News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

City Council adopts townhouse design review

December 14th, 2010 by master

This story is from our sister site My Green Lake.

On Monday, December 13, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive update to how townhomes, apartments, row houses, and cottages are developed in Seattle’s low-rise multifamily zones.

These changes will allow for more variety in housing types, improved landscaping and open space use, incentives for green building, along with greater flexibility and improvement in building design.

“Over the past decade, many townhouses popped up and multiplied in ways that caused unfortunate impacts to the surrounding communities,” said Councilmember Sally J. Clark in a press release. “We saw too few other housing styles and what we did see wasn’t welcomed by neighbors in most cases. I think these new rules will lead developers to build housing that fits better in our neighborhoods and creates a better home in which to live.”

According to the press release, the new code should prevent most of the features that inspired the majority of neighborhood complaints by creating a new Streamlined Design Review (SDR) process that will allow for closer scrutiny of project design. SDR will be required for townhouses with three or more units, but not for row houses, cottages or apartments in multi-family zones.

The new low-rise multifamily code will:

· Encourage a diversity of housing types among townhomes, row houses, cottages, apartments, and auto-court townhomes;

· Require new design features. For example: At least 20 percent of street facing façades must be windows and doors, building materials must be varied, townhouse parking garages must be designed to fit large cars;

· Incentivize “green building” and hiding parking underground or at the back of the lot;

· Use the City’s “Green Factor” landscaping requirement, incentivizing keeping trees or planting new ones;

· Reduce the number of zones from three to five (LR1, LR2, LR3) for code simplicity;

· Change the low-rise height limits to match the height limit for single family zones in most cases:

· Allow for shared open space, for larger usable common areas;

· Waive parking requirements for projects in growth areas and within .25 mile of frequent transit service (15 minute headways), allowing the market to dictate the level of parking to provide;

· Waive density limits for certain housing types when good design features are achieved; and,

· Use a new flexible standard of measuring floor space, “Floor Area Ratio”, rather than previously restrictive setback and lot coverage requirements.

The multifamily code update was adopted after substantial rounds of review and feedback from neighbors, architects, builders, and other design professionals. Multifamily zones comprise approximately nine percent of the developable land in Seattle and are meant to serve as a transition between single family and commercial zones.

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Crime prevention coordinators face layoffs

October 19th, 2010 by master

Unless the budget changes, three of the seven crime prevention coordinators in Seattle will lose their jobs. As for the remaining four coordinators, including the one serving Wallingford, no one is sure if they’ll be forced to cut back on their hours or cover larger areas to fill the holes.

Crime prevention coordinators, civilian employees in the Seattle Police Department, work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’d been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money that runs out in the spring.

With the help of the nonprofit Common Language Project and communications students at the University of Washington, we take a closer look at what the loss of these coordinators could mean to our neighborhoods.

Continue reading “Crime Prevention Coordinators Face the Budget Axe”.

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Wallingford library and SHARE funding discussed at budget hearing

September 29th, 2010 by master

A plan to remove the on-site librarian from the Wallingford library and funding for the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) were just some of the topics of discussion at Wednesday’s public hearing on the city budget in Northgate. 

“The library changes and improves lives,” said Tony Provine of Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

A crowd lines up to speak at Wednesday night’s budget hearing in Northgate

Under the mayor’s plan, the Wallingford library and 7 other smaller libraries will be converted to “circulating libraries.”  The Wallingford library will continue to be open 35 hours per week and offer collections, holds-pickup, and computer access.   But access to specialized services will be provided online or by telephone access to staff at the Central Library. Programming will be primarily focused on youth and provided by librarians from other locations.  At all library branches, a one week systemwide closure (the week before Labor Day) will continue in 2011.

“We ask you to consider restoring some critical library service hours,” Provine told the City Council.

Supporters of SHARE also turned out to ask the Council to continue funding its programs to house the homeless.  The mayor’s proposed budget reduces Human Services as a whole by 5 percent.  SHARE currently gets about $300,000 in installments from the city each year but recently asked for more money in order to avoid closing some of its shelters.  Donations helped avoid any closures.  SHARE recently opened a homeless shelter inside the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church in Wallingford.  While SHARE supporters were on hand at Wednesday’s public hearing, one of the ideas proposed on the City Council’s online budget suggestion page calls for stopping all funding to SHARE.


Supporters of SHARE at Wednesday’s public hearing

One other budget issue impacting Wallingford involves the Wallingford Playfield wading pool which will once again only be open three days a week during the summer months.

To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.  The next public hearing on the budget takes place Wednesday, October 13 at South Seattle Community College at 5:30pm.

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Mayor's proposed budget impacts Wallingford library, wading pool

September 27th, 2010 by master

Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled his proposed 2011-2012 budget today, and it will impact Wallingford’s library and wading pool.  Under his proposal, the Wallingford library will no longer have an on-site librarian.  It will continue to be open 35 hours per week and serve as a gateway to the resources of the entire library system.  It will still offer collections, holds-pickup, and computer access. Access to specialized reference or collection services will be provided on-line or by telephone access to staff at the Central Library. Programming will be primarily focused on youth and provided by librarians from other locations.

Meanwhile, the Wallingford Playfield wading pool (pictured below) will once again only be open three days a week during the summer months.

To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.  

The City Council will now dive into the proposed budget.  One of three public hearings will be held this Wednesday (9/29) at 5:30pm at the Northgate Community Center gym at 10510 5th Ave NE.  The Council has also set up a web page where you can submit ideas to balance the budget and vote on other suggestions.  You can find that page here.

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City budget hearing set for North Seattle, vote for your favorite ideas

September 9th, 2010 by master

As the City Council dives into the 2011-2012 budget, they’re once again asking for the public’s input.  One of three public hearings will be held at the Northgate Community Center gym at 10510 5th Ave NE.  It takes place Wednesday, September 29 starting at 5:30pm (please arrive by 5pm to sign up to speak). 

In the meantime, the Council has set up a web page where you can submit ideas to balance the budget and vote on other suggestions.  You can find that page here.

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Mid-year budget cuts coming Monday

June 11th, 2010 by master

We’ll soon know the fate of the Wallingford Playfield wading pool. The mayor’s mid-year budget cuts will be announced on Monday (6/14), including any cuts to the city’s Parks and Recreation department.

The cuts being announced for the rest of this year could involve closing pools, wading pools, and community centers, scaling back hours, or doing nothing at all.  Even if the wading pool survives this mid-year round of cuts, there is still concern about even more cuts for 2011.

The mid-year cuts will be unveiled during the City Council’s budget committee meeting on Monday at 10:30am. We’ll bring you all the details, or you can watch live on the Seattle Channel (21 on Comcast) or online.

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