PETITION: Don't Tell Ballard to Shut Up!

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This topic contains 63 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 5 years, 3 months ago.

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    The Seattle City Council is refusing to consider citizen, neighbor and small-business owners concerns about the locations of new, city-sponsored homeless encampments in Ballard and other neighborhoods.

    This follows a cloaked site selection process that excluded public comment and provided no neighborhood notification.

    In a letter to Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Mike O’Brien and seven other Councilmembers essentially said they don’t care whether you or any other citizen have concerns about the selected locations.

    The citizens of Seattle deserve better. As voters, taxpayers and residents, we deserve an opportunity to be heard on any subject critical to the future of our communities. We deserve representatives with the courage to listen to the people they were elected to represent.

    Don’t let the City Council tell Ballard to shut up.

    We, the undersigned, call on the Seattle City Council to:

    Schedule at least two public hearings on weekday evenings to allow for public comment on the proposed homeless encampment sites.
    Carefully consider whether the proposed sites are actually appropriate places for homeless tent encampments.
    Take a public vote on whether the City Council supports the proposed locations.
    Whether you support or oppose homeless encampments — or even if you don’t live in an affected neighborhood — we should all be concerned with the lack of opportunity for public input on the site selection process.

    This time it is Ballard and Interbay. Next time it could be your neighborhood.

    Stand up for being heard — sign this petition and pass it along to your friends and neighbors who care about responsive government and the future of our city.



    Thanks for setting this up — looks like it’s about 60% toward the goal as of Thursday morning.


    Salmon Bay

    Ah, the Seattle Process. Everyone must be notified. Everyone must be heard. Everyone must get their way. Our elected officials can’t be allowed to govern. If we don’t like what is happening, we sue to stop progress.

    The Ballard Business Appellants have gone down this route to stymie the Missing Link for decades now. The luxury yacht marina Nautical Landing has sued to block the redevelopment of the city parking lot at Westlake to improve safety for all users.

    Nothing in Seattle gets done. This is why.



    Are you saying you don’t think residents and business owners should have a say in whether or not a homeless encampment goes up in their neighborhood? That there’s no need for a public process?



    The petition now has 200 signatures. Let’s keep it going!

    KIRO TV caught wind of the petition and is interviewing the author in a few minutes for a story on the 11:00 newscast.


    great idea

    yes, you have the support of roughly 1% of the 20,000 residents who live in Ballard, Loyal Heights and Sunset Hill.

    c’mon now, you elitists are supposed to be the 2%.

    Compass Rose flying around Golden Gardens last Saturday:



    This site was chosen because of proximity to services and transit, right? And because it is city owned as well. It’s a far better location for actual people to live than an industrial area, is it not?

    As for the public process, I think we are finding out why the city has to move forward regardless. Sure, we can slow it all down by having contentious meetings but the outcome remains the same. It’s happening. And as for a public vote? Sure, okay, but make sure it’s city wide. I bet lots of Seattleites would agree that an encampment within walking distance of services is a pretty good deal.

    Now, are these tent cities a good idea? I don’t know, but when they move in I may have to bring a box of donuts and meet some people and get a little more context.



    If you can’t afford Seattle, don’t move to Seattle and expect welfare and city services to support your bad habits.



    Marigold, you ask:
    1) “This site was chosen because of proximity to services and transit, right? ”
    We don’t know. The city has not released the criteria used to pick the sites, nor the list of possible sites.
    2) “And because it is city owned as well.” Yes, apparently only city-owned sites were looked at. However, since they need to spend at least $150,000 in removing toxic materials in order to make this site usable, why didn’t they consider renting a better site for 1-2 years? Spending maybe $25,000 a year to rent a site is a lot cheaper, and opens up lots more (likely better) sites as options.
    3) “It’s a far better location for actual people to live than an industrial area, is it not? ”
    According to the ordinance, the sites are NOT supposed to be in residential areas. This one is right next to a set of townhouses and what most would consider a residential area.

    The city needs to be more open about their selection process — please sign the petition to the City Council.


    great idea

    1) Actually the city is quite clear about the criteria they use:

    DPD Transitional Encampment Amendment
    DIR January 16, 20154

    Requires that the operator allow service providers such as social workers to access the
    site when a City-owned property.
    A transitional encampment site shall, under the proposal, meet the following requirements:

    Be located at least 25feet from any residentially-zoned lot;

    May be located less than 25 feet from any residentially-zoned lot if the encampment boundary maintains a 25-foot setback and is screened by vegetation or fencing;

    Be owned by the City or a private party; Be located on a site that is at least 5,000square feet in area or larger and provides a minimum of 100 square feet of land per occupant;

    Be located within one-half mile of a transit stop;

    Be located at least one mile from any other legally-established transitional encampment use, including encampments on property owned or controlled by a religious organization, except that encampments on property owned or controlled by a religious organization or any encampment of fewer than ten persons are not subject to the dispersion requirement;

    Be located outside of wetland, wetland buffer, known or potential landslide area, steep
    slope, steep slope buffer, and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas (which includes areas within 100 feet of the shoreline) regulated by the City’s regulations for Environmentally Critical Areas;

    Not be used by an existing legally-permitted use for any Land Use Code or permit-
    required purposes including but not limited to parking or setbacks; and

    Not be an unopened public street right-of-way or designated as a park, playground, viewpoint, or multi-use trail.

    (maybe the Ballard Chamber of Commerce should build the Missing Link on this side of Market to use the last item for obstruction purposes).

    2) isn’t that just throwing money away Mondo? the city would need to remediate the soil before developing the land anyway or take a loss if they sold it.

    3) (repeating this from above)
    May be located less than 25 feet from any residentially-zoned lot if the encampment boundary maintains a 25-foot setback and is screened by vegetation or fencing;



    GI doesn’t believe in a democratic process. Perhaps GI should move to North Korea.

    Fortunately, 588 of our more thoughtful Ballard neighbors do believe public input is important.



    GI, I was referring to the specific criteria they used in the search that resulted in the 3 + 4 locations chosen, not the limits in the ordinance from earlier this year.



    GI doesn’t believe in a democratic process. Perhaps GI should move to North Korea.

    Disagree with CR? You must hate freedom, LOL.

    GI has a valid point, 588 people is a tiny fraction of the Ballard population, it’s probably a little premature to ship people off to North Korea if they disagree.



    I assume pretty much every issue the City faces has someone creating a petition to demonstrate consensus (or not) in opposition.

    Is there any way to get a sense of what signature threshold generally has to be passed for the councilmembers to recognize it as meaningful? 100 signatures? 1,000? 5,000?



    The population of Ballard is about 15,000, with a guess of 10% too young to vote, leaving 13,500 of voting age. At 645 signatures, we’ve got over 4% of Ballard’s voting age population signed on already. Not too shabby. If I were running for office, I’d sure want to be on the good side of 5% of my voters who felt strongly about an issue, especially since primary election turnout is usually quite low — only 31% last year.


    great idea

    Mondo, you don’t actually believe a petition promoted on Facebook is going to only elicit signatories from the Ballard area, do you?

    a quick perusal shows many live outside of the Ballard, and the rest just say ‘Seattle, WA’

    I think you need to include Loyal Heights, Sunset Hill, and Crown Hill for the ‘upset’ population.



    The HALA/Mayor’s affordable housing plan is now out. Here’s a link to map showing the areas that developers must either include a percentage of affordable housing in any new development (or pay a fee, I think – haven’t read the whole thing). Pretty much the entirety of Central Ballard and all the way up 15th.

    PS – those of us who live in Loyal Heights/Sunset Hill/Crown Hill etc kinda already consider ourselves part of “greater Ballard” ;o)



    I wonder what the tiny specks of green in the mostly blue bits are about. I’m also fascinated by the spot of blue in the middle of the massive green block that is most of Ballard, along with the paucity of density planned for Magnolia. Why not put an urban hub there, too, in the center?



    The SCL rep made the same argument that they would have to do remediation anyway. To me that seemed a bit disingenuous given that they aren’t widely testing city properties or widely engaging in expensive remediation of toxic soil on unused city-owned properties … and there is no indication that, putting aside the homeless encampment (which could be easily relocated to a different property that has not had a prior substation use), the city had any plan to sell this property for a residential use.

    WAC 173-340-360(2)(d) does state that for current or potential future residential areas and for schools and child care centers, soils with hazardous substance concentrations that exceed soil cleanup levels must be treated, removed, or contained. Property qualifies as a current or potential residential area if: (i) The property is currently used for residential use; or (ii) The property has a potential to serve as a future residential area based on the consideration of zoning, statutory and regulatory restrictions, comprehensive plans, historical use, adjacent land uses, and other relevant factors.

    Arguably if the homeless encampment was moved to a different property though, the plot would not be serving any imminent residential use and given the zoning as Industrial Buffer it seems unlikely that they would be compelled to concede that the property would serve as a future residential area.

    Looking at the WAC on site cleanups though I noted some language that I thought seemed important and highlights some of the concerns I have had about public risks disturbing the soil as part of a planned cleanup, not having enough details about the clean up plan for the site and the city resisting public comment.

    The law provides that cleanup actions at a minimum will:
    *Protect human health and the environment;
    *Comply with cleanup standards (see WAC 173-340-700 through 173-340-760);
    *Comply with applicable state and federal laws (see WAC 173-340-710); and
    *Provide for compliance monitoring (see WAC 173-340-410 and 173-340-720 through 173-340-760).

    When selecting from cleanup action alternatives that fulfill the threshold requirements, the selected action shall:
    *Use permanent solutions to the maximum extent practicable
    *Provide for a reasonable restoration time frame; and
    *Consider public concerns (see WAC 173-340-600).

    The law is complex. There are a lot of considerations. There is the duty to prevent or minimize present and future releases and migration of hazardous substances in the environment. Then there is the question of whether permanent effective cleanup can be obtained. If not they have to consider institutional controls which might impact their ability to use the site for certain uses even after cleanup.


    great idea

    Kate– those specks of green are areas around small commercial developments with isolated up-zones (like 32nd Ave NW & NW 65th st).

    I think that big blue blob in Ballard is the Swedish Hospital Campus.

    it’s hard for me to put ‘Magnolia’ and ‘urban’ in the same sentence.


    Salmon Bay

    “GI doesn’t believe in a democratic process.”

    Democracy allows us to elect officials to represent us. If we don’t like what they are doing, we are able to vote them out of office.

    Democracy is not about citizens that don’t get their way obstructing all actions by the elected officials. That would be The Seattle Process. It is why nothing ever gets done here. Our elected officials are constantly stymied by the electorate. For whatever issue there is, there is always at least a few people against it. That these people are able to obstruct progress to the extent that they do in Seattle is in fact a travesty of democracy.
    Let’s let our elected officials govern. If we don’t like what they are doing, let’s not re-elect them.



    A transparent public process, with an opportunity for the neighborhood to comment, is a perfectly reasonable expectation about something that will directly impact businesses and neighborhoods, SB. And it’s typically what happens in situations like this. The city council is resisting this because they know people are upset about it. That’s cowardly, and voters deserve better. They deserve input into the process.

    Sorry you and GI don’t agree, but 700-plus other people who have signed the petition do. That’s more than “a few” people. Of course, if this proposal was something you didn’t like, you both would probably complaining about the lack of public process too.

    Oh, I highly doubt that Mike O’Brien will be reelected. And if the mayor and the rest of council continue to arrogantly refuse to listen to neighborhoods, they can expect to pay the price on election day too.



    Nobody is telling Ballard to shut up, everyone is more than free to complain all they want, but ultimately it is up to the mayor and the city council to decide where the tent cities are going to be located.

    Bottom line is we voted all these people into office, so for now they are making policy, and I don’t think any of them were the least bit shy about their views about this kind of stuff during their elections. I agree with the comments above about the f**king Seattle process. I’m so tired of everything being a fight that never seems to end. Just let them put the camp where they want, it will be over in a year, and long before then we’ll be on MyBallard complaining about the next issue that materializes.

    Lets focus on holding the camp accountable for being a good neighbor, and give them the benefit of the doubt that they will live up to the the relatively lax standards of our neighborhood.


    great idea

    “Oh, I highly doubt that Mike O’Brien will be reelected.”

    I wouldn’t be too sure CR.

    The Stranger just endorsed Mike and the Municipal league of King County has given him the only “very good” rating amongst his challengers.

    Municipal League ratings: Down on two incumbents, rough on young challengers

    btw, the only ‘public process’ that I lament is the lack of completion of the missing link of the B-G trail. that is something that would actually improve my life and my kids’ lives.

    I could probably go out tomorrow and get 2000 people to sign a piece of paper or on-line petition that they agree with me. I actually think Mike O’ Brien will finally make it happen.

    (I also agree with his ideas on climate change and affordable housing as well).



    “Let’s let our elected officials govern. If we don’t like what they are doing, let’s not re-elect them.”

    So we have to put up with a bum camp for 4 years? This tent city idea is a mistake and will attract more problems. Who is going to clean-up after the daily parties? Ballard is already littered with bum debris.

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