By John Fox and Carolee Colter
You probably don't know this because no one down at City Hall thought to tell you, let alone ask for your opinion on the matter. But quietly two weeks ago, the full Seattle City Council unanimously voted to increase the city's 20-year residential growth targets by more than 30 percent.
On top of that, they committed the city to increasing its total share of King County's anticipated residential growth from 32 to about 37 percent during the period 2006 through 2031.
Without a doubt, this will set the stage for and provide the justification for still more upzones – at the expense of the livability and affordability of our city.
Every seven years, the state's Growth Management Act requires counties and cities throughout central Puget Sound to reassess actual employment, population and housing unit figures and then if necessary readjust their 20-year targets to accommodate their assigned share of the region's growth.
For Anne Baumgartner and Pam Gray, two artists sharing a cramped and cluttered Ballard studio around the corner from Cafe Bambino with a handful of other artists, it must be hard to see good space go to waste.
On June 1, Baumgartner and Gray will be putting up the first stages of their "On the Fence" installation at the future Avalon Ballard and former Sunset Bowl site at 1400 N.W. Market St., which has sat vacant since the former bowling alley was torn down in January.
The two artists, who have shared their studio space for three years and known each other for a decade since they were Seattle Public Schools teachers, had an idea they thought would be cool for an empty lot.
After receiving one of four grants for outdoor installations from Seattle Print Arts in March, Gray and Baumgartner set out to look for a usable lot in Ballard.
Baumgartner said they didn't think the project would happen at first because coordinating with property representatives and liability issues were proving to be difficult.
The Seattle Department of Planning and Development is hosting back-to-back meetings June 14 to review the environmental impacts and design of Compass Housing Alliance's 80-unit low-income housing development Urness House.
Urness House, to be located at 1753 N.W. 56th St., will house formerly homeless men and women and provide onsite treatment facilities for physical and medical conditions. It is being operated by the nonprofit Compass Housing Alliance.
The environmental review meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 14 at Ballard High School. During the meeting, the public will be able to comment on potential environmental impacts of the project, including traffic, parking and public safety.
The design review meeting for the project will take place immediately after the environmental review meeting, at 8 p.m. The meeting is a follow up to the Feb. 8 design meeting.
Visual and audio dampening components were installed on the roof of the Ballard on the Park/QFC development April 29 in an attempt to make the rooftop HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) units less audibly and visibly noticeable from the adjacent Ballard Commons Park and nearby residences.
The HVAC system could be heard humming from the park since it was turned on in January, and some residents complained that the large metal units were unsightly and not represented in plans for the development.
The supports for the dampening components were installed two weeks ago.
Ballard on the Park's 268 units at 5700 24th Ave. N.W. opened for leasing in February. The QFC below the apartments opened in January.
Ballard, the Ship Canal, Queen Anne and the rest of the city stretch off into the horizon in the view from the roof of the new Ballard on the Park Apartments after the rain let up April 28.
Construction is still underway on the apartments above the Ballard QFC adjacent to Ballard Commons Park, but leasing began in mid-February.
In that time, about 50 of the more than 250 unites have been filled, a Ballard on the Park representative said.
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The Northwest Design Review Board was largely supportive of the revised, simpler design for the Ballard Washington Federal Savings Building presented to them April 12.
Gone is the slanting roof from the designs presented Oct. 12 for the building located at 2020 N.W. Market St., creating a structure that fits better in the context of the surrounding buildings, according to the board.
One of the concerns from the Oct. 12 meeting was that the slanted roof, meant as a tribute to the roof of the Ballard Library, would take away from the distinctiveness of the neighboring Carnegie's building.
The developers of the property also improved on the pedestrian walkway that connects Market Street and Northwest 56th Street to the west of the Washington Federal Savings building.
Windows have been added to the wall that faces the walkway as well as additional aesthetic improvements, though no agreement with Carnegie's, on whose property the walkway sits, has been reached for a canopy.
The board's major concern with the design proposed April 12 is the composition of the south and west sides of the building.
Since January, the Ballard on the Park/QFC development has been the source of noise complaints from the neighborhood over the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) units on the roof and the ventilation system from the parking garage.
In January, Jeanne Muir, spokesperson for the developers of the Ballard on the Park Apartments, told the Ballard News-Tribune the HVAC units, which can be heard humming from the adjacent Ballard Commons Park, would be visually and audibly dampened in March.
That schedule has since been moved back to April.
Muir said the shell of the HVAC dampening structure will be lifted into place on April 12. The rest of the structure will be assembled over the following weeks, she said.
The garage ventilation was causing noise issues for the apartments across from the north side of the development. Though Muir said she only heard complaints from one neighbor, she agreed with her.
"It was loud and needed to be fixed," Muir said.
She said an acoustical liner that was meant to be installed in the garage air shafts was never installed. The liner is on order and will be installed in a few weeks, she said.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting an open house at Sandel Park, located at 9053 First Ave. N.W., to view the design for the Sandel Park play area renovation.
The open house will be from 11 a.m. to noon on March 27. The public is encouraged to attend, meet the design team and learn about the changes that are coming to this park.
The renovation project, identified in the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, will provide new play equipment for children ages 2 -12, site improvements to enhance safety and access improvements to facilitate use by all park visitors.
The project budget for Sandel is $350,000, and renovations will take place between April and October of 2010.
Sandel Park renovation plans were drawn up in 2002, but the renovations never proceeded.
The proposed two-story, 9,000-square-foot development to replace the current Washington Federal Savings building at 2020 N.W. Market St. will go before the Northwest Design Review Board April 12.
At the meeting, community members will be able to offer comments regarding the proposed design.
At an Oct. 12 early design guidance meeting for the project, the review board said it wanted to see a simpler design than the one proposed.
The board said it wanted the design to fit in on Market Street and show proper deference to the neighboring Carnegie's building.
The board named the Majestic Bay Theater and La Tienda as examples of the kind of design it would like to see.
The plan, as presented at the Oct. 12 meeting, is for the development to be 40 feet tall instead of the maximum 65 feet and to include parking and drive-up tellers in the lot behind the building on Northwest 56th Street.
The design review meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 12 at Ballard High School, located at 1418 N.W. 65th St.