Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

May 21, 2001

Bruce Rips
Department of Design, Construction and Land Use
Members of the Design Review Board
Key Tower
700 5th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104 RE: Project Numbers 2002354 and MUP 2005186, University Village

Dear Mr. Rips and Members of the Design Review Board:

The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees has major concerns about the proposed expansion of University Village. We do not oppose the expansion. We just want to make sure that design concerns and other impacts upon the surrounding communities are adequately addressed. We appreciate your role in this process and the thoughtful recommendations you have provided to the project proponents. We also offer the following comments:

Height, Bulk and Scale: At the April 17, 2000 Early Design Guidance meeting, the Design Review Board asked that the proponents provide an analysis of alternative locations for the parking garage to address height, bulk and scale issues associated with the project. At the second Early Design Guidance meeting on June 5th, U Village presented two alternative locations. Official notes of this meeting indicate that the Board did not believe that alternative locations for the garage were adequately discussed. At the February 26, 2001 meeting, the Board again commented on the massiveness of the proposed garage. University Village, however, remains unwilling to compromise and realistically address height, bulk and scale issues. We urge you to require that the proponents address these issues.

Traffic Information: At the June 5th Early Design Guidance meeting, the Board requested SeaTran comments on the U Village traffic study, right-of-way improvements and pedestrian and bicycle access internal and external to the Village. We do not believe that this information has been provided. We have heard that a SeaTran representative addressed the Burke-Gilman crossing at the back entrance to U Village, but are not aware of any correspondence or reports that have been prepared. And, this is only one of the issues regarding pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety. Because there are many questions about the U Village revised traffic study, we believe an independent review by SeaTran is critical. Northeast Seattle neighborhoods have requested an independent traffic analysis by SeaTran of the proposed garage project. Your support of this request would be appreciated.

Information about Garage Location: At the June 5th meeting, the Board requested information about any promises made by the Village to the neighborhoods regarding funneling traffic onto the narrow and already congested Union Bay Place and NE Blakeley. At the February meeting, neighbors responded that they were unable to track down information about the QFC expansion and traffic and transportation issues related to that project. To our knowledge, DCLU did not take the time to obtain this information for the Board. DCLU has the records and this does not seem like an unreasonable request. Due to the major safety concerns, we request that you remain steadfast in your request for this information.

Finally, we have been told that this will be the final Design Review meeting. Due to magnitude of the project and the lack of responsiveness of both DCLU and University Village, we urge you to convene additional meetings. Thank you for considering the concerns of the Laurelhurst Community Club.

Sincerely,


Jeannie Hale, President
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / FAX 206-525-9631
jeannieh@serv.net

ENC: Background information sheet about May 14, 2001 meeting with DCLU and Councilmembers regarding U Village proposed expansion issues


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