ECC discusses school assignment plans, land use issues and more

Without a quorum present, the Eastlake Community Council Board could only discuss issues but not vote when it gathered for its monthly meeting last Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Jules James reported on the latest developments in the new assignment plan being drafted by the Seattle Public Schools. The goal of the new plan is to let children attend schools in their neighborhoods as much as possible. The previous assignment plan was focused on racial balance and often saw children being bused far from their neighborhood.

The new attendance maps were released Oct. 6. Eastlake falls into the attendance zone for Montlake Elementary. 

Seward is an “option” school, which means that children from all over the city can apply to go there. When children who live near an option school apply to go there, the district uses a series of “tiebreakers” to determine whether or not they can attend. One of the tiebreakers is a new “geographic zone.”

James said that the school district has yet to release the map of Seward’s geographic zone but that action is expected soon. Previously, the ECC Board has expressed their desire that a way be found to allow more Eastlake kids the opportunity to attend Seward, possibly by making the geographic zone encompass as much of the neighborhood as possible.

Brian Ramey reported on the ongoing city effort to update Seattle’s Neighborhood Plans. The plans, which were written in the 1990s, guide city policy in areas like growth, transportation, housing and more.

Ramey was discouraged about the process and felt the city’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) wasn’t listening to what the neighborhoods were telling them. He feels the city is strongly favorable toward developers.

There was a series of public meetings in June and July where the DPD heard comments from the neighborhoods. There was also an online survey on the DPD’s web site. Ramey questioned whether comments from the web survey truly represented neighborhood opinions.

He fears that possible changes to Eastlake’s plan “would make a canyon out of our neighborhood.” He suspects the citizens’ part of the process may be put on hold until after a new mayor is elected on Nov. 3.

There will be a public meeting on Nov. 10 so the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee and the Seattle Planning Commission can report on progress on the plan updates:

  • Time: 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10.
  • Place: Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway, Room 1110/11 (first floor of the main building off Broadway on the south end of the building)
  • Parking: Harvard Garage, 1609 Harvard Ave.

The Eastlake Community Council is planning a public meeting on the Eastlake Neighborhood Plan and other land use issues the next night, Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 7–9 p.m. in the library at Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E.

ECC President Tim Ahlers said the hope is to have experts come and give a “Land Use 101” talk as well as have representatives there from CORA (the Congress on Residential Architecture) to discuss neighborhood architecture. There are several important land use projects involving Eastlake currently under way.

The next ECC Board meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at Seward School.