Madison Valley

is a charming Seattle village with a European flair. We offer an eclectic mix of sophisticated shops, services, and restaurants. Our independently owned businesses attract visitors from afar, and shopkeepers greet customers by name. Here you’ll find people enjoying the good life, strolling the sidewalks, pausing to chat and explore. Join us, say hello, and stay awhile.

subscribe to news articles via email or rss

February 2017 Police Reports


Incidents in Madison Valley reported to the police during February remained at the relatively low level we have experienced during the past several months. Of the 40 incidents reported only about one quarter were car prowls or vehicle thefts, but this decline was balanced by increases in theft and property damage/graffiti. Six burglaries were reported in February.




1. Sometime between 9:30 and noon on Feb. 2 a burglar gained entry to a third-floor apartment on E. Olive near 23rd and stole three rings valued at approximately $10,500. The police found no fingerprints and although the apartment was locked at the time, there was no evidence of a forced entry. The resident told police, however, that it is easy to open the locked door to his apartment with a credit card.

2. On Feb. 6 at 4:26 AM police responded to a report of a burglary at a restaurant on Madison near Lake Washington Blvd. When they arrived, an employee told them that someone had smashed a glass door leading to the restaurant's office. There was no evidence that anything had been taken, however, and two safes next to office door were intact. No fingerprints were found at the scene.

3. At around 9:20 AM on Feb. 9 neighbors across the alley from a residence on 21st Ave. E. near Mercer noticed a man who appeared to be disoriented and who was talking to himself in the alleyway. Because the man, described as a thin white male around 50 years old with brown hair and a beard, was wearing shorts during a heavy downpour, one of the neighbors called 911, but when units arrived he had left the scene, apparently heading west on Mercer. When the resident of the home on 21st learned of the incident, she found that her backyard storage unit, which was unlocked at the time, had been burglarized. When her neighbors described the man who had been in the alley, she realized that he was probably the same person who had been arrested for stealing her Yamaha scooter last August. The police report notes that that person was due to be sentenced for the previous offense on Feb. 24. It also notes that the scooter had been damaged in the present incident, possibly in retaliation for the earlier arrest.

4. During the morning of Feb. 18 there was a forced-entry burglary at a residence on Union near 30th Ave., but the police have not released a description of this incident.

5. Police were called to a building on Denny near 25th on Feb. 25 to investigate a burglary that had occurred sometime in the previous couple of days. The victim reported that someone had entered the building's secure storage area and taken two bicycles worth approximately $1200. The bikes’ front wheels had been locked to a bike rack in the storage area, but the burglar was able to take the bikes after removing their front wheels. No fingerprints were found at the scene.

6. On Feb. 26 police were called to a house on 26th near Denny to investigate a burglary. Once there they found that the house had recently been sold by its previous owner, who was in the process of moving to a new location. A neighbor had notified the previous owner on Feb. 23 that several people had been seen exiting the house that day. When the previous owner returned to the house on the 26th to remove the remainder of his possessions, he found that basement windows had been broken and that there were signs that someone else had occupied the house. However, the previous owner reported that nothing seemed to be missing from the house.

During February, there was also an incident that began as a shoplift but ended as a robbery.

Around 10 P.M. on Feb. 6 a clerk at the liquor store on Union near 23rd observed a man putting five liquor bottles inside his coat. After being confronted by the clerk, the man defied him and headed for the door. Three bottles fell out of the man's coat when he reached the door and when the clerk grabbed the man's coat outside the store he was able to recover the other two bottles. At that point, the man threatened to shoot the clerk and fled from the scene. Police found multiple fingerprints on the bottles and the store is well covered by security cameras. 


Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.


Post a Comment | Topics: Crime

The Harrison Ridge Greenbelt: A History of Community Activism, Chapter 2


In the first chapter of the Greenbelt history, we presented the story of the initial attempt to develop the hillside along 32nd Avenue E between E Denny and E John. During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the community rallied together to block the building of a low- income housing project. Then, after twenty years of quiet, another threat to the woods brought the community together. This rallying cry was the genesis for the current community council, which at that time was named Harrison-Denny Community Council.

In the early 1990s, a neighbor across the street from the Greenbelt contacted community activists reporting that a sign had been posted. The sign stated a lot owner’s intent to begin building a house. The owner was contacted and after hearing the community’s wish to preserve the site, agreed to sell his lot to the City. At that time, the City of Seattle had funds to acquire undeveloped land to preserve green spaces in the neighborhoods. Communities were becoming aware of a development boom and were concerned that their beautiful green city would someday be lost to construction. In those days, $6,000 was the cost of an average lot. This acquisition effort of the City has resulted in the many green spaces you see throughout Seattle neighborhoods today.

Well-known community activists and leaders, Peggy and Jerry Sussman organized a small band of like-minded neighbors and decided to reinstate a community council. The Council would enable the group to create an organized forum to present the community’s concerns to Seattle City Council. The newly minted Harrison-Denny Community Council became an instantly popular magnet and attracted up to 100 residents and business owners at each meeting. The annual spaghetti dinner was always sold out and the treasury was filled with proceeds from the tremendously successful rummage sale.




Of course, the first order of business for the new Council was the protection of the neighborhood’s only wild green-space, the Harrison Ridge Greenbelt. The few other lot owners in the Greenbelt readily agreed to sell their properties to the City. They enjoyed a generous compensation. One parcel, owned by King County, was gifted to the community.

However, one lot owner was not moved by the community’s spirit and refused to cooperate. Again, the appearance of a sign along the street alerted neighbors of an intent to develop the site. The owner had applied for his property to be re-platted from 3 into 2 lots and intended to build 2 large houses. When he realized that the community was moving against his plans, he brought in bulldozers and began clearing the property. The Council immediately contacted the City and a stop work order was issued. Subsequent hearings with the Seattle City Council resulted in a judgment against the owner.

In an unprecedented move, the City condemned the property under the right of eminent domain. This Washington State constitutional law allowed the government to acquire and preserve pieces of undeveloped property as parks or green spaces. The City was required to pay a fair market value for such land and negotiated a price with the property owner. A reduced price was paid due to the destruction of the land.

The entire community was ecstatic as the realization of many months of perseverance resulted in a new park. The 6.2 acres of the wooded hillside became officially known as the Harrison Ridge Greenbelt.

Now that the community had realized its goal of preserving the green space, the next step was to care for this property. That part of the Greenbelt history will be presented in the next chapter.


Post a Comment | Topics: Nature

Land Use Notices Madison Valley Area, February 21 – March 13, 2017


Here are the Seattle OPCD and SDCI Land Use notices in the land three weeks for communities from 18th Ave. to Lake Washington and E Union St. to SR-520.




2301 E Denny Way
Administrative Design Review Early Design Guidance Application proposing 46 small efficiency dwelling units. Existing structures to be demolished. Zone: Lowrise-3, Arterial within 100 ft., Scenic view within 500 ft., Urban Village overlay
Notice of Administrative Design Review

111 26th Ave E
Land Use Application to allow one, 3-story, 4-unit row house structure in an environmentally critical area. Parking for 14 vehicles proposed within the structure. Existing structure to be demolished. To be considered with project at 115 26th Ave E for shared access. Environmental review includes future unit lot subdivision. Zone: Lowrise-2, Potential slide area, Steep slope (>=40%)
Notice of Revised Application

115 26th Ave E
Land Use Application to allow two, three-story, two-unit townhouse buildings (four units) in an environmentally critical area. Covenant parking for seven vehicles will be provided on adjacent site at 111 26th Ave E. To be considered with project 111 26th Ave E for shared access. Environmental review includes future unit lot subdivision. Zone: Lowrise-2, Potential slide area, Steep slope (>=40%)
Notice of Revised Application

212 25th Ave E
Land Use Application to allow two 3-story, two unit townhouse structures in an environmentally critical area. Parking for 4 vehicles provided on site. Existing structure to be demolished. Environmental review includes future unit lot subdivision. Zone: Lowrise-3, Potential slide area, Arterial within 100 ft., Scenic view within 500 ft.

Notice of Decision
139 27th Ave E
Land Use Application to subdivide one development site into three unit lots. The plan is that the 1900 house remains with a duplex built behind it. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots. Zone: Lowrise-1, Potential Slide Area
Notice of Decision

Land Use Information Bulletins
Property & Building Activity Interactive Map 
Design Review Board
Buildings in Design Review Map


Post a Comment | Topics: Construction

Join Us for the Next Merchants Association Meeting


Guest Speaker: The Bus Rapid Transit team will be making a presentation on BRT in Madison Valley. The discussion will cover stops, turnarounds, parking, and construction. Learn how this will change the neighborhood!

Additional topic for discussion: Spring Clean in April.

Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to participate in this get-together. Coffee and snacks will be served. Please share with anyone interested. 

8:30 AM
Wednesday, March 15
Cafe Flora

Post a Comment | Topics: Merchants Association

The Harrison Ridge Greenbelt: A History of Community Activism


Some of our newer neighbors may view the Harrison Ridge Greenbelt as only an undeveloped hillside above 32nd Avenue. However, the preservation of this community green space developed over a period of 70 years. Many of our neighbors have worked tirelessly to preserve the only green space in Madison Valley.




During the 1930s, the city of Seattle was still in the process of paving the streets in the Madison Valley neighborhood. One specific street project involved paving a pathway directly through the heart of the woods from E Denny Way to E Harrison along what is now 33rd Avenue E. However, during the construction, the hillside gave way in a landslide bringing the work to an abrupt halt. The project was abandoned and the hillside remained intact. This is the reason that 33rd Avenue E is not a throughway.

In the 1960s and ’70s, developers approached the neighborhood with a design for a “Model Cities” low-income housing project. The developers’ goal was to construct 25-unit apartment buildings on the site. Among other radical changes, this plan called for significant excavation of the woods for a parking lot to accommodate the large numbers of prospective tenants. However, the builders underestimated the negative reaction and cohesiveness of the Madison Valley community. The first group to protest the development of this neighborhood land was the Harrison School PTA (later renamed M.L. King Jr. School). The protesting group called itself the Harrison-Denny Community Council whose boundaries encompassed the woods. The Council found much support among the Valley residents. With so much support, the organization was able to send a large delegation of residents to the Seattle City Council hearing regarding the federal Model Cities proposal.

During the meeting, there were accusations from the developers that the protestors were motivated by a desire to restrict low-income people from living within their neighborhood. However, angry African-American representatives countered that assumption with disheartening tales of living within such projects in other cities. They did not want to see another “warehouse” approach as the solution for low-income people. Appreciating the presentation of the community, and recognizing other problems with the proposed plan, the Seattle City Council ultimately refused to permit the apartment buildings.

Their recorded decision was based upon probable geological instability of the hillside. Once again, the wooded hillside was saved from development. There was one house on the hillside, which was built in the 1920s. The community relaxed, and over the next few years, lacking a burning issue to rally around, the Community Council was dissolved. However, in early 1990s another threat arose which initiated a new alarm regarding the woods. Please look forward to the next chapter of the Greenbelt history in a few weeks!

Post a Comment | Topics: Community Planning, Nature

Join Madison Street BRT Project at a March Open House


Come see what we’ve been up to and share your feedback! We’re holding in-person and online open houses this March to share the updated project design.



Join us in person or online to provide feedback on the:

Updated design, including information on sidewalks and pedestrian access, parking and loading zones, bicycle infrastructure, and station design.

Preliminary construction information, including a draft construction sequencing plan and potential construction impacts.

Our project team and other City staff will be in attendance to listen and answer your questions about the project. This is also an opportunity to learn more about Ben Zamora’s work, the artist chosen to create public works of art along the Madison St corridor.

Madison Street BRT will become RapidRide G Line!

Madison Street BRT, which will become Metro RapidRide G Line, is the latest RapidRide line to begin service in Seattle. We anticipate Madison Street BRT (RapidRide G Line) service will begin in late 2019.

We hope to see you in person or online in March!



Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave



March 8 – 22
Give feedback online!
(Link will go live March 8)


If you have specific questions, or would like to schedule a meeting or briefing, please email us at or call Emily Reardon, Public Information Officer, at 206-615-1485.


1 Comment, Join In | Topics: Transportation

The BottleNeck Lounge Turns Ten


It’s hard to believe, but The BottleNeck Lounge has officially enjoyed a decade of Kentucky Derby parties, rollicking St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, rafter-packed political debates, bar-pounding Seahawk Sundays, and $6 Manhattan Mondays. Help us ring in the double digits with a two-night anniversary celebration on March 10th and 11th – we may be small but our ability to celebrate is huge!


We kick things off that Friday with a Bourbon-Soaked Happy Hour from 4–8 PM featuring $4 pours of Evan Williams (our well whiskey for the past decade) and the much-anticipated return of the Hair of The Dog Drink menu, featuring doggie-themed cocktails all at – you guessed it – ten bucks. On Saturday, March 11th we reprise our Bang Your Head Happy Hour, replete with $3 cans of ice cold PBR Tallboys and the raucous return of the Buttrock Suite Dancers. These lovelies graced our bar (and subsequently, our bar top) with a visit in 2008 and have offered to cap off Happy Hour and jump start the rest of the night. Thanks to everyone for supporting our little neighborhood bar over the years – we love you and we have presents to prove it.

March 10 & 11, 4 PM onward
2328 E. Madison St.


Post a Comment | Topics: Food & Drink

Our Beloved City People’s: The Saga Continues


Did we have fireworks? Dancing in the street? Did the phoenix arise from the ashes? Perhaps the elation was only in our hearts when the neighborhood received an unexpected holiday gift: the extension of City People’s Garden Store’s lease. The joyful refrains heard throughout the community were certainly real.

The proposed construction at the site has passed the initial phase of the design review but has a few more steps to complete. Due to the slope and nature of the site, construction is only permitted during the dry months of the year. Thus, the building opportunity for 2017 will have passed. Instead of leaving the present building vacant and forlorn during this process, the owners of the land agreed to lease the space to City People’s. The lease runs through December 31, 2017 with options to extend again if the new project is not ready to move forward.

The City People’s Garden Store has two new owners: long-time employees Jose Gonzales and Alison Greene. Jose and Alison are beloved and well-known faces at the Garden Store. Together with three investors, Jose and Alison were able to purchase the business from Steve Magley and Dianne Casper with a very generous deal. Steve and Dianne have stayed on as supportive consultants as the new owners evolve from gardeners to business owners/managers.




“It’s been a really steep learning curve,” Jose admits. He and Alison have been participating in a mentorship program through the national Small Business Administration. They meet monthly with their mentor to formulate their business plan and wade through the mountains of paperwork. “We are lucky to have a great mentor,” Jose said, “and we feel much more comfortable now with the business side of the garden store.”

Many of the previous employees have chosen to stay on with the garden store. They were able to continue at or above their previous salary and benefit program.

Jose and Alison envision the Gift Store’s inventory as a bit more streamlined but with all the usual elements in place. They will continue to offer delivery and potting-up services as well as special orders. The landscaping side of the business has been reinvented as a separate entity: The Peoples Gardening Collective. That business will move forward as a co-op.

City Peeps, as the Garden Store is affectionately known, continues to look for a new site. Given the current land availability in Seattle, this search has been a challenge. They envision a place that is about 15,000–25,000 sq. ft. with 2/3 being outside space and 1/3 inside. They enthusiastically encourage investors and any tips about promising available sites. They will keep the name City Peoples Garden Store.

Jose and Alison optimistically assert that City People’s Garden Store is “Here to stay! We have the passion and people to serve the community and want everyone to know we are here for them”. The staff and community are recovering from the trauma of last year’s sudden closing announcement and are ready to move forward.

Both the local community and Seattle at large wish to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Jose and Alison for their dedicated and bold move to breathe new life into City People’s Garden Store. 


2 Comments, Join In | Topics: Local Publicity, Home & Garden

Madison Valley Music Lessons: Spring 2017 at the Music Factory


Spring is here, which means it’s a great time for MUSIC LESSONS! From kids feeling optimistic about extra-curricular activities to adults getting ready for some Summer camp fire sessions, there are lots of great reasons to get your musical skills sharpened. We offer lessons in guitar, piano, bass, voice and most wind and string instruments. Call us at 206-420-3896 or fill out the Sign Up Form on our website, we will make sure to get you the best times we can. Spring is the time to make beautiful music!


The Music Factory


Post a Comment | Topics: Classes, Music

Land Use Notices Madison Valley Area, Jan 20 - Feb 20, 2017


Here are the Council, OPCD and SDCI Land Use notices in the past month for communities from 18th Ave. to Lake Washington and E Union St. to SR-520.




510 19th Ave E - Design Review Meeting
Design Review Board recommendation meeting on proposal for a 4-story building containing 8,500 sq. ft. of medical services uses on floors 1 and 2, and 8 apartment units on floors 3 and 4. Existing 2-story building to be demolished. Zone: Neighborhood Commercial 1-40′, Arterial within 100 ft., Urban Village overlay

February 22, 2017 6:30 p.m.
Seattle University
825 10th Ave
Casey Commons #500E
Campus Map
Notice of Design Review


1638 20th Ave - Design Review Meeting
Design Review Board recommendation meeting on 1638, 1640 and 1644 20th Ave. Proposal is for 1) a 3-story rowhouse containing 5 units. Surface parking for 5 vehicles to be provided. 2) a 3-story townhouse containing 5 units. Surface parking for 5 vehicles to be provided. 3) a 4-story structure containing 5 townhouse units & 2 live-work units. Parking for 5 vehicles to be located within the structure & one surface parking space. All considered for shared access. Environmental review includes future unit lot subdivision. Existing structures to be demolished. Zone: Lowrise-3, Scenic view within 500 ft., Urban Village overlay, Neighborhood Commercial 2-40′

March 8, 2017 8:00 p.m.
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Comm Bldg - Stuart T Rolfe Room
Campus Map
Notices of Design Review 1638 20th Ave | 1640 20th Ave | 1644 20th Ave


Central Area Design Guidelines
Central Area Design Guidelines Coalition (CA DGC), is a collaboration of 23rd Ave Action Community Team (23rd Ave ACT); African American Veterans Group of Washington; Central Area Collaborative; Central Area Land Use Review Committee (CA LURC); Historical Central Area Arts and Cultural District (HCAACD). They are working with the Congress for New Urbanism, Schemata Workshop and Mimar to engage the community in a process to develop design guidelines for the historic Central Area, which includes the Madrona and Madison Valley neighborhoods. CA DGC are hosting the following upcoming events:

Central Area Design Guidelines Workshop
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Walking Tours at 9am and 1pm (3 hours long)
Concluding Meeting at 4pm
Space is limited to first 50 registrants:

Central Area Design Guidelines Open House
Monday, February 27, 2017 5:00 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave S


119 18th Ave E
Notice of streamlined design review for a 3-story, four-unit townhouse. Garage to be demolished. Existing structure to remain. Zone: Lowrise-3, Urban Village overlay
Notice of Streamlined Design Review


130 21st Ave E
Land Use Application to subdivide one development site into four unit lots. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots. Zone: Lowrise-3, Scenic view within 500 ft., Urban Village overlay
Notice of Decision


139 27th Ave E
Land Use Application to allow a two-unit townhouse in an environmentally critical area. Parking for two vehicles to be provided. Existing single family residence to remain. Environmental Review includes future unit lot subdivision. Zone: Lowrise-1, Potential slide area
Notice of Decision



Land Use Information Bulletins
Property & Building Activity Interactive Map
Design Review Board
Buildings in Design Review Map


Post a Comment | Topics: Construction

January 2017 Police Reports


There were 48 incidents in Madison Valley reported to the police during January, one more than in December and on par with recent monthly totals. Although there were no robberies or aggravated assaults, attempted and completed burglaries increased to a total of eleven. However, apparently only four of the eleven burglaries resulted in property being stolen.




1. Sometime between Dec. 12 2016 and Jan. 12 2017 someone broke into a storage room at an apartment building on Denny Way near 24th and stole a bicycle and sleeping bags worth approximately $2500. The owner called the police after discovering the burglary, and although they found no fingerprints they did take into evidence a pocket knife that had apparently been used to remove the hinges from the door of the storage room.

2. Police were called to an apartment building on 20th near John on Jan. 4 to investigate an attempted burglary that occurred at approximately 3 AM that morning. When they arrived, a resident showed them a video recording of a white male wearing black clothing prying open the front door of the building and attempting, but failing, to pry open the mailboxes in the lobby. The man then fled the building, apparently without taking anything. The police found no usable fingerprints at the scene.

3. On Jan. 9 police were called to an apartment building on Union near 24th by a resident who reported that her laptop had been stolen. She told the police that during the afternoon of Jan. 8 someone must have entered her apartment and taken the laptop, worth approximately $1000, during a time when she was moving her possessions between apartments on different floors of the building.

4. Also on Jan. 9 someone stole a valuable raincoat from an atrium in an apartment building on 20th near Mercer. Because a work crew had temporarily removed an access door to the building, the police speculate that a burglar may have entered while the work was going on. The apartment building does not have a video surveillance system.

5. At approximately 1:15 PM on Jan. 12 an alarm was tripped by someone who was exiting an apartment on John near 21st. When the resident returned home to investigate he found that a burglar had thrown a rock through the kitchen window and climbed upon a recycling bin to enter through the window. The burglar ransacked the apartment but apparently took nothing except a plastic bag containing the ashes of the resident's deceased wife, which were stored in a container in the bedroom closet. The resident speculated that perhaps the burglar mistook the ashes for a narcotic in powder form. Police found no usable fingerprints at the scene but did forward objects that the burglar handled to the police lab for further study.

6. On Jan. 13 at around 1 AM police were called to a restaurant on 19th near Mercer to investigate a possible burglary in process. When they arrived, they found that someone had smashed the glass portion of the restaurant's front door but they found no one present when they searched the building. After being called to the scene and doing a search of the restaurant, the manager reported that nothing seemed to be missing. The police found no fingerprints at the scene.

7. On Jan. 16 police were called to a residential treatment center on Madison near 28th in connection with an attempted burglary. When they arrived, they learned that a witness had found one of the residents in another resident's room with the apparent object of stealing something. Further inquiry revealed that the offender has a history of entering other residents’ rooms even though she has been warned to stop doing it. A manager of the facility told police that although the offender would not be evicted on the basis of this incident, the police had been called so that the attempted burglary could be officially documented.

8. On Jan. 19 police were called to an apartment building, apparently the same building as in incident 2 above, to investigate another attempted burglary. Once again someone had pried open the front door and this time the mailboxes had also been pried open. At the time of the police report it was unknown if the burglar had taken anything from the mailboxes, and there is no mention of video footage in the police report.

9. Police were called to a nightclub on Union near 23rd around midnight on Jan. 17 to investigate a possible assault. When they arrived, an employee reported that a customer who had earlier been asked to leave the premises had returned and threatened him with a beer bottle. The employee also told the police that he feared for his safety because he had had a physical altercation with the customer in the past. The would-be assailant is being charged with both harassment and burglary.

10. On January 20 at 4 PM police were called to a home on 24th Ave. E. near Highland to investigate a burglary that occurred earlier that day. A resident told police that he had left the home locked and secure at 7:55 AM that day and that when he returned he found that it had been ransacked. The burglar broke in through the front door of the house and a surveillance camera recorded an unknown male knocking at the door around noon that day. Police found fingerprints on the front door and on a laptop inside of the home. The police report does not list any stolen objects and places a value of only one dollar on the loss due to the burglary.

11. On Jan. 31 at 4 AM police responded to an alarm at a specialty store on Union near 23rd. When they arrived, they found that the front door of the business had been pried open and that although it appeared that burglars had entered the store, there was no one present when the police arrived. Nothing appeared to have been taken during the burglary and a later examination of video footage of the incident showed that four masked people had entered, frantically searched the store, and then had left after about two minutes, apparently without taking anything. No fingerprints were found in the store and damage to the front door was estimated at $1500.


Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.


1 Comment, Join In | Topics: Crime

HALA: Updates and Upcoming Event on February 28


Seattle Mayor and Council are moving forward with legislation that would add a projected 6,000 units of affordable housing to Seattle over the next 10 years through implementing a Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program. This kind of inclusionary zoning has been something many housing and neighborhood planning activists have long argued for. While not a silver bullet solution to housing affordability, it is a way to make up for displacement created by redevelopment. Inclusionary zoning has been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions nationally and within in our state.

Basically, the proposal is that new development on multifamily and neighborhood commercial properties will be allowed to be built larger and higher and, whether they build higher or not, will have to contribute affordable units or fees in lieu of development of affordable housing. The properties included will have an (M) suffix on the zoning, and some will be further up zoned. This zoning change will be applied throughout the city, including all existing multifamily and commercial properties, as well as existing and proposed expanded Urban Villages.

Here is our area, captured from the HALA citywide map, where everything in color will be up zoned in order to establish the requirement that new development in those areas contribute to affordable housing. If you live in or near any of those areas, and have not been following the HALA MHA proposal, this is your heads up.




Since the changes are citywide, and have costs to the developers associated with them, it’s expected that the rate of change will be progressive as opposed to abrupt. However, when and if areas do transition, part of that new development will include affordable housing. Today we see new development — especially in “hot” areas — without this important equitable housing component of community development.

Your participation is requested

The details are still being worked out in a public discussion that has been going on for over a year. A citywide focus group of people from all the Urban Villages meeting at city hall just wrapped up their work, and a number of HALA Open House events were held throughout the city. The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which addresses environmental, infrastructural, and socio-economic impacts, is due to be released in May. Councilmember Herbold, in particular, has been active in introducing amendments to preserve legacy small businesses and to more specifically assess displacement risk versus return of affordable housing added.

Right now, we are in a phase where council budgeted for and is hosting design workshops where the basic plan is presented and then people split up into tables and walk through the mapping and proposals together to share their thoughts about community assets, the zoning in specific areas, what impacts are they concerned about in their neighborhood, and providing the on-the-ground realities that help shape the details of the plan. The sessions are Urban Village focused. The evening of February 28 at Miller Community Center will be the nearest council hosted session for us who are in the northernmost part of the Central Area and northeast part of the East District Council and District 3 to participate in this kind of face-to-face discussion.

Madison-Miller Urban Village
Community Design Workshop
Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 6 – 9 pm
Miller Community Center
330 19th Ave. E.

RSVP is strongly encouraged. Due to the meeting format, space in facilitated work groups is limited. The format of the workshops is an opening overview presentation about HALA, Urban Villages, and the Mandatory Housing Affordability program followed by small group conversations. Childcare, snacks, and drinks will be provided at event. To RSVP or ask questions about the event, please contact Spencer Williams at or by phone at (206) 384-2709.

I attended the session for the 23rd Ave Union-Jackson Urban Village. People were pretty prepared, and that community had just happened to have spent the last three years already doing planning work, even though attendance did not reflect that fact. Each table came up with a list of (amazingly consistent between all the tables) location-specific nuances and proposed adjustments. We had a very good facilitator who knew the neighborhood and drew people out. A scribe writes down the points made, so clear statements and questions are best. It’s important to note that these sessions are council sponsored, so the notes are consolidated and provided to City Council.

Whether you can attend the session or not, your feedback is still needed by June 30

The draft Environmental Impact Statement will be released in mid-May, which is another important point for feedback because it is supposed to identify the expected impacts to our neighborhoods. Public input to both the draft EIS and the zoning proposal is to be wrapped up by the end of June. Then, the final EIS and the final mapping proposal are expected to be released by the end of summer, and transmitted to city council for action. That is where the process, heavily invested in by both the mayor and council, wraps up. Obviously, there are opportunities for council to amend, and that can happen if council members support well-thought-out counter proposals or feel that persistent issues are not resolved in the legislation as submitted, but the city’s hope is that the package reflects what the residents expect.

All of the background materials are here, with a calendar of events and sign-up to receive the updates by email. The HALA Consider It site is still taking comments and that is a great way to be involved. Consider It also has detailed maps of each Urban Village and a video with instructions on how to read the proposed changes on the maps. There are survey questions about the proposal and folks are encouraged to comment.

The HALA team told me many times that they welcome any input people have and have responded to any emails that I send to them. Comments and questions can be emailed to If people want to call and ask questions, the city is staffing a HALA hotline at 206.743.6612. Please keep checking the HALA Calendar, as meetings and outreach events are still being added. 


Post a Comment | Topics: Construction

Seattle Kokikai Aikido


Seattle Kokikai Aikido is now offering classes in Madison Valley at the MLK FAME Center. The group offers classes for adults, and classes for parents and kids to do together. Both types of classes teach the basic movements and principles of Aikido (“The art of peace”) in a collaborative, constructive and engaging environment.




Kokikai is an international organization of Aikido practitioners who study the art of Aikido through the teachings of Sensei Shuji Maruyama, Kokikai’s founder and president. 




If you are interested in learning Aikido, we invite you to study with us. Whether you are experienced in the art or have no idea what you’re getting into, you can get in touch, visit a practice and discover what we do. The only way to find out if Kokikai Aikido will be as fun and beneficial for you as it is for us is to try it yourself. Because we have a fascination and appreciation for our practice, we’re always interested in sharing it with new participants.


Seattle Kokikai Aikido

Practice Times and Locations
Mondays: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Wednesdays: 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm
MLK FAME Community Center
3201 E Republican St, Seattle, WA 98112


Post a Comment | Topics: Classes

An Evening with Local Chef Rob Sevcik


Rob Sevcik, former Chef de Cuisine at Rover’s and Loulay, is offering in-home private catering and cooking classes. Recently he and his wife, Megan, owner of Honey Skin Spa, joined me and my husband in our home to demonstrate. I interviewed him for this article while he prepared an extraordinary nine-course meal.




Lindy: Rob, now that you’ve settled into the kitchen, tell me a little about your background.

Rob: I’m originally from Wisconsin. I moved to San Francisco at 18, and worked in a high-volume restaurant. I later moved to Portland and went on to become Sous and Executive Sous Chef to Pascal Chureau at Fenouil restaurant. After a stay in Paris with the World Organization of Farmers, I landed in Seattle in 2009.

I asked Chef Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s for a job. “I’ll do anything if you’ll let me be part of the kitchen.” After six months I was promoted to sous chef under Chef de Cuisine Adam Hoffman. When Adam left in 2010 I became the Chef de Cuisine. I worked there for several years until it closed.

In 2013, Chef Thierry opened Loulay in the Sheraton Hotel downtown, and I followed him there. I did a little of everything: helping create menus, hiring, buying, and more. Seattle Met voted Loulay the Top Restaurant of 2014. I worked at Loulay until last year.

Fun Fact: Rob met his wife Megan while working at Rover’s. Her business, Honey Skin Spa, is located in the same courtyard. I remember Megan asking me, “What do you think of that guy Rob who work for Thierry? I think I’m going to ask him out!” 




What do you want readers to know about you?

Everything I cook is a personal experience for me, and I try to make it a personal experience for each diner. I don’t have a book of recipes — I just adapt everything to the individual. I take the artistry of cuisine very seriously. I’m trying to create an experience for people, not just feed them. Food is not just about what tastes good — it’s also about what feels good, and in order to capture that, you have to talk with your diners. 

Fun Fact: Rob was featured on the TV show, Chopped, Season 24, Ep. 6.




Rob, what is your favorite kind of food?

Choosing a favorite is like choosing between your kids. I’m trained in classic French. That’s my base, but I love everything. I really love learning all types of cuisine.

I always ask chefs where they like to eat. What are some of your Seattle favorites?

I like Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, and Mamnoon on Capitol Hill.



Rob’s menu for our evening’s meal included:

Blue Pool oysters with fennel and apple cider vinaigrette.

Langoustines with avocado, snickerdoodle with foamed cinnamon anglaise and brandy.

Shiso peppers in olive oil and sea salt. 




Garlic bread cheese with pickled cayenne pepper.

Seared Alaskan spot prawn with a lemon cilantro brown butter.

Langoustine salad with preserved tomato with micro pea shoots, olive oil, and pickling liquid.

Seared sea scallop and nuage with caramelized turnips and mushrooms. 




Pear and brie chicken roulette rolled in almond flour and roasted in brown butter with cauliflower purée and parsnips, charred purple Brussels sprouts, and a shallot and pancetta butter sauce. 




Let’s talk about the next chapter in your life. I know you’ve been catering and offering cooking classes here in the neighborhood, but you mentioned that you’d like to start your own restaurant. 

Yes, I’m offering private in-home dining and cooking classes, bringing the fine dining experience into your home. I’m doing it to build my reputation while trying to find the right location and resources to open a restaurant. The restaurant will be called Galerie 23. 




Megan: Rob is happiest when he’s cooking and creating. To be a chef you have to wear so many hats — by no means is cooking the only part. You have to be a businessman and a teacher, and take on so many roles. Many people say, “Rob is the greatest chef I have ever worked for.” Everyone has such nice things to say about him.




Rob: Chef Charlie Trotter says that any chef who can’t control himself has no business trying to control a kitchen. As the teacher and mentor you have to be able to steer the ship. I say, “Don’t freak out until I freak out, and you’re never going to see me freak out.”




What’s sort of restaurant do you want to open? 

The concept for Galerie 23 is simple: The entire dining experience will be inviting and creative. A beautiful environment, comfortable seating, enticing aromas, and delicious food all add up to the perfect night out. With daily changing seasonal menus and a dinning room modeled after an elegant art gallery, we will be focusing on the artistry and craft of cuisine.




I love the name Galerie 23. Your food has a beautiful appearance, much like a painting.




Do you need investors for your new restaurant? 

Yes, absolutely, we’re currently looking for investors for this project. Prospective investors should contact me directly to discuss the details. Reader’s can also learn more at my website.

Megan, what do you see in the future for you and Rob? 

I’m hoping to see Rob with a little empire of restaurants! I love seeing him happy and excited about his culinary career. And Honey Spa is doing really well. It’s very satisfying to have successful businesses. Rob: “When you like what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.”




Private In-Home Dining
Typically 2–20 people
Dinner pricing based on menu, budget, and event

Cooking classes
2–15 people
Starting at $95 per person

If you have a special event, please contact Rob to discuss the specifics.


Rob Sevcik

Galerie 23 Website:
Galerie 23 on Facebook:
Galerie 23 on Twitter:


If you haven’t visited Megan’s business, Honey Skin Spa, I highly recommend it. She offers amazing facial services. It’s a wonderful treat — and would make a great Valentine’s Day Gift.

Honey Skin Spa
2812 East Madison St. Ste. IV
Seattle, WA 98112


Post a Comment | Topics: Classes, Food & Drink

Fun Classes


There are some fun classes being offered in the neighborhood. If you know of other local classes, please send them to and we’ll get them posted to the website. 



Bread Baking Class

Have you always wanted to know how to bake your own naturally leavened sourdough bread using nothing but flour, water and salt? Now you can! Join Michasia for a class at Marine Area 7.

Sunday, February 12th, 2–4 pm
Cost is $45 plus tax; this includes a loaf for you to take home.
Class is limited to 12 students.
Email to reserve your spot.




Design Nites w/ Floral Soil

Design Nites w/ Floral Soil is a flower arranging class in using a special soils medium. The class includes a free drink, design materials, and instruction on how to use the dried Floral Soil. They also send you home with an additional free kit of Floral Soil, moss, and seeds. 

Every Wednesday 7–8:30 pm
Starbucks Madison Park
4000 E Madison St., Seattle, WA


Post a Comment | Topics: Classes
more stories in news archives

Yay, it's the weekend. Time for extra lovin' on the fur kids!

Cafe Flora
Hello gorgeous. Join us this weekend for brunch! Sat & Sun 9am-2pm #cafeflorabrunch #vegetarianbrunch #brunch…

It's National Puppy Day, and we're celebrating by posting a few of our own pups. We'd love to see your puppy...

City People's Garden
Free Workshop: Start an Urban Cutting Garden, Saturday March 25th, 11 am. Learn how to grow…

Croissants! Chocolate, almond, or fruit filled?

City People's Garden
Dahlia bulbs! Imagine these bright blooms appearing in your garden. So colorful. So happy! Come…

Make Friday Nights easy with our artisan and #organic pizza dough balls!

more tweets