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Good news: Neighborhood development meetings will soon be held in the neighborhood — Bad news: Next week’s meeting won’t be

The city’s design review process has many weak points. But it adds insult to injury when important reviews like next week’s early design guidance meeting for the redevelopment of 11th at Pine are held far from the neighborhood.

With the help of City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, we got the scoop from Department of Planning & Development’s director Diane Sugimura on why the DPD always seems to schedule the Hill’s most important design sessions so far from the neighborhood. To make a long story short, the 11th at Pine meeting on the 19th will still be held at the Seattle Vocational Institute on S. Jackson. But here is Sugimura’s explanation of why we’ll be making a field trip to the Central District next Wednesday and some good news from her about future meetings:

This is an issue we have worked hard to deal with.  Some suggest we always have the meeting in the same place for consistency and in order to have the appropriate acoustics, size, accessibility, availability, etc.  On the other hand, people suggest we have the meeting as close to the development site as possible.  This is the situation for this particular meeting.

o  The SVI location was the only venue available in District #7 to DPD for that meeting time.
o  We have several meeting locations that we have used in the past for DR Board #7, including, Central Seattle CC, Miller Community Center, Montlake Community Center, and SVI.  We still use these when appropriate and when available.
o  Each venue has its pluses and minuses … like CSCC has tight parking, usually the room is upstairs and down long corridors, and in the summer is not always available; the community centers have limited openings and are sometimes too small or noisy.  SVI has ample parking and a good large quiet room on the main floor and the site is easily accessed off 23rd and Jackson.  When we were experiencing high volumes of project reviews, there would be two projects per evening, sometimes at opposite ends of the District, so a central location was desirable.
o  The DR Staff like to book a meeting venue for the DR board area for a whole year in advance.  We have had difficulty with securing some Community Centers for a year in advance.
o  DPD Design Review staff have recently secured use of the new Seattle University Alumni Center building which is located at street level on the corner of 12th and East Marion, with convenient parking across 12th in SU’s surface parking.  This location is very central to the whole Board #7 DR area, and we plan to start booking most of our DR projects to that venue in the near future.  We have booked it for the year, but will still be able to make adjustments during the year.

Sounds like DPD should get behind a push for creation of a community meeting space in Capitol Hill’s core.

In other things 11th/Pine, neighborhood activist Dennis Saxman has been active in CHS comments as he prepares for next week’s review. We’ll dig into his thoughts on the project and do what we can to get the plan posted in another update. But take a look at Saxman’s latest note for one view into what developer Pryde + Johnson will present next week.

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One thought on “Good news: Neighborhood development meetings will soon be held in the neighborhood — Bad news: Next week’s meeting won’t be

  1. The new location for design review meetings is such good news!

    Kudos to SU for making this space available for this purpose. The fact that the community can have these meetings in a space that is convenient to both Central Area (Squire Park) and Capitol Hill/Pike-Pine residents is really great. If only there were public transportation on 12th….

    The A & A building offers a corner meeting room that is transparent – my hope is that people walking on 12th will be able to see what is happening inside, and perhaps join. This is a big change from Seattle Central and SVI, both of which are big buildings that can be confusing to navigate to and in.

    Lastly, our hope is that SU continues to find ways to “activate” this building in the evenings, so that it becomes a vital and exciting addition to 12th both in the day and evening hours.