Burien lawmakers honored April 25 New Start students who were named Earth Heroes and OK’d a contract to store big rocks from Seahurst Park on Port of Seattle property.

But the most exciting council meeting event was the evacuation of council chambers and the Burien Library after a prankster pulled the fire alarm.
City Manager Mike Martin said a boy entered the shared City Hall/ library building, pulled the alarm and escaped down the street.

There was no indication of a fire but the shrill alarm distracted the meeting to the point where council members and audience members fled the building. About two dozen library patrons also milled around the outside of the building for about 15 minutes. A Burien firefighter checked the building and turned off the alarm before the evacuees reentered the building.

The big rocks from Seahurst Park will be taken from the seawall as part of the city’s restoration of the north beach to a more natural condition. The south shore was restored previously.


The Des Moines City Council is holding two open houses to gather the community's thoughts and ideas on proposed zoning changes for the Marina District neighborhood. Interested parties are invited to attend an open house on Saturday, April 30th from 9 a.m. to Noon and Wednesday, May 4th from 5-8 p.m. at the Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th St.

The council wants to improve the economic health of the Marina District and accelerate positive change by removing development obstacles; providing flexibility in the city's development regulations; and identifying tools and incentives to spur economic investment. These economic development goals seek to create a thriving business district that provides a variety of goods, services, activities and events for the community and visitors to enjoy.
In order to realize these goals, the council is looking at changes to the D-C Downtown Commercial Zone that would include:
Raising building heights along 7th Avenue South to 45 feet;
Establishing building height bonus areas that would allow some buildings of 45 to 75 feet if certain public benefits are included in a project;


Burien lawmakers are expected to vote Monday, March 28 on a plan to recycle rocks from Seahurst Park’s north seawall for a drainage system in the Northeast Redevelopment Area.
Council members will be asked to approve an agreement between the city and the Port of Seattle to store the rocks on Port property near South 144th Street and Des Moines Memorial Drive.
Public Works director Larry Blanchard briefed lawmakers March 14 on the agreement.
Blanchard said recycling the rock taken from the seawall and storing it on Port property until it can be used in the redevelopment area could save the city $500,000.
Burien plans to restore the north beach to a more natural condition, as was done earlier on the south shoreline. Restoration would include removing the seawall and rocks.
Burien Mayor Joan McGilton noted that on the south shore project, the rock was transported by barge to Tacoma.
“It was very expensive,” McGilton declared.


SeaTac lawmakers may take further action Feb. 22 on the city's plan to consolidate five departments and divisions into one community and economic department.
The consolidation is designed to improve the city's permitting process for builders.
Council members approved Feb. 8 Cindy Baker's contract as the first director of the new merged department. They also voted to eliminate the planning director position.
Baker was serving as the interim planning director before she was selected to head the new department.
But Deputy Mayor Gene Fisher asked for at least two more weeks to study the full consolidation plan unveiled by Interim City Manager Todd Cutts.
Cutts asked for three new division manager positions. While there would be no net gain of positions in the transition, salaries for the three managers would cost the city an additional $31, 415 per year, Cutts estimated.
The fiscal impact figure is based on paying the five managers at the maximum pay rates.
"We don't have to hire at the maximum but I would guess that someone wouldn't come over from another city and take a pay cut, "Human Resources director Anh Hoang said.


The city of SeaTac may be poised to turn the page on a sometimes-rancorous relationship between city planners and developers.
Interim planning director Cindy Baker has been selected as the first director of a newly formed Department of Community and Economic Development.
The new department consolidates five departments or divisions into one. They are economic development, planning, engineering development review, building services and permit center.
The position was created to streamline the SeaTac’s permitting process and help speed up new building and economic development projects.
Former planning director Steve Butler often clashed with builders seeking development agreements. Butler left SeaTac in August for a position in Mill Creek after the consolidation was approved.
Baker was hired as interim planning director in October. Deputy Mayor Gene Fisher and the council’s two newest members, Rick Forschler and Pam Fernald, opposed her hiring.
The three argued that the city could save around $60,000 in four months by not filling the interim position.
However, the council’s four other members argued the temporary position was needed.


By Michael Miller

On a recent visit to the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle I was saddened to see that yet another landmark has disappeared. The Totem House, Seafood and Chowder, Family recipes since 1948, has given up the fight leaving a note on their door stating, 

“Goodbye friends, 
 the economy has overtaken us, we will miss you greatly!”

Four people signed the note.

It seems to me that more and more funky sites are morphing into condominiums, apartment houses and most unbelievably into - out of state banks bearing names foreign to the local tongue. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan Bank have replaced Peoples Bank, Rainer Bank and Seattle First National Bank, all absorbed by these and other larger institutions.

OPINION: Gone, Gone, Gone!
Photo credit: 
Photo by Michael Miller

At the Design Review Board meeting on Monday evening, the proposal for Weber Thompson’s “Ballard West” building received conditional approval.

The six-story mixed use, retail-residential building will replace the old library site on 24th Ave N.W.

Monday's meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 22 but was postponed due to the snowfall.

The proposed building will contain 9,572 sq. ft. of ground level retail space, three live-work units with 107 residential units, below grade parking for 80 vehicles to be provided. The proposal also contains several sustainability goals including a green roof and an ambition to meet LEED Platinum requirements.

At earlier meetings, neighbors expressed concern about the size of the building, the development blocking their light, and enduring more construction.

"Ballard West" proposal received conditional approval
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Weber Thompson

A proposed 101-unit residential building with five live/work spaces on 15th Avenue Northwest could create a serious safety hazard for neighborhood school children because of its planned parking garage entrance off Northwest 67th Street, according to some Ballard residents.

"Several families have asked me to express that this is seen as a nightmare," one neighbor said during the Nov. 8 Design Review meeting for the project at 6559 15th Ave. N.W. Of the more than two-dozen residents at the meeting, most seemed to agree with that statement.

The four-story development is being proposed for the vacant lot across 15th Avenue from Ballard High School. It will be market-rate apartments with 72 studios and a mixture of one and two-bedroom units on the top three floors. The first floor will be a mixture of live/work units, parking and leasing offices and a gym for tenants.

The project includes sections of green roof on the second and third floors as well as on the roof and the addition of two sidewalk trees and a planter along 15th Avenue.

Neighbors: Proposed development on 15th Ave. is 'recipe for disaster'
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Clark Design Group

A rendering of the proposed residential and live/work development on the corner of 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 67th Street.

Swedish Medical Center/Ballard’s new Emergency Department and medical office building, located at 5350 Tallman Ave. N.W., will be open for public tours and a slew of other fun and beneficial community health activities on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 6.

Here is what’s planned:

Tour the Emergency Department and Medical Office Building (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

The best time to see an ER is when you’re not a patient – and also when there’s someone there to point out all the cool stuff to see.

Ask the Doctor (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Have a medical question you’ve always waned to ask? The doctors from Swedish Medical Group’s Ballard Primary Care clinic will be on hand so you can do your asking for free.

Take a Baby Bite of Ballard (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Some of Ballard’s favorite restaurants will be on hand, serving bite-sized samples of their most popular menu items. Restaurants include Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers, Great Harvest Bread, India Bistro, Plaka Estiatorio, Ray’s Boathouse, Scandinavian Specialties, The Hi-Life, The Counter and Thai Siam.

Get a Free Soccer Scarf

Swedish hosting open house for new building
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center/Ballard will be hosting a slew of activities for the neighborhood during a public open house for their new medical office building and emergency department Nov. 6.

After a long and tumultuous development period, Ballard's first major hotel appears to be back on track and ready for a December ground-breaking at the former site of the Yankee Diner on Shilshole Avenue Northwest.

Earlier this month, Diamond Parking and Pacific Fisheries Shipyard were asked to remove their vehicles from the parking lot in front of the shuttered diner at 5425 Shilshole Ave N.W. by Nov. 15, according to a number of sources, including Pacific Fisheries General Manager Doug Dixon. The groundbreaking date has been given variously as Dec. 1 and Dec. 15.

According to a construction permit issued Sept. 20 by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development to Ballard Hotel LLC, the project will be a six-story, 170-room hotel with parking for 211 vehicles both above and below grade. The construction permit was originally applied for in July 2008 and expires in March 2012.

The pre-construction history of the hotel has been full of changes in both name and ownership structure.

Originally, the hotel was going to be under the banner of Silver Cloud Inns and was to begin construction prior to 2008.

Development of Ballard's first major hotel back on track
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

According to construction permits and neighboring businesses, Ballard's oft-delayed hotel project is back on and set for a December groundbreaking on the vacant Yankee Diner site.

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