MoCA has accomplished a number of achievements over the past 3 years, from the update of a new website, to helping to organize the first ever Morgan Junction "Clean and Green" event with the mayor. New projects are coming to the neighborhood including a new park in the business district, the habitat restoration of the Orchard Street Ravine, and the completion of the Neighborhood Design Guidelines. To learn more about our recent accomplishments, please read on...
MOCA’s Mission and Role
Mission - In early 1995, a group of local residents established the Morgan Organization for a better Seattle (MOBS). The name was later changed to the Morgan Community Association or MoCA. From 1996 to 1999, the primary mission of MoCA was to serve as the voice of the community, in bringing people together to shaped the development of the Morgan urban village through completion of the Morgan Junction Neighborhood plan.
After adoption of the Neighborhood plan in 1999, MoCA has continued in a stewardship role. It’s mission is to:
• Provide information to the community.
• Provide opportunities to participate in projects.
• Monitor and provide oversight on progress of the Morgan Junction Neighborhood Plan.
• Provide community forum to coordinate with the City of Seattle.
The following provides a list of MoCA’s roles with various ongoing activities, and some of the major accomplishments that MoCA has completed over the past several years.
Southwest District Council - MoCA has a permanent representative on the Southwest District Council. The Council is a forum in which the various community groups in West Seattle keep in touch, lobby City officials, and evaluate applications for Matching Fund, Street Fund and other grants. The Council is part of a larger body, the City Neighborhood Council, whose role is to provide advisory information to the Mayor and Seattle City Council. The Council is also responsible for helping to prioritize Cumulative Reserve Fund (CRF) and Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) projects.
Building Community - Community bulletins and calendars are sent out to an ever-expanding email list that currently totals 310 neighbors. Many of the Early Implementation Fund projects also were related to improving connections among the people who live in our neighborhood. MoCA meetings are held on a quarterly basis, unless a hot project or issue requires an interim meeting.
The Morgan Junction summer festival was held in 2003, but took a break in 2005 due to the lack of available volunteers to organize it. The festival will be held again in the summer of 2006, and planning is currently underway. The festival provides an excellent way for neighbors to meet one another, in a fun environment with bands, food, information booths, children’s activities and other entertainment.
MOCA’s Recent Accomplishments
MoCA Website – MoCA worked with a local resident (Paul Sureddin) to upgrade the MoCA website in 2005. The new website format allows for information to be easily updated and includes updated news events and community information, meeting minutes, contact information, links, a community calendar, and the capability for community polls.
Regional Transportation Issues/Projects - MoCA continues to liaison and participate in projects involving Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), WSDOT, Metro Transit, the Sound Transit, and Washington State Ferries. MoCA regularly interacted with the project planners for the Seattle Monorail Project, until its demise in 2005. The other transportation projects with an impact to West Seattle that will continue to need to be addressed by MoCA include Alaskan Way Viaduct project, the Spokane Street Viaduct project, the Washington State Ferry Plan, King County’s Transit Now Initiative, the Elliott Bay Watertaxi, and all local projects under way or planned by SDOT, such as road resurfacing, bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements.
A Flexcar was added to the community in 2003, which is located at the Morgan Thriftway site. Flexcar allows people to share the car when they need it. The benefits of Flexcar include lower transportation costs for individuals, reduction of cars on our roads (on average, Flexcar eliminates 5-11 vehicles from the road), and an improved environment through the use of hybrid vehicles. Flexcar is a 100% carbon neutral company.
Land-Use/Zoning/New Developments - MoCA remained updated, and assisted at making connections between residents, the City and developers, on a number of issues, including:
• The Neighborhood Business District Strategy (NBDS) – This zoning initiative calls for major zoning changes within commercial districts, including parking requirements, open space requirements, residential uses at ground level, height/bulk/scale, among others. Council is scheduled to take action in Summer 2006.
• Multi-Family Zoning changes – This zoning initiative is considering changes to multi-family zones on issues such as parking requirements, open space areas, landscaping, affordable housing, and mix of housing types. Council is scheduled to take action in 2007.
• High Point Redevelopment
• Distribution to the community of DCLU notification of new development projects proposed in our area.
• Attended Design Review Board meetings on pertinent projects.
• Attended Waste Transfer Station public meetings.
• Attended meetings related to the Firestation 37 relocation.
• Attended Design Review Meetings for the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) Food Bank project.
Capital Investment Program (CIP) – In 2006, the City of Seattle allowed for input from citizens and community groups to provide recommendations for projects to be considered as part of the CIP update. MoCA provided a number of recommended projects, including:
• Improved Bike connections through Morgan Junction and West Seattle
• Speed limit display signage along Fauntleroy Way SW
• Supplemental funding for the proposed Morgan Junction Park
• Pavement overlay (resurfacing) along California (south of Alaska Junction) and Fauntleroy Way SW
• Improvements to Solstice Park (seating, lighting, pedestrian access, landscaping)
• Pedestrian access improvements to the Orchard Street Ravine
• Pedestrian access improvements to the proposed Morgan Junction Park
Cumulative Reserve Fund (CRF) Budget – The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods allocates $1 million annually for projects throughout the city using the CRF. Projects must be in, or linked to the Neighborhood Plan, and be used for safety or maintenance type projects. In 2006, MoCA recommended two projects to receive CRF dollars, including:
• Pedestrian access improvements to the proposed Morgan Junction Park
• Pedetrian access improvements to the Orchard Street Ravine
Murray Pump Station Project at Lowman Beach – The King County Wastewater Treatment Division began the planning/design for this project in 2005. The purpose of the project is to install an emergency generator to prevent overflow of untreated sewage into Puget Sound during power loss. The project involves upgrading the existing pump’s odor control system and replacing the electrical system. The project allowed for the opportunity to conduct mitigation and improvements to Lowman Beach Park. MoCA worked with King County to form a neighborhood committee that was responsible for helping to develop the planning and design recommendations. The improvements are scheduled to be completed by Fall 2006.
Neighborhood Clean Up – In May 2006, MoCA worked with the City to hold the first Clean and Green Seattle project in Morgan Junction. Mayor Greg Nickels worked with neighborhood volunteers and city staff to conduct clean up and minor improvements in Solstice Park, Lowman Beach Park, and the Morgan business district. Improvements included weeding, landscaping, and improving trails and play areas. MoCA also worked with various neighborhood businesses to donate food and other items, including Flexcar, Thriftway, Café Ladro and C&P Coffee.
Public Safety – MOCA attends the monthly meeting of the Southwest Police Precinct Advisory Board. This citizen/ police office board provides input to the Southwest Precinct captain on Southwest Precinct wide issues and to help the precinct develop strategies that enhance the safety and livability of the community by preventing crime. The committee’s focus in 2006 and 2007 will be on disaster preparedness at the community and neighborhood level.
Specific Neighborhood Plan Projects
Morgan Junction Neighborhood Design Guidelines – This project was recommended in the Neighborhood Plan (completed in 1999), and is considered to be a high priority project. In 2004, a committee was formed to develop the Neighborhood Design Guidelines, which are meant to ensure that new development in the commercial district are compatible with the character of the Morgan Junction neighborhood. The guidelines address issues such as building height, bulk, shape, character, landscaping, and view preservation. A draft plan was completed in 2004, and the final plan will be completed after current citywide zoning issues (commercial district and multi-family uses) are adopted.
Lincoln Park Annex and P-Patch - The redevelopment of the Lincoln Park Annex (now renamed Solstice Park) was a high priority project in the Morgan Neighborhood Plan. MoCA sponsored the master plan for the park, which was constructed in 2002, and the community continues its activist role in the vegetation management plan, and the planning and construction of the P-patch. The P-patch was completed in 2004 through a Department of Neighborhoods grant and an in-kind match. A P-patch committee was formed to conduct complete the improvements and meet the grant match. P-patch improvements were completed in 2005.
The park was renamed Solstice Park in July 2005, based on suggestions from input at a MOCA meeting. The name was chosen to reflect a design feature in the park. Three pathways leading to a viewpoint overlooking Puget Sound are aligned with the solstices and equinox.
Morgan Substation/ Morgan Park – The Morgan Substation was scheduled to be surplused by Seattle City Light in 2008, and Pro-Parks levy money was budgeted to create a neighborhood park at the site, which was recommended in the Neighborhood Plan. A number of issues with the site were identified, including its relatively small size, traffic impacts and poor pedestrian access, noise, and the surplus delay. MoCA successfully worked with the Seattle Parks Department and the owner of the Beveridge Place Pub (Gary Sink) to conduct a joint development of the former Monorail station site, which will allow for a new retail establishment and a larger park in the heart of the Morgan Junction business district.
Southwest Police Precinct - Many West Seattle citizens lobbied for the establishment of a Police Precinct on the West Seattle penisula, and a new precinct was included in the Morgan Junction Neighborhood Plan. MoCA volunteers attended the public design meetings for this facility. The Southwest precinct station was constructed on 35th Avenue SW in 2002.
Orchard Street Ravine Improvements – This wooded ravine was designated part of the Green Crescent in the Neighborhood Plan. The Seattle Pro Parks Levy Program includes funding to implement habitat restoration (including removal of non-native vegetation, selective pruning, reforestation of trees) and trail within this public open space. The project originated from the Morgan Neighborhood Plan. MOCA has successfully worked with the City and community groups (Friends of Orchard Street Ravine; Orchard Community Association) to address the issues that have arisen, including the habitat restoration plan, and whether or not to develop a through trail. MOCA’s goal was to ensure stewardship of the Neighborhood Plan while also encouraging all parties to arrive at consensus on the issues. MOCA encouraged the City to identify additional funding to further study the feasibility of a through trail. The habitat restoration plan is currently being developed, and work will continue in phases over the next several years.
Myrtle Street Reservoir - A lid is to be constructed over the existing open reservoir in the next 3 to 5 years. Once this is done, it may be possible to move the fence closer to the reservoir, thereby enlarging the existing open space at the top of Gatewood Hill. Some Pro-Parks levy money has been allocated to this project, and a group of neighbors has expressed an interest in participating in concept planning for this site. MoCA has asked the Parks Department to conduct a planning process that successfully allows for adequate neighborhood engagement and consensus.