STRONG WORDS AND LIVE-WORK
by Kirby Lindsay
The Land Use Committee meets monthly in the Chamber office (at 908 N. 34th St), with the next scheduled for Thursday, May 13, at 10 a.m. Land use can cover a variety of issues and, according to Chamber Executive Director Jessica Vets, local real estate brokers have been invited recently to speak on better ways to market the neighborhood, to fill empty storefronts, office space, residential and industrial buildings. Regan mentioned a retail broker agreed to speak in May.
SR-520 Bridge Replacement
Meetings also discuss issues like that of the first letter, on pending replacement of the State Route 520 floating bridge. The letter stated, “we are greatly dependent on the ongoing viability” of 520 for transportation. It urges, briefly, that Washington State Department of Transportation proceed with the project as currently planned.
Discussion ensued on the language of the letter. The Board agreed to strongly worded support for the replacement. As written, the letter mentioned plan and design of bridge approaches that allow for future installation of light rail. The Board chose to encourage light rail, with different wording that didn’t weaken the letter’s tone.
With the language changed slightly, with the same facts, an amended motion, to send the letter as newly drafted, passed. Regan advised the Board quick action as decisions may have already been made on the replacement which could make this letter irrelevant.
Live-Work Units in Industrial Zones
The second letter received scrutiny for its topic, rather than words. Addressed to the Mayor, City Council and Director of the Seattle Department of Planning & Development, the letter asked for an amendment to City Land Use Code for legal creation of ‘live-work’ spaces within industrial zones of the Fremont Urban Village. Regan described this as a “modest proposal” to allow rehabilitation of buildings into multiple live-work units within industrial areas.
The industrial zone covers a portion of properties south of North 36th Street and west of Evanston Avenue North, and the letter only concerns the areas within the Urban Village of Fremont, as designated under the Comprehensive Plan. Regan also observed that the City consider live-work units commercial zone uses.
Concerns were raised about placement of live-work units beside industrial users. Residents (the ‘live’ side) have complained about noise, traffic and could, eventually, displace industrial neighbors. Questions were raised about the involvement of industrial business owners, and affected land owners, in deciding this policy issue.
The Board tabled further discussion, for now, and requested the land use committee revisit this subject. They also recommended consultation with the North Seattle Industrial Association – a partner organization that advocates on industrial business concerns.
Land use committee meetings are open to Chamber members, but Fremont Chamber Board Meetings remain open-to-the public, regardless of membership. Learn more on this, and all Chamber topics, on the last Wednesday of each month (next one May 26th) at 8 a.m. at History House (790 N. 34th).
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.