Monthly Archives: July 2012

Eastlake police reports include a burglary and thefts of a bike, motorcycle and car

Police reports for Eastlake for the last two weeks include a restaurant burglary and thefts of a bicycle, a motorcycle and a car:

  • July 19: Motorcycle theft, 2000 block of Boylston Ave. E., 12:01 a.m.
  • July 19: Person with a gun, Eastlake E. and E. Roanoke, 5:19 p.m.
  • July 19: Narcotics, 1900 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 8:38 p.m.
  • July 20: Bicycle theft, 3300 block of Fuhrman Ave. E., 3:36 p.m.
  • July 21: Disturbance, Fairview E. and E. Blaine, 2:26 a.m.
  • July 21: Fire response, 2300 block of Franklin Ave. E., 5:29 p.m.
  • July 22: Noise disturbance, 2800 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 3:52 a.m.
  • July 23: Motor vehicle accident, 1900 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 6 p.m.
  • July 23: Disturbance, 2800 block of Franklin Ave. E., 11:22 p.m.
  • July 24: Burglary, forced, non-residential, 1800 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 3:53 a.m.: Police responded to a silent alarm at a restaurant in this block. They found signs of forced entry at the front door. A K9 unit searched the premises but didn’t find anyone. A manager for the restaurant who arrived said it appeared nothing had been taken.
  • July 27: Property destruction, Fairview E. and E. Allison, 9:07 a.m.
  • July 28: Noise disturbance, Yale Terrace E. and E. Roanoke, 11:04 p.m.
  • July 29: Natural gas odor, 2000 block of Fairview Ave. E., 11:51 p.m.
  • July 31: Auto theft, 1300 block of Lakeview Blvd., 3:57 p.m.

City garbage strike doesn’t affect Eastlake; pickups continue as normal

In case you’ve been wondering, Eastlake won’t be affected by the current garbage haulers’ strike in Seattle.

That’s because Eastlake, as well as the rest of central and northeast Seattle, are serviced by CleanScapes. The strike involves unionized workers for Waste Management, which serves other parts of the city. You can see the affected areas on this map from the city’s website.

According to a press release from Seattle Public Utilities, the strike is affecting about 60 percent of the city.

The Seattle Times is reporting that Waste Management brought in outside workers today (Friday, July 27) to collect garbage from hospitals, day cares and nursing homes.

The dispute centers on a wage disparity between Waste Management’s recycling truck drivers and drivers of garbage trucks. Recycling drivers at Waste Management earn about $9 less an hour than garbage workers, according to the Seattle Times. The Times story notes this isn’t the case at CleanScapes:

Seattle’s other waste-hauling contractor, CleanScapes, pays drivers of recycling and compost trucks the same as garbage drivers under a contract with Teamsters Local 174, said company spokesman John Taylor.

A starting CleanScapes driver earns $19.73 an hour, compared with about $17 for a Waste Management recycling driver and about $26 for a Waste Management garbage driver.

Eastlake residents angry, concerned about new apartment development on Franklin

The signs are popping up all over Eastlake: Yellow, letter-sized notices about a new development on Franklin Avenue E.:

39 New Residents
No Neighborhood Review
No Neighborhood Input
No Land Use Action Sign

The notice ends by noting that: “These building are permanent and Eastlake will suffer for a long time.”

The development in question will replace a house at 2371 Franklin Ave. E. The official city permit for the project says it contains five units, but neighbors note that it will actually have 39 individual units grouped around common kitchens on each floor (a basement and four other floors, with one kitchen on each floor). 

If it was counted as 39 units, the development would require environmental and design reviews and offer neighborhood residents a chance to have input on the building.

The neighbors also question locating such a project, which they fear will have transient occupants, just two doors from the TOPS@Seward School and two houses away from a daycare center.

Members of the Eastlake group have organized under the name Count Units Properly Please. They’ve been writing to Mayor McGinn, members of the city council and the Department of Planning and Development questioning how a building with 39 individual bedrooms can be counted as five-units. They are also concerned because, under existing city zoning laws and policies, the new building won’t need to provide parking for its residents.

Delight Roberts, one of the neighbors opposed to the new building, noted in a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn that she and her husband, who have a toddler son, are “invested in the community.” When they moved to Eastlake there weren’t many children in the neighborhood, she writes, but that more families with kids are moving in. Her letter continues:

I know that Seattle is working hard to attract families who want to work, live, and send their kids to school in the City. So if this planned development is true, this seems to run counter to that goal. Families will not be the tenants who are targeted for this kind of development.

In a letter mailed to Diane Sugimura, director of the Department of Planning and Development, which is handling permits for the project, Roberts and several other neighbors (Carol Eychaner, Martin Cobb, Jules James, Christy Elton, Russ Anders, Tom Im, Colette and Chris Gordon, and Sharon and Aaron Grey) made their case for counting 39 units in the building:

  • The individual units each have food preparation areas, bathrooms and a lockable entrance with a peep hole. Their letter notes these are “key characteristics of a separate dwelling unit. DPD has historically made separate dwelling unit determinations for other properties based on the presence of a food preparation area, bathroom and separate, lockable entrance.”
  • Corridors and hallways throughout the building appear to be common areas, not reserved for the residents of each unit.
  • Each dwelling is numbered individually on architect’s plans for the building and referred to as a “unit.”

Neighbor Jules James questions what type of lease will be made for each unit. He notes that the Fair Housing Act requires a 24-hour notice before a rental agent can enter a unit. Will all the units on a floor be given notice that an agent will be entering to show off a unit? he wonders.

In a June 28 letter to neighbors, Sugimara notes that the DPD “must review a proposed project based on adopted regulations and processes that apply to a particular site.” She says that the area has been zoned Lowrise 3, which allows apartment buildings up to 40 or 44 feet tall, since the early 1980s “and probably well before that time.”

She added:

This property is also located in a Residential Urban Village per Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan. While this proposal is configured differently from the more traditional apartments, the development standards such as height and required setbacks are the same. In other words, the structure cannot be any larger because of unit configuration. In addition, because this is in an urban village with frequent transit service, there is no requirement for parking.

As to the tenants who might live there, Sugimura noted that “we (DPD) cannot regulate the type of tenants allowed through Land Use Code regulations; this is not something that DPD has the authority to control.”

Several neighbors had expressed concern that the project was on a “fast track” to approval. Sugimura noted in her letter that it qualifies for “Priority Green, which has a shorter initial review time to encourage people to develop more sustainable buildings.”

Bryan Stevens, a spokesperson for the DPD, said Thursday that the project is still being reviewed by ordinance and structural reviewers. The construction permit approval process generally takes about six to eight weeks, he said. 

“That’s not been completed,” he said. “That’s the last step before we let the applicant come and pick up their plans.”

Stevens noted that even if DPD felt that there needed to be a change in policy regarding projects such as 2371 Franklin E., any change wouldn’t affect projects currently under review.

In her letter to the Eastlake neighbors, Sugimura said that this type of building helps to fill a need for affordable housing. She says the DPD has heard concerns about this type of building from other neighborhoods and she’s discussed this with Mayor McGinn and city council members.

“At this time,” she says in her letter, “our direction is to monitor them (the buildings) to determine if we are seeing unintended consequences from such development, and determine if any code changes are needed.”

UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published. Information on how long the construction permit process takes has been added. 

University Bridge closed this weekend

UPDATE, Sunday, 10 a.m.: Paving on the University Bridge has been completed early. The bridge is now open. 

ORIGINAL POST: The University Bridge will be closed to vehicles this weekend for a repaving project.

The bridge will be closed both days from 4 a.m. to midnight. Pedestrians and bicycles will still be able to cross and the bridge will still open for boat traffic, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.

SDOT crews will be repaving 400 feet of the roadway north of the drawspan. Crews will also be doing spot repairs on the sidewalks, inspecting the concrete portion of the bridge deck and doing minor maintenance on the section south of the drawspan.

Signs and police officers will indicate detour routes during the closures. Metro will be rerouting buses that use Eastlake Avenue. See their website for more information.

Two Eastlake restaurants are growing with a rooftop garden

Chefs at two Eastlake restaurants will soon have a much shorter trip to get fresh ingredients: They’ll just have to go upstairs.

A new garden, located on a patio one floor above the street, will benefit the kitchens and patrons at Ravish and Sushi Kappo Tamura. The two restaurants are located on the first floor at Ruby Condos in the 2900 block of Eastlake Ave. E.

The patio is actually part of the residential portion of the building. In addition to views of Lake Union, residents at Ruby are now relaxing amidst vegetables that will soon be gracing the plates of restaurant patrons below.

The garden was planted on June 25. Chefs Taichi Kitamura and Hiro Tawara from Sushi Kappo Tamura, and Ravish’s owner, Lizbet Mielke, chef Kelly Daly and general manager Nick La Porta were checking out its progress earlier in the week. 

It will soon be time to start harvesting the garden. A radish was pulled up, inspected and deemed ripe.

“I could serve that,” Kitamura noted. 

Ruby’s patio has had planters ever since the building was completed. Kitamura says the plants, which included ornamental grasses, weren’t doing so great.

Enter Seattle Urban Farm Company, a firm that designs and builds food-producing gardens in the city and suburbs. Brad Halm, one of the founders of Seattle Urban Farm, says the company knew Kitamura and thought the patio at Ruby had good potential for a garden. 

“They have an emphasis on sustainability at Tamura and Ravish,” Halm says. “They thought this would be a great step to bring more local food into their restaurants.”

Seattle Urban Farm does a lot of home gardens and has been trying to expand into more commercial projects. They previously planted a rooftop garden at Bastille in Ballard 3.5 years ago that they are still taking care of.

Seattle Urban Farm and the restaurants worked with the board at Ruby Condos to create an agreement for use of the space, a process that took about six to eight months. 

The company then talked with the chefs to decide what vegetables to plant. Seattle Urban Farm did the planting and their staff visits two to three times a week to take care of the garden. They’ll even do the harvesting, although chefs Kitamura and Daly say the expect to make trips to pick items for the evening’s menu.

In addition to the radishes, the garden includes squash, greens like chard and kale, onions, chives, beets, lavender and herbs such as sage and thyme. One unusual plant is shiso, which Kitamura describes as a sort of Japanese basil.

There’s also a part of the garden for the homeowners that contains a mix of herbs and other plants.

Not all the beds have been planted. Halm says they are planting a small amount each week so that new crops will always become available. The growing season should continue through the winter, he says. They’ve been able to do that at Bastille and “it’s been quite successful.”

The chefs say they’re excited about the potential for the produce from the garden.

“Whatever will grow here, I’ll cook with it,” Daly says.

Police reports for Eastlake include a car crash, car theft and more

This week’s Seattle Police reports for Eastlake include a one-car accident, a car theft and more:

  • July 11: Illegal burn, E. Roanoke and Fairview E., 4:04 p.m. 
  • July 12: Liquor violation/intoxicated person, 2000 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 8:12 p.m.
  • July 13: Auto accident, Fairview and E. Galer, 8:35 p.m.: An SUV driving north on Fairview ran off the road and hit a light pole. See our previous post.
  • July 14: Mischief, E. Howe and Franklin Pl. E., 7:49 a.m.
  • July 14: Auto theft and recovery, Harvard E. and E. Roanoke, 1:50 p.m.
  • July 14: Theft, 1100 block of Fairview Ave. E., 4:33 p.m.
  • July 14: Car prowl, 3100 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 11:46 p.m.
  • July 14: Disturbance, 1900 block of Franklin Ave. E., 12:59 a.m.
  • July 15: Car prowl, Fuhrman E. and Eastlake E., 12:36 a.m.
  • July 15: Assault with weapons, Eastlake E. and E. Garfield, 1:03 a.m.
  • July 15: Assaults, Eastlake E. and E. Garfield, 3:22 a.m.

See the map at