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Minutes of Community Meeting, May 20, 2009,
NSCC Green Room

Directors Present: Liz Kearns, Jerry Owens, Tom Meyer, Kay Mesirow, and Ellen Beck.

Board Representatives Present: Ken Thompson (Liaison to North Precinct).

Visitors: Mike Podowski (Urban Planning Supervisor, Seattle Department of Planning and Development), Casey Hildreth (Senior Transportation Planner, Seattle Department of Transportation, Policy and Planning Division), and Richard Min (Aurora Merchants).

Tom Meyer called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. and we had introductions around the table.

Minutes: The April 15, 2009 minutes were approved as presented.


Zoning Updates. Mike Podowski of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development first spoke to us about zoning updates for the City. There will be no zoning changes in single family zones, but in the “urban village” there will be changes in how the code is interpreted. Public hearings will be announced to address the zoning updates and the hope is to be ready to adopt “something” in December 2009.

Mike told us that, compared to other cities, Seattle is too restrictive. Now, they want to allow more variety and encourage better building. New standards are proposed to raise the level of design quality: (1) better façades (architectural treatments, trim and other design treatments); (2) front doors that face the street (all street facing units must have an entrance facing the street); (3) more landscaping around parking areas (surface parking areas must be divided by landscaping into areas limited to six parking spaces); (4) improved garage design (may not be closer to street lot lines than the remainder of structures and street facing garage doors are limited to 75 sf in area); and (5) lower fences (would be limited in a street-facing setback to four feet in height).

The Green Factor is designed to increase the amount and quality of urban landscaping and allow increased flexibility for site design. “Under the Green Factor requirement, and coupled with required residential amenity area, developers will be required to landscape an area that has a positive affect on water quality equivalent to landscaping on 60% of a lot.” Multifamily Code Update.

“Mother-in-Law” units are already allowed if they are inside or attached to an existing home. Now, the proposal is to allow detached units. There would be a limit of one per existing home, and the owner of the home must live in the home. The unit must have power, water, and sewage. There will be a cap of 50 of these detached units being allowed to be built in any one year. (In 2006, 16 were built in South Seattle where they are allowed.) Mike said that there would have to be consequences for not following the requirements. There will be a complaint line and people can make anonymous complaints, if they know of someone not following the rules. There will be briefings on this change in June by Sally Clark and her committee.

For more information, visit DPD’s multifamily website:

Aurora Rapid Ride/Transit/Pedestrian Improvements to Aurora Avenue. Casey Hildreth of the Seattle Department of Transportation told us about improvements coming to Aurora Avenue North.

Aurora Rapid Ride is going to involve a new bus, with extra doors and more amenities. The stations for the Rapid Ride will be new and will have real time schedule information. There will also be ticket machines at the stations, so that riders will already have their ticket when they get onto the bus. Rapid Ride will be coming in 2013.

The Aurora Action Agenda involves putting in pedestrian lighting and landscaping at stops if the location permits. DOT is looking at 104th southbound and 84th southbound. DOT is already working ahead of Rapid Ride coming; they will do all the wiring, concrete footing, new pedestrian lighting, etc. We will see these changes first.

For more information, comment, or request a meeting, visit: , or call 206.233.3780; or e-mail

Casey was asked about a future pedestrian overpass over the freeway. He said that this was “on their radar.”


Update on North Seattle Community College. Bruce Kieser was not able to be with us at our May meeting, but sent an update by e-mail which will become part of our record:

Integrated Resource Building (new one on south end of Technology) was funded for July 1, 2009 – 2011 biennium but at a reduced level. What that means as far as size and tenants is concerned, we do not yet know. I can say that it will take some time to assess that so we will NOT be proceeding with construction on our previously planned immediate schedule. Depending on how this plays out, it could be as much as a year delay. Right now, all I know is that we are going back to the drawing board for some adjustments.

Technology Building Renovation/Addition (Health Sciences Labs) was approved for proceeding with detailed design. We will begin that process July 1, 2009 and it should be complete about November, 2010. We will then need to wait until construction funding is approved, which would be July 1, 2011 (unless another crisis delays it). Construction schedule for that project is 16 months (July 1, 2011 to November 1, 2012).

College operating funds were cut 11%. We are in the process of making final decisions on details of how we will achieve that. It will be a combination of mandatory furloughs, cutting back on materials, goods and services and personnel reductions. The latter will be achieved by normal attrition and layoffs. Yes, there will be some layoffs of staff at the college.

Our enrollment is up to 115% (of target used in planning) for spring quarter. We believe this will be a continuing trend, perhaps even greater, through the next couple of years. The high unemployment will lead workers toward retraining. Also with 14% tuition increases at UW, more students will seek lower division courses at Community Colleges for the lower cost.

The squeeze is on!

DPD Zoning. Tom reported that the only real activity to report was that a single family home at 92nd and Stone had been demolished and multi-family housing will be built.

Community Shredding Event. Kay Mesirow reported that she has spoken with Beth Pflug regarding our proposed community-side shredding event. She was referred to a business named Datasite Northwest (97th and Aurora). The shredding event can happen in their lot for no cost. The time suggested was early September, a Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. She proposes asking the Green Lake community and GAIN folks to join us. There is a limit of five boxes per person, and the shredding applies only to paper.

Kay is going to be in Australia in September, so we need a volunteer to handle LSCC’s duties on the day of the shredding event.

June Meeting. Jerry Owens and Tom both said they would be out of town when our June meeting takes place.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, June 17, 2009.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen M. Beck, Secretary

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