What is, and Why Are We Discussing, the Donut Hole?

[A detailed map of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association’s boundary, including zoning, parcels, and buildings as of 2009, is available here (2.2MB PDF).]

By j. Andrew Miller
RBCA Land Use Committee Chair

First, the “Donut Hole,” is a geographic area in the northeast sector of Seattle that does not “officially’ belong in any neighborhood. Instead, these approximately 18 blocks are surrounded by the other neighborhoods of Ravenna-Bryant, Wedgwood, and View Ridge. This area is bounded by 35th Ave NE on the west edge, 40th Ave NE on the east edge, NE 75th Street on the north and NE 65th Street on the south.

View Northeast Seattle Community Organizations in a larger map

The topic has come up recently because the Wedgwood community to our north has been very active these past few years working toward a Neighborhood Plan to help guide the future of their neighborhood. Most neighborhood plans are relevant to commercial areas as these are the areas most likely to change and/or redevelop over time. The primary commercial area of Wedgwood is on the 35th Ave NE corridor between 75th and 95th: however, the Wedgwood plans have recognized that the 35th Ave corridor commercial areas also continue south into Ravenna between 65th and 75th, and consequently their plans include discussion of blocks not in their neighborhood.

The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) recognized a need to engage Wedgwood in their discussions but we did not have the manpower and we have many steps to accomplish before we catch up to them on these issues (Wedgwood has been at this for three years). However, we also quickly realized from our years of work with our Roosevelt neighbors that neighborhood planning of commercial corridors is harder when one neighborhood controls one side of an arterial and a different neighborhood controls the other. The ‘donut hole’ area includes the east side of 35th between 65th and 75th. Therefore, we have Ravenna-Bryant on one side and an unaffiliated area on the other side. So any discussion with Wedgwood on planning the 35th corridor was already complicated before it started. The RBCA held discussions about our opportunities and challenges about bringing these unaffiliated blocks into the RBCA and chose to move toward that via a multi-step bylaw change that will be publically voted on at the October 4 RBCA General Meeting. Ultimately, from the Land Use Committee perspective, if adopted it will make it a more efficient process of working with Wedgwood on commercial corridor planning.

Whereas that is the background, what is important to the RBCA on October 4th is to hear from the residents and business owners who live and work in this unaffiliated portion of Seattle. Our RBCA newsletter is going to be delivered in this area, our website will contain this article, and our blogs and twitter accounts will broadcast this information. If you know anyone who lives in that area, please have them come represent their view of this change at the meeting on October 4.