Mayor meets with DPD, writes letter to Roosevelt neighborhood

Mayor Mike McGinn met with Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Director Diane Sugimura today, to talk about the Roosevelt Neighborhood Legislative Rezone.

The question hanging in the air since last week — when letters to the DPD from the Mayor, Councilmember Tim Burgess, and a petition from 25 primarily pro-density people and organizations — was “Will the Roosevelt Legislative Rezone move forward at this time?”

The answer: YES, with some potential tweaking.

Here’s Mayor McGinn’s letter to the Roosevelt neighborhood, sent out this afternoon via email (emphasis mine):

Dear Roosevelt Neighbors and Friends,

Thank you for sharing with me your high hopes for your neighborhood, your interest in and support for light rail, and your insights into the rezoning effort that is currently underway for the station area. I appreciate the effort you put into developing a thoughtful proposal and the excitement so many of you expressed about light rail coming to Roosevelt. You are to be commended for the good work.

I agree that we should not slow down the process. I have, however, asked the Department of Planning and Development to take a closer look at some of the heights proposed for this station area. With the significant investment in light rail, long-vacant properties ripe for reuse, and the potential for good neighborhood-scale development, I believe it is appropriate to look at heights of up to 65 or 85 feet for some areas. These modest changes are consistent with the spirit of the original proposal and will help ensure we make the most of the new light rail and create new housing and jobs that support the area. I have asked that towers – buildings above 85 feet – be taken off the table entirely. I do not believe they are consistent with good planning for this neighborhood. In addition, I have asked that this analysis be done quickly so this legislation can move to Council for their consideration within the coming month.

Thank you again for writing. I look forward to working with you as we finalize my recommendations to Council.


Mike McGinn
Mayor of Seattle

This may be a good time to mention that the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association‘s next Land Use Committee meeting is next Tuesday, June 21, from 7-9 PM, at Calvary Christian Assembly (6801 Roosevelt Way NE).

You can bet that committee chair, Jim O’Halloran, will give an update about the Roosevelt Rezone at this meeting. Also, Sound Transit’s North Link Light Rail Program Manager, Ron Endlich, will be there to answer questions.

Community meetings GALORE in and around Ravenna this week

This week holds a plethora of community-related meetings, for the civically-inclined:

  • Roosevelt Neighborhood Association general meeting, Tuesday, May 24, 7:15-9:30PM, Calvary Christian Assembly Roosevelt High School, Room 242, 1410 NE 66th St
    Agenda includes an update on the rezoning in the Roosevelt neighborhood.
  • SR 520 Drop-in Information Session, Wednesday, May 25, 6-8PM, Ravenna Third Place Books (public meeting put on by the Washington State Department of Transportation)
  • Coalition for a Sustainable SR 520 and Laurelhurst Community Club, Wednesday, May 25, 7-8:30PM, Laurelhurst Community Center, main floor activity room, 4553 47th Ave NE (more information on this meeting available here)
  • North Link Light Rail Roosevelt Station meeting, Thursday, May 26th, 6-8:30PM, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave NE

I will be present at a couple of these (RNA and Light Rail). Regardless, if you attend any of the above meetings and would like to share your thoughts, please do so (via email or a comment below). I would love to hear your impressions of these projects as they move forward.


One more meeting to note, though it is not being held until the first Tuesday in June:

  • Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, Tuesday, June 7th, 7-9PM, Bryant Elementary School, library, 3311 NE 60th St

Please note the change of venue: Bryant Elementary instead of the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. The RECC is closed for floor refinishing during the first Tuesday of June, the regularly reoccurring RBCA board meeting date.

Various and sundry updates, and other news Ravenna can use

SEO be darned. Sometimes, you just gotta cram a lot of different stuff in one post.

Crime update:

Meeting updates:

Miscellaneous tidbits:

On November 20th, Eckstein will launch Saturday School, a new intervention program for students who have four or more missing assignments and a grade of D or E in a class. Teachers will refer students to Saturday School and counselors will call the student’s home to let families know that the student is expected to attend from 8:30 – 11:30 am.  Students who successfully turn in all missing work by Thursday afternoon after being referred to Saturday School will be excused from attending. The purpose of this intervention is to encourage students to take responsibility for their work and to give them additional time and support if they are stuggling to complete it.

There’s also a request for volunteer tutors during those same dates and times (November 20, and December 4 and 18). To volunteer or ask questions about Saturday School, contact Eckstein Volunteer Coordinator LauraLeigh Young at

What to expect from the Roosevelt Land Use meeting on Monday

I posted yesterday about a meeting next Monday, November 15th, to discuss changes in zoning in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

Today, thanks to a reader’s comments yesterday, I would like to more specifically lay out the topics of discussion for this meeting.

To give you the clearest idea of the purpose of Monday’s meeting, I offer this paragraph from the November issue of the “Roosie” (the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s  newsletter):

The purpose of the November 15 meeting is to review the neighborhood’s zoning recommendations and [Department of Planning and Development]’s analysis. DPD’s preliminary position is quite similar to the RNA’s, but there are few areas which need further discussion. DPD wants input from the community as they prepare their final recommendation for the City Council.

I strongly urge you to give this article (“November 15 Land Use Meeting will Help Shape Roosevelt’s Future”) a read prior to next Monday’s meeting. In it, the RNA’s Land Use Committee Chair, Jim O’Halloran, provides the background of the 2006 Roosevelt Neighborhood Update, and explains this zoning’s importance to the neighborhood (and, by extension, ours).

If you would like a more detailed look at the subject of the meeting, view the Zoning Workgroup Report here.

Again, the meeting is being held at Calvary Christian Assembly (6801 Roosevelt Way NE), Room 300, on Monday, November 15th, from 7-9 pm.

Community meeting about rezoning Roosevelt, next Monday

One of Sislely's properties (Photo courtesy of Glenn Roberts;

Want to know just what exactly the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s plan would mean for our area’s future  — and the future zoning of the Sisley properties at NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE?

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee is holding a general meeting for the community to learn about the RNA’s rezoning plan and the city’s Department of Planning and Development’s analysis of it.

The meeting will be held at Calvary Christian Assembly (6801 Roosevelt Way NE), Room 300, on Monday, November 15th, from 7-9 pm.

Your participation would be GREATLY appreciated for a few reasons:

  • This is THE meeting to attend if you would like to learn about the RNA’s neighborhood rezoning plans – It is a general community meeting designed to get us Regular Joes in the neighborhood up to speed on what we could be living next to in the future;
  • The City Council is expected to act on the RNA’s neighborhood rezoning plan in the first half of 2010, and a sizeable amount of community participation is crucial for making it happen;
  • If you (or your family, or your friends) have ever driven down NE 65th Street and wondered “What gonna be done with these boarded up shacks?!” THIS meeting should address those concerns.

For more information about this meeting, contact

Sisleyville and the RNA Plan: Next Steps

The public commenting period for the Environmental Impact Survey on the Sisley properties rezoning has closed, the city’s Committee on the Built Environment got an earful from residents, and the full City Council voted to the remove the Roosevelt Development Groups’ amendment from consideration for Seattle’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan review.


What SHOULD go here instead?

The Land Use Committee of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association meets tonight (7-9pm) at Calvary Christian Assembly Church (6801 Roosevelt Way NE).

Here’s a description of tonight’s meeting (from the RNA’s Events In Roosevelt page):

[T]wo representatives from DPD (Dept. of Planning & Development) at our meeting to discuss the zoning recommendations made by the community in 2006.  This is a preliminary briefing and discussion by and with DPD, prior to a broader community meeting later this Fall.  Late this year or early next, DPD will make their official recommendation to City Council on neighborhood rezoning.

If you are interested in what the plan would look like (as well as what some of the RDG’s plans would mean for the neighborhood, here is a pdf from May 2009 showing various zoning changes and the resulting buildings.

Sisleyville EIS Scoping Comments Deadline Nears

NOW is the time to send in your thoughts about the proposed rezoning of the properties around 15th Ave NE and NE 65th St, if you haven’t already.  The deadline for public comments about the Environmental Impact Survey for the Roosevelt Development Group’s proposed zoning changes is next Wednesday, September 1.

If you feel well-informed on the issue, feel free to skip down to the “How should I send in my input?” part of this blog post and start there.

For the rest of us (myself included), I’ve hunted down answers to some common questions about the scoping process AND what the content and form of our comments should be.

What is the scoping process?

I found the following description of the scoping process in the Enviromental Scoping Information Report (EIS) for the East Link Project (applies to our situation as well; emphasis mine):

The purpose of scoping is to determine the range of alternatives and identify the potentially significant issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIS. The scoping process is also intended to eliminate detailed study of those issues that are not significant and those issues that have been addressed by prior studies. This scoping process includes public meetings at which anyone may have their oral comments recorded and/or provide written comments. Written comments are encouraged throughout the scoping period.

In other words: Developers want to make big changes in your area. Here are their plans. What do you think?

There have been two public meetings on the Roosevelt/Ravenna rezone issue where public comments were recorded (sort of; DPD tries to explain what happened here, Glenn Roberts gives his impression here). Now the comment collection window is closing. It’s time to let the city know what YOU think about these rezone plans!

Why should I send in my input?

Again: Developers want to make big changes in your area. Here are their plans. What do you think?

It’s in OUR neighborhood where these proposed changes may take place, OUR backyards. It doesn’t matter whether you support the rezones or not: You should let your City know what you think, either way.

What should my input look like?

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association has an excellent list of comment suggestions (MSWord doc) that will help you organize your thoughts in writing (no matter what side of the issue you’re on):

  • Briefly explain who you are and why you are interested in the project.
  • Comment only on issues relevant to the decision being made.
  • State informed opinions and, where possible, include data to support your opinion.
  • Keep focused on your objective.  You want DPD to hear your concerns and be compelled enough to investigate further.
  • Ask for studies that you think are important but have not been provided.
  • Ask to be added to the project mailing list and request a copy of the notice of decision. (You must give your mailing address, because notices are only sent through US Mail.)

The DPD has already identified six key elements for discussion in the Environmental Impact Survey for the Sisley properties (DPD Notice of Determination of Significance):

  • Height, bulk and scale
  • Land use
  • Parking
  • Housing
  • Shadows on open spaces
  • Traffic and Transportation

Now, the Roosevelt Development Group has outlined six different proposals for the EIS which were on display at the last scoping meeting on July 21st.  You may want to address specific plans in your comments (for instance, the plan that rezones the area for 160-foot-tall buildings). You can find a description of those alternatives here. Graphics of the six alternatives are also online (pdf, 5.6 MB file).

If you want to be a Thorough Theodore, you may want to apply ALL SIX key elements (Height, bulk and scale; Land use; etc.) to ALL SIX of the RDG’s six proposals.  Yeah, that’s a lot of work, but that’s what happens when a developer throws six different proposals out all at once.

If you like some direction on which of the six proposals you should spend your time on, Glenn Roberts (Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues) has the following to say (emphasis mine):

I agree with almost every remark made [in the scoping meeting transcripts]. And strongly agree that only Options #1, 2, and 6 be studied in the EIS. #1 is no change, #2 is the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association rezoning plan, and #6 (because it is so patently ridiculous) the 160′ RDG proposal.

How should I send in my input?

  • By email: You may send along your comments to Shelley Bolser ( at the Department of Planning and Development.
  • By fax: (206) 233-7902
  • By mail: Here is a Blank RDG EIS Scoping Comment Form (pdf) you can mail in, also to Shelley. This comment form includes the list of six key elements for discussion mentioned above.  The address is:

City of Seattle
Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Shelley Bolser
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO BOX 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

However you choose to send your comments in, INCLUDE THE PROJECT NUMBER: 3010100.


  1. Print out this page. Read the top.
  2. Read about the proposed rezoning alternatives (all six).
  3. Look at these comment-making suggestions.
  4. Think.
  5. Write.
  6. Send it to the DPD by September 1.