Neighborhood news and support for issues for Fremont residents

Minutes – September 2011

September 26, 2011

Board members present:  Matt Gasparich, Norma Jones, Shawn Mulanix, Dic Selin, Toby Thaler, Erik Pihl, Elfreide Noble, Linda Clifton, Stephanie Pure.

President Matt Gasparich opened the meeting.

Announcements:  Norma shared the following:

Seattle Public Utility Sewage Overflow Prevention, Long-term Control Plan Community Input Meeting

Ship Canal Neighborhoods Tuesday, October 18, 5:30 – 7:30 Ballard Public Library

New Board Member:  Matt reported that Judie Clarridge expressed an interest in being considered as a Board member and offered to serve as secretary.  Norma Jones made a motion to accept her onto the Board; Dic Selin seconded.  The motion was passed.

Past Minutes:  Matt stated that minutes of several past meetings need to be approved.  Other Board members have located past minutes they took.  The plan is send out all past minutes to Board members for their review in advance of the October meeting and to approve the backlog, with any changes, at that meeting.

Treasurer’s Report:  Shawn presented the following report:

Savings:          $    240.33

Checking:           4,899.36

MM                   25,960.17

CD                    36,257.57


Total                 67,357.43


Boost Grant (FNC website enhancement):      $1,340.00

46th Street Mural:                                                1,729.00

Guest Speaker – Dick Haugen – managing member, Thunderbird/Fremont Inn, Italia, Isabella Motel investors

  • Dick attended the meeting to provide an update on the status of the Thunderbird/Fremont Inn, Italia, and Isabella Motel properties.  He is one of 49 people who invested in the motel properties and is serving as their managing member.  It was unclear from Chesterfield Mortgage Investors (now in receivership) and the Inmans (past owners) exactly what properties were included.  Some of the investors thought that the Marco Polo was included, but it was not.
  • Upon taking over ownership, the investors have incurred additional expense in evicting occupants, cleaning out debris, etc.  Property taxes have also been high, based on an inflated value set for the properties (a lawsuit has been filed against the appraiser).
  • Dick said constant tagging of the vacant properties has been a concern.  He is working with two staff assigned to graffiti issues at Seattle Public Utilities and the Seattle Police Department on anti-graffiti strategies, including placing surveillance cameras in order to identify taggers.
  • The Thunderbird/Fremont Inn property is being sold to the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle by a purchase and sale agreement to be used by Catholic Community Services (CCS) for low income housing for singles.
  • The owners group rehabbed the small, yellow house on N. 42nd behind the Italia/Isabella.  It has now been rented out.
  • Given the current economy, selling the Italia and Isabella properties would result in a substantial loss.  They are in discussion with two developers: (1) Kohary Construction and Development regarding a conventional apartment building, (2) Calhoun Properties regarding construction of approximately 50 units of small, affordable housing for singles.  For Calhoun, zoning is an issue because they do not want to have retail space on the street level.  One of their recent developments provides for a common kitchen on each floor instead of cooking facilities in the units.
  • One suggestion from a Board member was, rather than asking for rezoning, the ground floor could be built with high ceilings that would accommodate retail, whether it was used for that purpose or not.  A concern was raised that adding an additional 50 units of single-occupancy units a block from the 71 CCS single-occupancy units would create a “critical mass” of this target population in a residential area.
  • In response to questions about what options have been explored for the properties, Dick responded that the condition of the buildings makes it too costly to try to rehab them.  Tearing them down makes more sense financially.  They have also considered using the property for a parking lot but determined that security would be a problem.  They have come to the conclusion that the site’s proximity to downtown, the availability of public transportation, and the appeal of living in Fremont make development of apartments the best option for them to pursue.  Putting up the property itself for long-term investment in the new project in hopes of an eventual return.

Old Business:

  • LOGO:  Based on comments at the last meeting, Dave Scudder made revisions to options for the new FNC logo, including developing a new font.  The Board expressed a preference for using the traditional shades of orange and blue, as used on the Fremont Bridge, in the logo.  Matt moved that the design identified in the attachment be adopted as the logo.  Shawn seconded.  The motion was passed.   The Board extended their appreciation to Dave for his work on the logo.


  • BRIDGE WAY MURAL CLEAN UP:  Norma reported there was a good turnout last Saturday for the clean up.  They covered areas that had been tagged and have revitalized the mural overall.  They need additional help to paint the underpass pillars.  Some very high areas will need to wait to be painted.  She said that Daly’s has been very supportive by selling the paint at 50% off.  A “quick response” team is needed to do painting if/when tagging is done in the future.  The Arts Council is still the owner of the mural but they welcomed the FNC’s participation.


  • BOOST GRANT:  Linda reported that the $1,000 grant has been received.  There has been limited response to the call for people with website development skills.  It may be that the $1,000 being offered will not cover the time needed to do what the Board wants.  It may be necessary to prioritize the features wanted.  There was discussion about what features need to be created from scratch versus what may be available pre-built.  Comment that this means of communication is essential for the FNC because the average age in Fremont is 32.  Also, discussion about what the Board sees as most important: management of the email list of members, posting of agendas and minutes, ability to pay membership dues online, and posting of notices from the City.   A group of Board members will be meeting with an additional candidate for the website development project.  Linda asked for input from Board members on issues to be addressed in the interview.


  • SETTLEMENT OF TRANSFER STATION SUIT:  Toby reported that the City does not want the plaintiffs to appeal the zoning changes.  In exchange for dropping any possible challenges, the City has offered a total of $60K for projects to be built on public property that would be of public benefit. All of the plaintiffs must agree on the projects.  The money would be disbursed as follows: (1) $30K would be available early in 2012 and (2) the remaining $30K after the new transfer station is opened.  The FNC (and the other plaintiffs) will need to track the funds.  There was discussion about how close the projects should be to the transfer station.   It was noted that this money is in addition to projects already approved by the City for mitigation to the neighborhood for the impact of the station.


The issue for the plaintiffs and the FNC was that the City refused to consider other sites for the transfer station.  There is an opportunity now to comment on the city’s Solid Waste Plan.  Toby will draft a letter on behalf of the FNC and send to Board members for comment/concurrence.  It will recommend that the plan include a provision that, when siting a facility, consideration must be given to the impact of the facility on the neighborhood in which it is being proposed to be built.


Toby made a motion that the FNC close out the legal fees owed to Bricklin and Newman for the suit.  Given the amount previously approved by the Board, the additional funds needed are $865.  Dic Selin seconded.  The motion was approved.


The Board expressed appreciation to Toby for his work on this issue.


  • N. 34TH PROJECT:  Erik introduced Linda Mitchell, who is a consultant for Skanska on a new construction/development project to be located east of Stone Way and west of the transfer station, between N. 34th and N. 35th.  The property is owned by Suzie Burke; the site currently houses the Gasworks Park Kite Shop and Subway.   New construction will be office space.  Skanska emphasizes sustainable solutions and green construction in its projects.  They are submitting this project to be included in the city’s “Living Building Challenge” which allows projects to exceed certain zoning rules in exchange for conformance to rigorous green building standards. The project will be coming before the Seattle Design Review Board.  One of the issues will be the height of the building.  Linda and representatives from the project’s architectural firm will be on the agenda of the October 24th FNC meeting.


  • TROLL:  A transient encampment at the Troll was reported to police and is being tended to.


  • SPEED OF TRAFFIC ON N. 39th:  Stephanie reported that the “30 MPH Speed Limit” sign will be moved 50 feet further west from its present location where the sign is: (1)  too close to the intersection with Fremont Ave., and (2) obstructed by a tree.


  • LAKE UNION DISTRICT COUNCIL:  Dic reported that the last meeting covered the Natural Drainage Project which addresses the water from the west side of Capitol Hill flowing into Lake Union.  He also said grants for parks are unlikely this year because of the emphasis on funding disaster preparedness programs.  Discussion followed expressing concern with the lack of upkeep of Ernst Park, located next to the library.


New Business:


  • ADOPT-A-STREET:  The FNC regularly holds a street clean up on Fremont Ave. N. in the fall.  The City provides trash bags, “picker” tools, and gloves.  This year it will be scheduled for Saturday, October 29th from 10 a.m. until noon.  Volunteers meet at the power station.  Dic Selin volunteered to serve as the lead.


  • HISTORICAL PLAQUES:  Chris Webb gave an update on his grant request to fund the creation and installation of plaques to be placed on historic buildings/sites in Fremont.  In response to Chris’ question, Shawn said that if the grant is awarded, the FNC would be able to receive and track the grant money.


Next meeting will be Monday, October 24, 2011.

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