City Council Notes | First Hill ‘prototype parks,’ smart meters, ‘No Construction Parking’ signs in Pike/Pine

Walking your cat through the First Hill Public Realm

Walking your cat through the First Hill Public Realm

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the Seattle City Council’s chambers:

  • First Hill Public Realm report: The council’s transportation committee will hear an update on a program to create more public spaces in the densely-packed First Hill neighborhood. CHS reported on the First Hill Public Realm plan earlier this year. Tuesday, representatives from SDOT and Seattle Park will tell council members about what comes next for the initiative — including two “prototype” parks on University St:Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.32.35 PM
  • Pedestrian report: Tuesday’s transportation committee meeting will also include a briefing on the latest annual report from the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board. Looking forward, the board report says the body’s focus on 2015 is on the big picture: “The update of the Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) will occupy a substantial share of the board’s focus and activity in 2015.”
  • Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.48.07 PM‘No Construction Parking’ signs: In SDOT’s March update to the council, the report notes a small improvement for residents and businesses pinched by ongoing construction in central Pike/Pine — “To keep parking open for businesses, we collaborated with contractors working on 10th and 11th Ave between E Union and E Pike to manufacture and install ‘No Construction Parking’ signs”
  • Smart meters update: Wednesday’s meeting of the energy committee will include an update on the $94 million program to build an “advanced metering” system in Seattle to replace the outdated manual process used today to determine energy consumption and billing. The council will hear that negotiations for a vendor to build out the system are expected to begin in April and that the current plan calls for residents who might have concerns including privacy or health to be able to opt out of the smart metering program for a yet to be determined fee. Initial meter installations are expected to begin this fall with “mass meter deployment” (run, paranoid residents, run!) by June 2016.Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.52.54 PM
  • Another City Council candidate: James Keblas, former head of the city’s film and music office and currently working with Capitol Hill-based creative agency Creature, will run for an at-large seat on the council.
  • Pike Place Market expansion: Monday, the full council approved legislation from committees on a $34 million expansion of Pike Place Market and an ordinance updating the muni code to prohibit eviction of renters from apartments if landowners haven’t registered the property’s units with the Department of Planning and Development. The council also approved a clean-up of Seattle’s “cable communications” ordinance reportedly designed to better recognize changes in technology and address issues of inequity for cable customers:
    The new Code changes are intended to improve competition and customer service by eliminating cable franchise districts in favor of a more flexible provision that opens the entire City to competition. The Code also contains new requirements to ensure equity and build-out service to low-income households, enhanced call answering standards and reporting, and more flexibility and protections for residents and owners living in condos and apartments.

Joe Buckets busted for Pike/Pine street noise

"35 years old and originally from Rhode Island, Joe has been living in Seattle for about 13 years but has been homeless for the last several..." (Image: Tim Durkan)

“35 years old and originally from Rhode Island, Joe has been living in Seattle for about 13 years but has been homeless for the last several…” (Image: Tim Durkan)

While local businesses are making calls for increased police patrols and the city is putting up money to study a pedestrian-only block of the neighborhood, maybe it’s also time to consider a busking permit program in Pike/Pine. Especially if Joe the street drummer ever gets his buckets — and his glockenspiel — back.

Slog reported on the apparent arrest of Joe Buckets last week. CHS was also working on finding out more about the situation after learning Joe had been taken into custody during a Saturday night performance in Pike/Pine. CHS has learned that Joe was interviewed and released but police placed his gear — “4 plastic buckets, 4 high-hat cymbals, a glockenspiel, a plastic bell, and other assorted percussive instruments” — into evidence pending the outcome of his case which is in the hands of the City Attorney. Continue reading

Hey Pike/Pine, any advice for expanding ‘Conservation Districts’ to the rest of Seattle?

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Before his impending retirement from the Seattle City Council, Tom Rasmussen is leading an effort to extend one of his signature pieces of legislation to the rest of Seattle.

We figured that those of you who have lived and loved among the preservation-minded development projects of Pike/Pine might want to give your neighbors across Seattle a little help in sorting out the proposed Neighborhood Conservation District program. Here’s how the new proposal is being positioned:

The purpose of a NCD program is to help neighborhoods keep their unique physical attributes through design guidelines and review.  Under the proposed program the City’s Department of Neighborhoods would review requests of neighborhoods to become a Neighborhood Conservation District and would manage a Neighborhood Conservation District Board which would review development proposals to ensure that they are consistent with the distinctive physical character of a neighborhood.

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Pike/Pine businesses call for more ‘officers on foot and bikes’ now to head off summer crime woes

(Image: Tim Durkan)

(Image: Tim Durkan)

A group of more than 40 Pike/Pine business owners and representatives has sent a letter to City Hall with a call to increase East Precinct’s “overall budget for the beat officers on foot and bikes now” before the regular warmer-weather wave of street crime returns, yet again, to the neighborhood.

“The Pike/ Pine neighborhood on Capitol Hill is continuing to experience assaults, robberies, car prowls, open drug dealing, and more people with addiction and mental health problems on the street,” the letter begins. “As we head into the warmer months we expect to see a sharp increase in these issues and want to make sure the city has a plan in place to address them this year before they turn into the crisis levels of last summer (though we’re near that now).”

Dave Meinert said the goal is to kickstart planning for making Pike/Pine a safer place for residents and customers and to make sure East Precinct has the resources it needs to pay for more cops on the beat. “We want to be involved in those discussions and find out what we can do to help,” Meinert said.

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LGBTQ safety shuttle starts nighttime test runs on Capitol Hill

Seeking to quell an uptick of attacks on Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ community, a small group of anti-crime advocates have started running a shuttle service to get neighborhood residents home safely at night.

The nine-passenger van donated to Social Outreach Seattle made its inaugural run through the neighborhood Thursday night, primarily to start spreading the word on the new service. According to organizers, the donation-based service did not require any special permits to start picking up passengers.

SOSea founder Shaun Knittel said the pilot shuttle will run for the next two months, from 9pm-4am Thursday-Saturday. During the pilot phase, Knittel said the shuttle won’t have any designated stops and will take people right to their door. The plan is to have a series of stops worked out in time for Pride this June, Knittel said.

“Most of the people are getting attacked are alone walking at night,” Knittel said. “(Criminals) are honing their skills and they know who to attack.”

Knittel first announced the shuttle during the recent LGBTQ violence forum at Capitol Hill’s All Pilgrims Church.

Eventually, Knittel said he wants to add several more vans to better serve the neighborhood. Knittel said the drivers will be paid and the suggested donation for a ride is $5.

Undaunted by new minimum wage, Seattle restaurant entrepreneurs make plans to extend Capitol Hill food+drink ‘boom’

A few of the Capitol Hill captains of food+drink industry

Not only are Seattle restaurants not closing down because of the “$15 minimum wage” but a wave of entrepreneurs and investors is pushing forward on plans to open more food+drink joints around the city. And they’re looking at Capitol Hill for how to do it.

Nearly 200 restaurant owners, developers, and brokers gathered at The Triple Door Wednesday morning for the second annual restaurant industry summit put on by Bisnow, a Washington D.C.-based trade publication outfit.

“Prices will increase, but I’m full steam ahead,” said Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and the New Restaurant Boom panelist Josh Henderson to the crowd of $80 ticket attendees. Henderson ain’t kidding. The prolific entrepreneur behind the Skillet-sprouted empire of the Huxley Wallace Collective just announced details of a fleet of new ventures he plans to launch in the city over the next year.

The “$15 minimum wage” — really, $10 an hour at businesses employing fewer than 500 people and providing healthcare or tips starting April 1st — doesn’t seem to be stopping him.

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Killer Infographics brings more daytime desk action to Capitol Hill

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Inside Killer Infographics above Six Arms (Image: Killer Infographics)

One of the latest to companies to move its offices to Capitol Hill and bring more daytime activity to the neighborhood is Killer Infographics. The company moved its 23-member staff from Fremont to an office space above Six Arms last month.

To celebrate the move to Melrose and E Pike, the graphic design agency specializing in infographics created this Capitol Hill-inspired timeline:

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Check out the full INFOGRAPHIC: A HISTORY OF CAPITOL HILL from Killer Infographics

For co-founder Nick Grant, moving to Capitol Hill brings the business closer to its downtown clients while putting his designers in a more dynamic urban environment. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Still Liquor folks bringing pizza to Minor and Pine

Future home of pizza (Image: CHS)

Future home of pizza (Image: CHS)

Who can say what controls the tides of food and drink on Capitol Hill. For now, it is the time of pizza. Or, it will be soon. One project we can tell you about now won’t be around until into summer but get ready for a new place to grab a slice at the base of Capitol Hill.

The new pizza project will snuggle into the far west berth in the old building filled with long, skinny retail berths

The new pizza project will snuggle into the far west berth in the old building filled with long, skinny retail berths

“We’re already down here,” Josh Carrigan tells CHS. “It is on our turf.”

Carrigan and Breckeen Anderson opened Still Liquor below Melrose Market in 2010. Later this summer, the Still folks will open a new pizza joint on E Pine at Minor transforming the current retail space that has been home to a longtime shoe business most recently known as Z-Coil. The shoe store, by the way, remains open and ready to serve your shoe needs. Continue reading

With location secured, it’s time to start building the Capitol Hill Tool Library

(Image: Jeremy Hurd via Flickr)

(Image: Jeremy Hurd via Flickr)

There is gardening to be done and spring cleaning and repairs to take on. But in a dense, urban environment, you might not have room for a shovel or a saw or a set of giant wrenches. A project a few years in the making, the shared Capitol Hill Tool Library finally has a home. Now, Sustainable Capitol Hill says, it’s time to start building it:

We found a location! Thanks to the generosity of the First Covenant Church in providing a location, Sustainable Capitol Hill is proud to announce that the Tool Library is planning to open by early Fall of this year. It will be located at the Summit Building on 420 E. Pike St., with the entrance on Crawford Pl., between Pike St. and Pine St. We still have a lot of work to do, and volunteers are a key ingredient to bringing this all together. Join us for our Tool Library Building Meetings on the 3rd Tuesdays of the month. The next meeting will be on February 17. We will also be taking membership pledges, as well as donations, so if you’d like to join our community, let us know! Please drop us a line at toollibrary@sustainablecapitolhill.org and let us know you’d like to help!
Alternatively, you can RSVP and show up to our next steering committee meeting on March 17.

A peek inside the West Seattle library. Also check out Local Tools for a look at how tech can lend a hand.

95 Slide corner the next on a busy block to become home to mixed-use development

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.15.47 AMHere is another watering hole you can add to the roster of Capitol Hill bars where the patrons know the days are numbered before development brings last call.

CHS has learned that the property owners of the corner of Harvard and Pike have plans for a six-story, mixed-use development joining a block already in full construction Beast Mode.

The corner today is home to 95 Slide, local investor and entrepreneur Marcus Lalario’s sports bar born of the former Hunters Gatherers Lodge and the War Room clubs. It will likely be a year or two before construction can begin given the timeline of similar projects in the neighborhood.

The early plans for the development call for construction of a “30,000 sq ft, 6-story, mixed use building with 70 units and no parking spaces.” Continue reading