Monday, October 23, 6:45 pm
Ravenna Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave. NE
It’s time again for a Ravenna-Bryant Community Association general meeting. This meeting will focus on a few of the issues affecting the neighborhood, as well as some discussion on two ballot issues of interest to our community. Please join us.
6:45 Meet and greet the neighbors
7:00 Update on the proposed wall at Calvary Cemetery.
7:15 Discussion on King County Proposition #1, .2 cent sales tax increase.
We’ll have speakers pro and con, including King County Councilmember Cynthia Sullivan.
7:45 Discussion on State Initiative 729, Charter Schools.
Speakers, pro and con, and question/answer time.
8:15 Update on Blakeley Crescent Park and its progress.
8:30 Quick review on RPZ applications and neighbor comments.
8:45 Other business, adjourn
The Cemetery Wall
Calvary Cemetery’s Proposed Mausoleum Wall Project
Calvary Cemetery has asked the City for permission to build a wall, containing crypts and cremated remains, around the perimeter of the Cemetery property. The Cemetery, which occupies the entire block at 35th Northeast and Northeast 55th in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood, is asking for a variance which would allow a wall 5’11' tall and three feet wide to be built around the property without setbacks which normally would be required in the single family neighborhood.
On October 2 the Department of Construction and Land Use (DCLU) held a public meeting to gather comments from neighbors and for the cemetery to explain its project. The following account covers some of the meeting’s main points.
Reason the Wall Requires a Variance
The length and location of the wall are not allowed under current zoning. As proposed the wall will be longer than the structural size permitted and will not have the required front and side yards.
Why the Cemetery Wants to Build It...
The cemetery will run out of space in about 10 years if it isn’t expanded. The proposed wall would extend the “life” of the cemetery by about 20 years, giving more people (mostly Catholics) the ability to be buried in the same cemetery as their ancestors. The wall cannot be placed at the required setback because graves either come up to the property line or are within four feet of the wall. The wall also creates a privacy barrier between the cemetery and the street.
Reasons the Neighbors Don’t Want It
There was only one neighbor who thought the wall was acceptable; she greatly dislikes the rusty chain link fence there now and thinks the proposed wall would look better. Everyone else at the meeting, though, did not want the wall.
The main reasons are concerns about:
• graffiti on the wall
• damage to tree roots when digging the footing/base
• loss of views and greenspace
• setting a bad precedent for variances for other cemeteries
• sets a bad precedent for other businesses requesting variances from setbacks
• increased noise bounced to houses especially those on bus routes
• vandalism and crime hidden behind the wall
• reduction in property values of houses near the Cemetery.
Most Interesting Comments
Although Cemetery employees said they couldn’t move graves, after questioning they admitted graves have been moved as part of two prior expansions.
Two of the perimeter streets have no sidewalks or curbs. DCLU usually requires a project developer to put in sidewalks, curbs and drainage. The Cemetery does not want to put in sidewalks and might decide the project is not cost effective if required to do so. DCLU might exempt the Cemetery from the sidewalk requirement because it might entail the removal of many of the trees which the neighbors have asked be preserved.
There used to be a hedge surrounding the cemetery. However, the hedge became unkempt and was removed. Neighbors wondered why they should trust the cemetery to maintain the wall when it couldn’t maintain a hedge.
Cemetery’s Statements About Why It Deserves a Variance
• No more cemeteries are allowed in Seattle, so it needs to maximize usage of the existing ones.
• Graves are now too close to the property line to allow the required setbacks.
• DCLU should not require the Cemetery to comply with the conditions imposed on single family homes because it isn’t a single family home.
• The endowment fund which will fund maintenance of the cemetery after burials cease will be larger if no withdrawals are made for an extra 20 more years.
• There don’t seem to be any other ways to expand capacity.
DCLU will issue its decision on the application in late October or early November. The losing party has two weeks after the decision to file a notice of appeal. Both the cemetery and a neighbor have already hired attorneys, so there will likely be an appeal.
Join the neighborhood e-mail news list to be informed by e-mail of the decision. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be added to the e-mail news list. You can also search the Public Notices for project 2002663 at DCLU’s web site http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/dclu/
The neighbors who have retained a lawyer to oppose the Calvary Cemetery’s application need help paying the lawyer in order to afford the appeal. To contribute, please contact Jonna at 206-322-1880 or Connie at 206-524-2957.
— Beth Meshke at email@example.com.
Also, see the 10/3 Seattle Times article online.
More on RPZs…
Test Driving the Football Traffic Management Plan
Now that football season is underway, it’s time to hear how the traffic management plan and the game day residential parking zones (RPZs) are working. The board has heard anecdotal reports ranging from blissful to hellish. One neighbor, living on a block with a game day residential parking zone reports the absence of both cars driving through seeking parking and parking congestion on her street.
Others have not been so fortunate. The neighbors living in the four blocks behind the Ida Culver, an area which can only be reached by entering on NE 62nd off of 25th NE, reported a tough time the weekend of the back to back games. (Yes, we remember the promise that there would be no back to back games.)
Reprise of RPZ Requirements
If you live in an area where parking, for whatever reason, is so crowded that residents cannot park near their homes, residents can ask that a residential parking zone be established. The City will survey the area to determine if there is a basis for the complaints. If the City concludes there is a reason to limit parking to residents, then a zone can be established, if 60 percent of the householders on five contiguous blocks ask that an RPZ be created. Normally the residents pay to have the parking in their area limited to residents.
In the case of the Seahawks, the City has already surveyed an area around Husky Stadium. If you live within the boundaries of the area, your neighborhood is eligible for an RPZ and the Seahawks will pay for it. However, 60 percent of the households on five contiguous blocks must still ask that the zone be established. The only exception to the five-block rule is if a block is immediately adjacent to an area which already has an RPZ. In that case the existing RPZ can be expanded block by contiguous block.
We will have a map at the meeting outlining both the preapproved areas and the area in which an RPZ has already been established. If you live in an area outside the area the City has determined is affected by game-day parking, but you feel the games do intrude on your neighborhood, the City will come out and survey the area before and during a game to see if you qualify for a game day RPZ.
Traffic, Traffic, Traffic
If you live in an area near Husky Stadium and haven’t noticed 60,000 fans trouping to a football game almost every weekend, you were probably out of town. For many of us who were here, the Seahawks football traffic management plan (TMP) seems to be working as well as the Huskies football management plan. If you live in an area where there are big problems, let the Board know and we’ll work with you and the Seahawks to see if there is a solution. Similarly, if the TMP is working well in your area, please let us know. We will pass the information on and try to get the Huskies to incorporate that aspect of the TMP into their plan.
The Seahawks have a hotline for fans and residents to call with questions or problems: 1-800-981-6465. To report parking problems (vehicles blocking driveways, RPZ violations, etc.), the police non-emergency number is 625-5011. For more serious problems, call 911.
University Village Expansion
Parking Garage and More Commercial Space Coming…
The University Village is planning on adding significant amounts of commercial and parking space over the next few years. Included in the re-development will be a six-story parking lot at the north end of the Village with 700-900 parking stalls. Also featured will be 115,000-120,000 square feet of commercial space, which may include a mix of retail, restaurant and entertainment (movie theatre) uses.
Among the concerns voiced by neighbors are the traffic impacts on Blakeley Ave., Union Bay Place, and 25th Ave. NE; these streets are already very busy, and increased traffic will make the area even more difficult to navigate. When traffic increases, pedestrian safety is a concern; many of the areas surrounding the Village lack sidewalks, and more traffic will only make the area more unsafe for pedestrians. Neighbors also worry about noise and exhaust emanating from the 60 foot tall parking garage.
The RBCA and other community groups have submitted letters detailing concerns about the Village’s Master Use Permit application and continuing development at University Village. The next step will be for DCLU to decide if an environmental impact statement (EIS) is necessary. If DCLU determines the project has no significant impact on the surrounding area, the Village will get its permit. If this happens, the primary means for the community to have a say is through design review board meetings.
If you want more information, contact the RBCA via e-mail. The city can also provide you specifics; you can reach the DCLU via the planner on this project:
Stephanie Haines, City of Seattle – DCLU, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle, 98104-1703.
Blakeley Crescent Park
Park Design, Fundraising Underway for New Park
The Blakeley Crescent Park project is going well. The people who volunteered at the last RBCA all-neighborhood meeting have formed Friends of Blakeley Crescent Park (FOBCP) to work on park design and fundraising.
The park, on the south side of NE Blakeley between 25th and 27th Avenues, will include Burke-Gilman trail access at 26th and 27th, two grassy gathering areas with park benches, and landscaping with native shrubs and trees — all a great improvement over the current blackberry patch and eroding access trails.
The sidewalk on the north side of Blakeley between 25th and 29th, plus a curb on the south side bordering the park between 25th and 27th, are already under construction. They should be complete by the end of October. The sidewalk was already in the City’s plan (as a result of our neighborhood planning efforts), but the curb was not. Fortunately, a Neighborhood Street Fund grant FOBCP applied for was approved just in time to pay for the curb — a real coup!
FOBCP has had other fundraising successes. Besides the Seahawks initial grant, Intracorp, a local developer, the University Village, and the Silver Cloud Inn have each pledged significant amounts of cash and/or services.
Now FOBCP is working with the City to refine the design and plan for construction and maintenance. We hope to go out for bids in the first quarter of 2001, and complete construction by the end of next year.
New FOBCP members are welcome. We meet monthly to work on the design and budget, review progress, and give out new assignments. Anyone interested in joining FOBCP should call Pete Fiddler (Chair), at 525-2012 (evenings), or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be presenting the latest park design concept at the upcoming RBCA all-neighborhood meeting.
Development Plans for Saxe Floral and Varsity Inn
The Design Review Board is having public meetings concerning the Varsity Inn and Saxe Floral properties. These properties are located on the north side of NE 65th, between Ravenna Ave. and 25th NE.
The Varsity Inn will close down during construction, but will re-open as a four-story, mixed-use building with 3,000 sq. feet of retail/restaurant area on the first floor, with 24 apartments above. Parking will be below grade and ground level.
The Saxe Floral lot will become a four-story, mixed-use building with 3,000 sq. feet of retail space for the flower shop and nursery on the first floor, with 24 apartments above along NE 65th Street. On the northerly section there will also be 21 townhouses and 2-5 unit apartment buildings with a parking garage.
Both of these developments are in the middle of the review process. Thus, specifics can change, although the properties are zoned for the aforementioned size and use.
Station Choice in Roosevelt Important for Northeast Seattle
If you work downtown, then your commute-time is on the line in the pending alignment choice for the Roosevelt Station. The bad news is that the freeways will always be congested; commuting by car will get more costly in time and parking expense. The good news is that the Roosevelt vote is close between a business core (tunnel) station — with existing retail and services— and a freeway (elevated) station that is next to a Park & Ride lot which is already full. The Sound Transit Board is supposed to choose the Roosevelt Alignment by the end of the year, and its choice will affect how well the rest of northeast Seattle is connected to this station.
At the end of September, I had a long discussion with a route development planner at Metro Transit about bus connections to the eventual Roosevelt Station. His immediate reply was that they did not expect any big changes after the light rail is extended to Roosevelt. He explained that all of the northeast buses would be re-routed to the U-District stations when the first segment opens, expected in 2006. Then, after Roosevelt is opened, he said that Metro “might” re-route the #71 if the tunnel (business core) station is chosen.
But if the elevated (freeway) station is chosen, he said, then everything from 15th Ave. NE to Sand Point Way would continue to the U-district stations. Yes, Ravenna, Wedgwood, and even Lake City, will not go to the closest light rail station, Roosevelt; instead those commuters will be bused 20 blocks further to the U-District stations. Metro is still planning new north-south routes, when it should be developing east-west connections to the north-south light rail line.
If you live closer to Roosevelt than to the U-District, and if you are interested in better bus connections to the closest station, then the Sound Transit Board and Metro bus planners need to know about it. You can get involved by attending Sound Transit Station Design Workshops and City of Seattle Station Area Action Committee meetings (listed below). Metro is represented at most Sound Transit workshops, but I don’t think they really talk to each other about what a multi-modal mass-transit system could, or should, look like.
If you want to get involved...
• Sound Transit. Station Design Workshops. Late November or early December. Jeanne Krikawa, Project Development Coordinator, 206-398-5187
• City of Seattle. Station Area Action Committee/Roosevelt. Monthly meetings: 2nd Tuesday at Calvary Temple. Station Area Workshop: 3rd Week of November. Calvin Chow, Station Area Planning, 206-684-4652
— Article submitted by Larry Sinnott, a recent graduate in Architecture and Urban Design, UW ’99, and a Light Rail Delegate to the RBCA Board.
Neighbors are working on improving the headwaters of Yesler Creek. As part of that effort, tree plantings are being arranged for the east-side of the Burke-Gilman Trail between the Trail and the Kids Bowling for Kids site.
Plantings will be on two Saturdays: October 28 and November 11, from 9-1.
If you are interested contact Jim Strunk of the Laurelhurst Community Club. He is the lead on the Yesler Creek Headwaters Reforestation Project. His telephone number is 527-3264; his e-mail is email@example.com.
The Missing Millennium Project
You may have wondered what has happened to the curb bulb that would help children cross NE 68th Street to the playfield at 21st Ave. NE? In late 1998, our community council had selected it as our top neighborhood street improvement project for the Mayor’s much publicized millennium neighborhood street improvement program. Earlier that year, the 1999-2000 City budget had appropriated $1.5 million for street projects throughout the city to be selected by the 13 district councils for construction in 2000.
Led by Amy Peck, volunteers had solicited signatures, drawn plans for the curb bulb, and shepherded them through the selection process. In the spring of ’99, the North East District Council solicited projects, held presentations, rated them, and included ours in its recommended list.
Very quietly, the Mayor cut out the appropriation in the 1999 City budget amendments. This July, after months of diligent inquiry, a Laurelhurst resident finally ferreted out what had happened; all millennium neighborhood street projects are on “hold” until the City makes a new appropriation in its 2001-2002 City budget to fund them.
Amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan
As part of its five-year review, the Mayor recently proposed amendments to the City’s 2000 Comprehensive Plan. Under the Growth Management Law, the Comprehensive Plan controls land use planning, and zoning ordinances must be consistent with it.
Some of the Mayor’s proposals are very substantial, and others are rather subtle. Among the Mayor’s proposed amendments for single family zones include goals and policies that may allow: subdivision of platted lots into one-half or one-quarter lots to make a new build-able site for sale; detached (separate) housing for rental; institutions to buy out homes in order to expand.
One amendment would change the name of the “University Community Urban Center” to “University District Urban Center.” This name change would make Ravenna Springs and University Village into a part of the University District for planning purposes.
The 2000 Plan would drop the provision requiring shopping centers to make master plans as Northgate now is doing; this could have the effect of treating University Village redevelopment as a series of isolated, minor projects, of which none is determined to have impact.
The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association has been coordinating with other community councils in the North East District Council on a comment.
RBCA E-Mail and Web Page
The Ravenna- Bryant Community Association (RBCA) manages three forms of electronic communication.
To receive electronic news of interest to those who live or work in our neighborhood, please subscribe to our email news list. We will not release your email address to anyone. E-mail is a low-cost and fast method of communicating warnings, opportunities, or status reports about going on in the neighborhood.
You can easily get off the list at any time because instructions are sent with each note about how to unsubscribe. There are two methods to subscribe. To have a human subscribe you, send e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org saying you want to join the e-mail news list. To have an automated program subscribe you, send e-mail to email@example.com. Put anything or nothing in the subject line; it will be ignored. On the first two lines in the body of the note, type
To send e-mail to the RBCA board members, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our web page is at: http://www.scn.org/neighbors/rbca/
Join the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association
RBCA and its members work on important issues for you. Like any organization, we want new contributing members, and need volunteers for tasks such as distributing the newsletter and working on community projects and concerns.
Annual dues are only $10. Your dues allow us to produce and distribute this newsletter and keep you informed. Return this form with your dues to: Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, Ravenna Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115. You will receive the newsletter and other special mailings, and know that you have made a contribution to help your community.
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