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Meeting Minutes – January 2015

Fremont Neighborhood Council Board Meeting – January 26, 2015

 Board members present:  Toby Thaler, Norma Jones, Erik Pihl, Stephanie Pure, Jim Engelhardt, Linda Clifton, Elfreide Noble, Shawn Mulanix, Judie Clarridge.

Toby opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:


  • Jessica Vets announced that both Home Street Bank and Google will be holding pre-Super Bowl celebrations on Friday.
  • Reid Haefer announced that an application for a Neighborhood Grant will be submitted for an environmental restoration project at Waterway 22, where Stone Way meets Lake Union.  It was noted that the grant deadline is prior to the FNC February board meeting.  Reid was invited back to the February meeting.  .


SDOT Report on Stairway Rebuild Projects – John Buswell 

John briefed on SDOT’s team of engineers and skilled craftspeople who maintain the City’s bridges, stairs, retaining walls, etc. There are 515 public stairways in Seattle.  Investing in maintenance is better than having to rebuild them.  Each stairway is inspected every 7 years to determine what needs to be done.  Engineers determine if they meet current code requirements. Maintenance of existing stairs is funded through the City Council.  Construction of new stairs is through the Matching Funds program.

Bridging the Gap has increased the maintenance budget to $450,000 per year.  John has seen a big increase in walking the city’s stairways. He spoke about the work in improving the character of the stairs while also making them ADA compliant (in areas of consistent rises to the stairs, railings on both sides, landings on long stairways, grip railings).  John provided background that after buses replaced streetcars in the 1940s, most of the metal from the rails themselves was used in the World War II war effort.  Some rails became handrails for city stairways.  Concrete panels that separated the rails became stair treds.

A question was asked about bicycle runnels (a track on the staircase that allows the rider to roll the bike up as she/he walks).  There are 6 or 7 runnels in the city but are hard to design in such a way that the stairway is still ADA compliant.  They are not building any more while working with the bicycle community on design options.

John said that they prioritize maintenance needs based on safety and on pedestrian and bicycle master plans.  They also work to do maintenance in all neighborhoods.


43rd Street Stairway: The concrete was unevenly poured and the workmanship was not up to their standards.  They are determining if it can be fixed.  A runnel will not be added until they can decide if it can be retrofitted into the existing stairway.


Fremont Avenue to Bowdoin Stairway:  The existing is a steep ramp/stairway.  A 5% grade is the maximum.  They try to build landings when the grade is more than that.  The new stairway will be 7’ wide.  There was discussion about whether a runnel could be added for better access to Fremont Avenue.  The 40th Street stairs might be a better option for a runnel.  John said that the work that Fremont neighbor and architect, Gordon Lagerquist, has volunteered on this project has been very helpful.   There was discussion about the benefit of communicating in advance of projects with local newspapers, community groups, etc.


Presentation on New Project at 744 N. 34th (DPD No. 6384625) – Mark Grey, Stephen C. Grey and Associates; team from Weber Thompson; Jeanne Muir, Urban Relations.


Mark said that Stephen C. Grey manages property in the Quadrant Lake Union Center.  They are also working with Jeanne Muir to reach out to stakeholders in the area.  The property currently includes History House; a building that includes Milstead Coffee, Café Turko and others; and the Carquest building.


The Early Design Guidance meeting will be next Monday, February 2 at 8 pm at Ballard Community Center.


It is envisioned that it will be a 5 story office building with retail on the ground level.  There will be 3 levels of below grade parking with 240 parking stalls.  There will be a 30’ set back on the east (Troll Way) side with a water filtration system in the landscaping.  There will be a 15’ set back on the west.  The project vision and goals are that it will be accessible and open; will work towards the Architecture 2030 Challenge for urban sustainability (energy, water, vehicle emissions); the design will utilize daylight in the building (via internal courtyards and windows); will incorporate street trees; an upper level (possibly the 2nd floor) will be set back.   It was noted that Weber Thompson designed the Terry Thomas Building where they are located.


No departures are being requested.  The timeline is to start demolition in April 2016 with construction completed in 15 to 16 months.


There was discussion about how the project would connect across the alley with Ernst Park, west of the Fremont Public Library.  Potential for outdoor patio space on the west side of the building.  Also discussion that the landlord plans to work with current tenants regarding their interest in space in the new building, space elsewhere in Fremont, space during construction, etc.  The plan is that History House will move into space on the south side of N. 34th.   Some comments that the design option that provided for a set back on the 2nd floor was appealing.


Committee Reports:


  • At the next meeting, could ask SDOT for update (1) on Fremont and N. 43rd pedestrian safety measures and (2) the effectiveness of existing measures at N. 41st and Stone Way.


  • Board members Toby, Stephanie, and Linda attended a meeting with Tableau regarding their interest in making grants to local organizations.


  • Toby asked if the board supported him applying to be a Commissioner on the Seattle Planning Commission.  The response was yes.


  • Leo Griffin, Fremont resident, is organizing a Wake for Affordable Rental Housing in Fremont.  The issue is the demolition of older rental houses in Fremont to make way for new construction.  He asked if the FNC would be a co-sponsor, along with the Fremont Historical Society.


MOTION:  Erik moved that the FNC be shown on publicity as a co-sponsor.  Seconded by Linda.  The motion passed.



 A motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve the November 2014 minutes as presented.


Treasurer’s Report:

Jim presented the following balances in the FNC’s accounts:


Verity Checking:                     $ 1,847.28                   46th Street Mural:   $321.39

Verity Money Market:             56,266.94

Paypal                                          716.68

Paypal – new membership           169.00


The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting will be Monday, February 23, 2015.

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