by Kirby LindsayNo single issue dominated discussions at the August Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) meeting. Instead, the agenda – and attendees – maintained a quick pace as they skipped through a number of issues, concerns and happenings with comments coming, as is typical of an FNC meeting, on every item.
A few of these comments (but not all) concerned –
Congratulations & Farewell – FNC President Norma Jones announced the good news on the recent birth of Board Member Alex Berezhnoy’s son, and the bad news that, due to his increased commitments, he has decided to resign from the FNC Board.
Guest Speaker: A Hotel For Fremont? – A Fremont developer, Brian Regan, gave very preliminary information on a possible change to his project for 3417 Evanston Avenue North. Regan currently holds a master use permit to build an office/retail building there, but financing has proven difficult. Instead, he has considered the possibility of constructing a hotel on the site. It would have similar bulk and scale as the original plan – still 65’ high - but with a contract rezone to NC3. The project would also include retail, conference rooms (available for community use) and a plaza. Regan would like to include a small movie theater. He estimated the hotel would have approximately 100 guest rooms.
When asked, Regan admitted he has not fully committed to this project due to the high costs associated with the rezone, and the difficulty financing although he has investigated ‘green card financing.’ He also tried to clear up a mis-understanding – the apartments currently at this location are not low-income, just inexpensive due to the age and wear of the building.
Art Works Wants Work – Jessica Vets, of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, announced that, with the conclusion of the 46th Street Mural, the non-profit that led the painting, Art Works, would like to find other mural projects in this area. If anyone has a suggestion for an area appropriate for a mural, please contact Vets and she will pass on the information.
Buckaroo Tavern Travails – Several neighbors met with recently with Lars Christian, an owner of the building that currently houses the Buckaroo, and his wife. According to Jones, Christian doesn’t know what will happen after the Buckaroo leaves but he was “very responsive,” and offered to come to the FNC meeting. Jones suggested he wait until his plans become more concrete. At this point, Jones reported, Christian does not know if his family will open a restaurant at that site – their application for a liquor license keeps their options open – or if someone else will rent the space. Jones stated that Christian said the Buckaroo Tavern will leave in September, as the demands of the tenant were considered ‘too high’.
Aurora Bridge Work Staging – The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) continues their work on the safety barrier for the Aurora Bridge, with noise warnings and road closures scheduled for September 5. FNC Board Member Erik Pihl stated a full update on the project should be requested from WSDOT, as well as further discussion of the use of the area northwest of the Fremont Troll sculpture for the staging of construction. This led to a heated discussion about use by WSDOT, on permission granted by the City of Seattle, and the need to conduct a discussion with both parties.
Transfer Station Frustration – Toby Thaler, another FNC Board Member, spoke on redevelopment work proposed by the City of Seattle on the North Seattle Transfer Station (the Dump) without proper planning. Thaler has followed the project, and stated that the City has not followed proper protocol or environmental regulations (SEPA,) and that it is time to demand they answer on it.
Fire Alarm Building – Pihl spoke on the letter he is drafting on behalf of the FNC regarding the potential remodel of Fire Station #9, and demolition of the 1921 Annex/Fire Alarm building alongside it. He intends to refer to the multiple, major variances required in the remodel plans, as well as the fact that the City of Seattle “haven’t made a case to the Neighborhood Council, or the neighbors, for why they should remodel the fire station.”
A Fight for the Fremont Neighborhood Service Center? – Pihl reported a rumor that the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods may close their 13 Neighborhood Service Centers as a cost-cutting measure, or consolidate them in some fashion. The decision ultimately rests with the Mayor of Seattle. The FNC Board immediately approves a pro-active letter, in support of the Fremont Center and the need to keep it here, be written.
Developing Aurora? – A final question was posed to developer Regan – what can be done to incentivize development of empty lots along the Aurora Avenue corridor? Regan described the roadway as a thoroughfare (a ‘quazi-freeway’), with a predominantly transient population, that makes it difficult to build on a human scale. He suggested the best way to make Aurora attractive for develpement would be to ‘calm’ it or, as someone joked, put the highway on a road diet.
Even more issues were discussed than can be captured fully here. To hear it all, attend an upcoming Fremont Neighborhood Council meeting. They take place monthly, except December, on the fourth Monday of each month at 7p at History House (790 North 34th Street).
- A Remodel For Fremont’s Fire Station #9
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 3, 2010
- FNC Highlight Reel: Special Speaker & Annual Election
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 7, 2010
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.