News in and around Madison Valley

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Madison Valley Spring Cleaning

APRIL 30, 2013 | LINDY WISHARD

This past Saturday the Madison Valley merchants and residents took part in a Spring cleaning along Madison between 27th and 30th.  

Merchants, volunteers, and some paid help worked together to clean moss-covered awnings, paint over graffiti, remove stickers from poles and bike racks, pressure wash storefronts and sidewalks, remove weeds from the tree wells and sidewalks, and install beauty bark.

The Madison Valley Merchants Association spent about $2,500 to pay for the cleaning effort. Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse provided coffee, Harvest Vine baked some wonderful pastries for volunteers, and Pagliacci Pizza provided pizza for everyone at lunchtime. City People’s Garden Store gave everyone a discount for plants, flowers, and supplies. 

The next time you’re in a neighborhood shop, please tell the proprietor how much you appreciate a clean and pretty shopping district!

 

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Thierry Rautureau removing Cash for Junk signs on street posts.

 

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The side of Madison Cleaners pressure washed and the tree wells cleaned. 

 

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Volunteers removing hundreds of stickers from poles.

 

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Not only did Pagliacci donate pizza, they also helped!

 

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The freshly painted space between Jae's and the Cleaners. 

 

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The "before" photo of the Music Factory walkway. 

 

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The "after" photo. What a difference!

 

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The tree wells with weeds removed and bark in place.

 

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The front of Henrietta's hat shop got a fresh coat of paint.

 

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Karrie Baas planting flowers in front of her shop.

 

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Carolin Messier pressure washing the sidewalk.

 

 

Post a Comment | Topics: Beautification, Local Publicity

March Police Reports

APRIL 22, 2013 | LOWELL HARGENS

This month we introduce a new feature, a monthly crime report by Madison Valley resident Lowell Hargens, former UW professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data. We’re grateful to have his expertise and want to thank him for volunteering.

A little over 30 incidents in our neighborhood were reported to the Seattle Police last month. Seven were car prowl thefts (signified on the map by green tiles with an auto containing a hole), four of which occurred in the Arboretum (some of the symbols on the map represent multiple occurrences). Four more incidents involved some type of monetary fraud or theft (green tiles with a dollar sign), including credit card theft, forgery, and identity theft.

There were three cases of threat or harassment (red tiles with an exclamation point) three of property damage or graffiti (green tiles with spray paint can) and, more seriously, three break-ins or burglaries (green tiles with eight-pointed star).

1. During the early evening of March 2 someone entered a home close to 26th and Union through an unlocked back door. The intruder stole various items not listed in the police report and left before the owners returned home.

2. On March 8 a neighbor reported that the front door of a rental house on 24th Ave. had been kicked open. The police searched the house and concluded that whoever kicked open the front door had probably left through the back of the house. When notified, the tenants discovered that the intruder(s) had taken some laptops and a video game console.

3. Sometime between March 18th and March 20th someone broke into a basement storage room of a specialty store on Union Street. Apparently nothing was taken from the storage room, although the intruder left a blanket in the room and vomit on the floor.

Also among the more serious incidents during March were a mugging (red tile with eye mask) on Pike St. close to 25th Ave. on March 25 (a detailed police report on this incident is not available), a non-aggravated assault (red tile with fist) close to 23rd and Madison on March 22nd, and a firearms discharge (blue tile with revolver) on March 30th.

A glance at the police reports map shows three main locations for incidents in our neighborhood, the Arboretum (car prowls), Union St. (both property crimes and crimes against persons) and Madison St. (ditto). Like Madison Park and Montlake, our neighborhood had relatively little crime compared to neighborhoods to our south, east, and north (U district). You can see this, as well as gaining additional information on the March police reports, by visiting the SPD’s police reports website.

Up-to-date information for April is also available there.

Post a Comment | Topics: Crime

Give Your Input on the New Park at 19th and Madison

APRIL 20, 2013 | WEBSITE SUBMITTED

The space at 19th and Madison will become a park. Our community was lucky enough to get a grant to hire a landscape architect and public artist to work with us to design this space as a park. You'll likely walk by, drive by or walk/bike through this space now! Let's work together to improve the look and feel of this public space.

It's easy to engage in our community. Please do two things:

1. Review 3 park designs created by our community members and comment on this very brief survey. With your feedback, we can move forward to creating a single preferred design. 

2. Join the next Public Design Workshop #3 to discuss final park decisions on: Tuesday May 28th, 6:30-8:30pm Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center Conference Room at 1625 19th Ave Seattle, WA 98122

We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks! Thank you

Post a Comment | Topics: Beautification, Community Planning

Apodments: When is a rental unit ‘just’ a bedroom?

APRIL 16, 2013 | KATHRYN KELLER

Councilmembers Rasmussen, Clark, Licata and Conlin will hold a public meeting on micro-housing developments, April 18, 11:30 AM–1:30 PM, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 600 Fourth Avenue. The public is invited to share feedback with Councilmembers and City staff. Read the news release. 

If you cannot attend, you can email your comments to: tom.rasmussen@seattle.govsally.clark@seattle.govnick.licata@seattle.gov, and richard.conlin@seattle.gov.

‘Micro-housing’ or ‘apodments,’ are current marketing terms for congregate or Single Room Occupancy (SRO)-style housing where individual units are a bedroom and optionally a bath, with shared kitchen and bathrooms. Congregate housing, rooming houses, or SROs have been a common use of apartment or rooming house buildings in Seattle and can be an option for many individuals. Shared homes, where an owner rents bedrooms or a group of individuals rent a whole house, are also very common in Seattle.

Why all the discussion now and what about it pertains to Madison Valley in particular?

In the last few years, developers have been getting permits to build apodment complexes in the Multifamily Low Rise (LR) zones, mainly the most dense LR3 zone, in Seattle. These apodment complexes of 48–96 units have not been permitted as apartment buildings, but as separate townhouses, each with 8 bedrooms. The Low Rise sections of the Land Use Code, which were revised about 4 years ago to be more flexible, does not specify anything regarding micro-housing uses. Many view permitting these apodment complexes of 48-64 units — as if they are merely a 4-pack, 6-pack or 8-pack group of 8-bedrooms townhouses — as a loophole.

Madison valley has Multifamily Low Rise zoning in about 20% of the land within our community’s borders. The majority of the Low Rise zoning in Madison Valley is LR1 and LR2, with LR3 zoning along 23rd and Madison. The ‘loophole’ permits have so far been in LR3 zones. Unless the loophole is closed, this ‘6-pack of 8-bedroom townhouse’ loophole could easily be applied to build apodment complexes in the LR1 and LR2 zones. These zones are specifically planned for less density than Neighborhood Commercial, Mid-Rise and High-Rise zones, both due to an interest in creating stable, dense, residential, family neighborhoods and their proximity to Single Family zones.

The issues for Madison Valley are these:

• Are micro-housing units living units or bedrooms? If each apodment is considered a living unit, then a development would be considered an apartment building, or an SRO, or a dormitory, and building safety standards applied. If a bedroom, then a different set of building safety standards apply.

• 48 units in a development is considerably more than the expected maximum for most Low Rise residential developments, where one would expect 6 townhomes, or (with recent code revisions) a mix of up to 10–12 larger and smaller housing units. Apartment buildings are allowed in Low Rise 3 zones, but they need to go through Design Review. If this loophole is exploited in LR1 and LR2 zones, effectively apartment buildings will be built in those zones. Note that LR1 and LR2 zones already allow tripex style building in order to achieve a variety of housing unit sizes and greater densities.

• 48–64 units built using the ‘8-bedroom townhouse’ loophole create badly designed communities. If a lot is developed as an micro-housing type apartment building, the whole of the first floor can be utilized for shared amenities. For example, I have seen a design where the building has one main entrance, a very large family style kitchen, dining area, a huge lounge, exercise room, a study, etc., that is truly configured for a community. Small kitchens are on each of the other floors as well. If built as separate townhouses, each townhouse has one smaller kitchen and not much else in the way of community space.

• Micro-housing is now being built in Single Family zones as 7-bedroom rehabs and a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit. Single Family zones have long had housing rented by groups of individuals, owners renting out rooms, and some who have been permitted for using their homes for congregate elder housing. It seems strange to have a home operated as if it is just a small apartment building.

• The price per square foot is relatively high. Where a few people could share an apartment for under $1000, these units are running about $600 per person for much less space. The rents are more comparable the closer one gets to downtown, and in a desirable area, this form of housing can make sense for an individual. However, these are not being built to support low-income families.

• The rentals are monthly, so the population has a high turnover rate. Two micro-housing developments on a Low Rise residential block of mixed owners and long term renters could mean that all of a sudden ½ of the people are not part of the neighborhood life. This can have a negative impact on community resilience when dealing with issues such as crime or resolving the kinds of things we need to resolve when living close together, because people will not know each other.

• Parking is an issue. Parking is always an issue when more people live in an area. The question is whether transit options will suffice to mitigate the need for owning cars.

It seems that Micro-housing is a new twist on a long valued housing option and that it needs to the recognized in the Land Use code and locations defined appropriately. It should not be a matter of exploitation of loopholes. Certainly, on main streets in Neighborhood Commercial buildings, and in Mid-Rise and High-Rise and some LR3 zones, where one expects not to have parking and one expects that one won’t necessarily know his neighbors, micro-housing developments can make sense.

Please consider expressing your opinions about this apodment loophole in the land use code to council. If you cannot attend the public hearing, consider sending an email with your thoughts to the Councilmembers listed above or the City Council as a whole: council@seattle.gov.

April 18, 2013
Video of the hearing, which took place today can be seen here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=2131320&file=1

Post a Comment | Topics: Community Planning

3rd Annual Birthday Party for Audrey

APRIL 14, 2013 | EDITOR

Lisa Vian Hunter is celebrating fashion icon Audrey’s Hepburn’s birthday with an evening of cocktails, runway modeling, and shopping in her Madison Valley store.

Lisa has invited three Seattle fashion designers to join her for the evening: Cameron Levin (modern and feminine dresses and separates), Tina Witherspoon (Bohemian inspired dresses), Justin Zachary-Bartle (evening gowns) and Patricia Raskin (elegant handbags). The designers will be participating in the runway show and will be selling their garments as well.

Vian Hunter Party

Saturday, May 4th, 6:30–8:30 pm at Vian Hunter House of Fashion, 2814 E. Madison St. A $5 suggested donation will benefit the Jubilee Women’s Center in Seattle. RSVP to: Lisa@vianhunter.com. Website: http://www.vianhunter.com/

Post a Comment | Topics: Clothing & Fashion, Social Events

Northwest SEED Seeking Partners for Neighborhood Solar Energy Project

APRIL 9, 2013 | WEBSITE SUBMITTED

Local non-profit Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are seeking community partners for a new Solarize Washington campaign in central and southeast Seattle area neighborhoods. Solarize Washington is a community-driven initiative to bring solar energy to homes and businesses in Seattle City Light’s service territory. The program uses an innovative neighborhood group purchase process to achieve discounts and simplify the process of “going solar” for Seattle residents. Solarize campaign staff work with community groups, individual volunteers, and local solar installers to provide a streamlined process and free community workshops for participants. To date, Northwest SEED has completed six Solarize campaigns including the Seattle neighborhoods of Queen Anne, Magnolia, Northeast Seattle, and Northwest Seattle. These campaigns have achieved discounts of up to 25 percent off the cost of a solar system and brought about the installation of nearly 200 residential solar installations in the region. In order to launch the next Solarize campaign this summer, Northwest SEED and Seattle City Light are seeking to connect with residents and community groups of central and southeast Seattle who want to see a Solarize campaign come to their neighborhood. Community volunteers play an integral role in the success of a Solarize campaign, taking the lead on contractor selection and community engagement. Participating neighborhoods will receive assistance from Northwest SEED to competitively select a solar installer, conduct neighborhood outreach and education, implement a series of free workshops, and facilitate the installation of solar PV systems. Individuals interested in joining the upcoming Solarize campaign as a volunteer should contact Mia Devine at mia@nwseed.org or 206-267-2213.

Post a Comment | Topics: Community Planning, Energy & Conservation

MLK F.A.M.E. Open House

APRIL 1, 2013 | EDITOR

The MLK F.A.M.E. Community Center is holding an open house on Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. The community organization is holding this event to announce activities, share ideas for future programs, and to mingle with neighbors and friends. Childcare provided. 3201 East Republican St. 206 257-5572 www.mlkfame.com

Post a Comment | Topics: Schools, Social Events