Ballard neighbors who attended last night’s community meeting with Seattle City Light asked the city for a lengthy delay in plans to sell seven surplus properties.
More than 20 people commented at the meeting, and neighbors’ concerns mirrored earlier feedback from Groundswell NW and the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition: the neighborhood needs more time to evaluate potential options for community use.
Ballard writer Peggy Sturdivant commented at the meeting, and she sent us this account:
In perhaps the most straightforward comment of the evening, Dean Hoshizaki asked for a show of hands as to how many in the audience thought the substations should stay in public hands. Most raised the hands and he said, “Let the record show it’s unanimous.” With his follow-up as to whether the audience would choose between sale to a church, club, organization or non-profit, he said, “Let the record show it is about 70%.”
Many speakers called for Loyal Heights in particular to be retained for open space/potential park, especially in light of exceptional trees on-site and interest from the adjoining owners in “making it happen.”
The twelve-year tenant of the only commercially zoned parcel, the 14th & Leary site (Auto Connectors NW) and their supporters asked for the businesses there to be allowed to continue benefitting Ballard as employers and revenue providers.
Anne Brink O’Leary had created a diagram (above) showing how many trees could be planted, especially given an arborist’s comment that the City of Seattle has determined that we are not meeting tree canopy goals. The number was 405. Robert Drucker, who was involved with a former planning effort for the Sunset Substation commented on the fact that City Council changed the disposition rules, reducing notification area and need to align with neighborhood plans. The closing speaker identified herself as a Fremont renter with a two-year old who spoke to the necessity of having small nearby open spaces for the increasing number of rental families without vehicles.
No one made public comment in favor of selling the substations at the hearing. Consensus was that sale at this time would be short-sighted and not justified by the estimated revenue. Whether for continued tenancy, affordable housing, parks, P-Patches or green space, all of the public comments asked for a delay of five years on the sale of these properties and greater effort in community outreach during the process.
Today is the last day to file for public comment in writing. Comments can be sent to SCL_RealProperty@seattle.gov and firstname.lastname@example.org.