Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

 August 7, 2007

 

 

Diane Sugimura, Director

Planning and Development Department

City of Seattle

700 - 5th Avenue, Suite 2000

P.O. Box 34019

Seattle, Washington  98124-4019

 

RE:      Project No. 3007531 / 3007696, Children’s Hospital Master Plan Application, Scoping      Meeting

 

Dear Ms. Sugimura:

 

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) Board of Trustees requests that you reschedule the public scoping meeting on the environmental impacts and issues which should be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Children’s Master Plan.  The meeting is currently scheduled for August 23, 2007 from 6-8 p.m.  The Community Club agrees with the recommendation of the Children’s Major Institutions Citizens Advisory Committee that the scoping meeting should be held in mid-September.  We further ask that you expand the scoping process 30 days as allowed under SMC 25.05.410. 

 

            LCC has participated extensively in the Children’s master planning process to date, commenting on the resolution creating the advisory committee and the memorandum of agreement with Children’s, reviewing and discussing all available materials on the concept plan and attending numerous meetings.  We had anticipated that the expanded scoping process would apply due to the magnitude of the proposed expansion of 1.5 million square feet and the need to ensure adequate public participation in the process and cooperative consultation among agencies. 

 

            The information provided on Children’s master plan website references a 30-day review period for the scoping (http://masterplan.seattlechildrens.org/).  This is the information that our neighbors have been relying upon and the information that LCC has also relied upon in that our land use consultant will be on holiday during the peak vacation period before Labor Day.  An expanded scoping process will allow LCC to provide notice of the new date for the scoping meeting in its September newsletter, distributed to 3,000 households and businesses in the area.  It will also allow LCC to provide comprehensive comments to assist the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in preparing its final scope within the one-week period following the comment deadline that is allowed by the Major Institutions Code. 

 

            LCC is concerned that the Advisory Committee will not have sufficient time to develop comments if the date for the scoping meeting is not postponed.  The first official committee meeting is August 14 and only 50 minutes are allotted on the agenda for deliberations on development of the committee’s formal comments—something that will take our own land use consultant several hours to prepare.  There is no additional committee meeting scheduled prior to the August 23rd scoping meeting and little time to schedule an extra meeting due to the fact that this is the peak vacation period before school starts.  For such a broad planned expansion that includes expansion of the major institution’s boundaries, much more time is necessary.  Committee members have made the commitment to serve and should be allowed the opportunity to do their job.

 

            It has been suggested that postponing the scoping meeting will interfere with the advisory committee’s work and the holiday season.  In this regard, your Land Use Planner, Scott Ringgold has stated:

 

“My principal concern is that the scoping meeting kicks off a cascade of future events and commitments -- responsibilities that DPD, the CAC, and Children's are committed to maintain.  As I understand it, this timeline offers little latitude for subsequent postponements.  If DPD were to wait until September for the initial scoping meeting, then a substantial body of the CAC's work would have to be conducted and completed during the midwinter holidays.”

 

According to our calculations, we find no interference with Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays that will affect the citizens advisory committee or the community in general.  The only impact we can discern would be on city departments. 

 

We take issue with the assessment of Katy Chaney that the list of comments will continue to evolve and that there will be other opportunities to comment during the two-year master planning process.  Yes, there will be other opportunities to comment, and we understand that those comments will be considered.  But, there is a difference between submitting scoping comments and comments on the draft environmental impact statement.  The advisory committee will have the opportunity to submit comments on the preliminary draft master plan and draft environmental impact statement, but that does not mean that additional alternatives and issues will receive further study and analysis if submitted at this later date.  And, citizens are not afforded this additional opportunity to comment.  A far better and more efficient approach is to allow the committee and the impacted communities the time needed to prepare initial scoping comments. 

 

            Please do not minimize the important role of the citizens advisory committee by limiting the time period to provide scoping comments with an early scoping meeting date.  The August 23rd meeting also will not provide sufficient time for the local community to participate in this phase of the planning process.  

 

Thank you for considering our request to postpone the scoping meeting until mid-September and to expand the scoping process. 

 

Sincerely,

                                                         

Liz Ogden, Vice President                                         Jeannie Hale, President

5005 48th Avenue NE                                                             3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington  98105                                        Seattle, Washington  98105

206-517-5862                                                              206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631

wizzet@comcast.net                                                   jeannieh@serv.net

 

cc:  Scott Ringgold and Katy Chaney, Department of Planning and Development; Steve Sheppard, Department of Neighborhoods