Documents for review
YOUR SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME AND NEEDED TO PROTECT AND IMPROVE FAIRVIEW AVENUE EAST
Fairview Avenue E. is one of the best things about our neighborhood–a quiet, leafy place to walk and enjoy the lake. But Fairview needs improvements allowing pedestrians, bicycles, local traffic, and parking to coexist safely while solving drainage and flooding problems. In response to the Eastlake Neighborhood Plan, the City classified Fairview between Fuhrman and Hamlin streets and between Roanoke and Newton streets as a “neighborhood green street,” but to protect Fairview from unwise changes and qualify for City-funded and developer-funded improvements, the neighborhood needs to work out a Street Design Concept Plan and get SDOT to adopt it.
Based on the comments received, ECC will draft a Street Design Concept Plan for the two segments of the Fairview Green Street, to be submitted for adoption as a joint director’s rule by the directors of the Department of Planning and Development and the Seattle Department of Transportation. In order to best facilitate this process, it is the Eastlake Community Council’s hope to identify and resolve any major questions and concerns from the public prior to submitting the Concept Plan for adoption by the two departments. Therefore ECC particularly encourages suggestions now; the earlier we receive them, the easier it will be to incorporate them into the revised document. Once drafted, this Plan will be posted here for public comment.
Please help ECC and its engineering and design volunteers by sending your written or drawn suggestions for Fairview Ave. E. Click here for an outline map of Fairview and other streets that you can mark up and send, or just write us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org or to ECC, c/o Lake Union Mail, 117 E. Louisa #1, Seattle 98102-3278. Also, questions are always welcome.
PREVIOUS SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FAIRVIEW GREEN STREET BETWEEN FUHRMAN AVE. AND HAMLIN ST. AND BETWEEN ROANOKE ST. AND NEWTON ST. [Click here for the document]
As mentioned above, one of many actions that the City took as a result of the 1998 Eastlake Neighborhood Plan was, in adopting Ordinance 119322, to designate as a Neighborhood Green Street the portion of Fairview Avenue E. between E. Fuhrman Ave. E. and E. Hamlin St. and the portion of Fairview Ave. E. between E. Roanoke St. and E. Newton St. Between 1999 and 2005, committees composed of people who lived, worked, or owned property in the Eastlake neighborhood developed draft guidelines for the two Fairview Green Street segments. (To see them, click the link above.) The Eastlake Community Council thanks these many volunteers for their efforts and provides their drafts here as background for the current effort to finalize a concept plan for these two segments of the Fairview Green Street.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AND NEEDED REGARDING PROPOSED DESIGN FOR AN ADA-ACCESSIBLE PATHWAY ENTERING THE I-5 COLONNADE OPEN SPACE FROM THE CORNER OF FRANKLIN AVE. E. AND E. BLAINE STREET
Click here for the design improvements, cost estimate, and photos for the Eastlake Community Council’s proposed ADA improvements for entering the I-5 Colonnade Open Space from its west side at the corner of Franklin Ave. E. and E. Blaine Street. The I-5 Colonnade Open Space (known informally as Colonnade Park) unfortunately was built without any ADA access from Franklin Ave. E., its main western boundary. The easy slope that would meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will benefit not only people in wheelchairs, but anyone with a disability, as well as seniors, children, and parents pushing strollers. ECC engaged Art Tuftee (a trail designer who designed most of the existing mountain biking area in the I-5 Colonnade Open Space) to develop the design and cost estimates.
The proposed easy grade entrance would connnect to the existing ADA-accessible trails to the north (which are now inaccessible to ADA users who wish to access them from the west) and to the north end of the off-leash area (which is also inaccessible to ADA users). The proposed design keeps WSDOT’s maintenance road free from criss-crossing switchbacks. It achieves the ADA gradual slope by siting the path under the redwood trees, with the wonderful benefit of allowing ADA users and all other users to enjoy walking amidst these grand redwoods, yet on a steel walkway that protects the redwood roots from damage. The design also would add a sidewalk along Franklin Ave. E. that is currently missing.
Please let ECC know your thoughts on this design, and especially let us know any suggested changes. Questions are also welcome. Contact us at email@example.com, 206-322-5463 or at ECC c/o 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle 98102-3278.
COMMENTS AND SUPPORT WELCOME AND NEEDED FOR ECC’S FAIRVIEW RIDGE AND COLONNADE PROPOSALS
Despite a lot of effort on the Eastlake Community Council’s part, Seattle’s 2008 Parks Levy didn’t include a parks project for Eastlake. Recognizing that some neighborhoods were left out, the Levy included a Parks Opportunity Fund, and so in late 2012 ECC filed applications for projects on WSDOT I-5 right-of-way land to improve Colonnade Park (south of Newton Street) and to extend it south from Garfield St. to Aloha Street; and to install trails and steps on Fairview Ridge (south of Fuhrman Avenue E. and the Ship Canal). The plans were developed under contract by Art Tuftee, who did much of the design for the mountain biking sector of I-5 Colonnade Open Space. He is also designer of the trail system at Alderbrook Resort (on Hood Canal). ECC welcomes your comments and suggestions on the proposals, as they can always be improved.
ECC’s applications are endorsed by letters from the Feet First pedestrian advocacy group, Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, and WSDOT, whose letter states: “The Washington State Department of Transportation appreciates its partnership of many years with the Eastlake community in reducing noise from Interstate 5 and helping to make WSDOT lands an enhancement for your neighborhood. … We encourage the City to evaluate favorably the community’s application for funds, and look forward to working with the City to make these projects possible on our lands.”
Click here for the Fairview Ridge proposal package. On approximately 1.1 acre of sloped public land that is now neglected and a barrier to pedestrian and bicycle travel, the project would establish a multi-use recreation area that preserves most existing trees and adds approximately 750 lineal feet of pathways that extend north to south and east to west; approximately 60 lineal feet of steps east-west connecting the Lake Union shoreline with Eastlake Avenue; viewpoints; native plantings; historical signage; grassy swales for I-5 runoff; other drainage improvements; and a walkway along the east side of Fairview Avenue East.
Now a blighted and refuse-strewn barrier, Fairview Ridge could be a walking corridor and place for public enjoyment. Crystallizing ECC’s commitment to reclaim this site was a December 2011 incident when human remains (from a murder in Ballard) were found discarded on Fairview Ridge. We can do better, and–with the help of the Parks Opportunity fund–we will. The application is accompanied by a letter of enthusiastic support from the closest abutting landowners, and by the WSDOT letter mentioned above.
Click here for the Colonnade Improvements and Expansion Proposal (a combination of two, one called Colonnade, the other called Eastlake Woods). I-5 Colonnade Park is ranked by the Atlantic Cities web site as third among the world’s “cool parks under freeway overpasses.” ECC proposes the following improvements within the existing park boundaries: improvements in the existing north path, a new path up from Blaine Street, and a new north-south path between Blaine and Garfield streets, just east of the off-leash area; on the steps, rain covers where gaps between the freeway lanes drench users; a sidewalk along Franklin Ave.; a skate bowl/ramps north of the top steps; repair and sealing of the granite gathering area; a new exercise station; for the mountain biking area, improved trail surfacing and bicycle themed art; and for the off-leash area, an agility course, dog-themed art (including a Garfield St. gateway), and paws-friendly resurfacing.
Although Colonnade Park is well-connected to the north, to the south it faces a dead end, with no connection to Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, or downtown. The WSDOT land to the south that is under and next to I-5 offers a magnificent opportunity for pedestrian and bicycle connections, both for recreation and for commuting–with spectacular views and protection from the weather. ECC also proposes to extend the existing Colonnade Park southward with a stairway up to Lakeview Blvd., a trail south to the intersection of Eastlake Ave. and E. Aloha Street, and a trail southwest to the intersection of Franklin Ave. E. and E. Galer St.
Also on the plot of wild land between E. Galer and E. Nelson streets known as Eastlake Woods that connects Colonnade with Eastlake Avenue, ECC proposes steps and a switchback trail, and in the sunny upper elevation above the trees, 30 P-Patch plots, a maintenance shed, and a truck loading area. Three Eastlake P-Patch gardeners endorsed the proposed addition of 30 plots south of Colonnade: “The demand for our P-Patch plots far exceeds supply, with a long waiting list. Most Eastlake and South Lake Union residents live in apartments or condominiums without yards. More P-Patch plots are needed, especially in Eastlake’s south end, close to the booming South Lake Union area.”
ECC welcomes and needs your ideas on these projects and your help in securing City funding. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-322-5463 or at ECC c/o 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle 98102-3278.
REVIEW DRAFT OF PROPOSED I-5 CONNECTOR TRAIL — COMMENTS AND SUPPORT ARE WELCOME
Click here for the earlier version of the above proposal, fora half-mile connector trail and “linear park” on WSDOT right-of-way under and next to I-5 between Galer and Aloha streets. This version was posted on this web site in early 2012 and circulated for review by SDOT, WSDOT, the Seattle Parks Department, and advocacy groups. For background, see the first page.
INVITATION FOR PUBLIC COMMENT ON DRAFT GUIDELINES, SPECIFIC TO THE EASTLAKE NEIGHBORHOOD, FOR CONSTRUCTION OF LARGE NEW MULTIFAMILY AND COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS Click here for the proposed guidelines that the Eastlake Community Council sent on March 27, 2013 to the Department of Planning and Development. Click here for the same ECC guidelines proposal, with the comments received April 12 from the City’s Department of Planning and Development.
[Of primarily historic interest, click here for the ECC’s May 2012 draft guidelines and instructions for public comment and click here for a table that sets forth the quite similar January 2012 draft guidelines and compares them with the 2008 DPD proposal. Click here for the full text of the 2008 DPD proposal.]
The Eastlake Neighborhood Plan was developed with extensive public input by neighborhood stakeholders including the Eastlake Community Council (ECC), and adopted by the Seattle City Council and Mayor in 1999. The neighborhood plan involves many actions, one being a mutual commitment by the City and the neighborhood to develop Eastlake-specific guidelines for developers and City planners to use in designing and approving new multifamily and commercial buildings. The ECC is working with Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on the specifics of these guidelines.
In 2008, making use of the proposals in the neighborhood plan, the Department of Planning and Development produced draft guidelines. The ECC considered the DPD proposals, adopted many of them, and developed its own package which it posted on this web site in May 2012, inviting comment through articles in issues of the quarterly Eastlake News, two of which also reprinted the guidelines. ECC then submitted on March 27, 2013 its revised proposal to DPD, and received comments back from DPD on April 12, 2013. A link to the March 27 ECC proposal with April 12 DPD comments can be found above, or by clicking here. (The citywide draft design guidelines referred to in the DPD comments are available on the City web site at http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~ordpics/117619at1.pdf.)
On April 12, 2013, ECC also received an e-mail from DPD that stated as follows: “As you probably know, the City is in the process of revamping the citywide Design Guidelines (draft attached). Among other improvements this new draft now incorporates many of the design guidelines that frequently appeared in the neighborhood specific guidelines. I believe you will find that in a number of cases the new citywide guidelines also capture the specific design issues described in the draft Eastlake guidelines. With this in mind, I have gone through the Eastlake guidelines (also attached) and labeled those elements that I believe are now well covered in the citywide draft. Recall that the purpose of the Neighborhood guidelines is to supplement the citywide–adding and expanding only on issues unique to each neighborhood. Our goal is to incorporate into the Eastlake guidelines any citywide design issues that need additional amplification to better address elements, conditions and opportunities unique to the Eastlake Neighborhood. Note: there’s nothing wrong with having fewer guidelines. It actually helps the Design Review Board focus on those design concerns most important to the community.”
ECC will now need to decide which of the DPD comments to accept and which, if any, to decline; and what package of guidelines, if any, to submit for further consideration by the City. We see three main issues:
(1) Should we give up a proposed Eastlake design guideline because it is in the citywide design guidelines? City guidelines can be changed without much signoff by the Eastlake neighborhood, whereas Eastlake-specific guidelines would be difficult for the City Council to change without formal signoff by the neighborhood.
(2) Can or should the neighborhood-specific guidelines contain language to prevent their use to produce unreasonably large buildings? It has been argued that the design review process is too often used to depart from development regulations and standards in the Land Use Code in ways that simply makes buildings larger, with less open space, etc., instead of making them better while complying with regulations and standards. In truth, there is no real standard for determining whether a project offers sufficient benefit for the requested departures — the Code simply says ”Departures may be allowed if an applicant demonstrates that departures from Land Use Code requirements would result in a development that better meets the intent of adopted design guidelines.” DPD, the design review boards, and applicants thus cite design guidelines as giving them broad authority to, in effect, amend or repeal parts of the Land Use Code, without any means of measuring, qualitatively or quantitatively, what constitutes a “better” project. In order to address this concern, the ECC proposal contains the following language: “The above Eastlake neighborhood-specific design guidelines may not be cited to justify departures, variances, or other modifications from development regulations and standards in the Land Use Code that would cause a project to have larger building height, bulk, or scale, or less than the amount of open space or parking required by the development regulations and standards in the Land Use Code.” Unfortunately, DPD states in its April 12 comments that this sentence is “outside the purview of the Design Guidelines.” ECC will need to decide whether to keep this sentence in its proposal to the City Council.
(3) Contrary to the first decade of design guidelines, in which design review public meetings were held in the neighborhood of the proposed project, DPD in the past decade has been holding the design review meetings far away, in locations difficult for those in the neighborhood to reach. For example, in recent years, most (if not all) design review meetings about Eastlake projects have been at one of the following: Seattle Central Community College, Seattle Vocational Institute, and Seattle University–locations that are (a) farther from Eastlake than is downtown, (b) on the other side of I-5 and the other side of Capitol Hill and First Hill, making pedestrian and bicycle access difficult; (c) difficult to reach by bus from Eastlake; and (d) with sparse or expensive parking. To reverse this serious blow to public participation, the ECC proposal contains the following language: “Design review board meetings for Eastlake projects will be held at locations within the Eastlake neighborhood. Notices will be posted throughout the neighborhood, not just in the immediate vicinity of the proposed building.” DPD states in its April 12 comments that this sentence is “outside the purview of the Design Guidelines.” Again, ECC will need to decide whether to keep this sentence in its proposal to the City Council.
An important caution is that design guidelines (whether citywide or Eastlake-specific) cannot prevent a bulky building if the underlying multifamily or commercial zoning allows it, and if the building is exempted from analysis and appeal under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The Mayor and City Council unfortunately have been expanding the size of allowable residential and commercial buildings, while reducing or eliminating required open space and parking, and exempting larger and larger buildings from SEPA review. Reversing these changes is most important to our neighborhood; design guidelines are only guidelines and alone they cannot protect the neighborhood.
ECC welcomes public comment on the above issues, and any other aspect of the proposed design guidelines that it submitted on March 27, 2013 submission, and on the April 12 comments received from the City (see above for how to find them on the ECC web site). ECC values your suggestions on how to proceed, and will also reconsider anything in its proposal if given good reason to do so. Should the ECC proposal go on to the City Council, there will be a public hearing in which anyone can testify. Written questions, comments, and suggested revisions are always welcome and may be submitted to email@example.com or by U.S. mail to ECC, 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102-3278.
ECC JUNE 28, 2012 LETTER TO CITY AND THE CITY’S AUGUST 2 RESPONSE ABOUT THE “APODMENT” PROPOSAL AT 2371 FRANKLIN AVE. E.
Please see this web site’s Announcements and Comment Opportunities section for an urgent request to contact City Counclmembers on this issue. Click here for the June 28, 2012 letter that the Eastlake Community Council sent to the City about the proposed 39-unit that would built on one (!) lot on the already parked-up Franklin Ave. E., just two doors away from TOPS-Seward School. Click here for the August 2, 2012 letter that ECC received in response from Diane Sugimura, the director of the Department of Planning and Development. Eastlakers are urged to contact the City Council as suggested in this web site’s Announcements and Comment Opportunities section. The ECC board welcomes comments and suggestions on next steps, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o ECC at 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle 98102-3278.
DRAFT FOR COMMENT:
EASTLAKE AVENUE PEDESTRIAN DISTRICT OVERLAY ORDINANCE
[Click here for the Eastlake Avenue Pedestrian District Overlay ordinance that ECC proposed in 2001]
One of many actions in the 1998 Eastlake Neighborhood Plan was a proposal for an Eastlake Avenue Pedestrian District Overlay ordinance. Following up on that proposal, a draft ordinance was prepared for the Eastlake Community Council in 2001. When ECC presented this draft ordinance to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, its response was that impending citywide changes in the City’s commercial and multifamily land use codes would address the same purposes.
ECC believes that citywide changes in the Seattle land use code have not adequately addressed the purposes of the proposed Eastlake Avenue Pedestrian Overlay District ordinance. Therefore ECC is considering whether to move ahead with proposing this ordinance again to DPD and ultimately to the City Council. A revision of this draft ordinance would of course involve updating it to incorporate changes in the Seattle land use code since 2001.
ECC invites questions, comments, and suggestions from the public about this document. Based on the comments received, ECC will decide whether to move ahead, and which revisions in the proposed ordinance are needed. Questions, comments, and suggested revisions are always welcome and may be submitted to email@example.com or by U.S. mail to ECC, 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102-3278; include your phone number if you would like a return call.