Letters to the Editor

Planning commission is not informing neighborhoods of potential changes | Letter

Letters to the editor - Reporter file art
Letters to the editor
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While at the 2035 review last week at Lake Washington High School, I had a conversation with one of the senior planners regarding a change I was told to watch for about my neighborhood, North Rose Hill. I had not seen this presented and had received no notification regarding any consideration by the planning commission. I was told at this meeting that planning staff, the planning commission and city council have been talking about shifting the northern approximately one-third of our neighborhood, including the Lake Washington Technical College, to the Totem Lake neighborhood.

I mentioned that I am on the list serve for the planning commission and had seen nothing regarding North Rose Hill and this proposed boundary change. That is when I learned that the city and planning commission are reviewing this as part of the Totem Lake neighborhood and that North Rose Hill has not been mentioned or notified. I also learned that this proposed change came from economic development, not a private amendment request or a request of the planning department. It was suggested that I contact the economic development manager to discuss the origin of this request. The manager said yes, the city had been talking about it, but she claimed ignorance of how the request should be processed and which neighborhoods should be informed.

This planned change would leave our neighborhood vulnerable to changes in the commercial area that abuts single-family neighborhoods in the north. When we redid our neighborhood plan, we felt pressured to increase the density and height on our northern border. With some trepidation we agreed to the changes and have seen a number of zoning change decisions by the planning director that didn’t quite fit with what we thought was planned.

Once again, it seems the city is going off on a tangent and leaving the neighborhoods behind. There was a similar instance of this happening recently for the Houghton Commercial District. Then, the city failed to notify the Everest Neighborhood that the height allowance was being significantly increased. Why does this happen? Why is the planning commission not reminded that they are making changes to a neighborhood without the neighborhood being notified? I realize it is more efficient to consider these changes without the input of the neighborhood and possible dissent, but this is exactly why there is suspicion of the city.

What is so frustrating is that I thought I was doing everything correctly to be kept informed on planned changes. Now I find out that I have been naive and should now check every topic that might be before the planning commission to see if it concerns my neighborhood. This does not make sense to me. What the heck is wrong with our city?

This is wrong, just plain wrong.

Karen Tennyson, Vice Chair of the North Rose Hill Neighborhood Association

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