Anjuman E-Burhani community center

Standard

Today’s guest post is from Overlake resident Eugene Zakhareyev regarding a proposed community center in Overlake.

 

Folks,

Those that follow the city planning may remember the project from 2014: the proposal to build a mosque and community center in residential neighborhood in Overlake. Back then, the residents asked lots of questions and had few concerns related to the scale of the proposed development, its parking and traffic impacts and future growth.

Here is a short update I wanted to share. There is a community meeting on 27th of February, at 6:45 PM in the City Hall. The city and the applicant will discuss the status and further steps for Anjuman E-Burhani community center proposal. The city position is that it answered all questions and addressed all concerns (if you want to know more, the document is available here .

Our neighborhood position is that unfortunately the city responses did not address the concerns expressed. As an illustration, the applicant even decreased number of parking stalls (from original 42 to 36), and the city still believes that the location across from Microsoft campus on exit ramp to WA-520 is suitable enough for proposed 22,657 SF structure and will have negligible impact on the neighborhood. You can read more here 

If you want to support the residents of Overlake or just would like to know more about the projects being approved by the city, please join us at the community meeting on 27th at the City Hall.

We also would love to see our elected officials, namely our respected Councilmembers and the Mayor at the meeting.

My thanks to Eugene and other Redmond residents who continue to take the time to read through documents, attending meetings and let the council, Mayor and city know their views on the processes in Redmond.

I urge you to attend the meeting on February 27th and voice your opinion.  You can also call or email the Council or Mayor:

OMBUDSPERSON FOR FEBRUARY
Name: David Carson
Phone: 425-556-2113
Email: dcarson@redmond.gov

GENERAL CONTACT INFO:
mayorcouncil@redmond.gov
council@redmond.gov

Advertisements

Does Redmond need a “Day Center” for our homeless population?

Standard

A business owner in Redmond sent me some information regarding furniture in the City Hall main entrance which I found a bit disturbing.  Right around this time I happened into City Hall during the day and noticed that the furniture was ‘missing’, however the statuary (IMO not really “art”) was still visible.

 

An email dated June 10, 2016 from this business owner to the Mayor and City Council of Redmond reads: (spelling and grammar not corrected)

Subject: City of Redmond Day Center for the homeless

Mayor Marchione / City Council 

Attached are photos of the City of Redmond 1st floor lobby. I first found out that the City of Redmond had removed their lobby furniture on May 25 from a UPS delivery man, he told me that it was sent out to be cleaned due to the homeless using the furniture and that the City was considering not putting the furniture back to discourage the homeless form using the lobby as a day center. On May 25 I went to City Hall to check for myself that the furniture was gone and it was. I went to the 2nd floor and spoke to a City Employee who confirmed that the furniture was removed due to the homeless using it. Then on the way out of City Hall I spoke to Jane Christenson from the mayors office and told her what I had heard, she said that they were not getting rid of the furniture that it was just sent out to be cleaned.

Yesterday I took the attached photos of the lobby to show that after more than two weeks the lobby furniture is still gone. It does not take over two weeks to clean furniture. I engaged in a conversation with a City employee that I never met before. After explaining who I was and engaging him in conversation I found out that the City has the lobby furniture in a room on the 1st floor (it is not still out being cleaned) and that the City is having meetings trying to decide what to do about the furniture.

At first I took pleasure in the fact that now the homeless problem was in City Hall, and every person that I have told about the City Hall Lobby problem has said good now they are getting to see what it is like. But then I got concerned that Colleen Kelly is advocating that The City of Redmond open a day center for the Homeless. The two reasons I believe that the City of Redmond is considering a day center for the homeless are one the attached Task Force Meeting document from May of this year (on page 2 in red) where Colleen notes that “April, 2016 – Day Center in Bellevue has closed for now: they lost their lease, which was very low cost, and their budget is not sufficient to cover a big increase in rent”. The second reason I believe that Colleen is pushing for a homeless day center in Redmond is the quote from the below article:

http://www.issaquahreporter.com/news/375096911.html

“These men need a place to be during the day,” said Colleen Kelley, the assistant director of community development in Redmond.

If you open a homeless day center in Redmond you should open it in the first floor lobby of City Hall and here are the reasons why:

1) The City Hall 1st floor lobby gets very little use, it is heated and air conditioned the Green thing to do with it is use it as a homeless day center since the space is currently just being wasted. 

2) If City Hall is going to provide services that attract the homeless with the mind set that it is a good thing to help homeless that do not originate in Redmond, and as we all know based on the city interviews and police data 90% of the Redmond homeless is an imported problem. City Hall should live with the problem that they have helped create by providing shelter for the homeless in their own building. You could provide them a gas BBQ for cooking food just outside the back door of the lobby and allow people and business to donate food for the BBQ. Colleen could BBQ for them at lunch time. I will help solicit food donations for the BBQ, and maybe donuts for the morning if the city is short on funds. Some people in City Hall do not think that providing services will attract more homeless, lets test that thought by proving food and day shelter in the City Hall lobby.

3) If the City of Redmond helps open a Homeless Day Shelter in Redmond, all of the business and residents near that day shelter will be given the information in this email that will show part of the Cities motivation to open a day center for the homeless is to get the homeless out of the City Hall lobby. I guarantee you that if I do a survey of businesses to see if they would like to have a homeless day center open next to them or in the City Hall lobby they will overwhelmingly choose the City Hall Lobby.

4) Since City Hall seems to not want to crack down on drug use by the homeless, the City Hall Lobby is a perfect place because it is close to the river and the homeless only have to go a short distance to do drugs and drink near the river.

If you disagree with using the 1st Floor lobby of City Hall as a homeless day shelter please tell me why it is not a good location? If you plan to open one someplace else in the City please tell me why the near by businesses and residents should have to put up with the homeless problems of the shelter and City Hall should not have to put up with the problem? Do you think City employees are more important than private businesses and residents?

Thank You
Al Rosenthal


Mr. Rosenthal was answered by Mayor Marchione HIMSELF on June 11th:

Sent: Sat, Jun 11, 2016 12:12 pm
Subject: Re: City of Redmond Day Center for the homeless
Mr. Rosenthal—

Thank you for your continued interest in the issue of homelessness in Redmond.  Homelessness is a problem that is overwhelming King County and Western Washington. Every jurisdiction is dealing with it and no jurisdiction is “inviting” homelessness to their City. Just because you repeat your opinion below over and over ad nauseam does not make it true. 

What is accurate is that City officials want to work with the region to eliminate homelessness. I did not see any suggestions in your email that would help us accomplish this goal. Therefore we will not pursue any of your ideas.

The discussion about an Eastside Day Center is an idea about reducing homelessness in the region. At the end of April, the day center for single men operated in Bellevue by Congregations for the Homeless (CFH) had to close due to the church building they were using being sold.  Because they had access to space at such a low cost, they have had a very difficult time finding another space they can afford, so no day center services have been available.

The City of  Bellevue is working to secure an interim site for the men’s winter shelter until a permanent site is able to be established.  The hope is that this site will also have space to accommodate the day center.  There is a site being actively explored and Bellevue staff hopes to know whether or not it will work out sometime within the next month.

Sincerely,
John Marchione
Mayor

Mr. Rosenthal answered:

Sent: Thu, Jun 23, 2016 1:02 pm
Subject: Re: City of Redmond Day Center for the homeless
John Marchione / Redmond City Council

I checked on Tuesday night and the furniture is sill missing from the City Hall Lobby. Do you still have it locked away in the back room? Have you decided not to put it back out in the lobby because it attracts homeless person to the lobby?

 Based on your reply below and your actions by removing the furniture in the City Hall lobby you do not want the homeless in or around City Hall. Some people would consider City Hall to be hypocrites for not allowing the homeless in the City Hall Lobby or Tent Camps on the grass next to City Hall and the Police Station.

I do think that for safety reasons you should encourage the homeless to stay in the City Hall Lobby and under the over hang in front of the City Hall Lobby instead of the Library. The reason it is safer for homeless to stay in the City Hall Lobby than the library is that there typically are no children in the City Hall lobby and there are a large number of children in the Library. If you provide access to your wireless Internet, access to the showers in the exercise facility during mid-morning and mid-afternoon when the city employees are not using them, and work with the library to ban anyone that is not following library rules (the library mite work with you if they knew that the banned persons could go to city hall), I believe that you could make the Library a safer place and get the homeless to hang out at City Hall Lobby. If you do not do something to make the Library safer and something happens to a child in the Library what will you tell the parent of that child? Will you tell then that you thought it was more important to keep the homeless out of the City Hall Lobby than the Library? Is there anyone on the Redmond City Council that cares about the safety of children at the Library more than they care about keeping the homeless out of the City Hall Lobby?

 The attached photo was taken yesterday of the King County Administration Building at 500 4th Avenue in Seattle. It looks like they are allowing the homeless to camp next the County Building on County property, I may not agree with how the County and Seattle deal with the homeless but one thing that they have going for them is that they are not hypocrites. Instead of permitting tent cities at Education Hill, you should put the next tent city next to City Hall like the County has done in Seattle.

It is not just me that thinks City Hall has done things to attract homeless to Down Town Redmond. Recently when a Redmond Police officer was turning his car around in my parking lot I engaged him in conversation. I told him who I was and about the city homeless data that I had obtained from the City interviews and the police data. When I told him that in the city interviews 21 out of 21 homeless were not from Redmond and that 8 out of 21 were from out of state, he told me that a higher percent than that were from out of state. He also told me that the City of Redmond was doing more than any other East Side City to attract homeless persons. He seems pretty typical of the Redmond police that I have spoken to over the last couple of years on the street.

Last Friday I was told abut a UPS person was attacked by what is thought to be a homeless man with a knife that wanted his cell phone. The attack took place in the apartment complex adjacent to the senior center last winter. I wonder how safe that makes the senior’s feel? Has anyone from the City warned them about the dangers posed by the homeless?

Last Saturday I called 911 to have two Landing homeless trespassed on the bench next to the front door of my building at about 8:15 AM. When the police were there I advised the homeless that the City does not have a trespass sign up in from of their lobby and that they should hang out under the City Hall overhang. You do not have a problem with that advice, do you?

Thank You
Al Rosenthal

King County Admin Building 500 4th Ave (photo as PDF)

 

I will admit that I hadn’t thought about the connection to Mr. Rosenthal’s email until today when I received an answer from Council-member Stilin, the Ombudsperson of the month.  My email was sent on June 23rd; Mr. Stilin answered on June 24th regarding the City Hall furniture.   The responses on June 27th and today were regarding my construction question and are not included here as they are not about the City Hall furniture.  I incorrectly stated that the “Senior center” was under construction when it is in fact, the Public Safety Building.

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2016 4:42 PM
To: Council
Subject: City Hall & Construction at Senior Center

I was at the City Hall building the other day and noticed that all the furniture in the lobby was gone!  Wondering if there’s something planned for the space (other than the sculptures) or if there’s a reason for the furniture move?

I’m also curious about the plywood and construction/tape at the Senior Center?  Whatever is going on will be a bit unattractive with Derby Days coming up in a couple weeks.

Could you fill me in on what’s going on?

Thanks!


Sent: 
Friday, June 24th, 2016 2:55 PM

Dear Ms. Norman,

Thank you for contacting the Redmond City Council with your concerns about the City Hall Lobby and the construction taking place at the Senior Center and Public Safety Building.  I am responding as the Redmond City Council Ombudsperson for the month of June.

On City Hall, the furniture in the lobby was removed several weeks ago for cleaning as some of the chairs had become noticeably malodorous for City Hall visitors and for employees working in the Permit Center above the lobby.  With the furniture removed, City staff have been evaluating the layout and potential use of first floor lobby space for a “one-stop” Customer Service Center, an ongoing study effort that is expected to conclude later this summer.

With regard to the Senior Center and Public Safety building construction, I am still waiting for information from public works on how those sites will be secured during Derby Days.  I will provide a response to you as soon as I received that information.

Regards,
John {Stilin}

 

THIS MORNING, I stopped by the library to pick up some items on hold.  It was before 10, so I stood at the entrance with about 10 other people.  While there, I noticed some young people and their belongings cluttering the entrance.  It’s not the first time I’ve noticed people hanging around the outside of the library; except today it bothered me in light of the weather and recent conversations I’ve had with many Redmond residents.

 

Although these could be young adults who have a day off from work or school and are spending the day at the public library talking with friends, studying, looking for work or playing games; it is far more likely that these young adults are using the library as a “Day Shelter” until the night shelter opens up again.

According to the Task Force on Homelessness Final Report, “The Landing, a shelter for young adults aged 18-24 located in downtown Redmond”, is operated by Friends of Youth (p2).  The Landing is the only shelter “for young adults (18-24) in all of East King County” (p5), even though we have a regionalized system for homelessness.

The shelters and other resources in the surrounding areas as identified by the Task Force are (p2):

  • Congregations for the Homeless Day Center
  • Camp Unity
  • Avondale Park Shelter/Transitional Housing (Operated by Hopelink and Friends of Youth)
  • The Sophia Way Shelter
  • Open Kitchen Meal Program (Operated by Redmond United Methodist Church)

The Landing is open from 8:45 PM until 8:00 AM the following morning.  From the “Friends of Youth” website:

“Line-up for the shelter is at 8:30 PM and intake begins at 8:45 PM. Guests are provided with dinner, showers, laundry service, clothing and breakfast in the morning. Guests may stay at the Landing up to 30 nights within a three-month period, with the possibility of extension. The Landing closes at 8:00 AM each morning.”

These young men and women spend their evenings in the shelter and then leave at 8 AM each morning to spend their days doing what?  Accosting UPS drivers?  Shoplifting from grocery stores?  Playing video games?

Between the panhandlers on many corners around Redmond, the increase of loiterers in and around public buildings and spaces, and crimes that are directly or indirectly related to the homeless; is it any wonder the citizens of Redmond are irate about encampments and the increasing homeless and transient population?  If you have the ability to play video games or hold a sign on a street corner ALL DAY LONG, you have the ability to work a job.

I think the Council and Mayor should begin to rethink their ‘strategy’ on reducing homelessness in our city.  The current approaches don’t seem to be working; in fact, the populations seem to be increasing.  The ‘gorilla’ is in the room now and is encroaching upon the furniture.  If the “noticeably malodorous” condition of the lobby area requires that the City remove the furniture or send it for cleaning; however the furniture has not been returned in more than 2 weeks; either the City needs a new cleaning service or they need to lock the doors of City Hall.

It appears that the City is unwilling to offer City facilities for day uses for the homeless, however are more than willing to have them roam the streets, vandalize and damage public and business buildings or spaces.  After all, we certainly can’t have the homeless spending their days loitering around in the chairs of City Hall!  It would be embarrassing for the staff and Mayor to explain their presence to visiting dignitaries and developers interested in foisting more unaffordable housing on the city.

It’s better to have the homeless hidden inside the library building where they are only a threat to other patrons and library staff.  Perhaps the groups standing in front of the Library with backpacks and luggage are only waiting for a bus, instead of idly hanging out. And let’s not forget those that have been ‘asked to leave’ after trespassing on private property; or those that repeatedly shoplift from retail establishments; because the Redmond Police Department is ‘discouraged’ from actually protecting the public as the City is concerned about possible litigation.  Who cares about PUBLIC SAFETY, when it’s much more acceptable to give into the shaming by advocates who only want to help these poor, misunderstood people.  Why not have them ‘temporarily’ encamped in Redmond’s most populated neighborhood area (See “Demographic Character link, Exhibit 4-3) instead of requiring that services and housing are more accessible?

Several recommendations have been made to work towards solutions; by the Task Force on Homelessness, business owners and by private citizens.  The City needs to consider the safety of their residents by:

  • Providing reliable Day Centers that protect both the homeless populace as well as residents and businesses in Redmond.
  • Setting the standard by requiring developers to provide more than the minimum 10% of affordable housing in all projects.
  • Using vacant / unused spaced in downtown Redmond to provide temporary housing, services and resources for homeless people.

If the City of Redmond is really interested in working toward a remedy for the ongoing homeless crisis; they have a long way to go to prove this to the tax-paying residents and business owners in Redmond.

 

Links:  

May 4, 2016 Redmond Community Homelessness Task Force Meeting to Review Progress
Task Force on Homelessness — City of Redmond web page
Public Safety Building Renovation
Other City projects and plans
Task Force on Homelessness Final Report
Friends of Youth
Interview with residents of “The Landing”
COR Population “Demographic Character”
King County Administration Building encampment

 

 

 

**Guest Post** Losing the History of Redmond

Standard

Guest Post regarding the history and function of Nokomis Building by Patsy Rosenbach, Kirkland.

Nokomis Building Procedures

Letter to the Editor, Redmond Reporter                                                                                               December 1-14, 2015

Growing up in Redmond and the Redmond of today are vastly different.  The “Third Street” (now 166th Avenue N.E.) I grew up on of residences with yards and gardens has disappeared into high rise apartments and condominiums snugged right up to the sidewalk.  How is the sun to reach the earth?  Are zoning laws being upheld?  What about carbon footprint?  The earth is paved over.  Lost is the feeling of neighborhoods and private residences.

Next on the chopping block is the historically significant Nokomis building, built in 1933 during the Great Depression by the WPA for intended use as a library and use of the commuity.  My first job as a student at the Redmond Elementary School was to walk to the library about once a week to check in books.  I recall the librarian Mamie Orr and her assistant Mrs. Morrell, and I recall the visits of Mrs. Ottini as she arrived with arms full of books.  How she ever got through them all is still impressive to me.  Those were days long gone by.

And now the City of Redmond is partnering with a builder to raze the historic Nokomis buildng which was built on land donated by Redmond’s Brown family for community use.  That purpose is now foregone in favor of a multi-story dense housing facility of dormitory size rooms with 48 tenants per floor sharing kitchen space.  Would you want to share your kitchen with 47 other residents?  What about sanitation?  What about privacy issues?  Proposed are 96 units of 200 square feet each, with ground floor to be retail space.  How will the 29 parking spaces allocated accommodate such a facility?  And what is to become of the street traffic?  Who will monitor such a facility and its maintenance indoors and out?  What will this invite?

Attendance at the Redmond City Council meeting on December 1, 2015, to appeal this decision yielded ongoing concerns.  Of primary concern is legal ownership of the building.  What entity holds the last Statutory Warranty Deed to the building?  It is my understanding that the Nokomis Club sold the building to the Redmond Chamber of Commerce for continued community use.  The Chamber was disbanded and taken over by One Redmond, an organization membered by the mayor, council members, and the current presumed owner.  How can the title company and/or escrow company clear title without benefit of a clean Statutory Warranty Deed?  Who is responsible for making that provision?

It is apparent that this perception of a conflict of interest would come into question as the mayor and three council members recused themselves from the Council hearing on December 1.  And how is it that documentation provided by the Nokomis representatives was devalued or not considered as part of the hearing?  The Council’s scripted responses were recited in rote, appearing totally biased.  It is as if a determination was made by the mayor and council prior to any sort of “hearing” to arrive at the decision to deny the appeals to the Hearing Examiner’s decision to prevent demolition of the building.

The questions and doubts about the legality and appropriateness of issues surrounding this situation are sorely disappointing.  What will be the outcome?

Patsy Rosenbach, Kirkland, WA

 

Saving the Nokomis Building

Standard

Guest post by Alexa Munoz, President Nokomis Club of Redmond

Nokomis Club of Redmond needs to raise approximately $25-$50,000 in order to pay for legal fees and representation as they appeal the decision to deny the historic significance of the Nokomis building in Redmond.  The hearing appealing the City of Redmond’s “Decision of Non-Significance” was held July 9th and 10th.  We are awaiting a decision on the appeal.

A separate appeal has been filed regarding the EPA’s classification of the building.

If you are interested in helping with their fight, please consider donating funds via PayPal on the Nokomis Club website or through their Crowdrise site (both listed below).

Contact the Redmond Nokomis Club:

Nokomis Club of Redmond

P.O. Box 7012 

Bellevue, WA  98008-1012

Website:  www.nokomisclub98052.com

Crowdrise site:  https://www.crowdrise.com/HistoricRedmondsFirstLibrary/fundraiser/kristenbryant

December 7, 2015

 

The Process to Save the Nokomis Building

                      

 

Beginning in February 2015, the Nokomis Club of Redmond participated in the process proscribed in the City of Redmond zoning code to prevent the Nokomis Building from being demolished and replaced by the 162TEN Project. The 162TEN Project, a proposal for a 5-story building of 96 units of 200 square feet each with ground floor retail, was given the status of a Type II Site Plan Entitlement, and the project was then reviewed by the City of Redmond Development Department to ensure the project met their initial screening checklist requirements. With the Type II Site Plan Entitlement designation, a project is approved after two reviews by the Design Review Board and two reviews by the Technical Committee comprised of the Director of Planning and the Director of Public Works.  (Refer to Redmond Zoning Code 21.76.050E.)

 

In February the first document issued by the City was the decision on State Environmental Policy Act-Determination of Non-Significance (SEPA-DNS).  The primary concern of this determination was the viability of the Nokomis Building.  The Nokomis Club and Redmond Historical Society partnered to appeal the City’s findings on this topic on March 3, 2015.

 

The Technical Committee Report was issued on April 2, 2015, and the Nokomis Club submitted its appeal on the April 22, 2015, deadline.  However, the City distributed a revised version of the Technical Committee Report dated April 22, 2015.  Further comments on issues in the new report were allowed and made by the Nokomis Club by the deadline of May 6, 2015.

 

The City determined it would be more efficient to hold the Nokomis Club appeals of the Technical Committee Decision and the SEPA-DNS concurrently before the Hearing Examiner.  Those hearings were held on July 9 and 10, 2015.  The Hearing Examiner issued her decision denying the appeals on August 7, 2015.  Following this decision, the Nokomis Club requested a reconsideration of some facts, and that decision was issued on September 3, 2015.

 

The Nokomis Club appealed the Hearing Examiner’s decision of August 7, 2015, to the Redmond City Council, and met the appeal deadline of September 17, 2015.  The City Council scheduled their hearing for December 1, 2015.  During this hearing, each side had ten minutes to present an oral argument.  After presentation of the arguments, the Council voted to uphold the Hearing Examiner’s decision denying the appeals.

 

Should the Nokomis Club of Redmond determine the facts warrant another appeal, the outstanding issues can be appealed to King County Superior Court.

 

Alexa Munoz, President

Nokomis Club of Redmond

Previous posts about Nokomis Building:

November 26th, 2015
October 23, 2015
August 6, 2015
July 15, 2015
July 7, 2015
June 3, 2015
May 29, 2015
April 20, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN GOOD PEOPLE DO NOTHING:

Standard

Guest Post by Alexa Munoz, President of Nokomis Club

The few who consider themselves entitled to exceed the law can prevail.

 

In the case of the Nokomis Building consider:

 

City Hall says:  The Nokomis Building is damaged and has lost the integrity to be on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Fact:  The building’s condition has not changed significantly from its condition when it was inventoried by historic preservation specialists hired by the City in 1998 and 2005.  These specialists indicated there had been moderate changes to the building, but it was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.  Further Landmarking did not take place because the owner of the building since 1972—the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce—did not want to participate in the Historic Preservation program that began in the year 2000.

All of the historic preservation specialists in the state disagree with City Hall:  Gregory Griffith, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer; J. Todd Scott, Preservation Architect, King County Historic Preservation Program; and Cathy Wickwire, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation—all advocate preservation.

Joe Townsend, President of the Redmond Historical Society, stated in the Public Hearing on July 9, 2015, [The Nokomis building is]. . . “overall a sound, whole, and complete unbroken, unimpaired building, the very definition of architectural integrity.”

 

 

City Hall says:  A temporary document to purchase title insurance gives title because it says the vested owner is “OneRedmond, successor by merger to the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce”.

 

Fact:  Documents obtained from the Secretary of State indicate their office has no documents on record of a merger or consolidation by the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce with OneRedmond.

 

 

City Hall says The Technical Committee (Director of Planning and Director of Public Works) say the zoning code was obeyed in allowing the 162TEN project; the Design Review Board considered the zoning code in their deliberations; and both groups knew all about the Nokomis Building.

 

Fact:  The Technical Committee does not keep any minutes of their deliberations—it only issues a report.  Therefore, there is no documentation at all about their considerations while developing their report.

The Design Review Board minutes indicate that other than a few considerations concerning specific building plans there was no acknowledgment of the Nokomis Building on the proposed 162TEN site.  In addition there were no comments on the zoning issues of scale, gradual transition between uses, neighborhood compatibility, or health and safety issues including deprivation of light and air circulation as well as reduction of personal privacy to the housing on the east.

Other than the information found in the book, The Nokomis Club:  A Century of Community Service 1909 to 2009, there is little or no information elsewhere about the construction and operation of the Nokomis Building.

 

All Redmond residents should ask themselves just when their building will be targeted to disappear next.

 

New Development poses health concerns to Neighborhood? (**GUEST POST**)

Standard

This is a guest post by Sandy Henderson, a Redmond resident who poses questions about the health concerns that may negatively affect residents of the neighborhood near the planned “162Ten” project.  This is just one of many concerns that need to be addressed before this project can be acceptable to the neighboring community and local residents.

Dear fellow activists,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my personal priorities regarding Project 162TEN and my uneasiness that they’ve been lost in the shuffle.  As a resident of the neighborhood near the project, I wrote a protest letter to Gary Lee re: health and safety concerns that my neighbors and I have about the project.  Because I did not fully understand the appeal process, we lost the opportunity to be an appellant.  Fortunately I was given the opportunity to be a witness testifying to the health and safety issues of current residents.

Since the hearing, building/property preservation has taken center stage with a lot of media coverage and citizen discussion.  But issues of neighborhood residents are not being aired.  I am told that these issues may not be mentioned at the final hearing at all.  I have also become aware that the Nokomis building is a negative “hot button” for some vocal members of the public.

So, I’m redirecting my energy to raise citizen awareness of the neighborhood concerns.  I see this as a both/and choice, not either/or. I want to assure both the residents’ and Nokomis concerns are fairly conveyed to the public.

I’m adding another element to the approach:

Resident issues need to be heard clearly by the public as an important stand-alone subject apart from the history.

Every conversation we have about the project should make reference to the current people affected AND the property.

Library staff has approved my picketing outside the front (parking lot) Redmond library entrance with a 2-sided placard.

My focus in conversations will be on the health and safety of area residents

I’ll answer Nokomis questions as enthusiastically and accurately as possible and re-direct to the Nokomis website.

Please feel free to join me!

Sandy Henderson
sjshenderson@outlook.com

City Project 162TEN (APPL NO. LAND-2015-00746)

Plans to:

  1.  Demolish Redmond’s first permanent library which
  • During the Great Depression, was envisioned by women of the Redmond Nokomis Club
  • Was built with WPA funds obtained by women of the Redmond Nokomis Club
  • Employed out-of-work craftsmen for construction
  • Housed the donated personal book collections of the Nokomis Club women.

2.  Erect a 5-story micro-apartment building with 96 units and 26 parking spaces.

On July 10, 2015 the City of Redmond conducted a hearing to address appeals that challenged the proposed project located at 16210 NE 80th St.  The hearing was conducted by Sharon A. Rice, a professional hearing examiner under contract to and paid by the City of Redmond to conduct such hearings. (Complete hearing content, findings and conclusions can be obtained from the Planning Department at Redmond City Hall).  Historic preservation has been widely discussed in the community.

Testimony also was given regarding the adverse effects that demolition, excavation, construction and the completed building would have on the health, safety and well-being of current neighborhood residents.  

Specifically:
 

  • Many area residents are seniors with health issues, including lung cancer, chronic bronchitis/COPD, asthma, eye problems aggravated by air pollution, mobility issues. Health issues will likely be further aggravated by living in the dust, fumes, noise, debris of a construction zone for the next 2-3 years,
  • Many residents are regular walkers, but accessibility to safe walkways will be obstructed.
  • Parking is already at a premium with overflow from the Transit Center into private parking areas and onto narrow NE 81st St.
  • Daylight and airflow will be permanently obstructed.
  • Close proximity of the proposed and existing buildings will adversely affect privacy of current residents.
  • City transparency about the project has been a problem.  Requests for project documentation were made but waivers, deviations, specs were not provided.
  • The Nokomis building was constructed in the 1930s, when lead paint and asbestos insulation were the norm and mold is likely.  City assurances have been given that all abatement laws would be followed for demolition. Yet, without approval to continue the project or apparent regulatory oversight, hazardous material abatement vans and personnel have been observed on the property and exiting the building with full garbage bags.  Electrical work has also been done, leaving exposed wires dangling within reach of passersby.  These actions leave serious doubt about project transparency

All appeal issues were denied.  The examiner’s report stated:
 

“Conclusions Based on Findings:
 

With regard to both appeals, evidence that is not cited in the findings was found not to be relevant to applicable decisions and/or appeal criteria…“

Meaning –Testimony specific to current residents and to health concerns of people living in the neighborhood for many years, were “FOUND NOT TO BE RELEVANT”!!!
The FINAL APPEAL will be at the City Council meeting on Dec 1, 2015, 7pm.

Help stop Redmond Project 162TEN!

Attend the FINAL APPEAL at the City Council meeting on Dec 1, 2015, 7pm.
Write a letter(s) of protest to:
Mayor John Marchione         mayor@redmond.gov        425-556-2101
Mayoral candidate Steve Fields    info@ElectSteveFields.com    425-898-3618

City Council members

Kimberly Allen      kallen@redmond.gov         425.556.2902
David Carson    dcarson@redmond.gov     425.556.2113
Tom Flynn    tmflynn@redmond.gov        425.556.2156
Dayle (Hank) Margeson     hmargeson@redmond.gov     425.556.2116
Hank Myers    hmyers@redmond.gov        425.429.3454
Byron Shutz    bcshutz@redmond.gov        425-556-2143
John Stilin    jcstilin@redmond.gov        425.556.2114

Seattle Times
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
Redmond Reporter
Redmond  Patch
King County News
Seattle Weekly
The Stranger

Make a tax deductible donation to help with legal and appeal costs at

Click the menu symbol in the upper right corner
Click Find an event
Search:  historic Redmond

Make a “STOP 162TEN” poster and place it safely and legally on your own property.

Join a protest picket line at:

  • The Redmond Main library to support neighborhood residents, and/or
  • The corner of 161st and Redmond Way weekdays 3-6pm to support historic preservation

Q&A with Councilmember Hank Myers

Standard

In May I sent a list of several questions to each of the council members whose positions were going to be on the November ballot.  Councilman Myers responded to my questions; his answers are listed below.  Questions are in boldface; responses in italics:

  • Why are you running for Redmond City Council?
     

Typically new Council members are learning the ropes in their first term, and then establish their interests and added expertise in the second.  Things were a little slower for me as I am more fiscally conservative than the majority of members, but I have pursued interests in the environment and job creation and innovation. 

  • What do you think the main obligations of Council members are?

The main obligations include crafting a budget every two years, reviewing proposals made for the Council by the administration, and advocating for residents’ interests.

  • What will you bring to the council position?

Eight years of experience primarily, 44 years as a transportation economist, a similar amount of time in government regulation and legislative functions.  Most of all, I bring an interest in improving Redmond and staying connected with the public.

  • How will you stay connected with the people in the City of Redmond?

Mostly, I participate in a lot of city volunteer events such as Green Redmond, Redmond Senior Center, Redmond Parks improvement, OneRedmond, Redmond Business Showcase, Lake Washington Schools events, the WRIA-8 Salmon Recovery Council, the Together Center and VALA.  People do email me or call me as well.  I believe I am responsive to those contacts.

  • What projects are you excited about?

I am looking forward to creating a Senior Shuttle, building the downtown park, improving salmon habitat, and creating a vibrant, dense downtown.

  • What projects would you like to see proposed or planned for the City?

We need better transportation that serves our single family areas and allows smooth movement through downtown.  This involves long term commitments to a 160th Avenue extension, improvement in West Lake Sammamish Parkway from Marymoor to the junction of Bel-Red road, and Red-Wood Road.

  • What challenges do you think the residents of Redmond face in the coming year?  5 years?  10 years?

I am hoping we can reduce challenges as we have gotten behind on our roads and infrastructure improvement.  I see a challenge in creating a more walkable local community in each area of town, with the ability to reduce dependence on cars.

  • How do you feel Redmond meets the needs of small businesses?   Do you think Redmond could do better?

Our process is difficult, and we hear that from small business owners.  We need to open up allowed uses and reduce the number of special zones in the city.  A concept that shows a lot of promise is “Form Based Planning” which encourages innovation of uses within an area.

  • What project or projects would you like to have been involved in and why?

The irony of politics is that decisions about technical issues are commonly made on the basis of consensus and administrative convenience.  The Senior Shuttle, for example, as it is now envisioned, is designed for the most efficient city administration, but also the highest cost.  I am particularly interested in engaging the public in programs for civic improvement such as the improvement of the Sammamish River through the Marymoor area.

  • Do you feel Redmond is in step with other cities of like size and demographics?

We have a high cost of government compared with our neighbors, as well as more regulation.  We also tend to take longer to determine policy issues.  For example, all of our neighboring cities have established zoning and regulations for marijuana and are reaping the tax benefits.  62% of our voters endorsed this program three years ago, yet the Planning Commission has yet to be briefed.

  • What are the short and long term plans to address the growing homeless situation?

The community needs to be safe, and there needs to be mechanisms to assist able-bodied persons out of homelessness, and to provide a safety nets for those who cannot be fully self-sufficient.  There needs to be a better solution to transient housing than living on top of wood pallets and underneath tarps.  I think a significant problem is that government has tried to control the services, but cannot provide the needed support alone.  A major solution lies in the civil population of charities, volunteer efforts and churches.

  • What are the short and long term plans to address the growing crime rate?

This is a bit of a false assumption as crimes against persons continue to decline, particularly in residential areas.  Property crimes, primarily car break-ins and home burglaries, are rising.  Property crimes are for money, and Redmond is where the money is.  A significant amount of property crime involves a resident not being careful to lock up possessions and cars.  These are crimes of opportunity.  The city can lead an effort to make a cultural change relative to property crime.  I like to feel I can trust my environment, but now I lock my doors and when shopping put all valuables out of sight.

  • How is the city going to mitigate traffic congestion and parking shortages with all the growth going on?

I have been critical of our downtown parking program because we do not have a firm handle on what customer needs are and how we can create space for people  to drive into commercial areas and park.  Actually parking and mobility are still good in Redmond, and all of the newly developed apartments are full.  Apartment residents actually own fewer cars per person, and use more transit.  The city has also restricted commercial properties ability to use their own parking to absorb overnight needs, which I think needs to change.

  • How do you feel the about the Budget by Priorities method the City currently uses?

The Budget by Priorities, as originally adopted, is based on the book, “The Price of Government”.  Our shortcoming has been that instead of going through all the steps of the process, we have skipped a few.  Consequently we have a higher price of government than our neighbors with less feeling of citizen involvement.  The biggest shortcoming is that we do not build in an easy way to consider changes or alternatives.  It is nearly impossible to do changes in the beginning because we do not have the entire picture, but by the time we do it is too late to make any changes in the very complex budget.  In this way Budgeting by Priorities is more convoluted and less flexible than the Mayor submitting a budget and then the Council hashes it out.  The BP process as described in the Price of Government is a superior system, but only if we follow the complete path.

  • How can the City remain fiscally accountable to the taxpayers?

Again, the Price of Government says that if citizens feel they are not getting the services they want for the money they pay, they resist.  The loss of the two levies, I believe, is an example although others feel that the voters we saying we are really doing fine, and there is not more need.  Another way is to get involved in the public process.  None of the Council elections are contested, including the open seat.  In our neighboring cities several seats had so many running that primaries were required.  We have trouble filling the Planning Commission.  In democracy, the voters get the government they deserve.

From the City of Redmond City Council Page:

Hank Myers

Position #1

Term Expires 12/31/15

Chair of the Public Safety Committee
Member of the Parks & Human Services Committee

Hank has served on Redmond’s City Council since January 2008 and is now serving his second term. He has served on advisory boards for Metro Transit and the Bellevue School District. Councilmember Myers is the Director of the Eastside Friends of Seniors, and serves as Chair of the Board of the Together Center in Redmond. Hank began his professional career with Hughes Airwest as a regulatory affairs specialist and since 1980, has served as a consultant in transportation economics, including aviation and surface issues. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English from California State University. A 38-year resident and living in the Viewpoint area of Redmond, Hank is married to Christine and has two grown children. He likes to spend time volunteering with Green Redmond and at the Center for Wooden Boats.

hmyers@redmond.gov

425.429.3454

I have corrected spelling if necessary, but have copied and pasted the comments, in whole, from the email sent by Hank Myers September 29, 2015.