SEPA Request for Comments for 1220 & 1230 N Division

Per the stipulations of the Neighborhood Notification process, we’re publicizing this request for comments (RFC), SEPA Checklist, and map (attached to the end of the checklist) for the following proposed project within Emerson-Garfield’s boundaries:

Project Name: Demolition of Existing Buildings
Permit #: B1600646SEPA
Site Address: 1220 & 1230 N Division St

Please direct any questions or comments to Certified Plans Examiner, Mike Penkunis, at mpenkunis@spokanecity.org. The corresponding documents are:

Building Dreams Kickoff Breakfast (Feb 3)

Building Dreams is holding its annual Kickoff Breakfast on Wednesday, February 3 at 7:30am at the West Central Community Center (1603 N Belt).

This free breakfast is open to anyone who wants to know more about Building Dreams – Bright Futures for Our Kids, which is a multi-partner fundraiser for three important area community centers: Northeast Youth Center, East Central Community Center and West Central Community Center. The money raised goes directly to vital youth programs.

Building Dreams 2016

At the breakfast, you’ll learn what’s in store for the 2016 event and ways you or your organization can help support it through donations or by raising awareness. You’ll also hear from individuals and families whose lives have changed for the better as a result of these youth programs.

If you plan on attending the breakfast, please e-mail Kim Ferraro at kferraro@westcentralcc.org or call her on (509) 323-7480 by Monday, February 1. It’s important that she has an accurate gauge of attendance.

This year’s Building Dreams fundraiser event will be held at the Lincoln Center (1316 N Lincoln) on Sunday, April 3 at 6pm. The 2016 Dreambuilder Award recipient is Carla Altepeter, President and CEO of Numerica Credit Union.

Traffic-Calming Workshops (Jan 26, 27 & Feb 3)

The Office of Neighborhood Services is hosting three different traffic-calming workshops for anyone interested in learning how their grassroots traffic-calming proposals can turn into fully realized projects. To put it another way: If you really want a roundabout or a crosswalk somewhere, these workshops will let you know if it’s possible and, if so, how to go about making it happen.

The workshops will take place on Tuesday, January 26 at the Northeast Community Center (4001 N Cook), Wednesday, January 27 at the Southside Senior & Community Center (3151 E 27th) and on Wednesday, February 3 at the West Central Community Center (1603 N Belt). All of them will run from 5:30 to 7pm.

traffic_calming_2016

Although the workshops are provided to each of the three city districts, you don’t have to live in a particular district to attend a particular workshop.

For more information and further links on this topic, please see this recent blog post on the City’s website. And if you’re wondering what good can come of the traffic-calming program, have a look at this roundup of citizen-driven traffic-calming projects constructed just in the past year.

No More Office of Neighborhood Services?

[NOTE: Within minutes making of this post, we received a call from Jonathan Mallahan of the City of Spokane. He stressed that the Office of Neighborhood Services is not going away and that the initial blog post announcing the City Hall reorganization (linked below) could perhaps have been clearer about this. We’ve invited him to speak at the next EGNC meeting to clarify any uncertainties and added a question mark to our title above. Please read the following with this in mind.]

Mayor Condon announced yesterday that the City of Spokane would soon be undergoing another organizational restructuring.

A blog post on the City website had the following to say:

A consolidated Neighborhood and Business Services division, under the leadership of Jonathan Mallahan, will integrate planning, developer services and parking into what was previously Neighborhood Services to better align our customer service efforts.

This means the Office of Neighborhood Services as we know it is going away. Technically, this is a violation of the City Charter (Article VIII), which calls for a very specific ONS department:

Section 71: Neighborhood Councils Program – Creation

A neighborhood councils program is hereby created which shall consist of the following bodies: Neighborhood councils, the community assembly and the office of neighborhood services which shall be established in accordance with the rules and procedures designated in the following sections.

Effective Date: November 2000
Ordinance C32687 Section 1

Is it merely a name change or does it have more far-reaching implications?

The idea of neighborhoods and businesses being served by the same department does have some advantages, as neighborhoods and business tend to be viewed by the wider community as separate entities, not parts of the same whole. That has had the potential to cause unnecessary rifts where there should be collaboration.

But if the change results in a diminished focus on neighborhoods and the increased transfer of their power to City Hall, it would threaten to take even more self-governance away from Spokane citizens and put it in the hands of a small number of bureaucrats. That’s a change that only the bureaucrats themselves would welcome.

We’ll be following this development and discussing it at the next Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting on Wednesday, February 10 at 6pm in the Corbin Senior Activity Center (827 W Cleveland).

Neighborhood Notification Trainings (Jan 12 & 28)

Owing to the popularity of its previous Neighborhood Notification training session on December 28, the Office of Neighborhood Services has coordinated two more training sessions.

The first is a repeat of the earlier Neighborhood Notification Training. That is scheduled for today (Tuesday, January 12) from 5:30-7:00pm at the the West Central Community Center (1603 N Belt) in the Mason Room at the rear of the building. If you missed the first one in December, it would be useful to attend this one to get an overview of what Neighborhood Notification involves and the protocols associated with it.

huose_plans

A second more advanced training covering Decision Criteria will be offered on Thursday, January 28 from 5:30-7:00pm (location TBD, but likely at the West Central Community Center once again). This session will provide a more in-depth look at the decision-making criteria for development projects. If you’re planning on attending the Decision Criteria Training, it’s important that you attend the Neighborhood Notification Training beforehand.

These training sessions are open to anyone who’s interested, not just neighborhood council members, so please feel free to attend and help spread the word.

To RSVP for either session, please contact Jackie Caro at jcaro@spokanecity.org or call (509) 625-6733.

Neighborhood Notification Training (Dec 28)

Following the passage of the Neighborhood Notification Ordinance, neighborhoods have had questions about the notifications they have received and how they are expected to respond.

To better educate and prepare neighborhoods for this responsibility, the Office of Neighborhood Services has organized a training in partnership with the Building & Developer Services Department to help neighborhood councils navigate the development notifications. The training session will be held on Monday, December 28 starting at 5:45pm in the Newton Room of the West Central Community Center (1603 N Belt).

NeighborhoodNotification

This training will teach your neighborhood what notices you will be receiving, the process itself, and how you can be engaged in the application review and decision-making process. All neighborhood councils are strongly encouraged to attend this training!

Please RSVP to Jackie Caro at jcaro@spokanecity.org or by calling 625-6733. To confirm your attendance via the Facebook event, click here.

Recap of the December 2015 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

This is a brief recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting that took place on December 9, 2015. The meeting began at 6:30pm after a half-hour of mingling and sharing dinner as part of the Winter Potluck.

Guest speaker Roland Lamarche, chair of the Community Assembly‘s (CA) Community Development Committee, talked about proposed changes to how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding is allocated for sidewalk installation and repair. He began by noting how Spokane’s CDBG program was meant to target neighborhoods with the greatest need, but that hinders the effectiveness of the current sidewalk program.

George Dahl then gave a presentation about the program, its shortcomings, and potential remedies. Tim Musser, our neighborhood’s representative on the CA Community Development Committee, also provided input about how the sidewalk maintenance is often overlooked by landlords in low-income neighborhoods.

[EDIT: Here is George’s presentation. Here is an FAQ for the proposed changes to the CDBG sidewalk program. And here are the minutes for the CA/CD Committee meeting at which the proposal was decided. All are PDF format.]

According to municipal code, the repair of sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent homeowners. Neighborhoods have collectively received about $700,000 per year to help address poverty through capital-improvement projects, and approximately $500,000 of that has been used for sidewalk repair. Yet the areas that qualify for CDBG funding are determined by census and change each year. It is therefore not uncommon for low-income individuals with dangerous sidewalks to have wealthier neighbors in their area who disqualify them from CDBG funding, and vice versa.

The committee’s proposal is to remove the area-specific qualifications for sidewalk funding and allow households to individually qualify if they earn less than $36,150 (if a one-person household). The higher an owner’s income relative to this benchmark, the higher the share of the cost they would be responsible for. Priority would be given to the disabled, the elderly, and the lower income.

The typical cost of a repair ranges between $1,600 on the low end and $3,000 on the high end, with the higher expenses usually being associated with larger tree roots. With the cost being shared by the owner, there may be a disincentive for “extravagant” requests that their entire sidewalk be repaired, and if only the damaged portions were repaired, the funding could theoretically be distributed across many more properties.

This proposed process is all very new and in need of further refinement. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to e-mail George Dahl at gdahl@spokanecity.org.

Jay Cousins, Emerson-Garfield’s CA representative, reported that the CA will meet on the first Thursday of each month at 5:30pm starting in January 2016.

Within days of last month’s neighborhood council meeting, it was announced that the Cedar Street sidewalk project would be funded by Photo Red dollars. It was proposed that the $11,010 of funding it was due to receive be reallocated to the asphalt walking path project in Emerson Park, thus ensuring its completion. The council voted unanimously to approve that motion. The neighborhood council members then discussed possible CDBG projects to consider in the future.

The council also voted not to meet in January 2016, per custom, pushing the next meeting to Wednesday, February 10.

“Cleanup Czar” Karl Boldt reiterated that Faith Bible Church is still very eager to host another cleanup project next autumn.

On Monday, December 28 at 5:45pm, the West Central Community Center will be hosting a training session on the Neighborhood Notification process.

Laura Schlangen reported on the Corbin Senior Activity Center. The Spokane Magic Club fundraiser was well attended and netted the center almost $300. A Christmas luncheon themed “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” will take place on Friday, December 11 beginning at 11:30am. The Tap Grandmas will perform a holiday show on Wednesday, December 16 at 6pm.

The meeting adjourned at 7:30pm with enthusiastic holiday well-wishing.