One view of the new Genesee Hill School now under development.

Genesee Hill School comment period extended; Latest design plans available online

The Genesee-Schmitz Park Neighborhood Council offered these updates on the new Genesee Hill School project including the extension of the comment period on the Draft SEPA Checklist and the latest design plans.

Information from Genesee-Schimitz Park Neighborhood Council
1) The comment period for the Draft SEPA Checklist has been extended to Monday, October 21.
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has partially granted GSNC’s request to extend the deadline for submitting comments on the Draft SEPA (Environmental Impact) Checklist for the new Genesee Hill School. (On Monday of this week, we requested 3 weeks but were given 1 week, to minimize project delays.) We requested the extension to provide additional time to prepare our comments, which will address areas where we believe that the Draft SEPA Checklist (available at http://sepa.www.seattleschools.org) needs additional or revised information. The Draft Checklist is the district’s draft summary of current environmental conditions at the site, as well as the anticipated environmental impacts (including traffic) of construction and operation of the new school. (The description of next summer’s construction activities will have neighbors wishing they could leave town for the summer!) The new deadline is now 5 p.m. on Monday, October 21. Comments must be submitted via snail mail or FAX, as outlined on the district’s website.

Specifically, we have identified questions and concerns about several areas of the Draft Checklist, including but not limited to the traffic impact analysis and the unclear fate of many of the significant trees on the site (other than those designated as Exceptional). The traffic analysis focuses mainly on the 51st & Genesee and 51st & Dakota intersections, which neglects the serious impacts likely to be felt on other streets and intersections nearby. In addition, the Checklist mistakenly assumes that impacts from 660 students in 2016 will be no worse than the impacts in the late 50’s when Genesee Hill’s enrollment was over 700 students. There is no acknowledgement that students back then would have nearly all walked to school, whereas now, many would be driven to school.

We encourage you to download the Draft Checklist (26 pages plus appendices) and read the sections of interest to you, then submit comments to SPS. In addition, if you would like us to consider your thoughts as we draft the GSNC comments, please share your input with us by 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.

2) Monday, October 21, is also the deadline to fill out the SPS online survey on the latest recommendations for elementary and middle school boundaries.
Some of the boundaries for “Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill” and other schools in West Seattle have been changed substantially in response to public comments. The district came out with the new boundaries on Monday of this week and is collecting feedback via an online survey; more information and a link to the survey are available here.

3)The latest design plans for the school are now available on the SPS website.
These plans were presented at the SPS Public Meeting on September 26, 2013 and were posted to the district website last Friday. A summary of the district’s response to questions posed at the meeting is also available on the website. The building and landscape plans continue to evolve, so do look them over. (For instance, it appears that trees are not currently included either next to the building or in the narrow parking strip along much of 51st Avenue SW. This is in contrast to earlier plans.)

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.