Eliot Land Use and Transportation Committee
DRAFT – NOT YET APPROVED
Minutes from November 18, 2013 Meeting – 6:30pm in Emanuel Room 1035
Minutes Submitted by Mike Warwick, Chair
Call to order and agenda review
No quorum was present until 6:45 when Allan showed up and the meeting was called to order by the Chair. The agenda was reviewed in light of non-concurrence of the Cook Street developer requesting a rezone. They asked to meet either at this or the next meeting and apparently decided to meet with us in December. They want to show us proposed plans and that would be the hang up.
Rather than proceed to the next agenda item before Paul Van Orden arrived, we discussed a proposal to partition a lot into a flag lot. We can do little to stop lot subdivisions and generally don’t comment on them; however, Clint argued they erode the fabric of the neighborhood because the units built on the new lot do not front on the sidewalk and they consume the generous back yards that are unique to Eliot. He favors “skinny” lots instead; therefore, he suggested we oppose the proposal despite the likely futility. The Chair argued that although his points are valid, flag lots serve a useful purpose by providing off-street parking and they tend to result in single family development, rather than higher density, no-park apartments. Further, they are not ahistoric as there are examples of homes on flag lots dating back 100 years scattered throughout Eliot and adjacent inner city neighborhoods. In addition, the “a” overlay that covers all Eliot R zones allows construction of new units behind existing homes and that is encouraged by City policy. Consequently, the “front door setback” issue Clint cited can result without a lot partition creating an “virtual” flag lot. The discussion ended with Paul’s arrival.
Recommendation of new Committee Members
The next item on the agenda was the nomination of new committee members to recommend to the Board. Both Paul Van Orden and Mike Faden previously expressed interest and have been participating in meetings for several months, as has Phil Conti; however, Phil was put off by the Chair’s admonition that regular attendance is a requirement of membership and he expects to travel this summer. He was assured that 100% attendance is NOT a requirement; the Chair just needs to know of absences, in advance if possible. Accordingly, Clint moved for the Committee to recommend Mike, Paul and Phil to the Board. Motion was seconded by Allan and passed unanimously. Phil also suggested the Chair reach out so some other neighbors who have been participating in committee meetings and the Kaiser appeal to broaden the base of representation as the committee is all white and mostly male and middle aged or better. With the three nominations, the committee will be at seven members which has proven to be a good working number in terms of assuring sufficient attendance for a quorum; however, nine members are allowed. The Chair will contact people Phil mentioned.
The Committee has two “official” officers; Chair and vice-chair. A Recorder is desirable, but is not a required officer. Typically, officers are elected after the Board meeting that approves committee membership, which is to precede the fall General Meeting. In other words, officers are generally elected in October. In light of the pending increase in membership, the election of officers was postponed until after the Board has acted on their nominations.
Zoning Proposal for Comp Plan
Nan Stark our neighborhood planner had a conflict and was not present. She also had not touched base with the Chair to explain the “what next” process for who any rezoning proposals we suggest will be acted upon. The Chair sent out a proposal to committee members as well as Phil, Paul, and Mike Faden that outlines in broad strokes for Nan what we had in mind with a more detailed proposal to follow after this land use committee meeting. That proposal was reviewed in conjunction with a current zoning map for Eliot for all participants to comment on and modify. There was a consensus for the initial proposal with specific notations made on the map for the Chair to present to Nan, the NECN, and to the Comp Plan process. Briefly, the proposal recommends:
- Rezoning all R2 lots to R2.5, including lots to the east of the Eliot Historic Conservation District. This will better integrate Eliot residences with those in Irvington providing a broader representation of “historic” properties.
- Rezoning all Rx lots to Ex or some “new” true mixed use zone.
- Rezoning all Rh lots along MLK to Ex with the “new” zone.
It was suggested we propose rezoning the three blocks between Vancouver and Williams in the IR zone to Ex, although Emanuel would be certain to oppose that, if nothing else, it could send a signal that our patience is at an end. After discussing the pros and cons, the idea sort of died. The Chair will follow up with Nan to identify the “next steps” in this process to identify what action Eliot will need to take to facilitate the proposed zone changes and the timeline for doing so. We anticipate the need to reach out to all affected property owners and want to do so before they hear about the proposal from other sources. Assuming that outreach to all property owners is required, we may revisit the proposal to try and avoid properties where opposition is likely.
Paul was asked to brief the committee on the status of the Kaiser project and he did so. One item that he discussed was a letter the Boise neighborhood drafted (or sent) opposing the project that resulting in Ben lobbying members to reverse their opposition. In light of the reaction this letter produced, Clint moved for the Chair to send a similar letter to the same addressees reflecting Eliot’s opposition. Allan seconded and the motion passes unanimously. The Chair was directed to address our discussions with Ben during the rezoning process during which he appeared to promise he would not build a massive building like the Albert and his assurance to Council to “work with” the neighborhood. Assurances he has not complied with in our view. Paul will provide the Chair with the addresses from the Boise letter.
Phil mentioned the issue of cut-through traffic on Monroe and was informed of the discussions the Committee has had and hosted with Transportation staff regarding this issue and measures they can take to mitigate it as part of the Williams project and Cook Street signals.
The Chair noted there is a meeting to discuss community housing (e.g., low income) needs for the City and County on the 20th and a NE Coalition meeting on transportation December 4th. He plans to attend the latter.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45.