Seattle City Light meeting on Dakota Substation on Tuesday, August 27

We encourage everyone with an interest in the possible disposition of the Dakota Substation to attend Tuesday’s Seattle City Light meeting. More info here.

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Reminder of Thursday’s meeting on Dakota Substation–plus the small-lot development regulations!

Dakota Substation, August 2013

Dakota Substation, August 2013

We invite all interested neighborhood residents to attend our meeting with Seattle City Light representatives this Thursday, August 15, to discuss the future of the surplus Dakota Substation at 4918 SW Dakota.

A new agenda item has just been added: Dick Miller, past president of the GSNC, will speak about his work directed at new city regulations on small lot development.

When: Thursday, August 15, 7 – 8:30 pm
Where: West Side Presbyterian Church – Howell Auditorium, 3601 California Ave SW

Please see our website, http://www.genesee-schmitz.org, for more information about both of these issues.

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Major changes made to plans for new Genesee Hill school!

At the School Design Advisory Team meeting on Monday, August 5, BLRB Architects presented significantly revised plans for the new elementary school to be built at the Genesee Hill location. These changes were made largely as a result of the previous plans coming in around 10% over budget in the initial value engineering estimates. Soils issues on the site were also a consideration. The BLRB team considered many alternatives prior to going to the new design, but ultimately found that the necessary cost savings could not be achieved without the new configuration. The team also incorporated a variety of minor changes to address the concerns of district Facilities and Maintenance staff.

Here are the major changes that were made:

Site Layout and Grading:
– There will no longer be a separate classroom building on the lower level (nor the bridges needed to connect it to the main building).

- The classroom wing of the main building will have a larger footprint and go to a 3-story height (from 2 stories in the previous plan) to accommodate all of the classrooms. (The mechanical systems will be built underground to meet the city’s 3-story height limit.) Other 3-story elementary schools include Greenwood, Coe, and Gatewood.

- The entire building will be shifted slightly to the west to accommodate the larger footprint of the classroom wing. A side benefit is that the courtyard on the east side of the building will become larger.

- Regrading will be reduced to the minimum needed to provide a smooth transition between the two existing upper levels. The lower field grade will not change from the existing grade, nor will the bulk of the two upper grades be changed.

Landscape/Parking:
– The staff lot will remain on the lower level, along with a grassy area. The parking lot would collect runoff in a median rain garden and have a minimal number of trees in the staff parking lot. The SDAT asked for more trees to avoid making the parking lot a heat source, and to improve the appearance from both the school and neighbors’ homes.

- It is yet to be decided whether there should be ADA parking and an elevator or ramp up to the main building in the lower lot. (Costs are about the same for a ramp and an elevator on this site.) An elevator presents both maintenance and security issues. Whether ADA parking can be limited to the upper parking area (which is more practical) will depend on city and federal legal constraints.

- The overall landscape plan is much more basic, and now has no water features, amphitheater, or possible green roof at a later date. The larger inner courtyard will serve as an outdoor meeting place instead. It may still be possible to have some education around the upper-level rain garden.

A more complete description of the latest plan changes can be found here.

After additional minor changes, the plans will go for a shortened repeat of the value engineering process.

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School Board Member Announces Public Meetings on School Boundaries

School Board member Marty McLaren has announced two meetings to gather public input on new growth boundaries for schools in West Seattle. The first meeting will be on Saturday, August 3, and the second one will be on Wednesday, August 14. More details are available from the West Seattle Blog and Marty McLaren’s website.

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GSNC to hold meeting about Dakota Substation property on August 15

GSNC invites interested neighborhood residents to attend a meeting with Seattle City Light representatives on Thursday, August 15, to discuss the future of the surplus Dakota Substation at 4918 SW Dakota.

When: Thursday, August 15, 7 – 8:30 pm
Where: West Side Presbyterian Church – Howell Auditorium, 3601 California Ave SW

Background: Seattle City Light is studying 8 surplus properties in Southwest Seattle, and will be conducting community outreach and seeking public comment on the disposition of these properties. (Most of these are former small substations no longer needed for electrical distribution, many of which have been out of service for 20 years or more.) The Seattle City Council has requested that City Light study these properties and make recommendations for their future use or other disposition.

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Benchview neighbors ask for help ASAP in fighting third home on split lot

Dick Miller, past president of the GSNC, e-mailed us this morning, saying “We just learned that the developer has responded to the Court decision (which nullified the developer’s proposed Lot Boundary Adjustment allowing two additional homes to be constructed on  the property at 55th Ave. SW & SW Manning St,) by revising the Adjustment. See the WS Blog:  
 
 
Dick is asking for interested neighbors to please forward the message below ASAP to the Mayor, DPD, and City Attorney:   Mike.mcginn@seattle.gov, diane.sugimura@seattle.gov, Peter.Holmes@seattle.gov
 
“Please let the Court decision stand. No third home in Benchview.” 
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Latest on “small lot development” issue

One of the controversial issues facing the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood and other neighborhoods throughout the city is the construction of multiple houses on lots that were originally intended for a single home. This has happened as a result of developers taking advantage of loopholes in the city regulations.

Past GSNC President Dick Miller shared the following information with us on July 1:

“The Dept. of Planning just released their proposed new regulations for “infill” or small lot development in single family 5,000 sf residential zones. The regulations are at this link: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cms/groups/pan/@pan/documents/web_informational/dpdp025798.pdf, and the Seattle Small Lot website is http://bit.ly/19l6kta. My fear is that these regulations are so complex and contain so many “exceptions” that over the years our neighborhoods will be eroded or destroyed. This is why I hope people will write or call the City Council and ask them to write simple, loophole free regulations, like those I suggest in my first document.

For people who want to know how the developers think and the arguments they make, I wrote the second document.

For people who would like to be updated about developments citywide, they can sign up at: http://www.onehomeperlot.com/join-us and to learn more about the group and the issue, visit: http://www.onehomeperlot.com.”

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