Ravenna-Bryant Community Association

Serving the Ravenna and Bryant neighborhoods in Seattle, WA

Ravenna-Bryant Community Association - Serving the Ravenna and Bryant neighborhoods in Seattle, WA

Summary of RNA LUA Session 1

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) is hosting a Land Use Academy (LUA) made up of a series of five community forums. The first in the series, Roosevelt 101, was held July 25, 2015. A video of the first meeting may be viewed below and on YouTube.

Former RNA board member Jim O’Halloran moderated the forum, starting by saying that the idea behind the RNA LUA is to “empower” the neighborhood, get everyone “on the same page,” and “have [our] voices heard.”  By the end of the LUC in Fall of 2015, he plans to produce some “statements” about the three main issues Roosevelt is dealing with these days; the Sisley properties, the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the Sound Transit Station, and the possibility of the Roosevelt reservoir being decommissioned.

The new Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, Kathy Nyland, spoke around minute 6:00.  She started by saying that she thinks the City could do a better job getting people educated and empowered about the issues affecting them in their neighborhoods.  She would like to make this information more relatable and understandable; she cares less about the outcome of the LUA and more about the process itself.

At around 21:00, the City’s Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD’s) Ryan Moore spoke about the big picture, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and how that gets translated into how a community actually looks and feels.  Ryan said that there aren’t other neighborhoods in the City that deal with neighborhood planning at the level of sophistication that Roosevelt does.

Renee Davis, a member of the group from the 1990’s called “Tomorrow’s Roosevelt” spoke (starting at 28:00) about the effort they lead to get consensus on the direction the residents of Roosevelt hoped their neighborhood would take.  She said that after an extensive survey (all hand-delivered), the overwhelming majority of Roosevelt residents wanted the light rail station underground and near the business core.  They also identified that they wanted the density associated with the new station to be tiered; tall buildings shouldn’t buttress single family homes.  They wanted parks and open space as well.  Most folks thought the reservoir should be a park, pool, or community center-they were told it would be “capped.”

Ravenna neighborhood activist Barbara Warren spoke (57:00) about the process of putting together the update to the Roosevelt neighborhood plan.  Barbara, a retired affordable housing lawyer, said the overriding objective for the 2006 neighborhood plan update was to plan for the increased density and growth targets.  The 2006 update ended up exceeding the growth targets given by the City.  The committee identified neighborhood priorities, again, through surveys. Respondents asked to absorb the density while maintaining the mountain views from Roosevelt High School (RHS), provide a range of housing options, and preserve the architecture of the single family homes.  The 2007 announcement by Roosevelt Development Group (RDG) to put 16 stories in front of RHS whittled down to a 2011 contract rezone for 12 stories.  The contract rezone application was never finished, however, as a 2012 legislative rezone increased the zoning in front of RHS from 4 stories to 6 stories.

Jim O’Halloran gets into the details of the legislative rezone around 1:11.  After Mayor McGinn changed the zoning from 4 stories to 6 stories in front of RHS, a plan called the “Sustainable Livable Roosevelt Plan” or SLRP offered more density along I-5 in the form of MR (mid-rise zoning that is being developed now) in exchange for leaving the 40′ zoning on the “Fruit Stand Block.”  All 9 City Council members came to RHS one night in 2011 to hear about 400 people stand up and give comment.  He said that in the end, “things didn’t turn out our way,” but the legislative rezone did give concessions to the neighborhood in the form of further setbacks from the street and designated green streets on NE 66th from 15th to 8th and 66th to Ravenna Boulevard, making the rezone “easier to swallow.”

At around 1:21 into the video, RBCA’s Land Use Chair Sarah Swanberg adds that Ravenna residents got involved in the Roosevelt rezone because 65th and 15th is the gateway to Ravenna.  Sarah felt that it was hard to make an informed decision about whether 6 stories in front of RHS would actually block the view of the mountains but, in the end, the decisions were made by people who showed up at the meetings.  Ultimately, the City Council made the call to put 6 stories instead of 4 in front of RHS.

The second forum, Current Issues in Land Use Planning, will take place Saturday, September 19. Visit the RNA website for more information.

Restoration and Construction Set to Begin at Theodora Site

The Theodora 6559 35 NE

The Theodora 6559 35 NE

65th and 35th is a busy place these days with the construction at Bryant Heights and the Theodora, right across the street.  RBCA has always known that change was coming to our neighborhood and was involved in the Future of 35th Ave NE Project.  On Wednesday June 24th from 6-7:30 at Congregation Beth Shalom, the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will ask for feedback from the community about the potential up zoning along 35th Ave from NE 65th to NE 95th that was endorsed by the 35th Ave Committee, RBCA, and the Wedgwood Community Council. Goodman Real Estate has provided the following information to RBCA about their project on 35th Ave NE, just south of the NE Library.

“Construction and staging activity at the Theodora is photo (5)underway as the project prepares for interior renovations to the existing Theodora units and common spaces, exterior cleaning and painting, refreshed landscaping, and the addition of new units in the existing south parking lot.

In addition, activity through the summer and fall will include:

  • Cleaning the building exterior and repainting all wood to match the existing color
  • Installation of new entries at the north and the east sides of the building to help open up the building to better pedestrian access
  • Excavation at the south parking lot for a new below grade parking garage
  • Construction of new apartment units over the new parking garage

As construction begins to ramp up, we will also ensure regular communication with Polygon and their NE 65th St. project.

A month or so ago, the Volunteers of America (previous site owner) and Goodman Real Estate (current owner) finalized the transition of all previous Theodora residents to new permanent housing. Residents worked closely with a relocation specialist to help determine their new housing needs – one of the positive results of this work was that 73 percent of residents were able to stay in Seattle.

All residents who received Section 8 subsidized rent were able to retain their reduced-rent vouchers and use them in their new homes. In addition, 12 residents who were not currently receiving Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers were qualified through the relocation process and now receive federal rent subsidies.

Assuming we have approval from the Landmarks Board, we plan to discuss these updates and provide detailed information about parking, traffic planning, overall design and plans for the south building, as well as our onsite tree and shrub plan when we attend the Ravenna Bryant Community Association July 7th board meeting.

In the meantime, questions about construction or timelines should be directed to Rita Burden at rburden@goodmanre.com.