Jul 31, 2007

Nobody home!

On vacation till August 13th.

Zip on over to the CHS: Capitol Hill Seattle blog for all your local news, and if there's something that really should be posted right here right now, E-mail it to Justin (the CHS blogger-in-chief, who got me into this: see top left corner of his blog) and he'll work his magic.

(BTW: don't forget to share your views on the 23rd & Union proposal. Here's some more info.)

Jul 26, 2007

Neighborhood Planning to return?

Those of you who were around a decade ago may recall the neighborhood planning efforts that went on in our neighborhoods back then, which resulted both in the Central Area Neighborhoods Plan and in the Madison-Miller neighborhood plan (see RHS of page, below "Miller Links").

Those planning exercises helped us meet neighbors, understand City zoning and land use rules, and really gave participants a sense of ownership and empowerment in their neighborhoods.

But the City kind of gave up after the plans hit the (dusty) shelves. All professional City help in implementing and updating the plans soon ceased: small groups of dedicated neighbors continue to meet to try and move the process forward, but it's terribly hard work without City help.

Various people have been pressing for the Neighborhood Planning Process to be revived, including Councilmember Clark, who was a Neighborhood Plan City employee in a former life.

The Mayor is now talking of reviving the Neighborhood Plans, though he seems to want to make them much more homogeneous and centrally guided than they were before. You can learn more about (what little) we know about the upcoming process in:

So, why should we care? Firstly because we might want to keep control of our neighborhood's destiny. Secondly because there are obvious concrete examples in our area of the need for local neighborhood control.

The proposed redevelopment and upzone of the SW corner of 23rd & Union has got a lot of public input on this blog. Most people have been supportive of Jim Mueller's proposed upzone of his property as a necessary step in the redevelopment of that property. He has, however, been very open about his plans to acquire and redevelop more properties at 23rd & Union (and on Madison) and some people have expressed great concern that allowing this one upzone (from a 40' to a 65' neighborhood commercial zone) will open the door for creeping upzoning of the whole intersection, with the consequent change of the whole character of the area.

A revived neighborhood planning process would be an excellent chance for neighbors to learn about the benefits and consequences of such upzoning, and would allow the immediate neighborhood to be fully informed about the process and make an informed collective decision about the wisdom of such upzoning.

Note, by the way, that the City has recently changed zoning standards for neighborhood business districts and is in the process of doing so for multifamily residential zones.

23rd & Union development: some expert advice

Many thanks to all of you who commented on Jim Mueller's proposal to upzone and develop the Coleman site at 23rd & Union. Please Click Here to review the previous comments or add your own.

Most of the comments were very supportive of the project, but a couple questioned whether Mueller really needed the upzone to 65'. I took the question to Joe Nabbefeld, who has lived in the neighborhood for many years, and used to write on real estate for the Daily Journal of Commerce (see these articles as examples of his work) and now has his own company. He's agreed to let me share his very informative answers.

Please feel free to comment further.

My blog post about Jim Mueller's 23rd/Union project has generated some interesting feedback, including this comment:

"I'm not willing to take Jim at his word when he says that he needs 65'. This is because I'm largely ignorant of financing matters and because I see so many other new retail/residential buildings that are below 65'. Why can these projects "pencil out" but not Jim's?"

Do you know how we could get estimates on costs etc to answer that question?


Andrew Taylor

Joe's first response:

First, land prices (aka costs) play a role in what height will "pencil."

Land prices adjust, through market forces, to what height the zoning allows.

So, for example, when there is land that is zoned for 30 feet (such as L-3 zoning, which these days is almost entirely having townhomes built on it), the land quickly becomes priced at the maximum that a builder can pay for 30-foot land.

The next zoning tranche up is 40 feet. More can be built on that land (another story), so the market will price at a bit more per sf of land than for the 30-foot land.

The next up is 65-foot land. You can build roughly twice as much than on 30-foot land (it's more complex than that, based on different setback requirements and such. So, as you can see, the land price adjusts up to the essentially the maximum that a builder can pay for that land based on still penciling at what can be built on it.

So if someone sees a project that is built to only 40 feet, they can't just say well why can't the guy over there just keep his at 40 feet ...
Since the "guy over there" may have paid more per sf, and more per residential unit that can be built, for his site, and therefore has to build to the higher capacity to "make it pencil."

"Making it pencil" is a term that can be misunderstood, or abused, meanwhile.

These projects involve massive amounts of money that someone has to put at risk. So "making it pencil" does not just mean break even or make a slight profit. "Making it pencil" means I have to go out in the marketplace for capital and convince investors to bring put down these massive amounts of money on my project. I have to compete against every other opportunity that these capital sources have, so I have to promise them a competitive return, or profit, on their investment. It has to reflect, or compensate them, for the level of risk that they are taking, too -- which is rather high in development.

So the market will say how much these investors have to receive, and once they put their money into my project, I have to deliver them the return that they were promised. Delivering that return is "making it pencil." If there's not a clear path to delivering that return, then the developer has to opt not to attempt the project -- but instead take those investors and themselves to a different site that will pencil with more certainty.

What we don't want to get to on any project, particularly ones that are bringing housing into the city, getting people off the freeways, and particularly ones that are attempting to build out greenfield sites that have been sitting fallow and also formerly red-lined sites and red-lined areas ... What we don't want to do is worry about how much profit the risk-taker might make. That's a bad formula. What we want is just the opposite -- we want to encourage the risk-takers to take the risk and build, and the way to do that is to say "we hope you do so well that you want to come back and do the next one." We particularly want to say that to classy, well-meaning, smart risk-takers like Jim Mueller.

Being "in scale" with what is currently in a neighborhood, while sometimes well-meaning, is often a red herring. It's often the wrong perspective (or an attempt to hide the NIMBYism that is at play). "Scale" is always changing, and will always be changing. Every new advancement steps out of the scale of what was there. The first teepee wasn't in scale with the meadow. The log cabin wasn't in scale with the teepee. The 3-story fort wasn't in scale with the cabin. Then an office building came in, then a taller one. The first 240-foot tower wasn't in scale with the 85 foot ones around it, but then came another 240-footer and it was in scale.

The city has rightly set a course of bringing growth into the city, where the infrastructure is already built and paid for, and where people thrive by sharing so many facilities and resources and the energy that courses thru a good city. To do that, each neighborhood has to build up where it can, such as where the earthquake long ago took out a brick building and nothing is there now. It would be a travesty to not build as much good, well-designed housing as we could on that site.

To: Joe Nabbefeld
Subject: RE: Question about Mueller project

Quick follow-up question, having read your letter more closely.

Mueller's site is zoned 40'. Was it priced as 40' by the seller, and hence allow a 40' building, or did the seller also assume that it will be upzoned to 65', and price it as a 65' property (and hence preclude 40' buildings)?

Presumably the purchase price is public information, so we could compare it to similar recent 40' or 65' NC property sales and make a judgement?

Sorry to be a bit slow on the uptake, but I don't think about this stuff all day?

I personally like Mueller and favor his plans, but then I don't have to live right next to it!

Joe's answer:

I don't know what the price was. (And have no knowledge whether Jim has closed on buying it.)

And it gets complicated real quickly.

For one, there's the cost of the environmental clean-up. (And does the neighborhood want that to remain not-cleaned up?)

For another, almost nothing gets built in 40-foot zones these days (just because we see a building in a 40-foot zone, doesn't mean that building could be built today. Market conditions right now preclude building to 40 feet ... Generally, an exception being if the property owner is the builder themselves and have owned it so long that they own it free and clear ... Hence can make something "pencil" that somebody buying the land today couldn't make "pencil.")

What does get built in some 40-foot zones is townhomes, under-utilizing the site, which is not good for the city and region.

One reason so little is done in 40-foot zones is what you would do is small wooden condo structures, and liability insurance costs preclude that. The apartment market is coming back, and so some small wooden apartment buildings might possibly begin to pencil again, but not yet.

Jul 24, 2007

Miller Park Neighborhood Association mailing list

Miller Park E-mails are distributed by the City of Seattle's computers (for which, many thanks). Their software was recently updated, found to be unusable, and replaced by a different product.

I can now add to the list any of you who have asked (in the last couple of months) to be added. Or you can do it yourself:

How to subscribe and unsubscribe

To Subscribe to the list send a message to Listserv@talk2.seattle.gov

and type "SUBSCRIBE MPNA " (without the quotes) into the body of the email.

The MPNA list will rarely send more than one message a day. If you NEVER want more than one message a day from MPNA, then (after you've subscribed) use the "digest" format:

Send an email to Listserv@talk2.seattle.gov and type in "SET MPNA DIGEST" (without the quotes) in the body of the email.

To leave the list Send an email to Listserv@talk2.seattle.gov and type in "SIGNOFF MPNA" (without the quotes) in the body of the email

List operation questions may be mailed to the list owner andrew_taylor@mac.com or to the list software maintainers. Nate.Eckstine@seattle.gov
206-733-9658 or Derrick.Hall@seattle.gov

Thank you

Jul 23, 2007

Night Out is August 7, 2007!

“Night Out” is a national Crime Prevention event. It is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. It is a great chance to learn about crime prevention, while also celebrating your community and spending time with your neighbors.

See this Seattle Police website for all the details.

Registration deadline is July 27th, 2007.

Here's a "National Night Out" website.

Sonja Richter, our tireless Crime Prevention Coordinator has retired (but is around and kicking: I ran into her the other day) and her position is still vacant, so we'll have to organize it all ourselves this year!

Six Flags Over Madison

The Bottleneck Lounge has found a clever way to advertize the presence of their cute little bar on Madison: a series of themed events which can be publicized via large flags hung above the door.

Pride events sported a Rainbow flag, South African wine evenings gave us a South African Flag.

Next event:

Saturday July 28th: Pirate Night!

Avast ye landlubbers! Abandon your post on July 28th and make quick to The BottleNeck Lounge for our first annual Pirate Party. (click here for details).
And now, a challenge for all of you Vexillologists: think of other suitable events to celebrate at the Bottleneck that can be celebrated with flags that are easily obtained (or you can supply) and E-mail info@bottlenecklounge.com with your ideas. Who knows, there might even be a free drink in it for you!

BTW, talking of Pirates: my choice of Pirate Song is "Pirate Jenny" , from The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, which ends so poignantly:

Then they'll pile up the bodies
And I'll say,
"That'll learn ya!"

(here's a recording by Nina Simone)

(and if I was asked to suggest a local band to perform it I'd suggest The Cutters)

Jul 18, 2007

Lawn Edger found

Two nights ago, we found a nice gas-powered lawn edger hidden in our shrubbery in our front lawn at 22nd Ave. E. and E. John St. We suspect it was stolen from a nearby yard and stashed for future pick up. We alerted the police but there were no lawn edgers reported stolen. Can you please send a note to your list to see if anyone’s missing one? If they can describe the brand and make, we’ll gladly return it to the rightful owner.
Cheers, Roger

Roger Nyhus
T 206-323-3733


Jul 17, 2007

Thoughts on 23rd/Union redevelopment?

Please visit this Miller Park blog post if you would like to share your thoughts on the proposed development (and upzone) at 23rd & Union.

Andrew Taylor

Blog and Calendar Updates

New on Blog

(Struggling with dead laptop: backlog of posts: sorry!)


From http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller

(see online calendar for details and other events)

  • Friday, July 20, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Saturday, July 21, 10:00am MaDCAP cleanup
  • Saturday, July 21, 1:00pm East Precinct Picnic
  • Saturday, July 21, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help Sunday, July 22, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market
  • Tuesday, July 24, 6:30pm Neighborhood Planning Committee
  • Thursday, July 26, 7:00pm Seattle Community Council Federation Meeting
  • Friday, July 27, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market

Important Opportunity for Comment - Nightlife Legislation

Sonia Richter (our recently retired Safety Coordinator) passes this on:

Posting this would also help our neighbors on E Barclay Ct. who are being driven to sell their homes and move (or stay and never sleep) with the problems at Wade's on E Jefferson between 12th and 13th. Along with the noise and drug dealing a man was killed there last week, not coveredin the press at all. Thanks!

>>> Martin Moe
7/14/2007 11:54 AM >>>
Dear Friends,

The Mayor and the Seattle Police Department would very much appreciate your assistance by speaking out in support on the proposed legislation on Nightlife Premises. Specifically, support is needed for a provision that nightlife premises will require a license from the City of Seattle to operate a Nightlife Premise (the attached information gives you a sense of what the definition of a Nightlife Premise is). The license could be revoked if operators of a Nightlife Premise do not take action to comply with existing laws (noise, litter, property damage, violence, etc.).

The recent violence and gun shots outside Ta
bellah, a club just a couple of blocks from Victor Steinbrueck Park, demonstrates the need for legislation. SPD tells us that they have had several conversations with the owners of the club with no results. Many complaints have been filed with the Washington State Liquor Control Board over several months resulting in no action.

Support is required because the proposed City of Seattle license does not have adequate support to pass in a vote of Seattle City Council.

If you are interested in knowing more, see this document , go to this City Council webpage, watch the "Ask The Mayor" videos that deal with it, or read this timely (7/18/07) Seattle Times front page article.

You can help by doing the following:
1) Send an email to Seattle Councilpersons – the sooner the better!!
Send an email letting them know that you support a City of License be required for Nightlife Premise businesses. Some key points might be that 1) your public safety must be the priority for the Council and the City, 2) violence is not freedom of expression and 3) many businesses have legal responsibilities for ensuring that their impact on their surroundings is not destructive. Please copy friendsofsteinbrueckpark@yahoo.com

The email addresses for the Seattle Councilpersons are:


2) Attend the Hearing
There will be a public hearing on July 26th at 9:30 am in the City Council Chambers which is on the 2nd Floor of City Hall. Your attending and speaking in favor of the licensing requirement could be an additional way to influence the decision.

Ann Moe
Dave Martin

Upcoming Bikery Programs

The Bikery folks are at Garfield Community Center every SATURDAY afternoon from 2 - 5 PM and are eager to help fixing your bike. I've been a customer and recommend that you give them a try. They wrote to tell us of two special programs (both at Garfield Community Center, 23rd & Cherry, on Saturday):

We have some great programs coming up next weekend at the Bikery! On Saturday, July 21st, we have two programs for you.

The first, starting at noon is "Components 101 - 'The Wheel'" In that workshop, Nikki from Mobius Cycles will show you all about rims, spokes, hubs, and the art of "truing".

Following the components class at 3pm, we will be hosting a forum titled, "Who Speaks For You?". In this open forum, you will learn more about local and regional groups that are advocating for bicycle rights.

Tell your friends! This should be a great afternoon!

East Union Project: YOUR thoughts, please

Dan Bertolet wants some online discussions of the 23rd & Union redeveloment issues. Below is his letter; here's a link to the Design Review Board report and here's my previous post about the proposal (with links to older info).

Please click HERE (or on the word COMMENTS at the end of this post) to share your thoughts. You may be anonymous if you wish: your comments will be immediately available to all (click on the blog post title, or on the word COMMENTS at the end to read them).

Here's what Dan wants us to do:

I live about two blocks from 23rd and Union and have been following the proposed development closely. I've been thinking that it would be helpful to have a forum to discuss the pros and cons, and that your blog would might be a good place to do it. Would you consider making a post asking for feedback?

Personally, I am in favor of the development as proposed. I take Meuller at his word that if he can't do 65 feet that he'll bail on the project, and I think that would be a major loss for the neighborhood. I work in the architecture field and know that Mithun is one of the best design firms in the City, and they are especially advanced in green building. Mueller is a neighbor and a relatively conscientious developer, and seems to have some integrity about doing a good project. I think we are quite lucky to have this team for 23rd and Union. If Mueller bails, there's every chance we could end up with schlock.

Anyway, I would be interested to hear more about why people are opposed to 6-stories. Maybe we could all learn something if we could get a lively discussion happening on your blog.

2315 E Marion

East Precinct Police Appreciation: your letters, please!

From: Veronica Pugh <veronica@sngi.org>

No EPCPC (East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition) meeting this month due to our participation in the East Precinct Picnic Saturday, July 21st, 1-4pm.

Police Appreciation - EPCPC will sponsor an East Precinct Police Appreciation in August. Capitol Hill Times has agreed to print a few stories from community members about why we appreciate the East Precinct Officers. If you’d like to participate in this project, please send a <200 word letter to the the editor Doug Schwartz <editor@capitolhiltimes.com> by Tuesday, July 31st. For more info about how you can participate with the police appreciation contact me.


Veronica Pugh
Seattle Neighborhood Group
EPCPC Program Coordinator
(206) 322-9330

Saturday: Cleanup and Precinct Picnic

Jon Vandemoortel (Mr. MaDCAP) writes:

The MaDCAP cleanup will commence as usual beginning with Starbuck's coffee at 9:45. It will end around noon. The barbecue portion has been canceled, however. The East Precinct station, located at 1519 12th Avenue, is having their annual picnic between 1:00 and 4:00 that day, and we are all invited to attend. Over the years, and especially so these past few, the officers of the East Precinct have worked many hours to ensure that we have a safe neighborhood in which to live. The Miracle on Madison simply would not have occurred without their assistance. Thus, you are encouraged to stop by their gathering after the cleanup for food and festivities. Thanks.

See you at the cleanup at 9:45 AM, Saturday July 21st (we meet behind the Prince of Wales apartments at 20th & Denny), and then again at the East Precinct at 1 PM:

Picnic at the Precinct

When: Saturday, July 21
From: 1-4 PM
Location: East Precinct 1519 12th Avenue, Seattle

All East Precinct Community members are invited!
Enjoy dancing, music, food, magic, balloons, raffles and Fun!
Get a precinct tour, meet local officers, Swat, K-9 and More

(click on image for larger version)

Club Chocolate City's closing brings hard-earned quiet to Miller Park

6/27/07 Capitol Hill Times article about our neighborhood is finally available online.

Don't miss Bradley Enghaus's photo gallery of the area.

Jul 15, 2007

Miller bathrooms mentioned in "The Stranger"

From The Stranger, 7/12/07)
In Other Neighborhoods. . .
Miller Park

(inspired by this Miller blog post)
By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Seattle's Miller Park neighbors are used to complaining about drug dealers and prostitution near 20th and Madison. Now, Miller Park has a new problem: soccer players. Reports have trickled in that soccer players—who use the Miller Playfield for night games—have been peeing in the bushes near the park's parking lot. Neighbors are pissed, they say, because the problem could be avoided. The playfield bathrooms are locked at 9:00 p.m.—often while soccer players are still whizzing up and down the field. Andrew Taylor, chair of the Miller Park Neighborhood Association, has suggested the Seattle Parks Department put timed locks on the bathroom doors to accommodate the players. Meany Middle School, which sits on the edge of the playfield, has posted "do not urinate here" signs along its walls. Seattle Parks Department spokeswoman Dewey Potter says she's "not sure there's an easy solution. All of our outdoor restrooms close at some point. We'd like to solve the problem if there is one."

Jul 13, 2007

Happy Bastille Day

Saturday, July 14: Bastille Day
(posted on Friday the 13th)

Jul 12, 2007

Blog & Calendar updates

New on http://millerparkseattle.blogspot.com/

Temporary No Parking on 19th: Sharrows!

Stolen Car Alert

"Don't mess with Ms. Esther"

(holiday week and dead laptop: no posts!)


From http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller

(see online calendar for details and other events)

Friday, July 13, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
Saturday, July 14, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
Saturday, July 14, 11:00pm Squire Park BBQ
Sunday, July 15, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market Sunday, July 15, 12:00pm CNC potluck
Friday, July 20, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
Saturday, July 21, 10:00am MaDCAP cleanup
Saturday, July 21, 1:00pm East Precinct Picnic
Saturday, July 21, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help

Temporary No Parking on 19th: Sharrows!

(Apologies for long silence: July 4th, daughter leaving home, dead laptop)

In answer to J's CHS post about the strange street-graffiti on 19th, here's a note I got (editorial comments at end):

Attached is a letter describing work the Seattle Department of Transportation will be doing within the next two to four weeks to add new bicycle facilities on 19th Ave E between Madison and Galer. To do this work, we will need to temporarily restrict parking along this stretch of road. Please help us spread the word in the area and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Kent Grasso
Seattle Department of Transportation


Dear Mr. Taylor,

This spring, Mayor Greg Nickels announced the release of Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, which will significantly expand Seattle’s network of bike facilities. These facilities will make it easier and safer to ride throughout the city, while reducing greenhouse gases. The plan aims to make Seattle the best and the safest city in the nation for bicycling. Over the next two years, the city will add approximately 136 miles of bike lanes and signed bike routes. Overall, the plan calls for developing 452 miles of marked or separated bicycle routes over the next 10 years.

As part of this plan, SDOT will be installing bicycle facilities on 19th Avenue East from East Madison Street to East Galer Street within the next two to four weeks. Residents will notice new features in Seattle’s growing bicycle network such as shared lane pavement markings or “sharrows”. Sharrows, as indicated in the enclosed image, are bicycle symbols that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles.

Both motorists and bicyclists should continue to follow the rules of the road when sharrows are on the roadway. Motorists should continue to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing, while bicyclists should use the sharrow to guide where they ride within the lane and remember not to ride too close to parked cars.

While there will be no permanent changes to parking on this street, SDOT will need to temporarily restrict parking to implement these improvements. No Parking signs will be posted at least 72 hours prior to the start of work. Vehicles that remain parked during the restricted times will be towed.

SDOT will also provide notification to residences and businesses along 19th Avenue East informing them about the upcoming installation, but we would appreciate your assistance in spreading the word in your community. For the safety of our crews who must work in traffic, and to reduce the impact on mobility in the area, this work may take place in the early morning hours or on weekends.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in helping us provide a safe, connected, and attractive bicycle network in your neighborhood and throughout the city. Together we will make Seattle an even better place to ride.

Shared Lane Pavement Markings (Sharrows)

If you would like additional information, please call (206) 684-ROAD, email WalkandBike@Seattle.gov or refer to the SDOT Bicycle Program webpage at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeprogram.htm.


Wayne M. Wentz
Director of Traffic Management

Editorial comments (from Andrew)

  1. Here (via CHS) is a link to some pictures of Sharrows (Shared Lane Markings).
  2. In Brief: City puts them in when they want a bike lane but don't have room for one. (As I understand it) they alert motorists to the possible presence of cyclists, suggest where to ride, but don't prohibit drivers from using the lane.
  3. They seem a lousy idea to me:
    • 19th is VERY quiet: I ride it every day without any issues: "it ain't broke, don't fix it".
    • (assuming the above SDOT picture is to scale) Sharrows will squeeze bikes very close to parked cars and all the attendent door-opening issues.
    • Others agree with me.
  4. Don't forget that you have the right to take up a whole traffic lane if you deem it necessary for your safety.
  5. I've ridden almost daily in Seattle for 24 years : one door-hit and a few near misses. In most places there are ample back-streets or minor arterials (like 19th).
  6. In some places there are real safety issues and even a full-blown painted bike-lane may be unsafe: a good solution might be the European style stepped bike-lanes, as seen in this picture, from a series including pictures by our very own Jim Mueller. This is my absolute favorite picture (but note the total lack of bike helmets!).

Jul 4, 2007

Stolen Car Alert

Howdy, folks! This is Don at 331 22nd Ave E.

Just wanted to let everybody know that my roommate Bill had his car
stolen outta our driveway yesterday (7/3/07), sometime between 11am and 7pm.
It was a Ford Taurus, probably being parted out even now (the police
didn't seem optimistic about finding it). Feh. On the off chance
anyone saw anything unusual during that time, feel free to drop me a
line at this email address.

Thanks much, be cautious, and have a mighty fine Fourth of July.

(PS: from the stable door department: a deal on getting "The Club". My sympathies. Andrew)

"Don't mess with Ms. Esther"

Please join me in congratulating Esther Pounds on her retirement from her long-held position as the resident manager of Capitol Hill Housing's Hazel Plaza apartments at 21st Ave E. & E. John. Let's thank her for her many years of hard work for the neighborhood, and wish her all the best for the future.

Below is a letter from Capitol Hill Housing's Executive Director, Chuck Weinstock, which tells it much better than I could, followed by a note from Esther herself. Chuck is also retiring soon from his similarly long-held position at Capitol Hill Housing. I'd also like to thank him for his many years of dedication to affordable housing, as well as his keen interest in all of the housing and development issues around Capitol Hill and Miller Park. For a quick review of Capitol Hill Housing's mission, you might read the articles in the July 92 or Spring 96 editions of the Miller Times.

Esther and Chuck epitomize all that we love in Capitol Hill Housing: they work hard to provide safe, legal, drug-free affordable housing that is a pleasure to have in the neighborhood.

(Click on the letters for a larger version)

Jul 1, 2007

Land Use Application:2331 E Madison St

Land Use Application to allow one live-work unit and one, two-unit townhouse structure. Residential parking for two vehicles provided one within the structure and one surface.

Details on DPD website

Blog and Calendar updates

New items:


From http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller

(see online calendar for details and other events)

  • Wednesday, July 4, 12:00pm Community Picnic
  • Thursday, July 5, 6:00pm Neighborhood plan: Central Area
  • Friday, July 6, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Sunday, July 8, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market

Design Review Board Discussion: 23rd & Union Project

While we await the typed report from the Design Review Board, here's a video of their discussion of Jim Mueller's 23rd/Union project. Taken with my camera set on the table: crank up the volume and you can hear most of what they have to say. The picture is mostly irrelevant, though it does show some informative hand gestures.

Key to the participants:
On the left (taking notes): Lisa Rutzick, DPD Staff. Behind her: very quiet board member - didn't say much. Across the table: 3 Board members. The woman who spoke the most represents the neighborhood interests on the board: Rumi Takahashi. She noted (in a post on the CNA website):

My name is Rumi Takahashi and I am a member of the Capitol Hill/First Hill/Central District Design Review Board. I will be reviewing this project tomorrow night along with my fellow Board members. We are all volunteers on the board - not city employees. We represent community, business and design interests. I encourage members of the Central Area community to attend and offer comments on this project. Design Review is an important part of the Land Use review process with the City. It is an opportunity for members of the public to be heard, and become part of the record of the project.

Editorial comments ( by Andrew)

Many of the neighbors who testified at the meeting were opposed to the proposed rezone to 65' . The Design Review Board members (as you can hear) were in favor of the rezone: they noted the the trees on 22nd would block views of the proposed 65' building from the adjacent 30' buildings. Jim Mueller expressed great interest in preserving the trees.

My tree expert thinks that the trees will probably survive the nearby excavations and will probably last for 20 years or more. However, the new building will surely outlast the trees, so the neighborhood should make their feelings felt, if they disagree with the Board. I made a suggestion at the meeting which met with some neighborhood approval.

Other posts about the project:

Secret Firework Spot

OK, so one of the perks of working at Fred Hutch on Lake Union is the easy parking for great firework viewing, but the 1 hour drive home after the show is less than enjoyable.

More recently we discovered that Lakeview Boulevard E., just north of the Belmont-Eastlake I-5 overpass, is a great place to watch the distant Elliot Bay firework show and the in-your-face Lake Union show. There's a wide sidewalk overlooking a steep slope down to I5 and the lake. A chain-link fence keeps you safe, but the blackberries growing in the fence can obstruct the view, so bring some gardening tools! (severely pruned by the authorities last time I looked)

Am I spoiling it for myself by telling you? NO! it's never been really crowded and I' d much rather have you walk down and enjoy the view than the turkeys who drive in at the last moment, double park, leave their smelly engines running and blare their choice of music for all to "enjoy". Note: the firefighters who turn up and sit on top of their truck to enjoy the show are NOT in that category. They often get called away during the show, but also get treats brought to them by partygoers in adjacent houses.

See you there - Andrew

PS: Don't even think of thinking of driving. It's a fun walk, and Belmont gets blocked off by the Police anyway.