With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.
Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne
A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.
According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.
“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”
Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne
The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.
Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Center reached a proposed agreement on the future of Memorial Stadium, the Seattle Center venue that is the home field for Ballard High School football and soccer games, as well as other Seattle Public Schools events.
The agreement is part of the redevelopment of Memorial Stadium as called for in the Seattle Century 21 Master Plan, adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2008, and completes two years of negotiations.
The agreement, if accepted by the Seattle School Board and Seattle City Council, gives priority over a new athletic field to be constructed on the current stadium lot to Seattle Public Schools from just after Labor Day to just before Memorial Day and for June graduations.
The Seattle Center would get priority over the field for use as a concert venue the rest of the year.
The redevelopment of Memorial Stadium under the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, an attempt to increase the openness of the Seattle Center and bring it inline with the environmental goals of the city, includes building the new athletic field to the east of the current stadium, where a parking lot is now.
Construction of the six-story, retail and residential Avalon Ballard development on the site of the former Sunset Bowl is free to get underway after it passed its State Environmental Policy Act review Nov. 23.
The Seattle Department of Planning and Development gave a determination of non-significance, meaning there are no outstanding negative environmental impacts, for the project at 1400 N.W. Market St.
The complete decision can be viewed with the link to the right.
Avalon Ballard, an AvalonBay Communities development, passed a final design review meeting April 27.
Since that meeting, the number of residential units has risen from 233 to 271, and the number of parking spaces in a two-story, underground garage has gone from 277 to 320.
The project now includes 12,200 square feet of ground-level retail space instead of the previous 13,000.
The 51-year-old Sunset Bowl closed in April 2008 and will be demolished to make room for the new apartment building.
The apartments will rent at market rate, AvalonBay representatives have said.
AvalonBay has built across the country, from New York City to southern California.
Where's the oldest house in our neighborhood?
The Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society would like the answer to that question and invites neighborhood residents to help find it.
There are houses built before 1906 in the neighborhood. There may even be a few houses that were built before 1900.
Any residents who would like to summit a house for the title of oldest in Greenwood and Phinney should take a photograph of it and photocopy documents identifying the construction date of the house.
The winning entry will be determined by oldest construction or building permit date.
The winner will receive a copy of "Seattle's Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood" signed by author Ted Pedersen and breakfast for two at Mae's Phinney Ridge Café.
Houses must be within the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood, between 50th to 105th streets and Aurora to Eighth Avenue Northwest. But, contest entrants need not live within the neighborhood as the house does not need to belong to the person who enters it.
More than one entry per person is acceptable. Entries should include the name and contact information of the entrant.
The Port of Seattle is getting underway on its 20-year plan for FIshermen's Terminal that, according to the Port, will provide an analysis of customer and tenant needs and help develop a long-range plan for Fishermen's Terminal.
The plan is a way of projecting out the needs of the fishing fleet and how to best use and improve the 20 acres of upland area of Fishermen's Terminal, Joseph Gellings, project manager for the Port of Seattle, said at the Nov. 11 Ballard District Council meeting.
A number of meeting attendees expressed concern that the Port would ignore the needs of the fishing fleet in favor of development interests, such as condos.
Getting the highest returns on the property is not the goal of the 20-year plan, Gellings said.
"The Port is bound by the primary mission of serving the needs of the fishing fleet," he said.
He said the study will determine how much, if any, surplus land at Fishermen's Terminal exists that is not being used by the fishing fleet and what can be done with it.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation Nov. 2 that will allow detached accessory dwelling units, known as backyard cottages, throughout the city.
"I think this legislation strengthens our neighborhoods instead of damaging them," councilmember Tim Burgess said.
There had been some public resistance to backyard cottages at meetings and public hearings held since August, but councilmembers said they heard more positives than negatives.
Backyard cottages have been allowed in southeast Seattle since 2006, during which time 20 have been built.
A survey of residents near backyard cottages in southeast Seattle showed they largely felt no impact from the cottages, councilmember Sally Clark said.
She said 75 percent of speakers at a September public hearing were in favor of the legislation.
A number of nearby cities, such as Redmond, Shoreline and Kirkland, allow backyard cottages.
"The experience has been good in other cities; it's been good in southeast Seattle," Clark said.
The Southwest Design Review Board met Oct. 22 for a design doubleheader addressing two major West Seattle projects. The six-person board deliberated over a proposed expansion of the Safeway in the Admiral neighborhood and The Kenney property along Fauntleroy Way Southwest.
Board members gave the Kenney project the green light, but asked Safeway developers back for another round of design guidance meetings. Members of the board agreed that the designed storefront needs to be more open to sidewalks along California Ave. S.W.
The new Safeway expands the current store from 36,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet, while adding a four-story apartment complex, some small office space and a parking lot on the store’s roof. View the current designs here.
That rooftop parking also drew criticism from the board, which said it conflicted with the neighborhood’s sustainability goals.
“This building is saying in 15 years this building is going to be okay and then it's just going to be going backwards,” said Joseph Hurley, board member.
The Admiral Junction seems to be exploding with new energy, and customers, as it quickly transforms from the quietest Junction to the “Upstart Junction," trying to stand on equal footing with its two bustling rivals to the south, the Alaska and Morgan junctions.
Porterhouse, the restaurant and bar that took Blackbird Bistro’s space, and the Brickyard BBQ each opened in August. The Shipwreck Lounge opened Oct. 10. The refurbished Angelina’s Trattoria opens within two weeks, and even the old Admiral Benbow Inn space, next to the Shipwreck Lounge, will open as the Heartland Restaurant next year, with late-night hours on the menu.
Also, the historic Admiral Theater seems to be responding by offering more live entertainment.
According to Admiral business district owners and observers, the new kids on the block help draw crowds to the more established restaurants and pubs, including the Admiral Pub, Mission, Circa, Yen Wor, south to Prost! and the Bohemian.
Mayor Greg Nickels is looking for qualified candidates to fill twelve upcoming openings on the city of Seattle’s Design Review Board, including one on the Southwest Board, which reviews large-scale developments in West Seattle.
The volunteer positions will be available April 4, 2010 when retiring board members’ terms expire.
“We are looking for professionals in the design and development fields, who have proven skills and established careers," said Nickels in a statement. "We also need community and business leaders with an interest in shaping new development in their neighborhoods, and a passion for keeping Seattle a great place to live, work and play."
Applications will be accepted for the following twelve board positions:
Southwest Design Review Board
• general community interests representative
Northwest Design Review Board
• development interests representative
• local residential interests representative
Northeast Design Rev