Public comment meeting TONIGHT on potential Theodora redevelopment (LIVE COVERAGE; PHOTOS)

On Thursday, August 14, representatives from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will be collecting public comment on the land use application to redevelop the Theodora Apartments (6559 35th Avenue NE). The meeting is being held at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Avenue NE) from 7-8:30 PM.

Prior to the meeting, at 6:40 PM, the Theodora Rescue Committee and their supporters will be marching from the Theodora to the RECC.

Theodora_exterior1

Land Use Application information

The owners of the Theodora, the Volunteers of America (VOA), have agreed to sell the property to Goodman Real Estate, a private real estate developer. The apartment building is one of two buildings that the VOA owns in Western Washington and has been used as housing for low income elderly and disabled people. In redeveloping the Theodora and converting the building from low income senior housing, Goodman intends to:

“alter and change the use of existing two story, 62,937 sq. ft. 113 room congregate residence (The Theodora) to a 64 unit apartment building and to allow a 35,361 sq. ft. addition for new apartments (45 units) for a total of 109 units. Parking for 56 vehicles will be located below grade.”

Additionally, Goodman is seeking landmark status for the building. The Landmarks Preservation Board will be considering the nomination at their meeting on Wednesday, August 20, at 3:30 PM in the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th Avenue, 40th floor, Room 4060).

Theodora_exterior2

Additional information

Tenants With Disabilities Filing Suit Over Sale Of Seattle Apartment Building (KPLU, July 3, 2014)

Ravenna-Bryant Community Center information on Theodora sale and redevelopment (various posts from 2013-current)

Permit and Property Records and Documents for Project #3017233 (includes public comments already submitted)

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We’ll be providing live coverage of the meeting below, starting just prior to 7 PM.

UPDATE (Friday, August 15): First, a few pictures from last night.

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Marchers from the Theodora Apartments arrive at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center around 7 PM. The banner reads “GOODMAN REAL ESTATE BACK OFF OUR HOMES.”

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Peter Metzger, a member of the Theodora Rescue Committee, speaks at the public comment meeting. Metzger held up part of Goodman’s landscape plan, which includes the removal of trees on the present Theodora property. Then he held up the Seattle Times A section from Thursday (same day as the meeting) whose cover story was about Seattle’s dwindling tree canopy.

Theodora_comment_meeting3

Another speaker (this one with Real Change) takes his turn. In the background, Jerry Sudor (with the Department of Planning and Development) writes down parts of of all speaker’s comments. Carly Guillory (seated; also DPD) looks on.

Below are the notes that Sudor took during the public comment period (not in chronological order, however). Click on any of the images to view the larger, readable version. The full phrase on the last on the last sheet (partially blocked by a reporter’s shoulder) is, “Portland/Bellevue better keeping trees.”

Theodora_comments1 Theodora_comments2 Theodora_comments3 Theodora_comments4 Theodora_comments5 Theodora_comments6 Theodora_comments7

Mayor Murray would like to have coffee with you, Ravenna

Mayor Ed Murray is starting his rounds through Seattle’s many neighborhoods with a visit to Vios Cafe inside Ravenna Third Place Books (6504 20th Ave NE) this Saturday, May 17.

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e-Flyer for Mayor Ed Murray’s visit to Vios Cafe at Ravenna Third Place Books on Saturday, May 17. Click to enlarge.

The event runs from 11 AM until noon.

RBCA May meeting features the City Attorney, SDOT, more (LIVE COVERAGE)

One of many signs up around the neighborhood, advertising the meeting. "You'all Come?"

One of the topics of the next Ravenna-Bryant Community Association community meeting (Tuesday, May 6 at 7 PM, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center) is near and dear to many of our hearts here in Northeast Seattle: Hugh Sisley.

The full slate of topics for the spring community meeting is as follows:

  • City’s efforts to tackle housing code violations in the Ravenna and Roosevelt neighborhoods — City Attorney Pete Holmes
  • Safer roadways including safe routes to school and traffic calming — staff from the Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Getting creative: Community pARTnerships

We’ve also heard that someone Steve Johnson, Director of the Office of Economic Development, will be there to talk about the city’s Only in Seattle Initiative (Grants! Tools! Business Improvement Areas!).

We will be attending the meeting, and you can read our LIVE COVERAGE below (starting around 6:45 PM-ish) if you are unable to attend.

RECC3

UPDATE (Tuesday, May 6, 3:20 PM): Looks like KOMO News is thinking about Hugh Sisley today, too: Reporter Joel Moreno teased some shots allegedly from inside one of Sisley’s rentals.

UPDATE (Wednesday, May 7): KOMO News did indeed have a story about Hugh Sisley and the fines last night, which also features a walk-through of one of Sisley’s properties in Ravenna (6515 16th Avenue NE). 

You can read the story and/or watch last night’s report here.

Design Review Board meeting on the old Fruit Stand blocks (LIVE COVERAGE)

Tonight, Monday, February 3, the Northeast Design Review Board will meet to decide the next steps for the development of the “old Fruit Stand block” just south of Roosevelt High School.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 PM at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room 209). There is a public comment period during the meeting, but it is only 20 minutes in length and not for Q&A-style discussions.

Ravenna Blog will be in attendance and providing LIVE COVERAGE below, starting around 6:30 PM.

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group's Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group’s Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

The Roosevelt Development Group will be presenting their preferred project design (by Seattle architecture firm GGLO) for 6505 15th Avenue NE (Project #3013244) to the Northeast Design Review Board at tonight’s meeting.

Three different design schemes were presented during the early design guidance meeting on August 6, 2012. (You can find the notes from that meeting here.) Tonight’s recommendation phase design is the third of those three designs and features:

    • Approximately 221 dwelling units, in a mix of multi- and groun- level configurations;
    • 7,500-square-feet of ground-level commercial space;
    • 175 parking stalls, accessed from 14th Avenue NE;
    • Overall height of 7-stories (building heights ranging from 55 to 75 feet, depending on the slope of the property)

Jim O’Halloran, past Roosevelt Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair, had this to say about tonight’s meeting and the current design plans:

“Now that a zoning decision for the high school blocks has been made, and that a reasonably attractive building has been designed for the site with some engagement from the Community, let’s get on with it; build the building.  If for any reason the project will be further delayed, then it is important that the existing decrepit building structures be removed without further delay.  Allowing this sore spot to fester without near term improvement would surely undermine RDG’s relationship with the Community.”

Upcoming Design Review Board meetings of note (LIVE COVERAGE)

Two large development projects on NE 65th Street may before the Northeast Design Review Board in the next three weeks: The old Children’s Home Society of Washington land up at 33rd Avenue NE (recently sold to Polygon Northwest), and the old Fruit Stand block at 15th Avenue NE (owned by Hugh Sisley and leased to the Roosevelt Development Group).

Northeast Design Review Board meetings are held at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room #209). You can see all upcoming meetings (and the links to their respective project information) at this Design Review Meetings page at seattle.gov.

For more information on these two particular projects (including links to design documents and their respective Department of Planning and Development permit pages), click on the map below.

View Jan/Feb 2014 NE Design Review Board meeting topics in a larger map

Ravenna Blog plans on attending both meetings and providing live coverage at ravennablog.com:

  • LIVE COVERAGE of the Monday, January 13 meeting (CHS of WA/Polygon Northwest) begins below around 6:30 PM.
  • LIVE COVERAGE of the (tentative-at-this-time) Monday, February 3 meeting (old Fruit Stand block/Sisley/Roosevelt Development Group) will be posted to a page-to-be-named-later.

Changes to Eckstein attendance area to be introduced at tonight’s School Board meeting (UPDATE)

Changes to Eckstein Middle School’s attendance area and yet another shuffling of APP students and schools — changes made public only five days ago — will be introduced to the Seattle School Board this evening, to be voted on at the following regular meeting of the School Board on November 20…

unless

In a reply to emails voicing concerns about the new Growth Boundary maps released on Friday, November 1, School Board Director Harium Martin-Morris sent the following response:

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan.  As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

*   Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
*   Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
*   Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific  Middle School is online.  At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to  October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

At this time, we have heard that only two Directors are openly in support of the amendment: Martin-Morris and DeBell. In order for the amendment to pass, it needs support from four of the seven members of the board.

If you are in support of the previous plan, Wedgwood Elementary PTA President Terri Green recommends that you “keep sending e-mails to the entire School Board [...] voicing your concerns about the plan released last Friday and attend the meeting at the John Stanford Center (2445 3rd Avenue South) this afternoon at 4:15 pm. We need to turn out in force so the School Board can see how many folks are dissatisfied with the November 1 boundary proposal.”

Contact info for all seven Seattle School Board Directors can be found in this latest issue of the Wedgwood Weekly (upper right hand corner)

On Sunday, November 3, the SNAPP (North Seattle Accelerated Progress Program) PTA said on its website it “maintains its position that splitting the APP Middle School and co-housing with attendance area schools is not in the best interest of our community or helpful with the overcrowding in the north end. Although many APP MS students come from the Whitman and Eckstein reference area, putting APP in these schools would only serve to further crowd them and keep reference area kids out.”

On Monday at a Call to Action meeting at Wedgwood Elementary that over 200 parents attended, many voiced surprise over the revisions made to the previous Growth Boundary maps (released on October 16), as well as bewilderment over why the November revisions were made in the first place. And no explanation for the changes — released last Friday at 7 PM ahead of a Wednesday meeting — were given by the School Board.

Eckstein Middle School PTSA President Tobi Bet, speaking at Monday’s meeting said, “No rhyme or reason to this. None.”

On Tuesday, the Wedgwood Community Council issued a “formal letter of concern” about the boundary changes, which they said “did not allow critical stakeholders adequate time to review and consider the changes relative to potential alternatives.”

And this morning, Ravenna-Bryant Community Association released a letter of their own, which urges the School Board to reconsider the latest boundary changes (via email):

Dear Board of Directors:

On behalf of the Ravenna Bryant Community Association Board of Directors, I ask that the school boundaries proposed on Friday November 1st not be adopted because they do not meet three of the four core values for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.

The four core values of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan are:

  • Community - developing strong connections between a diverse range of people and places
  • Environmental Stewardship - protect and improve the quality of our global and local natural environment
  • Economic Opportunity and Security - a strong economy and a pathway to employment is fundamental to maintaining our quality of life
  • Social Equity - limited resources and opportunities must be shared; and the inclusion of under-represented communities in decision-making processes is necessary

Our neighborhood schools create a strong sense of Community because families can walk to school, for the school day as well as extracurricular activities.  The new boundary proposal would erode this sense of community by forcing kids to attend a school miles away, instead of blocks.

Our neighborhood schools allow families to walk, bike, or carpool to school which not only creates community but also helps meet the City’s Environmental Stewardship goals.  Eckstein has a successful walk and bike to school program that would be destroyed by these new boundaries.

The last minute release of the proposed boundaries, given at the late hour of 7 p.m. on a Friday night for a Wednesday meeting, does not adhere to the City’s Core Value of Social Equity.  Our community is left scrambling at the last minute to provide alternatives and organize ourselves.

The Ravenna Bryant Community Association urges the School Board to reject these new boundaries, and demands that the Seattle School District create new boundaries that honor the core principals put forth in the City of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.  Please consider moving the boundaries for Eckstein further north, at least to NE 95th, and find room for the APP at Hamilton in the south wing of Lincoln High School.

Sincerely,

Tony Provine

RBCA President

 

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Seattle School Board starts at 4:15 PM at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence (2445 3rd Avenue S).

The agenda for tonight’s meeting is available here (PDF). Public testimony is scheduled to start at 5 PM for those 25 speakers who were pre-selected; an additional 63 on the wait list), with the Action Items and Introduction Items portion scheduled to start at 6 PM.

School Board meetings are streamed live online (though not for iOS users, it seems) and broadcast on Channel 26 (Seattle Public School TV).

We will have live coverage of tonight’s meeting below, if we can. We’ll be watching along at home, and taking notes.

UPDATE (2:29 PM): It is our understanding from a Keep Wedgwood Neighborhood Kids at Eckstein Facebook page post by Wedgwood Elementary School PTA President Terri Green that the newest version of the Growth Boundaries map AND Director Harium Martin-Morris’ amendment will BOTH be introduced at the meeting tonight, and voting will take place on both at the next School Board meeting on November 20. In case there was confusion on the order of things.

Also, hot out of the Ravenna Blog Email Inbox, a letter on the recent boundary plan changes by Representative Gerry Pollet:

Dear Board members and Superintendent Banda,

As with many of my neighbors, I was also shocked by this last minute change to the assignment plan proposals, which had never been presented at a public meeting. The proposal would dramatically undermine much of the benefits achieved by the District in adopting a neighborhood assignment plan. It is unacceptable that students immediately north of 75th – within sight of Eckstein – would be assigned to Addams.

When I heard from neighbors about this change to the Plan, I reviewed the materials prepared for the Board’s meeting and was dismayed that they do not disclose this impact in plain language. One has to first review the detailed map and wade through the bureaucratic lingo to piece together that this dramatic change to our community would be put in place in September.

Students in the Wedgwood Elementary assignment zone between NE 75th (where Eckstein is) and NE 95th, would be walking to school where there are no sidewalks and a very dangerous arterial on a steep hill to cross. Ironically, our community has been working with the City to improve the crosswalks, signals and speed on NE 75thto allow students to safely cross to and from Eckstein. We can reduce transportation costs and increase safety by amending this plan to resume having Wedgwood Elementary feed Eckstein.

I am all too well aware of the incredible overcapacity problem at Eckstein, coupled with ancient portables and other capacity issues. This latest proposal is not a solution for that problem. As you know, along with my colleagues, I have worked to bring significant funding and resources to reopen and renovate schools to address the overcrowding across NE and N Seattle. We will continue to work with the District to procure funds – and hope that the District will work with the City and your legislative delegation to obtain new properties near the core of our overcrowding problems, e.g., Roosevelt Reservoir and Lake City Pierre properties.

The community south of NE 50th Street had to petition and organize to be kept together with their neighborhood assignment to Bryant Elementary in the last set of decisions. It is disheartening that this effort and commitment to that community would be ignored again in the latest boundary change proposal – again without having provided the community a chance to comment at the meetings. The repeated need to organize communities to have the same discussion about integrity of neighborhoods and stability in assignments undermines the excellent progress made by the District in the School Assignment Plan.

Representative Gerry Pollet

46th District (Northeast and North Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore)

 

Latest school boundary proposals for NE Seattle could spell big changes for local students (UPDATES)

The latest round of potential school boundary changes drawn up by the Seattle School District will be presented to School Board members this Wednesday, November 6. And for many Northeast Seattle families, there are some big differences to be spotlighted:

  • Under these new changes, if accepted by the School Board on November 20, students across the street from Eckstein Middle School would no longer be attending there. Instead, all students currently attending Wedgwood Elementary would begin attending Jane Addams Middle School.
  • North Seattle Accelerated Progress Program (APP) middle school students would be moved from Lincoln Hamilton into Eckstein.
Proposed Northeast Seattle  middle school boundaries. If accepted, most of these changes would be implemented in 2015.

Proposed Northeast Seattle middle school boundaries. If accepted, these changes would be implemented in the next two years.

The documents outlining these proposed changes were last updated on October 31, and released the next day, at 7 PM. On a Friday night. So many families in the affected areas may just be hearing about them.

Wedgwood Elementary PTA President Terri Green has weighed in about these proposed changes, in a message that started circulating over the weekend. It reads, in part:

SPS boundary changes as they impact the Wedgwood community

On Friday, November 1 at 7 pm, SPS released a third iteration of their plan they think may be final to address growth boundaries. There are major modifications which will significantly impact your children and our community in two ways:

  1. Starting next school year, ALL Wedgwood students would be assigned to the new (as yet unopened) Jane Adams Middle School (6-8), even kids who live across the street from Eckstein.
  2. Former Wedgwood students currently attending Eckstein will be moved to the new Jane Adams Middle School for 7th and 8th grade. (Part of the Northend APP middle school program is proposed to move into Eckstein.)

A full copy with details of the plan is available on-line here. This plan was devised after community feedback to the previous October 16 proposal. No major changes were proposed for our school at that time and thus there was no call to action. Now our community needs to respond quickly if we wish to impact this process before it is too late.

Green goes on to say a Call to Action meeting is being held at 6:30 tonight, Monday, November 4th, in Wedgwood Elementary School’s library. (We will be attending, and will provide LIVE COVERAGE below, if possible.)

Green will also be attending Wednesday’s School Board meeting (4:15 PM at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave S), but families should contact School Board members themselves before then. The Seattle School District is divided into seven parts, each one represented by an elected member. The representatives whose areas are affected by these changes in North/Northeast Seattle are:

In addition to expressing thoughts/concerns to School Board members, parents should also email feedback to GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org, the official Seattle School District boundary plan address. Put your school or issue in the subject line.

For the full list of information about these proposed changes (including the data used to create them), visit the Seattle Public Schools — Growth Boundaries page.

UPDATE (12:09 PM): Thanks to some commenters on Facebook, we have learned the APP @ Lincoln PTA’s official stance on the proposed changes to their program:

PTA Responds to New Boundary Proposal

On Friday evening, the Seattle Public School district released their latest proposals for updating school boundaries. The district will present this proposal to the Seattle School Board on Wednesday, November 6th. If you would like to speak directly to the board regarding this proposal at the meeting, you may, but you must call the district and sign up on Monday (11/4) morning.

The SNAPP PTA maintains its position that splitting the APP Middle School and co-housing with attendance area schools is not in the best interest of our community or helpful with the overcrowding in the north end. Although many APP MS students come from the Whitman and Eckstein reference area, putting APP in these schools would only serve to further crowd them and keep reference area kids out.

You can read the entire APP @ Lincoln PTA statement here.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:52 AM): Correction/Clarification from elementary school APP parent and Roosevelt resident Elena Waite :

Current APP middle school students do NOT attend Lincoln- in the North, they go to Hamilton and will continue at Hamilton in the proposed plan, for now, as well as Eckstein and then Whitman. I would also like to note that APP has advocated for its own Middle School site – at Wilson Pacific and never advocated to be at Eckstein as we know that school is already crowded as a neighborhood school.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:03 PM): Those that emailed Seattle School Board Member Harium Martin-Morris received the following email in return, outlining an amendment Martin-Morris plans to introduce at Wednesday’s meeting.

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan. As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

* Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
* Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
* Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific Middle School is online. At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

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NOTE: While most local residents probably assume (correctly so) that most Ravenna neighborhood students attend Bryant Elementary, many in the North Ravenna area (including those here at Ravenna Blog Headquarters) are located within the Wedgwood Elementary attendance area. In fact, the boundary for Wedgwood itself is planned to expand further into Ravenna in the coming years (reflected in the image above).

APP students are scattered throughout neighborhoods, and all currently attend school at old Lincoln High School in Wallingford (see Elena Waite’s note above). Lincoln was closed in 1981, and is used as an interim location for Seattle schools and programs.

Roosevelt Station Construction Open House (LIVE COVERAGE)

From 6-8 PM on Wednesday, October 23, Sound Transit will hold a Roosevelt Light Rail Station Construction Open House in the Roosevelt High School Commons (1410 NE 66th St.).

The presentation portion of the event starts at 6:30 PM. Topics include:

  • Learn more about upcoming construction activities and schedule
  • Speak with Sound Transit staff
  • Meet the contractor

Our live coverage of the event will start around 6 PM. Follow along below, neighbor!

Northeast Branch of the SPL readies to renovate, again

The busiest branch location in the entire Seattle Public Library system? Ours. Busy for patrons, and for construction.

An open house to show off another round of improvements for the Northeast Branch is being held on Saturday, October 5, from 2-3:30 PM (brief remarks at 2 PM).

From the open house event page:

Coming soon! A larger children’s area, family-friendly seating, more filtered computers for children and more self-service checkout stations.

City Librarian Marcellus Turner, Library Board members and representatives from Miller Hayashi Architects will explain the improvements and answer questions.

 

Rendering of the improvements planned for the Northeast Branch (located in the SE corner of the building).

Rendering of the improvements planned for the Northeast Branch (interior SE corner of the building).

The Northeast Branch doubled in size after a major expansion in 2004. It was renovated most recently in 2009.

If you cannot make it to the open house yourselves, Ravenna Blog is planning on attending. And taking lots of notes and pictures, as is our custom.

Green Lake Way North Safety Improvements Open House

If you’re a regular reader of the Ravenna Blog these days, you’re into road safety improvements. (Seems to be all we post about on here lately, anyway.)

This next project is a bit out of our normal coverage area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ever drive there.

On Tuesday, August 20, from 6:30-7:45 PM, the Seattle Department of Transportation is holding an open house about proposed safety improvements on Green Lake Way North (between N 50th and N 55th Streets) at the Green Lake Branch of the Seattle Public Library (7364 E Green Lake Dr N). The presentation portion begins at 6:45 PM.

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More details (via email):

Green Lake Way North is currently a four-lane street that borders the east side of the Woodland Park Playfields and provides access to Green Lake from the south. The Seattle Department of Transportation is proposing changes to make the street safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk and ride bikes, as well as safer for drivers. The changes will reduce speeds, and improve pedestrian and bicycle access.

The proposal includes installing a new center turn lane, reconfiguring the street to provide one travel lane in each direction with bicycle lanes on both sides of the street, and improving pedestrian crossings. A new stop sign will be installed at West Green Lake Way North. Traffic signal operations at Green Lake Way North and North 50th Street will be improved by removing one block of parking on the north side of North 50th Street.

For more information on the project, visit SDOT’s Green Lake Way Safety Improvements page.