The event took place took place at the future park space on 33rd Avenue with several community members shrugging off the drizzling weather to come out and hear the announcement.
What was announced?
Mayor Murray unveiled the plan for Lake City to be the first community in Seattle to have dedicated coordination among city departments through the newly organized Office of Community Planning and Development (OPCD). This new department which grew out of the City Planning division of the former Department of Planning and Development was formed to create an integrated and equitable approach to addressing issues within our community. Lake City will be the pilot neighborhood for this new proposed model of collaboration.
Mayor Murray also announced a number of projects that are already underway or will begin this year.
In particular, Old Fire Station 39 would become a new affordable housing development with family sized units. The City is working with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) on the development. The bottom floor of the facility would be a Seattle Preschool.
The development is designated as Workforce Family Housing. Workforce Housing is up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). This is defined by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Office of Housing’s PDF for 2015 housing and rent limits can be found here.
There will likely be some opportunities for input on the fire station site. There will be a public comment period regarding the transferring of ownership of the site in spring of 2016. City Council will hold at least one public hearing on the topic. Should the project move forward, the community will likely have an opportunity to comment during the design process before it gets underway in late fall of 2016.
The city recognizes that numerous other projects will also have to be completed in order to ensure the success of these new homes for families. For example, community members have repeatedly requested that traffic safety improvements be made at the intersection of 28th Avenue NE and NE 127th Street. OPCD staff will work with SDOT to determine what can be done to address these concerns.
The announcement also suggested the idea of development standards for new buildings that would ensure more pedestrian friendly and walk-able streetscapes. In addition, a minimum of 20 new sidewalks in the area to support Safe Routes to Schools and neighborhood walk-ability was committed. Some of the funding for the sidewalks is a result of the “Move Seattle Levy” but the city is hopeful that other sources can be leveraged as well. To the extent possible and feasible, these projects will be coordinated with Seattle Public Utilities “Natural Drainage Program” to help build bio swales and other water filtration systems along with the sidewalks. The first major example of the SDOT/SPU partnership is at the new sidewalk on 30th Ave NE planned for construction next year.
In addition the mayor mentioned increasing connectivity to Meadowbrook Community Center perhaps in an attempt to lessen the impact of our lack of a full service community center. Mayor Murray also referenced the 33rd Avenue Park space where the press conference was held as being a result of funding opportunities that the city has pursued for Lake City.
OPCD and Department of Neighborhood staff are also working to establish a series of ‘office hours’ at the library in March and April. Check back here or at OPCD’s website for Lake City to find the dates. In addition to the projects mentioned above, staff will be available to talk about proposed zoning changes that would encourage new development to be more pedestrian oriented, a festival street concept plan for 28th Avenue NE in front of the library and upcoming grant opportunities. Visit the Office Of Planning and Community Development page for Lake City.
More details and a list of current projects can be read here LakeCityMatrix2016