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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    Salmon Bay

    CR, you may wish to quit using the drilling platform as an example, as you apparently aren’t familiar with the details. The Port of Seattle actually requested that the drilling platform not be allowed in.

    It was Foss Maritime that appealed the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning ruling that the drilling platform could not come in (to the port). Due to their appeal, their contract with the Port of Seattle was still valid, and the drilling platform had to be allowed in.

    (BTW, “allowed in” is a phrasal verb. The word “in” belongs with “allowed”. The word “to” is a preposition to tell the reader where the action of the verb happened. Where was the drilling rig allowed in? It was allowed in to the port. I don’t stress about typos or even poor grammar. But if I am quoting someone, I like to do it accurately. Sorry that you take exception to that.)



    SB, you’re not half as clever as you think you are.


    Salmon Bay




    I don’t think CR was trying to use rhetorical exaggeration. I think she was trying to come up with examples where people in the neighborhood would want notice and an opportunity to be heard before decisions are made by the city that could affect them, such as:

    *light or noise nuisances (ballfield lighting, large new housing developments) interfering with their quiet enjoyment of their property
    *reduced privacy (tall apartments, condos or a 35′ house built to a minimum setback from your property)
    *more limited or difficult parking (a green route, an apodment without parking), or
    *public health and safety or environmental concerns like
    -overloading strained wastewater capacity (a large multifamily housing development)
    -the potential for fire damage to your home from a structures built to close to increase density, or
    -electromagnetic field or toxic contaminant risks from a substation.

    When I first moved to Ballard I lived a few blocks from Loyal Heights Community Center.I distinctly remember the conflict over the lights and the nightly late-night sporting events at the ballfields that the lights enabled. We had actually looked at, but passed on, buying a house directly across from the field because we were concerned with the potential for parking problems, noise and intrusive light. If you don’t recall it, here is an article from Ballard Herald-Tribune from 2006 talking about the issue and expressing familiar concerns about lack of responsiveness from the city.

    Note that in that case “the city council approved the installation of the lights and rejected a move by Loyal Heights’ neighbors to keep the lights off for more than one night a week.” However the “decision came with a condition that the parks department seek ‘meaningful public involvement and review’ of the proposed lighting plan before building permits are issued.”

    At least in that case the City Council required public process by the Parks Department before the final decision was made whereas with the encampment the City Council is refusing to provide any predetermination process. Informational sessions after permitting has occurred are inherently inferior to a predetermination process in that the they can’t/won’t have any effect on the decision already made. Moreover in the case of the ballfields conflict the process was with the city and not, as in the case of the encampments, a mere licensed operator.

    On CR’s reference to building height, for the most part zoning in the hub urban village does not allow development in excess of 85′ (actually there is a small strip around Swedish allowing more height). So to the best of my knowledge central Ballard doesn’t have 10 story residential complexes (the On The Park complex adjoining Ballard Commons Park is listed as 8 stories on a few different sites but an article in the Daily Journal of Commerce from the project’s structural engineer described the building as 10 stories). Regardless of whether a 10 story building could currently go up next to you the point is that large buildings grossly going up next to residential neighbors has become increasingly common. More large developments are in progress and further height allowances in Urban Village Hub areas are being considered.

    There is a rational relationship between increasing the number of people living on a block and potential effects on surrounding neighbors, their property and city infrastructure. Parking is one that a lot of people complained about but I don’t think it is the only or the best example. There is the potential for noise, fire, impacts on the power grid and water and sewage issues. Large buildings block the light of neighboring homes and their gardens. Neighbors may have diminished privacy when apartment or condo residents are looking directly at upstairs windows or down on previously-private back yards. Then there is the effect of creating extra housing supply and more dense conditions on the market value of resale homes in a neighborhood.

    There aren’t likely to be any new substations anytime soon but they are building one in South Lake Union and not only do active stations create eletromagnetic fields you can see from the toxins discovered on the Market Street substation site that substation sites can become contaminated.


    great idea

    “Then there is the effect of creating extra housing supply and more dense conditions on the market value of resale homes in a neighborhood”

    this is probably the ultimate truth in your commentary KS.
    people are afraid that adding density will lower their property values.

    there will certainly be impact to street-parking and noise levels.

    I don’t think fire, power grid, water, and sewer issues are necessarily true.

    townhomes typically have 2 hour fire-rated walls, whereas a single-family residence (which can be built as close as 3 feet from the property line if there is an existing non-compliant structure) only require a one-hour separation.
    do you really think modern building codes wouldn’t consider this?

    regarding the sewer capacity, Seattle’s wastewater treatment facilities can handle much more than current development. this seems to be a red-herring that people like to point to in their aversion to density.



    GI – I think you misunderstood about the sewer issue. Brightwater was built to handle big King County growth that hasn’t yet quite materialized, so no worries on total capacity. The issue is whether the 100-year-old small pipes running under the streets of Ballard can handle the increased effluent flow when a block of single-family houses is converted to a block of row houses, apodments, or whatever.


    great idea

    that’s precisely the red-herring I was referring to Mondo.

    if the 100 year old ‘small pipes’ (I just checked my side-sewer card and see there is a 12″ sanitary line running down my street) were really ill-suited, then wouldn’t we have seen some sort of catastrophic failure in previous developments?

    it’s not like Ballard is the first neighborhood to go from single-family to multi-family dwellings.

    those pipes are going to fail because they’re old, not because of the increase in flow.



    Yes, KS, my post wasn’t intended to suggest that the changes I mentioned would actually happen. The point was (obviously) about whether the naysayers support a public process only when a proposal is something they disagree with.

    No, GI, we wouldn’t have necessarily seen some catastrophic sewer system failure in Ballard to date. But clearly there’s a concern about capacity, since the city plans to build a combined sewer outflow treatment system on the old Yankee Diner site.



    Also … the petition now has more than 1,100 signatures.



    CR’s post providing “what if” examples was saying in essence that everyone is likely to have an issue they care about and on which they expect government transparency in process — and by extension most should be able to empathize with (or at least understand) a petition seeking government transparency and predetermination process — even if you have a different opinion on the neighborhood issue under consideration. The post lists largely plausible government impacts (including those that are ancillary to zoning or permitting). Some allude to past neighborhood disputes over transparency and process. Others I think are timely and reasonable given current developments city wide and in Ballard.

    My post, in turn, was not to present an airtight case against density or debate the actual probability that fire could spread to one’s house from new construction. It was to express my opinion that the examples CR raised seemed reasonable and could provoke a range of legitimate concerns.



    The point was (obviously) about whether the naysayers support a public process only when a proposal is something they disagree with.

    Let’s remember who the naysayers actually are, CR, they are the 1,100 people who made the Herculean effort to click on an online petition saying nay to the camp being located in Ballard’s backyard.

    Now the challenge facing the naysayers, as they engage in the public process they called for, is going to be how to develop a convincing story on why the camp shouldn’t be located in the Market St. and/or Interbay location.

    The camp supporters have done their homework, they convinced the mayor to provide city property, conducted a site selection process, and partnered with private charities to run the camps, now when the naysayers get an opportunity for public comment they will need to come up with a strong case if they want to reverse the work that has already been done.

    “But, it’s near a liquor store” or “we already have lots of homeless in Ballard” is probably not going to be good enough.



    There is still a huge mess over near McCallum printing company. It seems anytime Ernie and the hobos Congregate, they leave litter for someone else to clean up. Why are they collecting all those wood pallets?



    I was referring to you, SB and GI, Ernie.

    The petition, since you obviously didn’t bother to read it, isn’t about the location (though people have legitimate concerns about the location). It’s about the lack of process. And 1100 people signing it is significant. It says that people are angry about the lack of input and transparency from the city on this.

    I don’t think the camp supporters were involved in the site selection process, which was conducted by DPD. The Ballard Chamber is actively working with the city to find a more suitable location than the proposed Market Street site – which, among its other shortcomings, is contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides.

    You probably think encampments are a swell idea, but the reality is that they do absolutely nothing to reduce homelessness. Even the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness frowns down on them as “reactive and temporary” measures that can distract communities from coming up with more effective solutions. I realize that throwing up some tents makes people feel like they’re doing something good, but tent cities are just a band-aid measure that does nothing meaningful to address the issue. As a city with a massive homeless problem, Seattle should be demanding better.



    Thank you, KS. As usual, you are a voice of reason.

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