the 17 volunteers that participated in the Valentine’s Day neighborhood cleanup that covered Mt. View, S. Edumunds, 30th Ave S., S. Ferdinand Street stairs, and Dawson St. in Mid-Beacon-Hill’s eastern edge. Temperatures climbed into the 50s and the sky held back its rain. Mother Nature even thanked volunteers with an occasional sunbeam breaking through the clouds.

Volunteers worked from 10:30am through 4:30pm to collect over 50 bags of garbage, one large bin of recyclables plus 7 car tires, 6 bikes, 3 children’s big wheels, 3 CRT computer monitors, 3 computers, 2 printers, a microwave, 5 buckets, and 2 lawn chairs that had been thoughtlessly dumped on this neighborhood’s streets. Seven hypodermic needles were also removed from the streets. Additionally, contents of a stolen purse were recovered.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make this Seattle neighborhood a much cleaner and safer place to live! A thank you also goes out to Seattle Public Utilities for supplying the garbage bags, safety vests, work gloves, grabber tools, and post-event trash pickup! Please continue to keep the neighborhood clean by picking up litter on the street near your home each week on garbage day. The neighborhood looks great today thanks to all the volunteers!

If you’re interested in organizing your own street clean-up, Pat also mentioned that you can get free supplies through Seattle Public Utilities.

Great work everyone!

Valentine’s Day cleanup Sunday

Cleanup map
Meet on 30th between Edmunds and Dawson

Pat McGannon has organized a litter pick-up and clean-up event along the east edge of Mid-Beacon Hill. Pat’s announcement follows:

Do You Love Our Neighborhood as Much as We Do? Then Join Us!

For What?: A neighborhood cleanup. We will be collecting litter from the streets and public stairs.

When?: Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 10:30am

Where?: The cleanup will include Dawson (between MLK and 30th Ave South), 30th Ave South (between Dawson and S. Edmunds), S. Edmunds (between 30th Ave S. and Mount View Dr.), Mount View Drive (between S. Edmunds and Alaska), and the stairs that connect 30th Ave S to S. Ferdinand below.

Why?: To make our neighborhood a cleaner and safer place to live.

How?: Gloves, grabber tools, orange safety vests, and garbage bags will be provided to make litter collection safer. Once the trash is collected, bags will be brought to a central location for the city to pick up.

Details: Meet at the top of the S. Ferdinand stairs (on 30th Ave S) at 10:30am to sign in and get your supplies. Gloves can be kept, but the grabber tools and safety vests will need to be returned to Pat McGannon at 2942 S. Edmunds St. by the end of the day. Donate as little or as much of your time as you would like. If you live on a bordering street not covered by our current cleanup, but would like to personally clean that street, then you are welcome to get supplies from us.

Questions? Contact Pat McGannon at pmcgannonmail-cleanup@yahoo.com or at 216-236-4321.

Zoning may keep 13th Ave coffeehouse closed

Art's on Beacon Hill in the old DeVos Grocery building at 13th and Shelton. All photos in this post by Wendi.
Michael Perrone has a dream for an old grocery store near Maple Elementary School. In his dream, the old DeVos grocery store at 13th and Shelton, closed since 2005, would be a neighborhood gathering place, called Art’s on Beacon Hill. It would contain a coffeehouse with art on the walls, a jukebox, a player piano, and a performance studio. The building would be a resource and asset to neighbors in this mid-Beacon Hill neighborhood.

It hasn’t quite worked out as planned. Perrone painted, cleaned and decorated the old building, using vintage parts salvaged from the old grocery store in many places, and it looks just about ready to open. (In fact, an “Open” sign usually sits in the doorway.) But it remains officially closed, as it has since 2008 when the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) notified Perrone that he could not operate a “community theater” in part of the building.

Old objects found when renovating the DeVos building decorate a vintage display unit in the coffee shop. Owner Michael Perrone's reflection appears in the middle.

The building’s history goes back a long way on Beacon Hill. Louis DeVos brought his family to the Hill in 1908, and in 1909, they moved into a house on South Shelton Street. A few years later, Louis bought the plot of land at 13th and Shelton and built a retail building there, first renting it to an Italian grocer, then establishing his own grocery business. The family business was successful, and eventually grew to include three stores including one at 2718 Beacon Avenue South (currently the location known as the empty “South China Restaurant” lot just south of Beacon Hill Station). Though two of the DeVos stores were closed during the Depression, the store at 13th and Shelton remained open into the 21st century, finally closing for good in August 2005. It was sold to Perrone as a “tear-down” in 2006.

Though the building had operated continuously as a commercial building since it was built in 1915, later in the 20th century the site was rezoned to SF5000 — single-family housing. Existing businesses such as the DeVos Grocery are allowed to continue in operation when their zoning changes, as a “non-conforming use.”

A jukebox and Perrone's dog Sebastian in the area of the building that was intended to be a coffee shop.

If the non-conforming use lapses for a certain amount of time, however, the building reverts to single-family, and a new business can’t go back to the non-conforming use. Seattle Municipal Code 23.42.104 B says: “A nonconforming use that has been discontinued for more than 12 consecutive months shall not be reestablished or recommenced.” There are certain exceptions, but it is unclear whether Perrone’s use of the DeVos building was what DPD required to maintain commercial status as required in the code. Perrone believes so; he did acquire a permit to install commercial-grade electrical service in the building, and he states that he also sold salvage from the building’s old contents to maintain commercial status until the coffeehouse could open.

In 2008, Perrone began using the building’s performance studio. In March of that year, the Beacon Hill Times/South District Journal (now South Seattle Beacon) ran an article about the plans for the former grocery, stating that it would be “a coffee shop, repertory theater and eventually an education center” and home to the Seattle Novyi Theatre repertory group.

In April of that year, a complaint was filed with DPD about his use of the building for theater rehearsals and performances. Perrone says that DPD declared the site in violation, and also told him that he could not legally live in the caretaker’s apartment and would be fined $1500/day for illegally residing there, retroactive to when he bought the building in 2006. “I owe the city a million and a half,” he says.

The performance space at Art's.

Later in 2008, says Perrone, he gave up, feeling pushed into a corner. In frustration, he told DPD “fine, turn it into a single-family residence.” Currently, an open application is on file with DPD to do so.

In the meantime, Perrone still fights to save the building for his original intended use, with pro bono help from a lawyer who grew up in the neighborhood. He has a petition signed by over 150 neighbors who support his plans for the DeVos building. “Only one neighbor said ‘no,'” he points out.

Neighbor Dayna Provitt sent a message to the Beacon Hill Mailing List recently, appealing for help for Perrone:

“My husband and I were so glad to see the building purchased, and Mike’s attempts to put something into this part of Beacon Hill that might help bring a ‘neighborhoody’ feel to the street. … Here’s a guy who’s trying to bring some energy and community building to our neighborhood… and getting stuck in red tape. We’d hate to see this building go back to being an empty space again. … Maybe someone in the neighborhood can help him cut through the red tape and get his project going! Something useful in this space would be so great for our street.”

With no way to legally open the coffeehouse, Perrone has been unable to pay the building’s mortgage since August. It is currently scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure sale on April 2, unless fate intervenes and Art’s on Beacon Hill can open.

The player piano, mostly in tune, awaits coffeeshop customers and performers.

(More photos of the building after the jump.) Continue reading Zoning may keep 13th Ave coffeehouse closed

From coffee to kung fu and yoga

Neighbor Jann VanOver reports via the Beacon Hill mailing list that the former Grown Folks Coffee site at 4878 Beacon Avenue South reopened recently as the Jun Hong Kung Fu and Sports Association, with martial arts and yoga classes.

Their Facebook page says, “Here you are not a customer, you are a brother, a sister, we are a family, we are shaolin kung fu.” They’re having an open house on January 23.

Beginning yoga classes are $10 a session, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:00-8:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 3:00-4:00 pm. Martial arts classes and practices are also offered throughout the week.

Store robbed near 15th and Columbian

There was an armed robbery near 15th and Columbian on Thursday night. Seattle Police say that a suspect entered the store, in the 4300 block of 15th Avenue South, armed with a hand gun. He rushed the clerk and forced him to give up some cash, then fled.

The suspect is described as a Black or Hispanic male, 25-30, 5’7″, 160 pounds, with fair or almond-colored skin, wearing a black hoody, a blue and white plaid jacket, and blue jeans.

A K-9 unit tracked him to a nearby parking lot, but the suspect was not found.

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Car wash near station declared a violation; Grown Folks Coffeehouse closed

Signs at the entrance to the First Choice car wash illustrated problems with having an auto-oriented business in a pedestrian zone. Photo by Jason.
Signs at the entrance to the First Choice car wash illustrated problems with having an auto-oriented business in a pedestrian zone. Photo by Jason.
The city’s Department of Planning and Development has confirmed that the First Choice car detailing/car wash business that is operating at the corner of Beacon Avenue South and 15th Avenue South is not allowed to operate at that site due to light rail station area and pedestrian overlay zoning regulations. The case is being referred to the City Attorney’s office for enforcement action, and the owner of the business has been informed of the decision. Our understanding here at the BHB is that there is a certain grace period for the business to relocate, so the business may be in operation for some time still.

In other local business news, neighbor Chris sent in a tip about an interesting, and saddening, listing on Craigslist today: Grown Folks Coffeehouse has closed, and they are selling all of their equipment. A potential bargain for someone else who wants to open a coffee shop, but a substantial loss for Mid-Beacon Hill. (This closure wasn’t entirely unexpected. We mentioned the land use application for their lot last month, and it was known for months before that the lot owner was looking to redevelop the property. –Ed.)

The RPZ is coming soon

If you see this in your usual parking area, youll need to get a pass. Photo by Wendi.
If you see this in your usual parking area, you'll need to get a pass. Photo by Wendi.
In the last couple of weeks, new signs have been posted around the light rail station areas, with parking limitations “except by zone permit.” New Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs) are going into effect in July, to prevent people from using the neighborhoods immediately around each light rail station as unofficial park-and-rides. Park too long in an RPZ without the official city sticker declaring you as a resident, and you’ll get a ticket. (No, your “BeHi” sticker won’t help.)

The zones are in effect from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm on weekdays, limiting parking to two hours unless you have an RPZ pass. General information on the RPZ passes and how to apply may be found here, along with specific information for the zones at Beacon Hill, Mount Baker (McClellan), Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach.

Pass fees are waived until spring 2011 for residents near the light rail stations, limited to two free resident passes and one free guest pass per household. There is a cost for additional permits.

Columbian Way closed due to fallen tree, wire in road

Columbian Way South (and part of South Alaska Street) is closed between Beacon Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, due to a tree that fell and took some power lines with it in the 2500 block at 1:27 am. It’s expected to be closed until at least 8:30 this morning.

(Edited to add: a later story at KIRO has an overhead picture of the fallen tree. Wow, that was a big one!)

Power was out for about 3,000 folks on Beacon Hill and elsewhere in Southeast Seattle, including the VA Hospital. Power has since been restored to all but about 300 City Light customers, and the current expectation is that the power will be fully restored by noon. Here at the BHB, we noticed two power flickers at the time of the outage, but power stayed on in our part of the Hill.

According to City Light, the area now affected is bordered on the north by South Hinds Street, on the south by South Ferdinand Street, between 4th Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.

(Thanks to West Seattle Blog for tweeting useful info and more!)

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This is the approximate location of the downed wires and tree on Columbian Way South.

The BHB wants YOU

Do you have something to say that is relevant to Beacon Hill (North, Mid-, or South)? If so, the BHB wants you. We are looking for guest writers on a variety of Beacon-related topics, and particularly for folks who live in Mid-Beacon or South Beacon. Living toward the north end of the Hill, we know we don’t always hear about what’s going on further south as well as the people who live there do. We are committed to covering the entire Hill, and we are glad to feature other voices than our own.

Don’t be shy — you don’t have to have perfect writing skills to do this. We can polish up your prose if needed.

Here are some potential starter topics, though these are not the only ones, and we welcome your ideas:

  • Raising kids on Beacon Hill
  • Voices from the various cultures represented on the Hill
  • History of the Hill
  • Restaurant reviews on the Hill and nearby
  • What to do on the weekends
  • City political issues as they directly affect the Hill
  • Land use and development
  • South Beacon Spotlight
  • Mid-Beacon Spotlight
  • Crime
  • Gardening on the Hill
  • Schools and education issues
  • A Greener Hill: environmental issues
  • Beacon by Bus: Life here without a car
  • BeaconBike: A cyclist’s life on Beacon Hill (Bike-On Hill?)

Interested in a regular writing slot or just a one-time opinion piece? Either way, email us.

Seattle Times: What Mid-Beacon Hill?

The Seattle Times posted a “Neighborhood of the Week” article about South Beacon Hill, touting its affordability, diversity, closeness to Georgetown and Columbia City, and mentioning places like Lockmore and Cleveland High School — hey, wait a minute! Those locations are about as Mid-Beacon as you get. Apparently, to the Times, anything south of Jefferson Park is South Beacon Hill. Folks who live there, particularly in Lockmore, do you think of where you live as South Beacon?