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.
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
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.
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.
Except for the precinct to the east and south of Eckstein Middle School, Ravenna-Bryant voters supported the Move Seattle Levy (Seattle Proposition 1).
For reference, here is a map of Ravenna-Bryant in green.
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 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
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
As the map indicates, most of downtown Ravenna is zoned NCP2-40, Neighborhood Commercial 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
Seattle 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.
With regret, the RBCA Board accepted the resignation of the long-serving chair of our Transportation Committee. Virginia Gunby accepted the position of Transportation Committee chair in order to assist our community in opposing a design proposed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in July 2006 for rebuilding State Route 520.
The design proposed was a massive concrete interchange, like those in industrial areas. It included tall stilts over Union Bay with ramps taking up the south Husky Stadium parking lot and the widening of Montlake Blvd NE. As a result of the public outcry, the 2007 legislature required WSDOT to go through a mediation process with a panel of representatives from the affected communities. The process lasted through December 2008 and Virginia spoke for RBCA.
Virginia led the coalition that developed the design which became the basis for the current plan. Throughout the many meetings, some very contentious, Virginia had the persuasive skills, patience, and diplomatic ability to bring others around on many key issues. The mediation process was followed by the environmental reviews procedures, follow-up WSDOT consultations, and then lengthy City Council review and revisions that continued for years. Virginia advocated for lanes for transit and high occupancy vehicles, lids and other measures to mitigate environmental damage, and coordination with Sound Transit.
Back in the 1960’s, Governor Dan Evans appointed Virginia to the then State Highway Commission. As a commissioner, she pushed for the design of I-90 to consider environmental values and for special lanes for transit. She is co-founder and was president of 1000 Friends of Washington, now called Futurewise. Virginia served as a freeholder in framing the 1968 King County Charter and served on two of its review commissions. She chaired a Growth Management Committee for the Puget Sound Regional Council and held important positions on the King County legislative and executive staffs. Virginia has also been a senior official in the League of Women Voters. Her views always carry clout.
Over the years, Virginia was also in the forefront for locating the Sound Transit Station in the Roosevelt business district (rather than next to I-5); against cutting Metro bus service to our neighborhood; and for roadway improvement measures.
Virginia retired from the RBCA board to dedicate her time curating the records of Margaret Tunks, founder of Citizens Against Freeways, for the UW. We will greatly miss her contributions to RBCA.
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.
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.
The abundance of places to eat and drink contributes to Ravenna and Bryant being considered very walkable and bikeable by Walk Score. Not to mention University Village, with its plethora of restaurants, is within easy walking and biking distance from a large portion of the neighborhood. Who needs to leave Ravenna-Bryant and be part of our city’s notorious traffic when you can walk or bike to a nearby restaurant?
Is this list missing a place to eat or drink in our neighborhood? Leave a comment below!
Monday, October 12, 2015
Eckstein Middle School Auditorium
3003 NE 75th Street
7:30pm – 9:00pm
Learn more about the eight Seattle School Board candidates and what they think about the issues that matter – from school funding to standardized testing. The Eckstein Middle School PTSA, in collaboration with Eckstein students, is pleased to welcome parents, teachers, kids and community members to a moderated forum with Seattle’s candidates for School Board. Everyone is welcome!
On Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to any police precinct. The North Precinct is located at 10049 College Way North.
The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.