The proposed redevelopment of the Thunderbird Motel by Catholic Community Services (CCS) is a hot topic. See background story from Seattle PI here
So far residents appear divided on the issue, with many opinions of both support and concern about the project.
The FNC board voted to send the following letter to CCS (copied below). We’ll keep you posted about the response. What do you think?
To: Dan Wise, Division Director, Catholic Community Services firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Fremont Neighborhood Council
Re: Questions and Reservations about the proposal to replace the Fremont Inn
Thank you for your presentation at our June meeting and for meeting with the Fremont community on July 13 at Fremont Abbey to explain the Catholic Community Services (CCS) proposal for the Fremont Inn/ Thunderbird motel on Aurora Avenue North.
At our July 25th meeting, we invited further comment from the community and heard even more concerns than were voiced on July 13, as well as some statements of support for your proposal and for CCS as a good landlord. As a result, we would like your responses to a number of questions:
- We understand that the architectural plans for the building are preliminary. Many neighbors near the facility are very concerned about loss of privacy since the west side of the building will look directly down into their yards and windows. What modifications can you make to the building’s design to minimize or, preferably, eliminate this intrusion?
- Will your building be designed using CPTED guidelines to add to public safety by its very structure? Will your proposed space on the west side of the building become an unsupervised gathering spot for trouble rather than the buffer intended? How will you work to eliminate or mitigate that possibility?
- This will become the 3rd such large facility housing similar populations between the Battery Street tunnel and N. 107th–all on the 358 bus line, joining several facilities in the neighborhood already dealing with troubled populations. How will you help to mitigate the long term effect on further redevelopment on Aurora, such as at the Italia/Isabella site? Will CCS join with Fremont organizations to help reshape the Aurora corridor as a better part of the neighborhood?
- You have talked about providing a number of supports for residents of the building. What is your long-term commitment to running the place as a responsible good neighbor? Especially with public funding support for mental health funding and other safety net programs shrinking, how will you sustain this commitment if your initial funding shrinks or disappears?
- What are your plans for helping your residents become contributing members of the neighborhood? How can FNC work with you to this end?
- How will you continue to be accountable to the neighborhood for the assurances you make to us now?
- Will you require any religious affirmations or participation by either tenants or staff, and will you observe requirements against discrimination in hiring?
- We understand that, since all the units are small studio or 1-bedroom spaces, there will be no provision for housing families, and an income limit of 30% of median, almost no mix of tenants, and a physically limited configuration that will be with us for the life of the building. We know you have said this is not a good space for families, though many do live nearby, but are there any possibilities for working with your funders to modify your proposal to include space for families with children, and to allow a wider range of income eligibility?
We do want to see everyone in Seattle decently housed, and we have already contributed materially to that effort by sponsoring workforce housing here in Fremont. We do not, however, want to do so at the expense of a return to the troubled conditions here that so many in the vicinity of the Fremont Inn have been fighting for so long.
We have not yet taken a formal position on the proposal. We look forward to receiving your responses to these questions, and will share them with our membership and the community.
Best, Matt Gasparich