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Capitol Hill Community Council notes: microapartments letter, streetcar art, logo contest

Given our small role in Seattle’s media industry, we have to admit to a little extra love for the Capitol Hill Community Council an its newly installed publisher/president George Bakan. Curious to know how a council meeting run by a Seattle media mogul goes? Here’s our set of notes from last Thursday’s September council session in the Cal Anderson Shelter House. You can learn more about the CHCC and plan ahead for the next meeting in November at

  • Capitol Hill Station: Vanessa Murdock of the Department of Planning and Development talked about Monday night’s meeting which will “touch on designs of the urban design framework (in relation to Capitol Hill Light Rail Project).” “Monday is the night!” says council member Michael Wells, it is “a cumulative effect of years and years of work…Capitol Hill should be proud.” President Bakan agreed, adding, “It’s a fascinating project…go to the meeting.”
  • Microapartments: The most vigorously discussed issue of the night was on building density and the concern that some developers of “apodments” and microhousing are skirting proper building planning review via loopholes.  “These are incredibly vague rules,” remarked an attendee. “We have identified 10-11 (microhousing units) on Capitol Hill,” said a presenter fromReasonable Density Seattle.

After an hour of debate about microhousing and the wording of a letter to be sent to the Seattle City Council — in a nutshell, “We don’t like that apodments don’t have building review signs, look into it.” — the meeting moved on.

  • Melrose Promenade: The Melrose Promenade Project presented on its future endeavors in the area. They hold a community clean-up event every 2nd Sunday of every month. Check out the Melrose Promenade Facebook page for details. UPDATE: We’ve removed erroneous details regarding clean-ups that have already occurred. A representative says a $20,000 grant will be used for a community “visioning” process.
  • Streetcar route art project: Claudia Fitch of SDOT made a presentation about an arts project that will be part of the under construction streetcar line. This will include creating light posts representative of the area around each part of the route. In the International District the light posts will be based on the cultures of the boroughs they represent. On Broadway it will be bright and a modern-deco design. The arts projects will also include “eye of the needle” posts which will carry catenary wires along the street car line and she also presented ideas for artistic partitions between bike lanes and using cross-hatching patterns on crosswalks. These projects are in the conceptual stage.
  • Omnivorous: David Dologite presented on behalf of Capitol Hill Housing and shared details of this Friday’s Omnivorous fundraiser which will have “unlimited nibbles” and “chocolate in there somewhere.” 
  • Cal Anderson safety: Police will be stepping up patrols; working with school (Seattle Central has stepped up security to operate 24/7). Michael Wells of the council said, “Nagle Place has gotten sketchy.” SCCC will be putting up more lights.
  • East Precinct Advisory Council: Next Thursday, EastPAC will be holding a meeting and are looking for people to get involved with the council. It will be held at Seattle University in Chardin Hall.

More notes:

  • A woman made a presentation on a potential QR project (QR are those funky looking bar codes that smart phones can read). This would involve setting up QR codes around Capitol Hill that link to online polls which residents can use to voice their opinion on issues affecting the community. The presentation was associated with Small Sparks.
  • A logo contest is being held to create a new one for the Community Council. An undetermined prize will be given to the winner.
  • The CHCC treasurer spoke about the various issues they have with Bank of America and their plan to move to BECU. The CHCC currently has $1,896 in their back account to which Bakan said, “We need more money.” Another asked how people can donate, to which the treasurer replied, “Just give it to me!” Bakan also notes that CHCC is not a non-profit.

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19 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Community Council notes: microapartments letter, streetcar art, logo contest

  1. @ Sovietbot: that is a very good question. First, the CHCC does not have the cash to hire a designer to do a full identity package. Second, although a highly qualified designer was willing to do the project pro bono, some members thought that it should be more open, transparent in the spirit of the organization itself.

  2. WOW 18 and counting!!!

    1. 621 12th Ave E. A SFR to be razed. A 55 unit apodment permitted and going up soon. At 5 stories will dominate SFRs to North and West. Will completely shade the house to the north

    2. 116 13th Ave E. Lot is cleared! Construction of an apodment development, foundation poured. N.B. Less than one block from project below.

    3. 1304 E. John St. 3 Towers completed 56 units up and running. N.B. Less than one block from project above. “Centro”

    4. 422 11th Ave E. Foundation poured and framing started on two towers of 42 units.

    5. 216 23rd Ave. E. Completed 46 units in two buildings that fit in well with surrounding buildings. “Videre”

    6. 306 Summit Ave E. 55 unts nearing completion 7 stories, very tall in relation to surrounding buildings in neighborhood.

    7. 227 Boylston Ave. E Building plans to hold about 28 units. “Cortena”

    8. 310 17th Ave. S, Unknown unit count. “Solana”

    9. 413 11th Ave. Unknown unit count 6 stories very tall in relation to surrounding buildings. “Terrazza”

    10. 1510 23rd Ave. Unknown unit count. “Pine South”

    11. 1520 23rd Ave. Unknown unit count. “Pine North”

    12. 2371 Franklin Ave S. SFR to be razed. 39 unit permitted. Out of scale for area.

    13. 4309 7th Ave NE. Unknown unit count. “Trovere”

    14. 4047 8th Ave NE. Unknown unit count. “Avenida”

    15. 4017 5th Ave NE. 14 units. Reserved for America Corps volunteers. Discriminatory? “TheAmerihaus”

    16. 4032 8th Ave NE. 19 units. More than 8 units per kitchen? “Portage Bay South”

    17. 4036 8th Ave NE. Unknown units. “Portage Bay North”

    18. 1305 E Mercer St Large SFR to be razed. 56 units proposed.

  3. what I would also like to see, considering how many talented artists live on First/Capitol Hill … would be to have a contest where neighborhood artists could design the exterior of at least one of the streetcar vehicles.

  4. Logo contests are not the way to create an identity for your organization. You get what you pay for (or in this case, what you don’t pay for). Logo contest = amateur mediocrity. More than happy to refer some professional designers, including ones who live on the hill.

  5. Nothing transparent in an undetermined prize. This decision will hurt CHCC, not to mention the design professionals involved. This method of crowd-sourcing is widely discouraged.

  6. Not likely, as discussed above self-respecting professionals will not participate in spec contests of this sort. Which is why they aren’t as effective as a single willing pro.

  7. I’m with Bruce and pragmatic. Apodments may be a workable alternative to the long-gone SROs that kept city citizens off the streets back in the day. Don’t want to live in an apodment? Don’t. Can’t afford a bigger place? Work harder, get a degree that promises a high-paying career. Like it or not we still live in a quasi private enterprise economy and people still need shelter. And, just to drop the level of dialogue: Fuck you Ms. forget apodements.

  8. It is not ok to have a logo contest or any other contest where a profession is belittled and devalued. You obviously see value in the work you want done and simply want it for free. Lets take a look at what you did pay for and what you paid for it. Now what is the difference. And that “We don’t have money” excuse is bullshit. You had money to build it, you will have money in the future. They have these new fangled things things called “loans”.

    The bottom line is if you are an artist and you work for free people will expect artists to work for free and people will think it is OK to ask artists to work for free despite the fact that they see value in it and reap the benefits from your FREE work even if it has a fancy name loke “pro-bono”. Your design ability is of value. Don’t fall for shit like “ You can put it on your resume” or “You can use it in your portfolio.” Because there are plenty of artists out there with great resumes and even better portfolios serving coffee, flipping burgers or worse. Yes it could be worse.

    As an artist, DO NOT EVER WORK FOR FREE. These people always have money for other things. Your talent has value worth paying for. whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional.

    How was your artistic talent developed, Who paid for your school, your tools. Did you know some lawyers charge $300.00 per hour just to file a form the same way they have done for years or give you advice on the phone but the perceived value in that is worth something where as creative artistic talent such as that of an artist is asked for and provided for free even though the ultimate profit may be greater. There are many other examples of these things.

    Avoid these contests like the cancer they are to all artists everywhere.

    We need more tools like this.

  9. The issue is that the buildings are being erected without proper design and environmental review. The developers use a loophole to circumnavigate properly notifying the community and receiving design input. Please limit your comments to just review issues so we can keep a strong dialog going.
    thank you in advance.

  10. Hey, if you want to live in a closet and pay $700+ for it each month, then go for it! But I would think it would be pretty damn depressing.

    THE issue is that apodments have a very negative impact on the surrounding neighbors in terms of blocked views and light, parking issues, etc… the least we should expect is some design review process, which is now circumvented. The developers of these things don’t give a damn about the neighbors….they are laughing all the way to the bank.

  11. You do not have a right to your view. If you want to preserve your view, then you are free to purchase air rights from every property owner between your window and the Sound. But do not expect the rest of us (and the zoning code) to provide you with a view that you didn’t pay for.

    You do not have a right to a parking space in front of your house. Those parking spaces are owned by the City of Seattle and belong to ALL of us. If you have to drive around the block to find a parking space – tough toenails. Welcome to living in a city. Be happy you don’t live in Manhattan or San Francisco where you might have to drive around for half an hour to find a parking space and people could give even less of a shit about your parking woes. If you want your own personal parking space, you are perfectly free to buy a house or condo with off-street parking – or rent a space in a private parking lot – or buy a bus pass.

    You do not have a right to have the sun shine on your face from every square inch of your property. If you want sunshine completely free of obstruction you are perfectly free to pursue the same air rights purchase option above – or move to Walla Walla – where its so nice, they named it twice.

  12. Caphilldenizen: I agree with you that no one has a legal right to their view (unless they purchase it) or to a street parking space, but that’s really not the point. As a community, we should all work towards preserving views as much as possible, and to encourage decisions which ensure an adequate number of street parking places, especially in congested neighborhoods like Capitol Hill. Apodments, for example, with their absence of parking, make life more difficult for those who live nearby and own a car.

    I’ll bet you would have a different opinion if you lived next door to an apodment.

  13. With only $1800 in the CHCC account, hiring a designer is cost-prohibitive! Some people donate money, items, services or time. A donation of professional services is perfectly acceptable. So don’t judge me if I choose to donate my services as a designer. I love Cap Hill, but can’t take a leadership role or donate much cash.
    And I certainly don’t have the time to troll blogs condemning people.