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Minutes of the General Meeting of 21 April 2005
President Toby Weymiller called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm.
Announcements and News
Toby Weymiller made the following announcement:
a.. The Elliott Bay Water Taxi is back for another summer. The initial run will be on May 1 with a gala kickoff event including Elvis. The service will run through September 30.
b.. Megawatt Junction is sponsoring a West Seattle-wide garage sale to be held May 15. People seeking more information can drop by their new storefront office at 2725 California Avenue SW (phone 938-4120) or check their website http://www.megawattjunction.org.
c.. The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce named our own Ken Olsen as its Member of the Year. Ken was introduced at the meeting and given a round of applause.
Cindi Barker also made several announcements:
a.. Chief Sealth High School's Robotics Team, which was sponsored by MoCA, did not win the competition, but its mentor was selected to go to the next round.
b.. We have gotten feedback on the Mayor's proposed Neighborhood Business District Strategy. Cindi distributed an Executive Summary and list of changes made to the proposal since the previous draft. One of the most significant of these is the proposed elimination of off-street parking requirements around monorail and light-rail stations; this could have a significant impact on the Morgan Junction business district and the residential area immediately surrounding our monorail station. The City will be holding a meeting on April 23 at City Hall, from 9:30 am to noon in the Landes Room.
c.. Cindi distributed a hand-out listing the Seattle Monorail Project's responses to our comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement. She also distributed a hand-out of location-specific guidelines for stations and corridors. The handout dealt only with guidelines that applied to the Morgan Junction station and the California Avenue corridor.
d.. She made available free West Seattle street maps for people to pick up.
e.. She also put out a call for a webmaster to take over the MoCA website. Dave Fansler specifically recommended that a link be added to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development's Land-Use Information System so that people can check the status of development projects in our neighborhood that are moving through the permitting process.
Design Review Board-New Member
Deb Barker introduced herself as the new West Seattle representative on the City's Design Review Board. She is a resident of our neighborhood. She thanked MoCA for endorsing her candidacy. She also is a member of the Southwest Historical Society and said that the Society will be conducting its Homes With History self-guided tour of historic homes throughout West Seattle on May 21. She made hand-outs describing the event available to those in attendance.
New West Seattle Food Bank
Steve Sindiong reported on the status of the new West Seattle Food Bank, which is proposed for a site in the southeast quadrant of 35th Avenue SW and SW Morgan Street (where the teriyaki joint used to be). The food bank will occupy the main level of the building with 3 to 4 levels of low-income apartments above. The Design Review Board has approved the project and a Master Use Permit is expected in May. Construction is set to begin in September or October and take about 12 months to complete.
Lowman Beach Sewage Pump Station
The main topic of the meeting was the proposed modifications to the Lowman Beach sewage pump station.
Description of the Project. To reduce overflows of raw sewage into Puget Sound during storms, King County Metro proposes to upgrade various sewage pump stations along the shoreline of West Seattle. We have two stations in our neighborhood-at SW Murray Street (Lowman Beach Park), and SW Barton Street (near the Fauntleroy ferry dock). The upgrades involve installing a diesel-powered pump in an underground vault. These pumps would be used only during storm conditions, but will need to be run on a regular basis (to keep them in operating order) and refueled regularly (generating truck traffic). They will produce noise and diesel fumes during these operations. At Lowman Beach, the enlarged underground vault will create a "mound," partially obscuring views of the water and interfering with access to the beach. The discussion focused on the Lowman Beach pump station, which sits on city park land owned by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation (DoPAR).
Metro's is charged with helping protect Puget Sound, ensuring a suitable habitat for salmon, whales, and other marine creatures. However, people "continue to like to flush their toilets" and the ability to pump sewage and avoid dumping it into the Sound during major storms can help fulfill this mission. As a government agency, King County Metro can issue a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), thereby eliminating the need for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). DNSs were issued for this project, as well as the other pump station projects in our area.
Because the Lowman Beach pump station sits on City property, the City Council must give final approval to the project. This approval cannot be granted until the Parks Commission buys off on the project.
Response to our comments. Ada Franklin and Martha Tuttle of King County Metro were in attendance. They reported on comments received at our last meeting, asking if they interpreted them correctly:
a.. Maintain public use of the park
b.. Mitigate the "industrial" feel of the expanded pump station and emergency generator operation.
c.. Maintain views
d.. Maintain water quality
e.. Only impact the park once
f.. Minimize the amount of lawn/vegetated area being removed for the new facility
They said that the current project calls for installation of the emergency generator and pump (with diesel fuel storage tank). A larger, more ambitious combined sewage overflow (CSO) project will be built later in the future; it is currently at a very preliminary stage in its planning. No funds have been appropriated for it.
Alternatives. Metro is looking at two off-site locations for its generator. One is on the east side of Lincoln Park Way SW, just west of Murray Place SW. The other is on the east side of Beach Drive SW, a short distance southeast of Lowman Beach Park. This latter site has issues-it is at the base of a steep slope with a condominium project above. There is concern that disturbing this slope could cause potential landslide damage to the condominiums or houses at the base of the slope.
Two on-site alternatives are also being looked at-a single large facility and vent in the middle of the Beach Drive frontage of Lowman Beach Park, or two small vents, one at this location and the other in the middle of the south boundary of the park.
Mitigation. One goal of the project is to minimize the surface area of grates required to provide ventilation for the generator and pump station. A number of ideas are being considered, one of which is to install benches above the site along Beach Drive SW. Instead of conventional grates on the ground, the benches would sit atop the ventilation openings and have wire mesh sides. The mesh could be thinner than the steel needed for the grates while still providing sufficient air flow. The thinner mesh under the benches would allow for smaller openings than would be needed if conventional grates were used.
Another idea is to camouflage the exhaust stacks by concealing them with artwork, such as totem poles or false trees.
Other elements of the project would include hose bibs for watering the landscaping and a drinking fountain.
Project Status. Metro is currently waiting for approval from King County Councilman Dow Constantine for the project. If he gives his approval, Metro will come back to the community at a future MoCA meeting for comments and approval.
Metro wants the community (through MoCA) to appoint a three-person liaison team to work with them in evaluating the alternatives. It was recommended that Ron Sterling, a neighbor that has shown considerable concern about the project, be a member of this team.
The plan is to reduce the number of alternatives to a short list of two preferred options and take them to 30 percent design. Then they will come back to the community for additional feedback and do additional internal evaluation to select a preferred option, which they will take to 60 percent design. This iterative process will continue, enabling Metro to take the alternative to 90 percent and 100 percent design.
They promised they would attend future MoCA meetings to keep the community apprised of their activities and the status of the project.
They proceeded to take questions from the audience.
Morgan Junction Design Guidelines
Ken Olsen presented an update on the status of the design guidelines for the Morgan Junction business district. Our draft guidelines, which were prepared by a seven-person committee of local people, have been sent to the City for staff review. The City indicated that it expects to do some minor wordsmithing and send their proposed changes back to our committee for review. The proposed guidelines will be presented to the community at a public meeting (expected to be in June), then the finalized guidelines will be submitted to the City Council for approval.
Morgan Junction Community Festival
Toby Weymiller said that the Morgan Community Festival will go on hiatus this year because Monica Lundberg and Gretchen Heiden-the people who have taken the lead in running the festival in past years-will both be out of town this year. We also need to recruit some new blood on the festival organizing committee and start planning for the 2006 festival.
Lincoln Park Annex/P-Patch Update
Toby reported that we had a good turnout for the first major work party of the year which was held on April 16. Pete Widowitz reported that good progress was made in removing poison hemlock. The weather was rainy and the ground was very soft, which was messy but made it easier to remove weeds. Sandy Lennon, the new site coordinator for the P-Patch is going to be doing a newsletter for the project.
Also, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation is considering a new name for the park. We need to search back through our files to see what names were recommended by the public at previous meetings.
CRF Projects for Morgan Junction
Every year the City sets aside a pot of money to fund neighborhood projects called the Cumulative Reserve Fund (CRF). These projects can include new construction, maintenance or repair work. Morgan Junction has a couple of CRF projects in the pipeline, including construction of a sidewalk along the east side of the Lincoln Park Annex (44th Avenue SW) to provide better pedestrian access to the stairway leading down to the viewpoint. Stan Lock said that this project made the short list of projects recommended by the Southwest District Council for CRF funding.
We need to come up with new projects to submit for funding next year. There was some discussion about which projects to choose. Cindi said we could look at the Neighborhood Plan or the Approval and Adoption Matrix for ideas. One audience member suggested traffic-calming improvements on 48th Avenue SW. Ken Olsen said that street tree roots are buckling the sidewalks in the business district, and that funds could be used to pay for sidewalk repairs and possible replacement of the trees with species that are less likely to damage sidewalks.
Election of Officers
The final order of business was the election of new MoCA officers for the coming year. The current officer corps was polled regarding whether or not they were willing to serve another term. Community members were also polled to see if any were interested. A slate of officers was proposed and presented by Toby Weymiller:
President Steve Sindiong
Vice-President Toby Weymiller
Secretary Eldon Olson
Treasurer David Fansler
The slate was opened up to nominations from the floor, but none were received. Accordingly, the proposed slate of officers was elected by acclamation (Cindi/Pete moved/seconded).
New president Steve Sindiong adjourned the meeting at 8:20 pm. Attendance totaled 14 people.
David A. Fansler
Secretary pro tempore