Jun 30, 2007

Service Dogs Honored


Many of us have met Jeeter, the service dog that King County Prosecutor Ellen O'Neill-Stephens brings to many of the Madison Street taskforce meetings that she runs for us.

Here's a recent Seattle Times article about Jeeter and other law enforcement and social service dogs (and a KING-5 report, with video and slide-show), and here's an older article about Jeeter.

Jun 28, 2007

Presented at 23rd/Union Design Review Hearing

From: Andrew Taylor
To: Jim Mueller
I have long been concerned about the very jarring transitions between adjacent zones in Urban Villages: I fought (without success) for Diane Sugimura's idea that the rear of Deano's property be upzoned to NC2-40 (rather than NC3-65) to ease the transition ( 65' -> 40' -> 30'),

Jim's proposal would put NC3-65' immediately across 22nd Ave from NC2-30'. One way to preserve the views of the sky from the upper floors of the adjacent NC2-30 building would be to upzone only part of the proposal to 65'. That loses rather a lot of units. I suggest a stepped approach (see attachment) to preserve the sight lines (i.e keep ~ the views seen if it were 40'). The stepped roof areas could be used for attractive roof gardens.

If there's an opportunity, I'd like to describe the idea during Wednesday's meeting.

I stopped by tonight to take a picture of 22nd. I was struck by the lovely big trees, and suggest we do our best to preserve them.

********************************************
Hi Andrew and neighbors,

There is a lot of support for your idea of graduated heights from Joanna Cullen, Dean Taylor, me and others in the 'hood. Please do present it tonight. Bill and I will be at the CADA Board meeting and will miss the Early Design meeting.

There are also requests for some affordable units in exchange for support for the contract rezone. We need workforce housing in the 'hood for firefighters, nurses, teachers and such people essential to our community. It's the right thing to do. There is the 10-year property tax abatement program that would offset some of the developer's pain.

You may print this out as documentation of my support.

Jean Tinnea
********************************************

Thanks for your ideas, and thank you for the support and great feedback at our meeting last week!

We have wrestled with this mightily for the last six months, and have stepped the building at the 22nd Ave. side as much as we can. We did a poor job of communicating this at the meeting last week, and will have some better materials to show you tonight.

Our approach to design is to look at who the neighbors are on each side of the property and to make our projects as friendly as possible to them.

In the case of the 22nd avenue side of the East Union proposal, this translated into stepping the building on the SW side, and using the SW side of the property as a mews for townhouses rather than taking the building to the edge. We then incorporated townhouses along 22nd Avenue to make our project a part of the single family street rather than turn our backs on the neighbors.

These moves put our parking all underground, which is expensive, but we determined that this was the right thing to do. There is just barely enough room in the project economics to do this.

The only cost tradeoff we can make if we take away top floor rentable units is to save money in the parking garage by excavating less deep -i.e. putting it on the ground floor - a Hobson's Choice if there ever was one!

The accepted approach to getting projects through design review is to bring in a design that is cheap and let the neighbors argue the developer into the project he wanted to build in the first place. We take the opposite approach and try to present something that we think is best. The downside for us is that we have nothing to "trade"...

I am sure we will have a positive and communicative discussion tonight, and our team looks forward to continuing to work with you.

And lastly, we love mature street trees and our intent is to keep them!

Best,
--Jim, (James C Mueller)
********************************************
Brief Report on Design Review Hearing

Very good turnout of neighbors (and other builders, architects?). Good, clear presentation by architects and Jim Mueller.

About 12 neighbors spoke. Many spoke in opposition of any upzone. I briefly presented my proposal and gave board members a copy of the flyer.

I stayed for the Design Review Board's deliberations. They _seemed_ to be generally in favor of the upzone (the community representative member less so).

I'll request an electronic copy of the Board report and post it here.

I think that strong letters from you, the immediate neighbors, would be of great value in the rezone process.
See: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/publications/cam/cam228.pdf

Contract rezones require approval from the Seattle City Council in conjunction with a "Property Use and Development Agreement," which provides specific limits on the uses of the property under the new zoning.

Much concern about traffic issues on 22nd. Neighbors seemingly mollified by parking entrance on 23rd (though the Board sort of opposed that) despite the obvious need for northbound traffic to circle back via 22nd. Some neighbors concerned by traffic on Union and wanted crosswalk on Union at 22nd: I doubt that S-DOT will go for that.

Some discussion of need for developer to "give back to community" in exchange for upzone. Suggestion of offsite affordable housing.

I recorded the Board's deliberations on my camera, if anybody is interested.

Andrew


Miller Water Play Fountain open for the summer!

The Ron K. Bills Fountain, next to Miller Community Center at 19th & Thomas on Seattle's Capitol Hill, is now open for your splashing pleasure. It's easy to get to, and runs most hours of the day: May 26 - September 3, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Here's a bit of its history)

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a movie might be worth even more:


Miller Park article in Capitol Hill Times

Article about closing of Club Chocolate City, problems at 23rd/Union etc in the 6/27/07 Capitol Hill Times.

If you weren't old-fashioned enough to get a paper copy, here's the electronic version and a photo gallery. There's an interesting snippet at the end of the article:

Another issue that remains is the fate of the now vacant property in the spot formerly occupied by Chocolate City and Deano's market. Vulcan developer James Mueller has purchased the building across the street from the Chocolate City site, and has plans to develop a six-story mixed-use building housing both retail and residential.

Mueller said by phone he doesn't have any plans for the Chocolate City site, which he points out is still owned by Dean Falls. King County records indeed indicate that the property is owned by Falls' company, DEF Inc., and that the account is active and currently subject to or in foreclosure due to an outstanding property tax balance.

Jun 27, 2007

Blog and Calendar updates

New on blog:

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From http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller
(see online calendar for details and other events)

  • Thursday, June 28, 6:30pm East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition
  • Thursday, June 28, 7:00pm Seattle Community Council Federation Meeting
  • Friday, June 29, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Saturday, June 30, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Sunday, July 1, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market
  • Wednesday, July 4, 12:00pm Community Picnic
  • Thursday, July 5, 6:00pm Neighborhood plan: Central Area

Safety Suggestion for Miller Park

Letter submitted to Thursday's East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition (EPCPC) meeting (which I can't attend)

To: Royal Alley-Barnes (Manager, North Region Parks Resources and Citywide Athletics), Stephanie Tschida (EPCPC chair), Veronica Pugh (EPCPC staff)
Dear All
I regret that previously scheduled family obligations prevent me from attending the EPCPC meeting on Thursday.

Here's a Parks security issue I'd like to raise again (I've previously suggested it to Parks)

To: Thavy Pen, Miller Community Center Director
At a recent neighborhood meeting I heard a report from a neighbor who lives immediately adjacent to the lower Miller parking lot: she has witnessed players urinating in the bushes near the parking lot, because the outdoor toilets at Miller were locked.

When Miller Community Center was designed I campaigned for toilets on the outside of the building with good sight lines to the playfield. Soccer-playing colleagues of mine had expressed concerns about the safety of leaving the field at some soccer locations. The outside toilets are indeed in a good location, and are easily visible from the field, even after the installation of the Miller fountain.

The drug issues in our neighborhood have impacted these toilets: there are sporadic reports of drug use and prostitution in the toilets, as well as damage to the toilets. Center staff typically lock the toilets before they leave at 9 PM.

I gather that the Center is investigating the installation of security cameras, some with a view of the toilet area, to increase security in the area.

I write to share some observations I made a coupe of years ago at a beachside park in Tacoma. That park was unstaffed, and the toilets were locked automatically at night. There was a prominent sign advising of the hours of toilet operation.

I write to suggest that, along with the security cameras, a similar locking system be installed at Miller Community Center. I suggest that the doors be unlocked at 8 AM and be locked at 10:15 PM, to allow sports teams to use them after their games finish at 10 PM. In such systems the locked doors allow patrons to leave, but don't allow new users to enter. As an added bonus I would suggest that the lights in the toilets (which are now motion activated, I believe) be made to flash a couple of times and then go out at 10:20 PM, to discourage drug users and prostitutes from lingering in the bathrooms.

This system should be relatively low cost, and should allow sports players full access to the restrooms, while effectively discouraging after hours illicit use of the facilities. This, together with security cameras, should help us reclaim full use of our valuable public facility.

Many thanks,
Andrew
PS: The toilet in question is in Jack Hyde Park on North Ruston Way in Tacoma. It is (as I recall) the small building in the middle of this Google satellite view.
Since writing the above I have also used self-locking toilets in a park in Monroe: I attach copies of photos of these latter toilets. These toilets are in the Lewis Street Park in Monroe: see this Google map . should you wish to go check them out.

Thank you all for your continued diligent work on our behalf,

Andrew Taylor

Jun 26, 2007

Design Review Meeting for 2203 East Union

Thank you for attending the 2203 East Union community meeting last Tuesday. Your feedback, questions and suggestions were exactly what we were hoping to gain – it was a productive evening for the entire project team.

We encourage you to attend the Early Design Guidance Meeting this Wednesday, June 27, at the Miller Community Center (330 19th Avenue East). The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and time will be allotted for the public to speak.

If you can’t attend but would like to send an email or letter to us, we would be pleased to add your message to the public record as a means to demonstrate support for the preferred proposal.

As new information becomes available about the project, we will keep you updated via email. If you do not wish to receive email updates, please send an email back asking to be removed from the list and we will be happy to do so.

Thank you again for your time and support.

Sincerely,

Jim Mueller
JC Mueller LLC
Logan Building, Suite 625
500 Union, Seattle, WA 98101
Tel: (206) 624-8095; Fax: (206) 382-3514
Email: AskUnion@jcmueller.com

(above message from Jim Mueller. Neighborhood reports on the community meeting: a transcript, a video and photos and some thoughts. E-mail Jim to be put on the list for E-mail updates).

Jun 23, 2007

2051 East Madison Street development

Jim Mueller, as well as developing at 23rd & Union, has interest in East Madison Street, and has acquired 2051 E. Madison, where the Twilight Exit now is, and Oscar's II used to be.

He's just started planning development of the site. From the DPD website:

2051 East Madison Street
Project # 3007358
Six story, 105 unit apartment building with 5,700 sq.ft. of retail at ground level. Parking will be located below grade.


At last week's meeting about his 23rd/Union project, there was one design board from Mithun architects showing the project. I asked Jim about it and he noted: "first time I've seen it". He did note, during the 23rd/Union presentation, that he's engaged a music historian to research the musical history of the area, for use in the building.

You may recall that some University of Washington architecture students used this site for a design project, "The Fulcrum", a couple of years ago. They made their report available to us: it's worth reading for background, possiblities, and examples of how people think about design issues. Pictures below are from Mithun's plans for the site.

(And to answer those nagging questions, YES there are plans on the books to redevelop Dean Falls' properties and NO, Mr. Falls has not yet sold the property, as far as I know).

Whole Design Board
click on image for larger version
View from 22nd & Madison
click on image for larger version
Looking West(ish) on Madison
click on image for larger version
A floorplan
click on image for larger version
The site in the 1950's
click on image for larger version

Transcript of 23rd/Union Meeting

(reproduced with the permission of its author, Nick Pottier, Central Neighborhood Association. Couple of edits by Andrew)

For those who didn't make it, some quick notes taken during the meeting. I just typed these up during the meeting, so forgive any typos or errors. No proof reading either. Don't sue me! :)

Jim Mueller presented the project and their plans therein. There were various plans available for viewing before the meeting with various sketches, I don't know if these are available online just yet.

- he's been working with community leaders to find something that will fit in with the neighborhood
- architects are Mithun architects
- the building designs are concepts to get a feel for how the space will be changed, they are not final or detailed
- JC Mueller core values: integrity, intelligence, homework Triple bottom line: environment, community, economics, all sustainable
- previous site was Coleman building, demolished by Nisqually quake
- white tanks on the site are to clean up from old dry cleaning pollution, takes 6-8 months
- they took into account position of site between residential and commercial areas

- Objectives:
- Community Revitalization
- Urban Design
- Economics - (requires taller building to pay off)
- Neighborhood Economics - bring new residents and retail
- Sustainability - Build responsibly

- Project Features
- Approx 90 units
- 85-90 parking stalls
- ~4500 square feet of street level retail (preference for local/regional)
- Encourage pedestrian activities

Option 1:
- 40 foot tall
- retail only on street level

Option 2:
- 65 feet (six stories)
- street level is both residential and retail
- town houses on 22nd

Option 3: (preferred and proposed)
- 65 feet (six stories)
- Entry on 23rd
- 22nd has town homes
- Retail on Union and 23rd on street level

Height:
- height is needed to make project feasible
- proportion of space is what makes you comfortable in a space.. Walmart parking lot is too spread out, with taller structures a larger setback will make it feel OK
- very much wants to make pedestrians comfortable and create a comfortable space
- example: alley 24 across from REI, which is 75 feet

Design review board meeting:
- Wednesday, June 27, 2007
- 6:30 PM
- Miller Community Center
- 330 19th Ave E

Information:
AskUnion@jcmueller.com

Q and A:

Q: Are you pursuing any other zoning changes in the area?
A: Yes, maybe.

Q: Parking will be exiting onto 23rd? Is that going to be a traffic issue?
A: Something we are still studying and trying to work through, city will certainly be involved.

Q: Can you make your number if you step back the first few floors?
A: We have stepped them back a bit at 40 feet, which will make it feel less tall from the street.

Q: What are the pros and cons of people living on 22nd?
A: Should be almost all positive. New residents will be good for the area, and shadow is cast on Union street, not 22nd.

Q: Will there be retail/visitor parking?
A: Yes, some, accessed off 23rd.

Q: Tell us more about sustainable building. How green?
A: Will be studied but still in planning and depends on what we can achieve economically. City has incentives for this as well. Building locally in town is a big step towards being green.

Q: How many parking levels underground?
A: Two. They are expensive.

Q: Describe housing.
A: Market rate, 'affordable'. Not low income.

Q: Lot of real estate on 23rd & Union. What do you think about a pedestrian mall?
A: Some are great, some fail completely. Don't know about this.

Q: West Harbor area has a lot of great ideas. Please study that.
A: We are definitely going to focus on bicycles and flex cars.

Q: You guys should have a secure bicycle area and a bike workshop area.
A: Ya I like that.

Q: Setback is great, maybe vary the roof line to have it appear more different.
A: Architect is listening, I'm sure he'll note it.

Q: Will they be rental units or for sale?
A: Don't know yet.

Q: Construction time frame?
A: Will start construction in about a year. Will take about 14-16 months to build.

Q: How big are the sidewalks?
A: Min requirement is 12 feet, we'll have to actually widen it a bit.

Q: Tell us more about the contract rezone process.
A: Project gets approved at a height. It does not allow us to resell the site with that rezone, its only approved for that particular project. Meeting on the 27th will be official kickoff.

Q: Is there any fear that this project might be killed because of rising interest rates etc?
A: Seattle still has a strong economy and the CD is close to downtown so will remain in demand.

Q: Why don't you sell it to people with no cars? And therefore no parking to save money?
A: The market objects to that, though I like the idea. Lenders would not go along with that however, not economically feasible.

Q: How are you reaching out to the african american community?
A: Apparently not very well, because none are in attendance. Help!

Q: How was this information spread?
A: Mostly through websites, apparently didn't reach all the audience.

Q: How do you make the retail look more diverse and small to attract the smaller retailers?
A: The problem is actually cost. Its hard to find small retailers who can afford the rent of a new space. We will try to make it as affordable as possible.

Q: Is the space going to be retail or small office space?
A: No, it will be retail.

Q: Tell us more about the green elements of this project.
A: We are still determining that. More as we start nailing things down. We will do what is effective and makes sense economically.

Q: Do you have a square footage cost?
A: Rents in areas like this in 2009ish will be $2.25 sq/ft for residential. That's the minimum needed to get financing. Condos about $5.50 sq/ft. Big costs are construction and parking.

Q: Would be great to see the context of the site and its height with other buildings around.
A: No slides for that, but our other boards had it.

Q: Houses on 22nd will be in shade in the winter.
A: Yes, there will be some, can't avoid it.

Q: Have you thought about the impact of street parking? Zone parking?
A: We will have parking, so it won't be us causing the problem.
(others chimed in that we've tried to do zoning before, but haven't goten residential support)

A: Plan for a street car coming through 23rd & Union?

Q: For sale or for rent?
A: Don't know yet.

Q: Unit mix?
A: 80% 1 bedroom and studio, 20% 2 bedroom.

Q: Any sketches of the actual final design and finish?
A: This will be part of the review process. Lots of factors. 1) cost 2) durability 3) maintainability We'll be picking a skin that fits those criteria and which will hopefully fit in with the neighborhood. Start of that discussion on the 27th.

Q: Have you looked at mechanical parking, is it cheaper?
A: Yes, I've looked at it and used it in China. In general its more expensive except for special cases. Getting cheaper but not yet there.

Q: You said you don't prefer national chains. How serious are you?
A: Its my preference. No promises, but I have a strong personal preference towards biz owners being in the stores.

Q: Are there environmental issues that might block the project?
A: No, contamination from dry cleaning was it.

Q: There is a bus stop on 23rd, will that move?
A: We'll have to deal with that, might move.

Q: Will you have a sustainability consultant on the project?
A: Our architects kind of specialize in that.

Q: Is green and sustainable going to be the 'brand' of this project?
A: Yes, but I also want to do something with music since this area has a strong history of that.

Q: Is there any shared/community space to this project? Courtyard?
A: I don't know yet, we are still designing the retail level. Most buildings like this have a common area for residents. Maybe make that more community based. It's possible.

Q: Would be nice to see something less boxy.
A: Design is changing constantly. There will be updated designs on the 27th for you to look at.

Q: Can you talk about the materials? Looks like glass & metal.
A: Still too early.

Q: There are lots of small children on 22nd. Please don't put the parking entrance there. How do I help make that happen?
A: Show up to the meetings, preferred option is definitely not to have parking entrance there. Cars belong on 23rd and Union.

Q: Won't entrance on 23rd cause people to double back on 22nd to turn left?
A: Yes, that's a concern. City planning is thinking about that and its something we are tracking.

Q: 23rd is an arterial, no parking. You are going to add load to the parking, how will it be handled?
A: Trying to create a pedestrian area, hopefully people will walk. We'll have some parking but in the end we are in a city, thats just the reality of the situation.

Q: Could they ever require a change to traffic on 22nd? (couldn't hear details)
A: Yes, maybe.

Q: Most of us want you here, but we have concerns about parking and traffic etc..
A: This is a great place to live without a car, close to downtown etc.. More discussion on pedestrian access.

Q: Will you be selling parking separately from the units?
A: Possibly. (additional comments about people then parking on the street)

Q: Will there be bike parking and what about the impacts of the bicycle master plan?
A: Yes, there will be bike parking and I'm a big fan of the bicycle master plan.

Q: How about some covered bike parking?
A: Ya, that's what I have in mind.

Q: No option for parking entrance on Union.
A: Parking entrance would ruin retail space.

Q: Will people put up with traffic on Union when sitting at a cafe on it?
A: Yes if done correctly.

Q: Who will be responding to emails and such?
A: Denise and I monitor comments and questions. As does our PR firm. (Nyhus)

That's it.

-Nic

Jun 21, 2007

Miller Blog and Calendar Updates

New on the blog:


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

(see online calendar for details and other events)

  • Saturday, June 23, 12:00pm Basic Bicycle Maintenance
  • Saturday, June 23, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Monday, June 25, 6:30pm City Neighborhood Council
  • Wednesday, June 27, 6:30pm Design Review: 23rd & Union
  • Thursday, June 28, 6:30pm East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition

Reports on Proposed Development at 23rd & Union

Following the meeting on Tuesday with Jim Mueller, Jean Tinnea has shared some thoughts, and Nic Pottier of the Central Neighborhood Association has posted a long report about the meeting (care to join their group?). As my contribution, I offer photos of the architects' display boards, and a video recording of the first 40 minutes of the meeting: low tech recording on my digital camera. Most of the audio is clear, and you can sort of see the slides (most of which are of the boards shown here). It's at the end of this post.

Here's where the project would be built: the "Context"
(click on picture for bigger copy)
Here's the developer's preferred Scheme:
"Scheme 1" - Parking entrance on 23rd

(click on picture for bigger copy)
Here's another design with a rezone to 65':
"Scheme 2"

(click on picture for bigger copy)

Here's another design with a rezone to 65':
"Scheme 3"

(click on picture for bigger copy)
And here's how it might look: "Concept"
(click on picture for bigger copy)
And finally, here's the video of Jim Mueller's presentation: watch it here, or click on "Google Video" to enlarge it.



Don't forget the first Design Review Hearing on the project (Miller Community Center, 6: 30 PM, Weds June 27th): your chance to comment officially on the project.

And here's the rest of my video (memory card filled up before presentation ended).

Jun 20, 2007

Feedback about 23rd & Union Development Proposal

Jean Tinnea, from the Central Neighborhood Association, writes:

There will be a meeting with Jim Mueller for the 'hood at Central Cinema 6pm Tuesday June 19th. Jim is the developer planning to develop the former Colman Building site. The current zoning is 4 stories. All past development tries have failed. There are several reasons and one is that they didn't 'pencil out' (be able to pay for itself) at 4 stories. The project must pencil out in order to get financing and to carry itself once built.

As a Board member of the Central District Development Association (CADA) that builds and preserves affordable housing, I can say it gets more and more difficult to get financing and get a project to pencil out. It is darn near impossible to get funding for affordable housing projects. (Thanks, W.) Meanwhile, due to the rising cost of land and building materials, it is also more challenging, certainly more expensive, to develop in general.

As a 28-year homeowner, property and business owner in the Union St corridor, I personally resisted all previous efforts to upzone the 23rd & Union corner. Development and economic rejuvenation happened all around us but not on Union east of 14th. (That project at 14th is just beginning.)

Although I haven't yet seen the design for the Colman site, the current developer, Jim Mueller, has a vision, good ideas, is approachable, WANTS to work with the community and followed the Neighborhood Plan in his previous developments in S Lake Union.

I am ready to support a contract upzone to 6 stories. In return, I'd like to see some affordable housing, affordable retail and/or public space, and thoughtful integration into the surrounding 'hood, say step zoning where the new structure steps down from 65 feet on 23rd to 40 feet on 22nd. I know that some will resist to the end, and I suggest that the rest of us think of what we would like in exchange for an upzone and, at last, some rejuvenation of the Union Street corridor.

Jean Tinnea

Evelyn Lewis sentencing cancelled

(this is the court case we were asked to write letters about)

Hello All,
Would you pass the word that the sentencing has been cancelled and Ms. Lewis wants to obtain a new attorney and withdraw her guilty pleas. Her next hearing will be on July 9, 2007 at 4:00 PM. At that time Ms. Lewis should appear with her new attorney who will formally set her motion to withdraw her pleas. Justin Monroe, on behalf of the State, will object to this motion. We will keep you advised of all the court dates involved in this process. Please feel free to call me for more details. 206-423-9756. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

All the Best,
Ellen O'Neill-Stephens
206-423-9756

Jun 17, 2007

Miller neighbors buy drugs for one year old on Madison



(We got catnip for our daughter's cat's birthday present at the Madison Market.)

Two Reminders for this week

1) Tuesday 6PM Meeting with Jim Mueller, developer of projects at 23rd/Union and on Madison. Meet at the Central Cinema (21st & Union) for light refreshments and discussion.


2) Got time to write a letter to a judge about the effects of street drug dealing on your life? Court case is on Friday, so please write now! And yes, it would be great if you could turn up in court.

Jun 14, 2007

Lawyers, ... we need lawyers


Poor people fight, middle-class folks discuss and rich people call their lawyers.

from "Class struggles upward", a column by Jerry Large, Seattle Times, 6/14/07.

Something to think about the next time we meet for yet another Seattle-style neighborhood meeting about who knows what...



Miller blog leads Seattle Weekly to Ms. Helen's Soul Food

This week's Seattle Weekly has a very positive review of Ms. Helen's Soul Food at its new location (though not of the location itself: they think "Ms. Helen deserves a restaurant of her own. "). They found her via the post on this blog of the flyer in the window of Club Chocolate City. Happy to be of service!

Do they read my blog avidly, did they Google, or do they perhaps browse the Slog now and again?

Find her at: Rose Petals Restaurant, 6901 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. RAINIER VALLEY. Open noon–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri.

Jun 12, 2007

Blog & Calender updates

Special note: Next Tuesday's meeting with developer Jim Mueller and Ellen O'Neill-Stephens Court Hearing are the two most important events in our area for quite a while. See next two blog posts about them.

Calendar items :

  • Wednesday, June 13, 7:00pm Miller Community Center Advisory Council
  • Thursday, June 14, 6:00pm Central Area Neighborhood District Council
  • Thursday, June 14, 7:00pm New Capitol Hill park meeting
  • Friday, June 15, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Friday, June 15, Juneteenth Celebration
  • Saturday, June 16, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Saturday, June 16, Juneteenth Celebration
  • Sunday, June 17, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market
  • Sunday, June 17, Juneteenth Celebration
  • Tuesday, June 19, 6:00pm Union & Madison Development meeting
  • Friday, June 22, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Saturday, June 23, 12:00pm Basic Bicycle Maintenance Class
  • Saturday, June 23, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Sunday, June 24, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market

For details (locations, agendas, links, contact details), and maybe some bonus entries, visit the calendar at:
http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller and click on an entry for details and links.You can subscribe to the calendar at:
webcal://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller.ics

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Recent items on the blog:


Reminder & Poster for development meeting


Here's a choice of flyers to post and share with friends and to remind you about next Tuesday's meeting with the developer who's going to be redeveloping properties at 23rd & Union and along Madison. The City Design Review Hearing for the 23rd/Union project is Wednesday June 27th.

Your letters, testimony, presence needed in Court

You all remember how unpleasant the groups of drug dealers on Madison used to make our lives. Most of them seemed to be destitute and were probably both dealers and users, in need of help and rehabilitation. We all felt grateful that Lt. Hayes, Seattle Neighborhood Group and POCAAN staffed the GOTS program there every Tuesday, to try and connect the destitute people with services.

You will not be surprised to learn that, among the destitute people on the street, there were also "career criminals". Please read this letter from Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ellen O'Neill-Stephens (who has been working tirelessly with our Madison task force for the last year) which details one such case and tells us what we can do to help in the prosecution. The gist of her letter is:

Your attendance at this sentencing will be an opportunity to tell a Superior Court Judge about the adverse effect open air drug markets have on your lives and work in these neighborhoods. Only a few community members may have the opportunity to address the court, so it will also be important to put your thoughts in a letter addressed to the judge.

Please send your signed letters to:
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Justin Monroe
516 Third Ave. W554
Seattle, WA. 98104
Fax-296-0955
e-mail justin.monroe@metrokc.gov


The sentencing for Evelyn Lewis has been rescheduled for:

June 22, 2007 from 2:45 to 3:45
Honorable Catherine Shaffer,
King County Courthouse, Courtroom E753

Please feel free to contact Ellen, if you have any additional questions, at her e-mail address (Ellen.OneillStephens@Seattle.Gov) or cell phone 206-423-9756

The Sentencing Hearing is next week, so please write your letters NOW, and contact Ellen if you will be able to attend the Court Hearing.

You might also want to post your letters here, as comments to this message: Click the COMMENTS note at the end of this post. You may comment anonymously if desired.

Many thanks for your help: this prosecution may not directly help the East Madison Street neighborhood, but it will surely help 23rd & Union and other afflicted neighborhoods.

Many thanks,

Andrew

Jun 11, 2007

Meet with developer of Madison and Union Street projects

On Tuesday, June 19, at 6 P.M., Jim Mueller, who proposes to develop the site of the former Coleman Building (at 23rd and E. Union) will meet with us to talk about that site and other locations in the area that he proposes to develop, including a site on E. Madison St (2051 E. Madison) where the "Twilight Exit" is presently located.

The meeting will be from 6 to ~ 9 PM at the Central Cinema (1411 21st Avenue), and light refreshments will be served.

These sites are key to the Central Area and East Madison Street redevelopments and this meeting is an opportunity to talk to the developer and members of the design team in a more informal setting with more opportunity for exchange of ideas and information than the DPD early design guidance meeting for the 23rd & Union project (which is scheduled for June 27.). Such "pre-meetings" worked well for the Safeway development, and I encourage you to participate.

As I noted earlier:

I might add that I have been extremely impressed with Jim Mueller, a developer who's involved both in the Madison corridor and the 23rd & Union area. He's met with many of us, turned up at a neighborhood cleanup, and is clearly sensitive to many of our issues as well as those of others in the area. He's selected an architecture firm that we've had positive experiences with, and I think we'll all enjoy working with him to guide our neighborhood in its inevitable redevelopment.


If some of the text here seems more cogent than normal, it may be because I'm blatantly plagiarizing the Squire Park group's announcement of the meeting, though I could not resist putting my oar in to undo some of their good work.

Strip Clubs along Madison?

On Monday the City Council approved new zoning laws [KING 5 report, Seattle Times article] regulating the location of new strip clubs in Seattle, the rationale for which is given in the appendix to the legislation. See Councilmember Steinbrueck's webpage for other documents.

The new rules prohibit strip clubs near each other, or within 800' of schools, parks, community centers, child care centers, parks or open spaces. The supplied map of Seattle (CARE: large complex file) shows (in yellow) the very few places they will be allowed. I note that one of the closest such sites to downtown with good transportation [other than the South Lake Union/Seattle Center area] is the blocks of Madison between 19th and 21st. Some of that area has been redeveloped [Planned Parenthood, McKinney Manor] but Dean Falls' unoccupied properties (the former Club Chocolate City and Deano's Market) would appear to be eligible for use as "Adult Cabarets". One more thing to watch out for, I guess.

Lobbying City Council to amend the ordinance to include churches in the list of buffer areas would keep strip clubs away from our area.

Note that I may be being overly alarmist here, if we believe this quote from the Seattle Times article:

Two businessmen testified Monday against the new rules, saying they drove around the city with the new zoning map in hand and could not find any suitable place to open an "old-school cabaret" with an emcee and performing women.

"My partner and I hopped in our car and I drove to every spot" where clubs are allowed under the new rules, said Lucas Wunsch. "There is nothing."

DPD Decision: 1834 24th Ave

DPD page, with links to Decision document and appeal information

Land Use Application to subdivide one parcel into four unit lots. The construction of townhouses has been approved under Project #6090823. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

Project No.3007048
AreaDowntown/Central
ZoneL2
Address1834 24th Ave
ContactThomas Woldendorp
Contact Phone(425) 837-8083
PlannerJanet Wright
DPD Consultant Phone(425) 741-3800 Ext. 178

Note: This project has been assigned to one of DPD's Planning Consultants. If you would like more information about the project, please call the assigned consultant with the project number.

ConditionsThe following appealable decisions have been made based on submitted plans:

  • Conditionally Grant - Short Subdivision to create four unit lots.
    Conditions: Conditions have been placed on this project. You may view the decision through our web based Land Use Information Bulletin, or contact either the assigned planner whose name and phone number appears above, or the Public Resource Center (206-684-8467, prc@seattle.gov).

Appeals of this decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than Jun 25, 2007.

Jun 10, 2007

The Miller Year (and some) in pictures



I've finally posted some neighborhood pictures via Google's Picasa website.
You can watch the slideshow above or click on the picture below to go to the site, where you can:

  • see bigger pictures
  • see captions
  • leave comments
  • order pictures
  • do other things I've not discovered yet.
Miller Year (and some) in pictures

and the Google/Blogger/Picasa combo stores all the pictures on this blog in an album, so you can look at them if you want to, but why would you?

Jun 8, 2007

Free trees for your street


MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Peter McGraw, Public Information Officer (206) 615-0950
peter.mcgraw@seattle.gov

Free Street Trees for Seattle Neighborhoods!

What: Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund - Tree Fund

When: Applications by groups of neighbors are due on Friday, August 10th 2007


This fall, the Department of Neighborhoods will be providing free trees for planting on residential streets in Seattle neighborhoods. Applications are accepted from groups of neighbors and are due on Friday, August 10, 2007. This is the Tree Fund’s 11th year, having planted 18,000 trees, and investing over $650,000 in making Seattle a greener city.

The Tree Fund is a program of the Neighborhood Matching Fund and the Seattle Department of Transportation. In exchange for free trees to be delivered by the City this fall, groups of neighbors attend a City sponsored training session and then organize their neighbors to plant the trees. The goal is to beautify Seattle streets and to support a clean and green environment.

Seattle’s tree cover has shrunk from 40 percent of the city’s land area in 1972 to just 18 percent today, a decline that threatens nature’s ability to help manage storm water, reduce erosion, absorb climate-disrupting gases and clean the air. You can make a difference!

Who should apply? Groups of five households or more on a street or block are eligible to apply.

How many trees will be provided? Groups of households on a street or block can request a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 40 trees per project.

How can you obtain an application? Contact the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods,
(206) 684-0464 or visit our web site at www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/treefund.htm


(See July 1991 and May/June 1992 "Miller Times" newsletters for details and pictures of our previous treeplanting extravaganzas, which were great community-building exercises. The tree in the pictures was, I believe, part of one of those efforts. )

Design Review Meeting: 23rd & Union

The Director of DPD is convening the Design Review Board for an early design guidance meeting.


Project No. 3005925
Area Downtown/Central
Zone NC2P 40'
Address 2203 E Union St

Applicant: James Mueller, (206) 624-8095.
Land Use Planner: Lisa Rutzick, (206) 386-9049


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The proposal is for a six-story mixed-use building with ground level retail use and 91 residential units above. Parking for 100 vehicles located below grade.


PROCESS

The applicants have applied for Design Review related to development of this site for a mixed-use development. At the early design guidance meeting, the applicants will present information about the site and vicinity. The public may offer comments regarding the design and siting of a mixed-use development on the subject site; and, the Design Review Board members will also offer comments and identify those Citywide Design Guidelines of highest priority in developing the site.

MEETING

Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Miller Community Center

330 19th Av E

Multi-purpose Room

MORE INFORMATION

For more information regarding this application or the Design Review process, you may contact the Land Use Planner listed above. If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to be informed of future meetings, please call the Land Use Planner to become a party of record.

Link to DPD Notice

How to comment on Land Use Actions

(This project is for a 65' building in a 40' commercial zone. It will require a rezone, probably via the Contract Rezone process, in which the rezone is granted only for a specific plan proposed by a specific applicant: this prevents any "bait and switch" issues.

DPD links: REZONE, APPLICATION)

Jun 7, 2007

Calendar and Blog Updates

Calendar items :

  • Friday, June 8, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Saturday, June 9, 1:30pm Central Area Plan Workshop
  • Sunday, June 10, 11:00am Broadway Farmer's Market
  • Sunday, June 10, 2:00pm Bike repair self-help
  • Tuesday, June 12, 6:00pm Sound Transit Capitol Hill Station Update
  • Wednesday, June 13, 7:00pm Miller Community Center Advisory Council
  • Thursday, June 14, 6:00pm Central Area Neighborhood District Council
  • Thursday, June 14, 7:00pm New Capitol Hill park meeting
  • Friday, June 15, 4:00pm Madrona/MLK Farmers' Market
  • Friday, June 15, Juneteenth Celebration
  • Saturday, June 16, 1 Juneteenth Celebration


For details (locations, agendas, links, contact details), and maybe some bonus entries, visit the calendar at:http://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller and click on an entry for details and links.

You can subscribe to the calendar at:webcal://ical.mac.com/andrew_taylor/Miller.ics

******************************
Recent items on the Miller blog:

Saturday Central Area Plan Meeting

I recently drew your attention to a meeting this Saturday to re-interest neighbors in the Central Area Neighborhood Plan (1:30 to 3:30 PM Saturday, Garfield Community Center, 23rd & Cherry).

My previous post started with a facsimile of a postcard sent out by the Neighborhood Plan Implementation Team. Several of the bullet points (OK, frowny-face points, ) on the postcard appeared critical of developers. The team wants to emphasize that they are aware of both well-intentioned and less well intentioned developers, and were not wanting to paint with a broad brush.

I might add that I have been extremely impressed with Jim Mueller, a developer who's involved both in the Madison corridor and the 23rd & Union area. He's met with many of us, turned up at a neighborhood cleanup, and is clearly sensitive to many of our issues as well as those of others in the area. He's selected an architecture firm that we've had positive experiences with, and I think we'll all enjoy working with him to guide our neighborhood in its inevitable redevelopment.

I invite you to come along on Saturday to talk about the Central Area Neighborhood Plan, and how we can use it to guide our neighborhood in the direction we'd like to see it go.

(As noted, in part, before). The Madison-Miller area took part in neighborhood planning as part of the Central Area plan process from 1996 to 1998: the resulting general plan is posted on the City website together with the scary and incomprehensible "Approval and Adoption Matrix" .

The Madison-Miller area, with the guidance of some very talented consultants, also produced its own Master Plan as part of the planning process, although it was never posted online by the City. I have now scanned and posted the Madison-Miller Master Plan: see the "Madison-Miller Neighborhood Plan" list of links, on the right of this page, just below the "Miller Links" list.

(Just found this great 1 page explanation of the Comprehensive Plan and Seattle's neighborhood planning efforts!)

For a flavor of the neighborhood planning process, check out the Spring 1996 "Miller Times" For some early results of the planning, see the Fall 1999 "Miller Times" and City's 2004 Fact Sheet on the plan.

Previous views of where the plans might be going are in the 2004 Priority Report and the 2005 Priority Update, which seem to be the City's last obvious neighborhood plan related activities. Councilmember Clark (a Neighborhood Plan Steward in a previous life) has expressed special interest in auditing and updating neighborhood plans. You can watch a video of the 5/19/07 Neighborhood Plan Workshop hosted by Councilmember Clark.

Culture Clash in the CD

This weeks's edition of the Stranger (6/7/07) features an article by Charles Mudede entitled:

A Central District Story A Bar, a Mugging, a Protest, and a Misunderstanding

The article deals with a white group's reactions to a mugging at 23rd & Union, and assorted associated black/white misperceptions. The Stranger's blog (the Slog) has a follow-up to the article which includes a first person report on the mugging which sparked the whole affair, as well as disturbing reports on activities on Madison which I had been unaware of (though was not surprised by).

It all seems to have resulted from the migration of the street crowds from Madison to 23rd & Union when Club Chocolate City closed.

Mr Mudede deals very thoroughly and thoughtfully with the race / CD / gentrification issue, as he did in his previous report on life around Deano's.

The conclusion of his present article is:

What we all want is simply this: for the dealers to do their thing without guns, without violence, so that the rest of us can do our things—our drugs, our art, our drinking, our shopping, our hiphopping, our fucking—in peace.

And that's it, man.
The flaw in that argument is, of course, that he is simply asking for gun control, which is never going to happen in this country. Law enforcement can only control the gun-toting dealers by going after them as dealers. And some of us feel that we do need to control the intrinsically destructive addictions in our society: meth certainly, crack probably ...... This Slog comment says it much better than I did!



Jun 5, 2007

Bottleneck Lounge news

All the latest news, events, etc from the Bottleneck Lounge on Madison.












Bar owner Erin Nestor writes:

South African Meet Up at The Bottleneck Lounge Thurs. June 14th, 6:30 pm.

Calling all those who like a good time!

Fine South African wines and plenty of drink specials.
Sample a shandy. Slam a Springbokkie.
Savor our own South African Latte.
Ability to speak Afrikaans (or Zulu or Tsonga or Swati....) not required!

2328 E. Madison St (between John and 23rd)
www.bottlenecklounge.com

(Several other events also noted on their wesite)

Sound Transit Capitol Hill Station Meeting

(Here's a Flyer from Sound Transit about the meeting and a diagram of the Capitol Hill Station)

Betsy Hunter of PPUNC writes:

After years of fluctuating plans and timelines, it's time to re-engage on Sound Transit and how it will impact all of our lives. This issue goes far beyond Broadway and touches us in the Pike/Pine,12th Avenue, and Squire Park neighborhoods as well.

See the map - for 8 years, significant portions of Broadway, Nagle Place, John Street, and Denny will be a major construction zone. While this is going on, businesses will be relocated, buildings will be demolished, and trucks, noise, and dust will be part of our daily life. When construction is completed, what should the property over the station areas look like? What kinds of retail space do we need? Should the housingabove be rental, condo, affordable, market rate?

The Capitol Hill Stewardship Council and Chamber of Commerce have invited Sound Transit to present their updated plans and it's time for all of us to comment. Strong attendance is vital for Sound Transit to hear from our community.

See the invitation below from the Chamber and Stewardship Council. And bring your friends and family members to the meeting next Tuesday.

SOUND TRANSIT CAPITOL HILL STATION UPDATE
COMMUNITY MEETING
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Seattle Central Community College Room 1110

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Plan Stewardship Council are hosting a meeting regarding the planned Capitol Hill station for Sound Transit’s regional light rail. Sound Transit will present its current plans for the station entrances, property acquisition and relocation, and construction timeline. The Chamber and Stewardship Council will outline community driven principles for the station, related construction impacts, and subsequent redevelopment.

In late 2006, the Sound Transit Board authorized work to design and construct the “University Link” which extends light rail from Downtown to the University of Washington including a station in the heart of Capitol Hill. This station, located on the east side of Broadway between John and Denny, is projected to have 12,000 boardings a day. Since the first of the year Sound Transit has been working on their plans for the Capitol Hill station and has initiated land acquisition and relocation. Their current timeframe calls for a seven year construction period.

Sound Transit is now coming. The Chamber and the Stewardship Council recognize the benefits to the neighborhood and Broadway of improving connections to Downtown, the UW and the region as well as the potential for regional light rail to improve transportation mobility.

However, it is also recognized that the station and subsequent redevelopment on Sound Transit land is a “hundred year” decision for the Capitol Hill community. From a neighborhood perspective it is critical the station entrances are appropriately designed and located, construction period impacts are addressed, and subsequent redevelopment supports mixed use buildings with strong retail on Broadway and housing that serves a mix of incomes. This is the critical decision making period.

The meeting will have a short presentation, question and answer period, and an open house component for your questions and comments.

Fire Station 6 Relocation Meeting


The lovely Art Deco Fire Station on 23rd at Yesler (already an official Central Area landmark) is being replaced as part of the 2003 Fire Levy.

See meeting details below if you're interested in the possible relocation sites (and ask them for me what they're planning to do with the lovely old building: the one on 15th made a lovely video store!). Click on notice below for a more readable version.

Addendum (from Christina Faine, Fire Levy Communications Officer)

Yes, the existing structure has been designated as a landmark to
protect its historic character. Once the new station is built, the
current building will no longer serve as a fire station. The City
intends to sell the property and return the proceeds to the levy
program.