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.

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

New SPD Crime Dashboard provides local crime data

This week, Seattle Police Department launched its Crime Data Dashboard,  giving Seattle residents access to the same statistical information on incidents of property and violent crime used by SPD to direct police patrols.

Dashboard users can view and sort historic and current data on personal and property crimes, including robbery, burglary, theft, and auto theft, across the city, in precincts, and in each Micro Community. All of the data released through the dashboard is open-source and downloadable for further analysis.

For example, below are 2015 year-to-date crime statistics for the Roosevelt/Ravenna area.

crime dashboard

Better know a neighborhood: Ravenna-Bryant zoning at 35th Ave NE & NE 65th Street

“Do you think four-story buildings would fit in with the future character of 35th Ave?”  That was one of the questions the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) asked Ravenna-Bryant and Wedgwood residents earlier this year. DPD had been asked by the Future of 35th Avenue Committee to include their community-driven recommendations in future land use planning and city planners were looking to affirm the committee’s findings.

Of the 303 people who responded to that question, 150 said “yes” and 153 said “no”.

In a 2013 RBCA survey of Ravenna-Bryant community members, 64% indicated they would be comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street and 29% said they would not.

When DPD asked community members, “Which is more important at the ground-floor along 35th Ave?” 67% said more business, 3% new housing, and 30% said both are equally important. Another one of the questions was, “How important is being able to walk to nearby business districts on 35th Ave?” and 68% responded “very” and 22% said “somewhat.”

65th 35th Node Current
Above: Zoning at the corner of NE 65th Street and 35th Avenue NE. Red = NC1-30. Yellow = LR2.

Currently, NE 65th Street from 32nd Ave NE to the east corner of 35th Ave NE is zoned NC1-30 or Neighborhood Commercial, 30 feet high, generally 3 stories. Which means that even though the Wedgwood Market is 1 story tall, it could be up to 3. For comparison, where 35th Ave NE and NE 55th Street meet, the land is zoned for buildings up to 4 stories tall.

65th 35th Node Proposed
Above: Proposed changes would re-zone the Theodora and Unitarian Church properties to NC1-30 with pedestrian designations in the area.

On 35th Ave NE, the land north of the NE 65h Street corner to NE 68th Street is currently zoned LR2 or Lowrise Multifamily. Areas zoned LR2 do not allow for businesses along the ground floor, like the community would like to see.

That’s why DPD is now proposing that part of the land currently zoned LR2 be re-zoned to NC1-30 with a pedestrian designation. This change would allow businesses on the ground floor with housing on the upper floors, something community members indicated they want. The pedestrian designation would help create a more walker-friendly neighborhood since in these areas:

  • Residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level street-facing building facade.
  • Buildings cannot have large blank facades on the street-facing pedestrian level.
  • A parking lot on the building site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. Parking must be under the building or behind it.

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.

Neighborhood debate recap

The first-ever Seattle city council candidates debate hosted by neighborhood newsletters and blogs took place last Wednesday in District 4. Candidates Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson answered questions about land use, transportation, human services, and public safety.

Seattle City Council District 4 candidate Michael Maddux responds to a panel question as rival candidate Rob Johnson listens in the background during a debate in Wallingford on October 14, 2015.
Seattle City Council District 4 candidate Michael Maddux responds to a panel question as rival candidate Rob Johnson listens during a debate in at the Good Shepherd Center on October 14, 2015. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren from Wallyhood.

Erik Fisk over at Wallyhood provides a good summary of the debate. The debate must have been the end of a long day for the candidates considering they had come from an earlier debate at UW.

Next month, District 4 residents will also vote for two at-large candidates. The choice in District 8 is between Jonathan Grant and Tim Burgess and in District 9 between Lorena Gonzalez and Bill Bradburd.

In August, only 16,795 ballots were cast in the District 4 primary. Don’t forget to vote in this first district election! Ballots are due Tuesday, November 3.

Take a public safety survey to guide SPD neighborhood policing plans

Public Safety SurveySeattle University is administering the citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle. From October 15th through November 30th it is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org  and is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist them with making your neighborhood safer and more secure.