June 21 public hearing on mandatory housing affordability program

Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), was discussed during the May RBCA annual meeting and during this week’s RBCA board meeting. On Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 a.m., the City Council will hold a public hearing about MHA for residential development.

Under the MHA-R program, new multi-family residential development would be required to provide affordable units (performance) or make an in-lieu payment.  The MHA-R program will be implemented as increases in residential development capacity are approved.  Among other things, the proposed ordinance would: 

·           Establish the Council’s intent as to implementation of the MHA-R program;

·           Establish the applicability of and exemptions from the program;

·           Establish requirements for units provided through performance; and

·           Establish procedures for seeking modifications to program requirements. 

Written Comments may be sent to:  Councilmember Rob Johnson, Legislative Department, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, P.O. Box 34025, Seattle, WA  98124-4025 or by email to rob.johnson@seattle.gov.   Written comments should be received by Monday, June 20 at 12 p.m. 

Electronic copies of the proposed ordinance are available through the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee’s webpage, http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/planning-land-use-and-zoning.

June 27 public hearing about Seattle Comprehensive Plan Update

The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the City’s Land Use Code to implement the Mayor’s Recommended Comprehensive Plan, known as Seattle 2035. The proposed amendments are available at 2035.seattle.gov or seattle.legistar.com (search for Council Bill 118683). The Comprehensive Plan guides land use throughout Seattle.

The Mayor’s Recommended Plan proposes to significantly rewrite the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Some of the changes proposed are:

  • Include a growth strategy to distribute the City’s share of growth allocated by the King County Growth Management Planning Council, which is 70,000 new housing units and 115,000 new jobs by 2035 by allocating growth estimates to urban villages throughout the City. The recommended growth strategy calls for continued growth in urban centers and urban villages with particular emphasis on centers and the villages with very good transit service.
  • Emphasize Race and Social Equity as a core value of the Comprehensive Plan, implementing Resolution 31577.
  • Change the way urban centers and urban villages are depicted on the Future Land Use Map, identify a potential future urban village at N. 130th Street at Interstate 5 and allow for potential future expansions of urban villages near frequent transit.
  • Identify appropriate scales and densities within different types expected in each category of urban center and village.
  • Add a section about transportation safety.
  • Add policies supporting fair housing and seeking to overcome historic patterns of segregation.
  • Create a new Parks and Open Space Element. Remove numeric goals for open space amenities. Recognize the importance of public open spaces that are not City-owned parks.
  • Simplify the Neighborhood Planning element, removing policies that specify how neighborhood plans should be prepared. No changes are proposed to any neighborhood plan.
FLUM April 2016
Mayor’s Future Land Use Map, April 2016

Additional information regarding the scope of changes and a comparison of the existing and proposed Comprehensive Plan is available in the “Directors Report” available at 2035.seattle.gov.

Public Hearing

The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the Mayor’s Recommended Plan on June 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the Seattle City Council Chambers at City Hall: 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104.

For those who wish to testify, sign-up sheets will be available outside of Council Chambers starting at 5:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided.

Written Comments

Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on June 27. Please send comments to Amy Gore in Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office via e-mail at: amy.gore@seattle.gov.

Will HALA increase access to opportunities for more community members?

During their May 3 meeting, the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee was briefed about Equity in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the Equitable Development Implementation Plan. Policies contained in the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) are part of the City’s plan for creating equity in Seattle. Learn more about HALA during RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30PM

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

How equitable is Seattle right now? When developing the drafted Comprehensive Plan update, access to opportunity was considered in all areas of our city. Access to opportunity includes things that contribute to social, economic, and physical well-being. As is shown in the map below, the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood is identified as a neighborhood that has average to high access to opportunity.

Equity Analysis Seattle 2035

The May 3 committee meeting presentation indicates that the City’s equity goals include increasing opportunity in neighborhoods that are currently considered areas of low opportunity and increasing housing choices in neighborhoods currently considered areas of high opportunity.

A recent article in the Seattle Times reports that living in a low income community is among the aspects of poverty that are particularly damaging and can be addressed by public policy. In addition to addressing low family income and poor education, which are also among the aspects identified, local policy can impact where people live.

The roots of current equity disparities in our city may be found when reviewing local history that included severe segregation policies. For instance, from the 1910s through the 1960s, many Seattle neighborhoods, including Ravenna-Bryant, practiced overt racial exclusion through land use covenants. To this day, communities are still working to right the wrongs of the past and create equity throughout the city. Now that we are coming to terms with past policies that created segregation and contributed to poverty, and now that we can identify the factors contributing to continued poverty, we have the opportunity to establish new policies that can reduce disparities and increase equity in our city.

Housing Levy to be on August ballot: Learn more May 17 at RBCA’s annual meeting

BrettlerFamilyPlaceLarger
Brettler Family Place at Sand Point Naval Station was built in part with Seattle Housing Levy funds. The current levy expires at the end of the year.

The Seattle City Council yesterday unanimously voted to include a $290 million Housing Levy on the August 2, 2016 Primary Election ballot. The levy proposal focuses on increasing affordable housing production and preservation, supporting homelessness prevention, and fostering home ownership for low-income residents.

The levy is part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) which will be the focus of RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting. Join us and learn more about the levy and other HALA policy proposals.

 

RBCA Annual Meeting

Focus: HALA

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30PM

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

More housing & businesses along NE 65th Street?

Most Ravenna-Bryant residents are comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street, according to a 2013 survey conducted by RBCA. Will the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) set the stage for increased development on NE 65th Street? Attend the RBCA’s annual meeting and find out.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Topic: HALA

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

More about that survey . . .

Of the 610 residents who took the survey,  most agreed that traffic congestion is their biggest concern.  People also agreed that the community needs better pedestrian and bike safety features; to work with developers to ensure neighborhood-friendly development; and ensure parking spaces are included with property development.  Many people who reported being comfortable with more development stated that they want to discourage automobile usage while people who reported not being comfortable with more development were more likely to be concerned with the loss of parking.

The biggest concerns among the 64% of Ravenna-Bryant residents who indicated that they are comfortable with more development were:

  1. Traffic/congestion*
  2. Pedestrian and bike safety
  3. Driving should not be encouraged.
  • Need to cater to modes of transportation other than cars
  • Limit parking so people will choose other modes of getting around.
  • Need for bike lanes/walking amenities/better streetscape
  1. Need for better transit
  2. Ugly, cheap apartments/development/businesses/townhomes
  3. Parking should be included with development, parking on side streets
  4. Buildings shouldn’t be too tall
  5. Businesses need to cater to neighborhood residents
  6. Property value
  7. Density/crowding
  8. Noise
  9. Crime/vandalism
  10. More retail needed, reduce vacant businesses, keep retail west of 25th and east of 20th
  11. Transit/bike/pedestrian safety around light rail station
  12. Bike lanes inappropriately placed
  13. Losing “hole in the wall” charm of some buildings
  14. Increased rent
  15. Decreased livability
  16. Prevent removal of trees

The biggest concerns among the 29% who said they are not comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street were:

  1. Traffic/congestion
  2. Increased crime
  3. Adding to already over-crowded schools
  4. Loss of parking
  5. Pedestrian and bike safety
  • especially with increased congestion
  • especially for students in neighborhood schools
  1. Lack of appropriate planning
  • “City does not listen to neighbors or neighborhood.”
  • “I don’t want Ravenna Bryant to become condo-ville like Ballard.”
  • Lack of green space
  1. Increased density
  2. Bike lanes should not be developed on NE 65th Street
  3. Noise
  4. Need for increased police, fire, bus and other services
  5. Property values
  6. Eliminating single family houses
  7. Increased rental costs
  8. Undesirable businesses

*Italicized answers indicate issues of common concern  among those in favor of more development and those not in favor of more development.

May 17 RBCA Annual Meeting to focus on HALA

Yesterday, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his proposal to enact a residential Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA-R) program which will require that new multifamily residential development in Seattle contribute to affordable housing, either with affordable homes in the building or payments to help construct them throughout the city.

MHA map
Map of Mayor’s proposed Affordable Housing Program Areas included in his Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA)

This map shows the areas in north Seattle to which the program could apply, including the area around University Village and NE 55th Street. (See our previous post about NE 55th Street for information about how it is zoned.)

Additional information about MHA-R is included in a Director’s Report and the full text of the proposed ordinance.

HALA contains many policy proposals, including MHA-R. Community members are invited to learn more about HALA and other land use issues affecting Ravenna-Bryant during our upcoming annual meeting. City staff will be on hand to discuss HALA policies and answer your questions.

 

RBCA Annual Meeting

Topic: The Mayor’s Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

As rents climb, can Ravenna-Bryant be diverse & welcoming?

d1d07395-8df8-7101-8b99-a91558799b14
An older apartment building on NE 55th Street. This stretch of NE 55th Street is currently zoned Neighborhood Commercial and can include buildings up to 4 stories.

Rents in the area south of NE 65th Street in Ravenna-Bryant increased 10-14% between 2014-2015 according to a recent Seattle Times article. Rents in the neighboring University District rose by more than 16% in the same time period.

The article notes that communities like the U-District and parts of Ravenna-Bryant are desirable because of their density which tends to mean that there are amenities like restaurants and easily accessible transit. With the UW light rail station opening last month, and with the Roosevelt light rail station opening in 5 years, the area will become even more desirable.

As Ravenna-Bryant becomes a more desirable place to live,

Ravenna Present (Bryant Heights)
Rendering of new apartments being built on NE 65th Street.

rents will continue to increase, pricing many people out of our community. The RBCA board recently adopted a vision statement that puts in words what we want our community to be like in 10-20 years. “Welcoming” and “diverse” are two adjectives the RBCA board chose to include in our vision statement. If rents continue to increase as they have in the past few years, Ravenna-Bryant may not be very economically diverse nor welcoming to all.

 

To address these issues throughout Seattle, the Mayor released a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, commonly known as HALA. HALA contains multiple policies with the common goal of increasing affordable housing options throughout Seattle and, at the same time, maintaining and creating a livable city.

The RBCA’s annual meeting this year will focus on HALA. The meeting is open to all community members who want to learn more about the policies contained in HALA.

RBCA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Agenda

  • Open House – Learn about HALA and get your questions answered one-on-one with city staff members.
  • RBCA Business: Electing 2016-17 board members
  • HALA Panel Presentation
  • Public Q&A

Are More ADUs and DADUs coming to RBCA?

This Tuesday, January 26th, from 5-7 p.m. at City Hall Mayor Murray and department directors will launch their conversation on the implementation of HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda).

The HALA Report, which consists of 65 recommendations made by a 28 member committee, identified ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and DADUs (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units) as a way to create more housing in single-family areas in Seattle.  Last Tuesday, January 19th at the Filipino Community Center, about 100 people gathered to hear former Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee Chair Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Nick Welch from the Office of Planning and Community Development discuss policy changes that would encourage more homeowners to construct ADUs and DADUs.  (District 4’s Rob Johnson is the current Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee Chair Councilmember.)

According to Mr. Welch, the City of Seattle currently has just over 1000 permitted ADUs and 220 permitted DADUs.  There were 6 policy changes on which attendees were asked to comment and vote.  Based on public comments and the votes on the 6 poster boards, the majority of people at the Filipino Community Center last week were in favor of all of the changes below.

1)Should we remove the off street parking requirement?

2) Should we allow an ADU and a DADU on the same lot?

3)Should we remove the owner-occupancy requirement?

4) Should we modify development standards for backyard cottages?

5) Should we increase the height limit for certain lots?

6) Should we modify the rear yard coverage limit?

The next ADU/DADU meeting is Wednesday February 3rd at Wallingford Senior Center 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North from 6-7:30 p.m.  You will get to vote on which, if any, of these recommendations should be implemented.

While the HALA recommendations are being rolled out, the City is also considering expanding Urban Village boundaries for the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan.  You can also educate yourself on how the two plans overlap on the City’s website and this timeline.

 

 

City Council considering marijuana business zoning changes

On Monday, the Seattle City Council will discuss proposed changes to marijuana zoning rules in our city. Last month, the City Council Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee approved the proposal. Publicola reported on the committee’s debate regarding the impact of the policy on communities of color. 

The changes, proposed by Mayor Murray, would loosen restrictions on where marijuana retail stores may be located in Seattle. While a 1,000-foot buffer around playgrounds and schools would remain in effect, buffers around other places frequented by children, such as day care centers, libraries, community centers, transit centers, and arcades, would be reduced to 500 feet, approximately 1-2 city blocks. (Marijuana industry representatives are asking for the buffer to be reduced further.) The new rule would establish an additional 1,650 acres for retail locations. The proposal would also create a minimum distance of 500 feet between retail outlets but allow two pot shops to open next to one another.

What does that mean for Ravenna-Bryant?

With the proposal, the Mayor’s Office released
two maps: one showing the current zoning rules and possible locations for retail marijuana shops and one showing the additional areas that would be allowed under the proposed legislation. The map below shows the NE Seattle areas (in yellow) that would be appropriately zoned for marijuana stores under the proposal.

pot shops 2015
Red Circle = 500’/1,000′ buffer for existing marijuana retailers; Green Cross = 500’/1,000′ buffer for existing medical marijuana retailers; Green Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under licensing restrictions; Grey Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under zoning restrictions; Yellow Area = Estimated areas where retail marijuana would be allowed.

Under current rules, no marijuana businesses can open in Ravenna-Bryant because of buffer zone and land use rules. If this new legislation is passed, land around University Village, along NE 45th Street/Sand Point Way NE, and along NE 55th Street would be appropriately zoned for marijuana businesses. 

Why buffer zones?

Initiative 502, which established a legal commercial marijuana system, included a few provisions meant to take a public health approach to reducing underage exposure to marijuana.  Myriad research studies have shown that the number of stores selling tobacco and alcohol are related to the rates of underage use of those substances in a community. Though marijuana has not been legal long enough to conduct research to determine if marijuana business density is similarly related to underage use, I-502 included the buffer zone provision based on what is known for other substances.

Comp Plan and HALA Changes in RBCA

New Comprehensive Plan Map for 2035.seattle.gov
New Comprehensive Plan Map for 2035.seattle.gov

RBCA is embarking on some of the most interesting land use discussions that we have had in some time.  First, the City is in the process of updating is Comprehensive Plan, called Seattle 2035. The City’s Comprehensive plan is the policy document that guides long-range land use planning strategies.  While there are updates to the plan each year, this effort is part of a wholesale update to the Plan that occurs every 10 years. In the Draft Plan, the City has recommended expanding the Roosevelt Urban Village Growth Boundary into portions of Ravenna-Bryant’s Community Association’s Boundary.

The City notes that this expansion is intended to include an area that is a 10-minute walk from frequent transit (in this case, the Roosevelt LINK station, scheduled to open in 2021). In addition, the City Council is in the process of adopting a legislation proposed by the Mayor’s HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) committee to upzone most portions of the City zoned for intensive residential and commercial uses*, in conjunction with requiring 5-7% of new residential units to be made affordable a below-market rates.
The green in this map show where the City proposes zoning changes to 16% of Seattle. See more at http://murray.seattle.gov/housing/#sthash.GrgHZxBa.dpbs
The green in this map show where the City proposes zoning changes to 16% of Seattle.
The confluence of these two events presents an opportunity to provide feedback to DPD about land use policy decisions that may affect how our neighborhood will evolve in the future.  At the last RBCA Board meeting, we had a robust debate about how and where the Roosevelt UV boundary should expand, with some interest in amending the proposed expansion area to be more aligned along the 65th Avenue corridor instead of the recommended expansion area proposed by DPD.
The consensus seemed to be that there is an opportunity to better address the need for greater housing diversity (in terms of product type and income level) along that corridor and perhaps focus more of DPD’s planning efforts in Ravenna business district proper. This is an area where zoning already allows for more intense uses than exist currently, but lacks a strategy for streetscape improvements and neighborhood –specific urban design standards.  In addition, given the two current proposed developments along the neighborhood’s southern boundary on Union Bay Place, and the strong likelihood of redevelopment along 55th and 65th at some point in the future, we may want to discuss whether and when it would be appropriate to request Urban Village status for some portion of Ravenna-Bryant. An urban planning best practice is that infrastructure planning (and investment) should keep up with growth, and perhaps one or more UV designations could be a mechanism to support better planning.
So, how can you participate in the discussion of these exciting topics? First, we invite you to attend the November 3rd RBCA board meeting (yes, on election day) when we will be discussing the Comp Plan 2035 update process, and HALA.  We will be learning more about both of these initiatives and assessing whether to opine on one or both as a Board.  Second, individual comments regarding the Comp Plan 2035 should be directed to the City’s website http://2035.seattle.gov/ no later than November 20
* land zoned for a mix of multifamily, office and retail uses (i.e. “Neighborhood commercial” and “Commercial” zones)
Written by Chris Fiori and Sarah Swanberg, RBCA board members

Better know a neighborhood: Zoning in “downtown” Ravenna

Previous posts have reviewed zoning designations along a few of the arterial roads in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. As the city grows to accommodate more people, and we engage in discussions about what that growth looks like in transit-oriented neighborhoods such as ours, it’s important to know how areas are currently zoned.

The five block stretch along NE 65th Street from 20th Avenue NE to 25th Avenue NE is often considered “downtown” Ravenna. It is home to many places to eat and drink and health and wellness-related businesses. With a few buildings that include apartments, it is also home to many people.

Earlier this year, the area was re-zoned as a pedestrian area. Below is a map from the rezone legislation.

zoning downtown ravenna
Zoning on NE 65th Street between 20th Ave NE and 25th Ave NE. NC = Neighborhood Commercial; NCP = Neighborhood Commercial Pedestrian; LR = Lowrise Multifamily

As the map indicates, most of downtown Ravenna is zoned NCP2-40, Neighborhood NE 65th AlehouseCommercial Pedestrian up to 4 stories high. Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments.  Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

NE 65th daPinoNE 65th corner 25thThe Ravenna Alehouse and the building that houses daPino, Vitality Pilates, and Thrive Art School are examples of buildings that are 1 and 2 stories tall but could be up to 4 stories according to current land use designations. They both fit in with the pedestrian zoning designation since no residential uses exist on the first floors and windows face NE 65th Street. However, if the land to the east of the alehouse is ever developed, a parking lot abutting the street front would not be allowed.

Half of the southwest corner of NE 65th Street and 25th Avenue NE is zoned Single Family and the half closest to Ida Culver House is zoned LR2 or Lowrise Multifamily. Two houses are currently on that corner. LR2 encourages townhouses, rowhouses, and apartments.

How should Ravenna-Bryant grow?

How do we want the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood to grow over the next 20 years to best accommodate the increased number of people who will be living in Seattle? Do proposals in the drafted Comprehensive Plan, including the expansion of the Roosevelt Residential Urban Village into part of Ravenna, make sense or should increased housing and related infrastructure be spread more evenly throughout Ravenna and Bryant? How do the recommendations in the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) for increasing affordable housing intersect with the Comprehensive Plan and what do they mean in our community? These are just some of the questions RBCA board members began discussing this past week.

To get questions answered and provide the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) with input, community members are invited to check out the Key Proposals at one of their upcoming open houses. At the meetings you can learn more about what’s proposed and chat with staff to share your thoughts and ask questions. DPD will have information available about the potential expansion of urban villages and HALA.

Open house dates & locations

  • October 19, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (presentation at 6:30 p.m.), Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave E.
  • November 5, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (presentation at 6:30 p.m.), Leif Erikson Hall, 2245 NW 57th St.
  • November 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.(presentation at 10:00 a.m.), Filipino Community Center, 5740 MLK Jr Way S.
  • November 12, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (presentation at 6:30 p.m.), Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St.
  • November 14, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.(presentation at 10:00 a.m.), North Seattle College, 9600 College Way N.

Online feedback
You can submit your comments on the Draft Plan through November 20.  Here’s how:

1. Join the Seattle 2035 Online Community Conversation at seattle2035.consider.it and discuss the potential pros and cons of Key Proposals with fellow Seattleites.

2. Follow on Facebook and Twitter

3. Send comments by November 20, 2015:

  • Email: 2035@seattle.gov
  • Mail comments to the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Seattle 2035, 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.

Your feedback will help shape the Mayor’s Recommended Plan which will be sent to City Council in early 2016.

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.

Tell your favorite restaurateur about Bryant Heights

Bryant_Heights_Retail

**UPDATE** We have received this message today, June 8th, 2015 about the status of the restaurant application process:  “Thank you to the community members who have given input on the types of restaurants you would like to see at the new Bryant Heights development.  One of our most successful experiences was a community member telling a restaurant about opportunities at Bryant Heights. The restaurant called their Broker and had them contact us.  We had good discussions and in the end the restaurant operator decided the opportunity was not the right fit for them.  Please keep talking to your favorite restaurants and encouraging them to check us out.  We appreciate the community input and help in finding some restaurant concepts that will be great additions the neighborhood”

 

Polygon Northwest, the developers of the Bryant Heights project, would like the neighborhood to have a say in what kind of restaurant (or retail) should go into the two “bookend” spaces on NE 65th, on the corners of 32nd and 34th Avenue NE.  Neighbors are encouraged to print out/email this PDF (Leasing_Bryant_Heights) and take it to your favorite restaurateur.

 

commercial_ABoth commercial spaces are over 2,000 square feet and include outdoor eating space.  There will be a total of 10 car parking spaces and parking for 73 bikes on NE 65th, 32nd NE, 34th NE, as well as inside the garage.

 

Corner of 34th

In a survey that RBCA did in late 2013, 75% of the people who patronized businesses on NE 65th lived within 10 blocks, and new businesses opening along will make it easier for people to go to restaurants and stores without having to fight traffic.  Also, the number of families in RBCA has increased in the past ten years, and many of those bike or walk to school.   New restaurants in our neighborhood that cater to the walk/bike crowd are already coming to NE 45th and further west on 65th.

35th_plan_65_nodeThe 35th Ave Committee’s final report also clearly shows that the neighborhood would like to see more viable retail and a more walkable business district.  Although the Bryant Heights project is not on 35th Ave NE itself, it is still considered part of the 35th Ave Business District.  Very little new development with commercial space is being built in our neighborhood, so this is a rare opportunity to take part in shaping the future of our community.

What would YOU like to see in this new commercial space?  Please help spread the word by telling your neighbors and talking to your favorite restaurateurs.

Former “Bill the Butcher” Site to Become Two Restaurants

The former “Bill the Butcher” site on the south end of Ravenna-Bryant will soon be home to two restaurants owned by Josh Henderson of Westward.   These restaurants replace the original “Bike Hotel” idea proposed by developer Ron Sher.  The Laurelhurst Community Club also wrote about this property in their blog.

45th_elevation

According to this article in Seattle Met, the upstairs restaurant will face the Burke Gilman Trail and have “juices and pastry in the morning, salads and plates of charcuterie with cheese and crusty bread by day, and bistro fare at night.”

The restaurant facing NE 45th Street at 36th Ave NE will be a burger shack.  The developer Ron Sher also owns the beloved Third Place Books and Vios Café in our neighborhood.

 

1st_floor_plan

35th Ave Plan, Bryant Heights, and Theodora Updates

On Tuesday June 10th, from 7-9 p.m. at the Messiah Lutheran Church (7050 35th AVE NE) the RBCA Land Use Committee will host a meeting to get updates on the following:

 

  • The 35th AVE Committee Chair Per Johnson will give us a run down of what has occurred so far with the planning for the business district on 35th.(http://35thneighborhoodplan.blogspot.com/) The 35th Ave Committee also has the second of the three public meetings on Wednesday June 11th, also at Messiah Lutheran 7-9 p.m.

 

  • Polygon Homes will update us on their 3.7 acre project on NE 65th between 32nd and 34th Ave.  You can read about more about that project here.

 

  • Representatives from Goodman Real Estate and Volunteers of America will give us an update on the process of relocating the current Theodora residents, as well as give us an idea about their construction schedule for remodeling the building.  You can read more about the Theodora here.

Please help us spread the word.

 

Update: RBCA Board meets with CHSW staff about their property on NE 65th Street

On May 21, two representatives from Ravenna-Bryant Community Association’s (RBCA) board and three neighbors of Children’s Home Society of Washington (CSHW) met with CHSW President Sharon Osborne, Vice President of Administration/Chief Financial Officer Heather Ritts and two brokers from the real estate firm handling the sale, Heartland, to discuss the sale of the 3.7-acre property on 65th Street between 32nd and 34th Avenue Northeast.

CHSW, a 115 year-old organization, aims to “develop healthy children, create strong families, build engaged communities, and speak and advocate for children.” Their core program services have shifted slightly in recent years reflecting changing needs among the children and families they serve. As Osborne explained, they have moved away from running residential facilities such as those located on the Ravenna property, and now focus more on in-home services.

CHSW retained Heartland more than five years ago to help review the organization’s overall real estate, including the Ravenna site.  However, the organization still provided residential services on 65th Street site, and in addition to the “economic tsunami” of 2008, it didn’t make sense for them to sell any of their properties at the bottom of the market. Also, CHSW has a strong connection to the site, which has lasted more than 100 years, and the agency wanted to retain the property because of its historical significance. However, developers expressed strong interest in buying the site as the economy turned and the residential program closed in 2010, so they have decided to explore the possibility of a sale. The deadline to submit offers was May 17.

During the meeting, Osborne explained that CHSW consists of two nonprofits; the first runs programs and services, and a second one manages their real estate and other assets. CHSW has a total of seven properties across Washington state. Both of these 501c3s have boards, and both of these boards will need to review offers on the property before they can make a final decision regarding a sale.  The boards meet quarterly and “don’t sit on things for very long.” It’s anticipated that a decision in consideration of the offers would be made relatively soon.

The CHSW made it clear that they are not excited to be selling this location, and they will be sad to go. However, it does not make sense for them to keep such a valuable piece of property that they are not using fully, especially when the proceeds from a sale such as this could enable them to provide services for the children and families whom they serve for many years to come. They have assured us that they will let us know if and when an offer goes under contract as soon as they know. We will, in turn, let the community know.

May Board Meeting Agenda

Folks, it is time again to gather in the Teen room at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center at 7 pm to discuss topics near and dear to our community. Per Johnson from the Wedgwood Community Council will be joining us to talk about the proposed sale of the Children’s Home Society of Washington property. Albert Shen, who is running for City Council will be visiting us as well. We expect a lot of discussion around transportation and pedestrian issues in and around Children’s Hospital and NE 75th.

We’re also looking for some great people to join the Board and run for office!

The Agenda as it stands (subject to change)

Agenda
May 7, 2013 7-9 PM
Ravenna Bryant Community Association
Board of Directors Meeting
Ravenna Eckstein Community Association

7:00 Introductions (Jorgen)
7:05 Board Business (Various)
• President’s report – SNAP
• Nominations for President (Jorgen)
• Treasurer’s report/Minutes (none for April Community Meeting)
• NEDC update (Tony)
• April Community Meeting Debrief
7:20 WCC/35th Ave NE Neighborhood Planning District conversation with CHSW (Per)
7:35 Discussion on our next steps, including meeting with CHSW in a smaller group (All)
7:50 Albert Shen – Candidate for Seattle City Council (Albert Shen/Jorgen)
8:05 Updates from Jenny and the City (Jenny)
8:15 Transportation updates (various)
• Improvements at NE 75th and further plans for improving pedestrian safety
• Upcoming/Potential improvements at Blakeley (potential charrette with CBE)
8:30 Pedestrian Issues – (various)
• 40th Ave NE and B-G trail (Josephine)
• Sidewalk encroachment (Jorgen)
• NE 55th and 39th NE (Jorgen)
8:45 Old Business (All)
8:55 Adjourn
Next meeting – June 4, 2013