LESCHI NEWS ARCHIVE
We are now archiving issues of the LeschiNews:
USE THIS LINK
Check this space regularly for lost or found animals in the Leschi area.
If you have found or lost a pet, contact us at leschiNews@comcast.net to post a notice on this website.
This service is free, and available to the Leschi/Madrona/Mount Baker/Central District areas.
For more information, click HERE.
Community Service Hours for Students
The Leschi Community Council offers many opportunities for community service hours: we have monthly work parties in our parks and we have events throughout the year where we can use help in setting up, publicizing and assisting presenters.
Call 206 726.0923 or 206 322.7648 to speak to one of the Dianes about these opportunities OR email email@example.com.
CRIME IN THE LESCHI AREA
It is best to check the SPDblotter for up to the minute news on crime.
We have added an East Precinct category to the Neighborhood section to cover the East Precinct meetings in a more timely fashion. We are not equipped to keep up with the daily gunfire/fireworks/helicopters, etc. SPD blotter best for up to date news, East Precinct also twitters.
THE SITE OF CITY PEOPLE’S GARDEN STORE:
A COMPLEX FUTURE
Having gone through several phases of grieving over the pending loss of a beloved institution, central Seattle must now come to grips with what will take the place of City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley. With a portion of the nursery’s ownership group having determined it’s time to move on and not renew the lease to the business that calls it home, the end of 2016 will bring an end to 28 years of peddling greenery, and will usher in a new mixed-use building on this oddly shaped, complex site.
Preliminary documents filed with the city to initiate the permitting process identify the proposal as “New construction of a 165,570 so mixed use building with 75 proposed units and 164 parking spaces.” Given the current setting of the site not only as home to a landmark business, but also a simple one-story building with a footprint covering barely one-half of the property, the dry description alone of that level of pending changeis enough to give nearby residents the willies. Layer on top of that the bit of harrowing recent history where a resident, one Kate Fleming, in a property just downhill from the site drowned in her own house from raging overflow storm water an aging and overmatched storm system simply couldn’t handle, and you have the makings of genuine development drama. As concerned citizens listened to an April 9 meeting convened by a newly formed group with the torch-and-pitchfork moniker, “Save Madison Valley”, issues not only of stormwater, but of parking, traffic, seismic safety, green preservation and community character were all raised.
To be sure, this is a complicated site, even without the background of tragedy and loss. Despite the expansiveness one might feel when plying the current rows of potted trees and shrubs, the property is not large by commercial standards, especially considering the sharp taper the lot lines follow at the eastern edge of the site. Also impinging on the buildable area is the steep drop- off down to Dewey Place to the southeast, which at greater than 40% grade, is automatically considered an environmental critical area by City regulations, which triggers a host of constraints on what can be done with a new structure. To tread near or in that slope will cost the developer dearly in terms of high-priced foundation work that will actually stabilize the hillside far more than it currently is today.
Current stormwater management regulations will force any development here to provide detention structures (commonly this means massive below-grade vaults) to hold rainwater on site and only allow it to enter the existing system and a controlled outflow. This should actually provide some peace of mind to those living below, as this will lessen the risk of a repeat of the tragic flash flood of 2006.
The building height issue, as the speaker at the April 9 event alluded, will be complicated. The maximum allowable height in this zone is 40 feet, but when a commercial property abuts a single-family zone as this one does, the building must step back and away. Calculating where that 40’ actually occurs is based on existing grades, meaning that as grades drop, so does the maximum height along with it. Couple that with the trapezoidal lot shape, and the architects will have their hands full attempting to hit a maximum buildable envelope with anything rational and useable toward the narrow east end.
This observer holds out hope that the solution the design team comes up with is skillful and sensitive enough to work with the opportunities as well as all the complexities of the site. The curious little holler that is Dewey Place below the lot to the southeast is quiet and subdued, but oddly disconnected from the heart of Madison Valley thrumming just above. A humble pedestrian connection up to Madison Street, constructed by this project at its own expense, could be a sweet addition, and undeniably a benefit for the overall public good. And while the shoes of City People’s will be impossible to fill, the new tenant – which the City People’s website guarantees will “not (be) a Walgreens or any other pharmacy” – may, who knows, grow to be an institution the community adores.
~Jeff Floor, Co-Chair of the Land Use Review Committee
“GET OUT & DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR COMMUNITY!”
This was the rallying cry from our project photographer, Kim Murillo, as she took pictures of the hearty crew that worked on the Dearborn steps from 30th down to 31st. Our expert moss scraper, Jeff Floor, was unable to attend this work party, but we were saved by a runner, Mike Brann, who was running by and stopped to help. He was working out for a fire fighter test and he definitely got an upper body workout as he diligently scraped the risers.
Bill Caldwell from 30th Ave. tackled the overgrown laurel (is this an oxymoron? Isn’t laurel always overgrown?). The two Dianes worked on blackberries (Diane Morris lasted much longer at this.) And the indefatigable Janet Oliver, having already been on the lake rowing since the crack of dawn, picked up the broom to sweep the dislodged moss. And then Kim came by with her camera to document the event.
We didn’t have the necessary tools to tackle the tall grasses to the south of the steps so we reported this issue to SDOT, as well as the broken concrete at the top of the stairs.
Join us on May 21 for work on the Randolph stairs that go up and up from East Alder to Terrace. We manage to discuss books, movies and the political circus as we work.
LAKE TEMPERATURES SLOW TO WARM
As I write this article on a beautiful day in mid-April, Seattle is halfway through what will likely be its warmest April on record. We reached an incredible 80 degrees today, and, if my predictions turn out to be correct, the next two days will have been even warmer. It is very rare that we hit the mid-70s in April, let alone the 80s, but we’ve done that in spades this year.
Earlier today, I was walking my dog down by Lake Washington with my mother, and I was stunned by how beautiful everything was. The Cascades were out in all their glory, the cottonwoods had a thick layer of bright green leaves and the lake was as calm as ever. Everything seemed so nice – so nice, in fact, that I decided to jump into Lake Washington for a quick swim.
The swim was enjoyable enough, but the water was extremely cold. I’ve swum in colder water (my many Lake Washington “Polar Bear Dives” come to mind), but when it’s 80 degrees out, you expect the water to be a bit warmer. I’ve been around this lake long enough that I know it takes a pretty long time for it to heat up, but somebody who wasn’t familiar with this area would likely be shocked by how cold the lake is.
It is a well-known fact that water is slower to respond to changes in temperature than air. This is why all of Lake Washington doesn’t freeze when the temperature drops below freezing in Seattle, or why the Atlantic sees more hurricanes on average in October than May, June, and July combined. It’s why a large pot of water takes forever to boil, but an oven can heat up to several hundred degrees in a matter of minutes.
These warm springtime days can be deceiving – while Seattle is in the 70s and 80s, Lake Washington is in the low 50s, and rivers are frigid and running high from the rapid snowmelt. Swimming or boating in a body of water always carries some risk, but that risk is magnified when water temperatures drop and rivers are high. It is always good to wear a lifejacket when boating or swimming in an open body of water, but it is especially important to do so in the spring. Rivers should generally be avoided during this time of year – they can look like great swimming material, but they are ice-cold and have deceptively fast flows.
As the days continue to get longer and warmer, the lake will heat up. Come July, Lake Washington will be a swimmer’s paradise.
Stay safe, and use good judgment!
Charlie Phillips, a Madrona resident, just received his B.S. in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. Check out his weather blog at www.charliesweatherforecasts.blogspot.com!
LESCHI COMMUNITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS IN MAY
Leschi CC by-laws require public notice of our elections 3 months in advance. This is the 2nd notice; the 3rd notice will appear in the May issue. We urge interested residents to step forward for one of these positions. It is an exciting time to be part of the LCC. In the next year, we will see work begin on the long-neglected marinas in Leschi, there will be vast changes to one of our local shopping areas: Promenade 23 and we will work with the city to increase the supply of affordable housing.
The Leschi Community Council holds elections for its five elected positions every two years. Current officers may NOT run again for their current positions as the bylaws stipulate that one may serve 2 two-year terms and we have reached that barrier! The elected positions are President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and LCC representative to the Seattle City Council Federation.
Basic requirements are the ability to attend the two meetings each month (the general meeting on the first Wednesday and the Board meeting on the following Tuesday.) The SCCF rep would have an additional meeting each month on the 4th Tuesday. There are no general meetings in July and August, but the Board continues to meet each month.
Briefly, the President chairs the meetings, the Vice-President steps in when the President is absent and recruits folks to run for office in an election year, the secretary takes minutes at the meetings, the treasurer pays the bills and collects the revenue. Other duties are specified in the job descriptions for each position. Interested persons should email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a copy of the job description (or call 726-0923 if you don’t use email). And don’t be intimidated; we have knowledgeable folks who can mentor and there are bylaws to guide us.
THE NATIVE BEE PROJECT
The Mason Bee nesting blocks, which we provided with cocoons, are filling up early this year, probably due to our warm spring. Two stewards’ blocks are in fact completely filled, and had to be supplemented with additional nesting tubes. Evidently, we are picking up nesting bees from our neighborhood’s pre-existing bee population. This is good, because providing clean and plentiful nesting holes can only increase the numbers of our native bees.
THIRTY YEARS OF CENTRAL DISTRICT HISTORY
Want to know what was going on in the Central District during the years from 1920 to 1950? Take a stroll down Memory Lane! Twelve long-time Central Area residents participated in interviews to give us a glimpse of the neighborhood during some critical periods of history: two world wars, the Great Depression and the incarceration of the Japanese residents. Privileged to view a short segment a few months ago, the removal of the Japanese families was the most poignant piece for me.
The video was produced by Senior Center members over the past year and was funded by a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods. The premiere showing will be held at the First AME church, 1522 14th Ave., on May 15 from 3-5pm. A catered reception follows.
Other event and activities were shared by Dian Ferguson at the April 20 member meeting:
MAY 3 GIVE BIG!
This is Seattle Foundation’s annual fundraiser for your favorite non-profit and Dian hopes you will consider the Senior Center. For those who participated in past years, there are a few key changes:
For those who participated in past years, there are a few key changes:
- Sound Generations (formerly Senior Services) organization profile and donation portal are now combined. You can view ours at https://givebig.seattlefoundation.org/ npo/senior-services. Central Area Senior Center can be selected under Sound Generations.
- Donors can now schedule donations in advance beginning April 18, 2016.
All donations need to be given online and volunteers will help in the Computer Room for those who are not comfortable using computers. All donations are matched by the Seattle Foundation.
Executives from Group Health and Sound Generations will meet at The Central for a ceremony in which Group Health will donate the $400,000 they are giving to make up half of the lost United Way funds. This is a CORRECTION from our last report when we understood that Group Health was making up the entire $800,000. Meeting takes place in the morning during the Enhanced Fitness class.
MAY 9, 1PM
A speaker from the Tax Assessor’s office will explain the senior real estate exemption for those under the $40,000 per year threshold. This threshold has increased from $32,000 last year. Qualifying seniors will be helped to fill out the forms for this benefit.
MAY 13, 1:30-3:30PM
Speaker on the changing real estate market in King County and housing options for seniors. Charlotte Jacobs, Social Worker, is looking at 2 programs: one is informational for caregivers to assess what resources are needed and the other is a Kinship caregiver support group for those raising grandchildren or other related kin. Call Charlotte for information on date and time 726-4926, ext.210.