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

Prevent burglaries: Lock windows when not at home

As we start opening our windows to take in the warm weather, it’s time to think about preventing burglaries by securing windows when not home. Here are some tips from the Seattle Police Department:

Windows are a primary point of entry used by burglars.  Without question, window security is a must.  In terms of security, windows pose the greatest problem.  Windows are left unlocked and open more often than doors.  An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar.  The best window security advice is this: anytime you are away from home, close and lock your windows.

• Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins and should be given priority for security improvements.

• Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, ladder, or by climbing on balconies.

• Windows have latches, not locks, and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside.

• Windows that are painted shut do not keep burglars out.  Burglars often pry these open.

• Keep expensive equipment and items away from your windows.

• Use curtains or blinds over any windows or doors that are easy to see into.

For a detailed flyer from SPD about window security, please leave a message on our Contact Us page.

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

RBCA board meets Tuesday

The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association will meet Tuesday, April 5, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Agenda items include:

  • Reports from standing committees including Land Use and Transportation
  • Presentation from neighbors south of NE 85th Street
  • Planning for the RBCA Annual Meeting on May 17
  • Reports from association community organizations

All board meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

Share your concerns about walking, biking, driving, and transit in Ravenna-Bryant

Neighborhood Greenways make it safe and easy for everyone to get around the cityThe Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) board of directors recently adopted a vision to guide activities. The vision puts in words what we would like Ravenna-Bryant to be like in 10-20 years.

Vision: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood.

One of the elements that impacts if our community is welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected is how people who live and work here, and those who visit our community, get around. The environment for walkers, bikers, motor vehicle drivers, and transit users is important for the future of our community.

So that RBCA can plan for a safe and welcoming environment for all to get around our community, we are establishing a plan that identifies current problems, identifies solutions that have worked for similar problems, and includes an action plan for implementing and advocating for solutions.
bus4
We are currently collecting information about specific problems in the Ravenna-Bryant community. (Please refer to the RBCA map to determine if a problem is located within our neighborhood.) We have collected information from previous surveys conducted by RBCA and the City of Seattle, through community and RBCA board meetings, and from our neighbors. We are now reaching out for more input.

Please click here to take the survey by April 30, 2016. You may take the survey as many times as needed.

Some problems already identified:
  • Unsafe walking and biking all around University Village. Unsafe connection for bicyclists between neighborhood streets and Burke-Gilman Trail. Some areas don’t have sidewalks or sidewalks in poor condition.
  • Unsafe pedestrian crossing at un-marked crosswalks along NE 55th, NE 65th, and NE 75th Streets.
  • Unsafe pedestrian crossing at un-marked crosswalks along 25th Avenue NE.
  • Unsafe pedestrian environments on some neighborhood streets because of speeding cars.
  • Insufficient car parking on 35th Avenue NE on weekends. Few places for bikes to park.
  • Motor vehicle traffic on NE 65th Street during rush hour.
  • Cars backed up at major intersections with no left-turn traffic signals.
  • Insufficient car parking around Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center when events in progress.
  • Unsafe bicycle environment along NE 65th Street, especially at 15th Avenue NE.
  • Unsafe bicycle environment along 35th Avenue NE.
  • Cars park too close to crosswalks/corners making it difficult for pedestrians, bikers, and motor vehicle drivers to safely cross street, especially along 35th Avenue NE.
  • No sidewalks along NE 85th Street.

Preventing car prowls & thefts in secured parking garages

Seattle Police Department crime trend data show a significant increase in the number of burglaries that take place in secure parking garages in apartments and condominiums.

SeaStatJan2016According to SPD, in the majority of these crimes, burglars did not need to force their way into the garage but piggybacked in through the pedestrian door or followed a car into the garage. In addition to prowling cars, bicycles and storage unites are also targeted.

Here are some tips for preventing these types of crimes.

  • Secure garages are only secure if entering and exiting drivers watch the door fully close behind them every time.
  • Before entering or exiting a garage, look around to determine if anyone is hanging out near the entrance. Pay attention to them and let them know they’ve been seen.
  • Remote controls for secure garages should never be left inside parked cars. They provide future access to returning thieves.
  • Remove all valuables from your vehicle every time you park.
  • Disable internal trunk releases per your owner’s manual instructions.
  • Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.
  • Invest in heavy-duty locks for your storage unit and/or bicycle. Burglars often bring bolt cutters.
  • Share information about incidents and suspicious activities with your neighbors.
  • Report all crimes and suspicious activities to 911 immediately.

RBCA board meets Tuesday

Meeting Notice:

RBCA Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

6:30-8:30PM — please note the new start time in 2016!

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Agenda

  1. Committee Reports including Land Use Committee and Transportation Committee
  2. Annual meeting planning
  3. NE 65th Street Business Survey
  4. 2016 RBCA Workplan
  5. Emergency preparedness
  6. Reports from associated community organizations

All RBCA meetings are open to all community members. Please join us!

City Asking for HALA Focus Groups Applications from Ravenna-Bryant

The City still needs applications for their  Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) focus groups.  The deadline is today, February 26th but, due to a lack of applications from our area, has been extended until Monday February 29th for folks in Ravenna-Bryant .

There are 65 HALA recommendations but some of the ones that might be of interest to folks in Ravenna-Bryant are:

  • Anything that is currently zoned lowrise or commercial in our neighborhood could be upzoned.  Single family zones are not being considered for an upzone unless they’re in an Urban Village or Center, but proposed policy changes for Accesory Dwelling Units (ADUs or “mother-in-laws”) and Detached Accesory Dwelling Units (DADUs or “backyard cottages”) could change the single family neighborhoods in Seattle.  Learn more about how Ravenna-Bryant is currently zoned through these two blog posts about 35th Avenue and “Downtown Ravenna” or just look at our RBCA map.
  • Urban Villages like Roosevelt would see even more growth.  Currently, a dotted line for the Urban Village Boundary for Roosevelt comes into the single family neighborhood east of 15th Avenue NE; this has the potential to upzone some single family homes east of Roosevelt High School.  We wrote a blog post about that here.
  • An expanded, perhaps doubled, housing levy could go to ballot next year.
  • Read about all 65 recommendations here.  Yes, it’s 76 pages!

Do you have interest in being part of this discussion?  The focus groups are facilitated not by the City but by a third party.  Some land use knowledge is helpful, but not required.  The focus groups meet through the end of 2016.

Big Changes Coming for South Ravenna-Bryant

BGT_viewThe second Design Review Board meeting for the new project on Union Bay Place is tonight (February 22) at 6:30 at University Heights.  This project is across from Tully’s at “Five Corners” and buttresses the Burke Gilman Trail; however, due to slope issues, the project will not be connected to the Burke.

Just East on the Burke Gilman Trail, the new restaurants in the former Bill the Butcher site have opened.  This site was considered as a bike hotel, but people in Laurelhurst were concerned about the lack of parking for such a project.  The Laurelhurst Community Association Blog has written a post about the new restaurants and now appear to be content with having more options for eating out near their neighborhood.

With the opening of the new Light Rail station at Husky Stadium opening on March 19th, this portion of Ravenna-Bryant will surely see a lot of new development.

RBCA Board meets Tuesday

The February Ravenna-Bryant Community Association board meeting will take place Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center. Please note that in 2016 meetings will start at 6:30, not 7:00 p.m.

In addition to Land Use Committee and Transportation Committee updates, the agenda includes a discussion with Councilmember Rob Johnson and updates to the workplan for 2016.

All RBCA meetings are open to the public – please join us!

Getting to UW Link light rail station from Ravenna-Bryant

Today, Sound Transit announced that the University of Washington Link light rail station at Husky Stadium will open on March 19, 2016.

Since the station is just two miles from Bryant Elementary School and less than that from some parts of the Bryant neighborhood, many of our neighbors will be using this station to get to Capitol Hill, Downtown, and points south. This is especially true for neighbors who bike, considering Ravenna-Bryant’s easy access to the Burke-Gilman Trail, or ride the bus.

Over at the University of Washington’s Transportation Services blog, they’ve been posting information about light rail and how UW employees and students can take advantage of it. Some of this information can be equally useful for Ravenna-Bryant community members who will access light rail at UW Station.

4 things to know about bicycles and Link light rail

What University Link light rail means for bus riders

ulink-aerial - bus links
Bus routes serving UW Link light rail station. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Transportation Services.

For more information about buses that will take you to UW Station, visit Metro’s website.

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.

RBCA board meets January 5

RBCA Board Meeting

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Agenda items include:
— 35th Avenue NE future land use
— NE 65th Street Business Survey
— Sidewalks near U-Village
— 2016 RBCA Workplan & Vision: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood.

All are welcome!

December 21: Join us for a community debriefing about the carjacking & shooting on 35th Ave NE

On December 6, a man brandished two handguns at several downtown businesses, carjacked three vehicles, and fired on police officers before a fatal confrontation on 35th Avenue NE and NE 68th Street in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood.

Learn more about what happened, about police follow-up, and what to do if an active shooting takes place in a public setting.

Community Meeting & Debriefing

Monday, December 21, 2015

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

NE Branch Seattle Public Library

6801 35th Avenue NE

Guest Speakers

  • Lieutenant David Sweeney, Operations Commander, Seattle Police Department North Precinct
  • Detective Nic Bauer, Force Investigation Team, Seattle Police Department

Co-sponsored by the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association and the Wedgwood Community Council.

How did Ravenna-Bryant vote?

On November 3, Seattleites  for the first time voted in district elections. Of the 55,309 registered voters in District 4, of which Ravenna-Bryant is a part, 26,068 (47%) returned ballots.

Voters in our community chose Tim Burgess and Lorena Gonzalez in the citywide council races and were in favor of Seattle Initiative 122 dealing with campaign finance. Except for the one precinct immediately east of the cemetery, Ravenna-Bryant voters chose Rob Johnson to represent District 4 on the City Council.

Johnson vote Nov 2015
Map of Ravenna-Bryant precincts and how they voted in the District 4 City Council race. Blue precincts voted for Rob Johnson. Map thanks to www.philgardnerblog.blogspot.com.

Except for the precinct to the east and south of Eckstein Middle School, Ravenna-Bryant voters supported the Move Seattle Levy (Seattle Proposition 1).

move seattle vote 2015
Map of Ravenna-Bryant precincts and how they voted on Seattle Proposition 1, the Move Seattle Levy. Precincts shaded green voted in favor of the levy. Map thanks to www.philgardnerblog.blogspot.com.

For reference, here is a map of Ravenna-Bryant in green.

Ravenna Bryant map

RBCA Board meets Tuesday

Ravenna-Bryant Community Association Board Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

7-8:30PM

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

Agenda

  • Board Committee Reports
  • NE 65th Street Business Survey
  • Letter to SDOT re: sidewalks along NE 50th Street
  • The Future of Our Community
    • RBCA draft vision: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood.
    • Workplan alignment
  • City Land Use Plans – Comprehensive Plan, HALA
  • NE 65th Street Safety
  • Reports from Associated Community Groups
  • New Business & Announcements

All RBCA meetings are open to the public.