Hearing set for Oct. 2 on disposal of substation properties; written comments due Oct. 18

GSNC board members who attended Seattle City Light’s August 27 informational meeting regarding the utility’s proposal to sell the 50th & Dakota substation and others substations in West Seattle reported that the meeting was well attended, and community interest in the proposal was very strong.

GSNC strongly supports preserving green space for future use as population density in West Seattle increases, and is therefore actively exploring possibilities for preserving the 50th & Dakota substation as green space (perhaps a small park or community garden). Given that the Parks Dept. and Dept. of Neighborhoods have declined to buy the property due to a current lack of funds, the most likely scenario for green space preservation will require the community to secure funding. GSNC is therefore likely to ask City Light to delay the sale of the property and allow more time to pursue this option.

Please come on out to express your opinion when City Light takes public comments on disposition of the property at a public hearing on Wednesday, October 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the High Point Community Center; more details can be found here.

SCL will also take written comments through October 18. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to SCL_surplusproperty@seattle.gov, via the SCL website (http://www.seattle.gov/light/surplus/formalHearing.htm) or snail mail (see flyer for address).

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Interested in West Seattle transit issues?

Are you interested in transportation issues affecting West Seattle? Is your commute taking longer than it used to?

A move is afoot to form a West Seattle Transit Coalition (WSTC) to fight further cuts to Metro transit service and to restore previously cut service. GSNC is interested and generally supportive of this effort, but needs one or two people to take the lead in attending WSTC meetings on behalf of GSNC and reporting back to our board and members (our board members are already maxed out with other issues ).

For more information on the WSTC’s efforts to keep traffic into and out of West Seattle moving in light of past and future transit cuts, Viaduct removal, and increasing density in West Seattle, please visit the West Seattle Blog’s coverage of this issue. In addition, please mark your calendar for the date of the first meeting on Tuesday, September 24th from 6:30 pm-9 pm (open-ended if needed) at the High Point Neighborhood House (http://www.nhwa.org/high-point/) at 6400 Sylvan Way SW. This meeting is open to everyone.

The WSTC is also asking whether we have any current data in the following areas, so if you have any of the following information, please share it with GSNC and WSTC: “Economic impacts of the Viaduct coming down (for Seattle and West Seattle)? Current bus routes? Current travel times? Projections? Anything that can give us concrete facts to back up the passions.”

We invite you to submit your information by sending us a message at gsncouncil@gmail.org and also by sending it to Amanda Kay Helmick, Chair of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council (and WSTC organizer) at smyliegrl@gmail.com. Comments may also be left below at “Leave a Reply.”

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Concerns Raised About Smart (Wireless) Electric Meters

GSNC recently received this letter raising awareness of concerns surrounding Seattle City Light’s transition to Smart Electric Meters. We wanted everyone to be aware of this information and would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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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.

– 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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