Fremont Neighborhood Council – July 28, 2014
Board members present: Stephanie Pure, Toby Thaler, Linda Clifton, Erik Pihl, Elfreide Noble, Shawn Mulanix, Matt Gasparich, Judie Clarridge.
Stephanie opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:
Gas Works Park Update – David Graves, Parks and Recreation Department, City of Seattle
David announced that there would be an Open House on Tuesday, September 9th from 5 to 7 pm at Gasworks to discuss ideas for new play equipment.
Kite Hill will be closed from Labor Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015 to add a soil cover. Since Gas Works opened in 1975, other parts of the park have added soil covers; Kite Hill is the last. Construction fencing will go up on August 18th. The project calls for 18” of soil to be removed which will reduce the runoff of coal tar sediment into Lake Union. Then, new soil will be added. The plan is that new grass will start growing before winter. There will be lots of truck activity for the first 4 weeks of the project.
3635 Phinney Avenue, N. Project: 27 Small Efficiency Apartment Units
Residents living close to the project site attended to express their concerns. The project is being built on a single lot where one house currently stands. August 6th is the end of the comment period. Like the project at 3639 Linden Avenue N, there will be no Design Review process because the zoning is Low Rise 2.
Toby provided background information on zoning. In the mid-1980s there was a development boom. Apartment projects often had pull-in parking on the ground level, with wide curb cuts, and apartments on the level above. Concerns were raised which resulted in a year of negotiations with developers, neighbors and the city. The area between 36th and 39th on Dayton, Phinney, and Greenwood allowed for multi-family housing. Then, in 2010, developments tended to be townhouses with garages that were often difficult to access. The overhaul of zoning in 2010 up zoned L1 to L2; Fremont had no opportunity for input in that change. The FNC and the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition appealed the zoning but lost. Limits on the number of housing units based on the square footage of the project were eliminated. Onsite parking was not required in urban villages because public transit was to be provided to meet the needs.
Residents raised the following concerns:
· Traffic and parking on Phinney: cannot assume that tenants won’t have cars. Traffic and parking are already problems on Phinney. One car has to pull to the curb to allow a car coming in the opposite direction to pass. Concerned not only about this project but the next project to come. The proposed 27 unit is a 5 fold density increase from the townhouse projects. Residents have to pay for an RPZ sticker for visitors but this project may mean that there will be no place for them to park. An increase in traffic will be hazardous for bicyclists, garbage trucks serving the street, children living on the block, etc. Concern about road rage with increased traffic on the street.
· Traffic in the area: concerns about number of accidents currently taking place at the intersection of Phinney and N. 39th. Issues of traffic volume and speeding on N. 39th.
· Garbage, noise, smoking area: Having a 27-unit building on one lot is pushing the boundaries: Would prefer a large dumpster for the building rather than carts. Concern about rats and raccoons if garbage is not contained. There is no interior courtyard. Where will tenants smoke? Will there be increased noise on the street if tenants go there to smoke?
· Question whether the units are a humane place to live: adequacy of space, light, and ventilation. Does the City define what is required regarding these issues?
· Population growth in Fremont: If Fremont has already exceeded its population targets, why does the City allow for more developments? There should be a moratorium on growth until a decision is made on the number of units allowable given the size of the building.
· Transit service: Inadequate transit service even for current population.
· Impacting on neighborhood: Replacing houses and traditional size apartments/condominiums with such small units will force families out of the neighborhood.
Toby said that once a developer applies for a permit, the City cannot stop it. Residents can use SEPA to get mitigations. In theory, the City was to provide more transit but that has not been delivered. The Hearing Examiner had been wrong to state that there were no adverse impacts from these developments. There was discussion about asking that the developer be required to conduct a parking and traffic flow study of the area; asking for a meeting with the developer; and halting new developments since Fremont has met its growth targets.
Minutes: Corrections were made to the June 2014 minutes: Linda did not comment about DPD considering the impact of other nearby projects as they consider theLinden Ave. project. Norma made the comment about the number of bike spots. Linda provided improved wording for the statement aboutFremont being included in only one of the five remaining transit options. Under Land Use and Transportation, Toby said better wording was needed regarding the possibility of appealing the Linden project. A motion has made to approve the minutes as corrected. It was seconded and passed.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be Monday, August 25, 2014.