Friday, January 23, 2015

Chloe Bistro Closes (Next Door To Epic Barber Shop)


Chloe Bistrot (3515 NE 45th Street), which opened in June of 2010, closed recently. 

It was owned by Laurent Gabrel, who also owns Voila! French Bistrot and La Cote Creperie in Madison Park. 

Gabrel had completely remodeled the space from the previous restaurant, Enotria, which was there about a year and closed in February of 2010.

And before that the popular Union Bay Café was in the space for many years until it closed in June of 2007.

The 2,300 square foot restaurant was up for sale for $129,000 for several months around September of this year and was listed in BizBuySell, Business Week and LoopNet, advertising it as sub-lease with "low, low, low rent." and "great potential for growing much much more $$$s "

A frequent diner at Chloe told the Blog Staff that the restaurant broke its lease which was supposed to go until 2020 because the restaurant was "going belly-up."

He added that he had heard that the landlord does not want another restaurant in that space.

He also added that he believes that Epic Barber, next door, will be expanding into the back area of the former restaurant, where the chef office used to be.

There are two signs on the space - one a "For Rent" sign giving a phone number, and the other listing the details of various spaces available in the building.

Laurelhurst Running Group Starting On Saturdays

running group

The Seattle Gym (3811 NE 45th Street) is starting a Laurelhurst Running Group, led by two ex-professional track runners, Kal Broderick and Erica Moore, on Saturdays from 9:30-11am.  Most the running will be in the neighborhood. 

The sessions, open to non-members as well, will include trainer led warm-ups, drills, run, post-run strengthening, core, and stretching inside the Gym. 

Erica said "We will also be there to provide knowledge about running form, strides, warming up, injury prevention."

She added:
We came up with the Running Group idea because we are both personal trainers, love working with people on health and well-being, bringing people together, and have lots of knowledge and skill in the way of running and/or training for something specific.

For more information go here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shoreline Improvement Work Has Begun On 51st Avenue Street End Next To Laurelhurst Beach Club

Shoreline before

Project in progress photos:

Shoreline Street End improvement work at the 51st Street NE street end site, next to the Laurelhurst Beach Club, began this week. SDOT mailed out postcards (pictured above) to the area neighborhoods.

The work will focus on increasing views of Lake Washington and public access for community members with the following improvements:
  • Creating a level area with a bench
  • Removing overgrown vegetation to increase visibility
  • Enhancing access to the water with timber steps
  • Removing two parking spaces nearest the site to accommodate new bicycle racks and pedestrian access to the site
The Laurelhurst Blog Staff talked to the architect and Seattle Parks representative (pictured above) who said several neighbors have already given positive feedback saying that the improvements "opened up their views."
The Seattle Parks representative said that there will be several paths leading to the water, including an ADA trail, a picnic table, shrubs, burms and other design features making it user friendly.
SDOT says about the project and eight others that were selected as SDOT capital improvement projects to be completed by the end of 2015:


The Shoreline Street Ends Program works to preserve and improve public access to our waterways, with projects focused on Seattle’s 149 public streets that end on waterfronts.  
Street ends are selected for improvement based on a prioritization scheme that came out of a 2009 analysis that examined gaps in shoreline access, open space, and accessibility.  
A landscape architecture firm is designing all nine Shoreline Street End capital projects.

For  more information go here or contact the Laurelhurst Community Club.

Yesler Swamp Work Party On Saturday



The Friends of Yesler Swamp is having a work party on Saturday from 10-3pm to work on the eastern part of the Yesler Swamp trail near the Beaver Lodge in mitigation zones W8 and W9, in partnership with UW Students, who make up the Community Engagement Committee

Friends of Yesler Swamp are partners with UW students in restoring Yesler Swamp and engaging the community in educational events.  The students are committed to working for two years to preserve, protect, and maintain Yesler Swamp.
Yesler Swamp, located in Laurelhurst, is bordered by NE 41st St. and Surber Drive, is maintained by a group of volunteer neighbors, who have been publishing many interesting new posts on the history of Yesler Swamp, including historic photos, videos, source notes and more.

They work party invitation says:
Volunteers should meet at the Yesler Swamp trail sign at eastern Center for Urban Horticulture parking lot (3501 NE 41st Street) at 10:00 am
If arriving later than 10:00 am: Follow the sidewalk along 41st and then take a right on Surber, then look for the trail down below the sidewalk on the right. Take that trail, then take a left towards the eastern part of the swamp and you will run into us. You can also give Carolyn Foster a call at 360-773-5228 when you arrive at the Center for Urban Horticulture and she will come meet you. 
Please come for any amount of time that works with your schedule--every bit helps!  Help restore Yesler Swamp!
Refreshments will be provided.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Laurelhurst Elementary School Students Initiate Petition In Support Of Keeping Playground Free Of Additional Portables



Two students, Stella and Skylar and  at Laurelhurst Elementary School, have initiated a petition for students fand children in the neighborhood to sign, in support of no additional portables on the North and South playgrounds. 

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is currently reviewing the applicants to be on the City's School Design Departure Advisory  Committee, to help with deciding if up to four more portables in total, should be added to the two and already small South playgrounds.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has requested a zoning departure that, if approved, would permanently increase building lot coverage to up to 45%, significantly above the current limit of 35%, allowing the addition of up to four new portables, resulting in significant loss of playground space at the school.

One of the student's moms, circulating the petition, told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff that the students "have really taken an active leadership role among their peers and are excited to be involved in this issue."

She added: 
Most kids are concerned about possible portables, they say they want their play-space, and worry about where they will play.  The students see the kids playing fliers and other games every day on the spaces that have been proposed for portables.   
My daughter thinks it’s important for kids to have plenty of room for fun and exercise so they can focus better in the classroom.  The playground already feels small for the number of kids using it.  
The girls have seen petitions before at Target and the grocery store and thought it was a pretty powerful way tell the school what the kids want and need.

The students, along with a group of friends will be standing on the corners outside the school grounds before and after school (at the intersections near the school at NE 45th Street and 47th Avenue NE and NE 47th Street and 47th Avenue NE) before and after school explaining the situation, showing the proposed diagram of portables placements, and having the petition available.

The students put together information which they are also showing to the kids on their clipboard which says:
We are LEAPS (Laurelhurst Elementary for Active Playground). We are information you that Seattle Public Schools is planning to put four portables in the places that you love to play in! The space is going down to 45%. This is very bad and we are trying to STOP it.We are asking for your help to do your part. 
Did you know that:
Studies say that if you reduce the area of playground space then it will cause more injuries because you have less space to play and you do not want to come home with a hurt knee. Every day kids use the space to play and be healthy, plus you don't want big ugly portables in front of our beautiful school! 
Laurelhurst already has the smallest square feet in all 11 NE elementary schools. 
We are for active playing, please do your part in saving our playgrounds.


In addition, a group of concerned Laurelhurst Elementary parents calling themselves "Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning," with the motto, “Playgrounds Grow Students,” and "Our kids deserve better" is circulating an on-line petition open to the public to sign.
The group is against higher lot coverage and the addition of more portables stating that:
  • Studies confirm that quality outdoor play space is critical for healthy learning. Open space that now serves as basketball, soccer, kickball and football play areas would be eliminated.
  • Families in the neighborhood benefit from the school’s recently upgraded playground (funded by neighbors -­‐ not SPS), whether it’s during school, evenings or weekends.
  • Laurelhurst already has the smallest lot size of all 11 NE elementary schools, in addition to the highest building:lot ratio.
  • More portables do not guarantee smaller class sizes.
  • Portables are inferior to permanent classrooms due to their isolation from the school community (safety concerns, less collaboration, less access to facilities), lack of natural light and HVAC issues.
Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning told the Blog staff:
We are asking the Seattle Public School District to solve its growth issues without taking critical playground away from our kids and community.

The Laurelhurst Community Club commented that "the district must find a permanent solution under the edict from the State Legislature. Taking away existing needed playground space was never the intent of city codes, nor the Seattle School District."

They added that:
Traffic impacts must be considered-access from the very congested NE 45th St, local neighborhood parking for extra staff (there is no parking lot).  
Loss of recreational space for existing children cannot be minimized or dismissed. Healthy bodies and healthy minds are linked. Obesity rates are climbing, and kids need more movement. Playground social skills are also a place where academic rankings are set aside for good fun, and away from electronics. 
The City had building and zoning codes for a reason, and any variance must be granted only if due process is followed to the letter of the law .

Seattle Public Schools released designs drawn up by Harthorne Hagen Architects, of two options for the placement of the portables.
First option:
  • 2 double portables on the North playground - 28 x 64' foot taking up 1,792 square feet.
  • One right along the north fence that runs along NE 47th Street
  • The other just to the north of the current second grade portable along 47th Avenue NE.
  • No portables on the south playground.
  • The design shows the kickball area moved just next to the NE 47th Street portable and 2 four square courts moved alongside this area.
  • These portables would eliminate a popular, heavily used large play area where currently a large number of students play organized games of  kickball, fliers, soccer and foursquare, as well as just general play by various students.
The second option:
  • 2 single portables on the North playground - 28x32' portables, each immediately to the north of the existing LASER portables, occupying 896 square feet each
  • 1  double portable on the south playground - 28 x 64 ', occupying 1,792 square feet, along  the west fence bordering 46th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street.
  • This south playground portable would take up the entire narrower southwest part of the playground, eliminating both heavily used basketball court and several four square courts.
  • Thee design shows the new location for 3 - four square courts and 2 basketball courts in the southeast corner of the playground along NE 45th Street and 47th Avenue NE, currently where large number of kids play kickball and soccer.
  • This proposal eliminates the area where a large number of children play "Fliers," soccer, kickball, foursquare  and soccer and have generally play.
The Laurelhurst Blog Staff has received many emails from concerned neighbors living close to the school commenting that the additional portables:
  • changes feel of residential neighborhood
  • changes tone of neighborhood  with that type of density and  structure - metals shells with aluminum ramps  and windowless shacks
  • gives residential, cozy neighborhood an industrial feel
  • devalues neighborhood
  • significant loss of valuable open space
  • highly negative visual impact for neighbors living in close proximity to the school ,as well as, current and future students and general neighborhood having to look at the ugly structures
  • loss of open space not only for students, but for community as a whole who use the playground seven days a week
  • potential for prospective families to not choose the neighborhood to live in lowering school enrollment and ultimately school funding, as well as property values
Once DON has selected the  Committee members, the ensuing process will take about 30-90 days, following these steps as outlined on the DON website:

Orientation Meeting and first Public Meeting
  • Occurs once Committee is formed and appointed by the Director
  • DON to review overall process with the departure advisory committee
  • DON to provide overview of the role and responsibilities
 Public Meeting
  • At the first meeting the Seattle School District, with the architectural firm, presents the building design and improvements, the departures requested, and any rationale for the departures. After the presentation, the school departure committee must make a formal determination: 1) that the departures are minor, or 2) major.
  • If the committee decides that the requested departures are major in nature, then two additional public meetings must be scheduled over the succeeding 90 days in order to solicit additional public testimony, and to obtain additional information from the Seattle School District to help inform the committee’s recommendations.
  • If the departures are considered minor, then the committee may proceed directly to a discussion and vote to grant the request with or without conditions. Any conditions recommended must be directly related to any impacts of the departure request.
  • The DON staff will then write, on behalf of the committee, a draft report for review and approval by committee members.
  • A second meeting may be called for review and approval of the draft report, or the report may be electronically transmitted for approval.
  • If there is not a consensus, committee members not in agreement may write a minority report that becomes part of the committee report to DPD.
  • Before the committee makes its recommendations, the public is encouraged to testify concerning their general opinions on the departures and any conditions that might be reasonably put on granting the departures.

Decision on Departures

The committee report and recommendations are forwarded to the Director of the Department of Planning and Development, who has the sole responsibility for granting the departures as recommended by the school departure committee with or without conditions. The Director’s decision is appealable to the Seattle Hearing Examiner. 
For more information about the "Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning," contact Christi Nagle at or call 529-­‐9296.
For information on the Departure process contact Steve Sheppard, with the Department of Neighborhoods, at or go here.
For more detailed information about the issue go here.  And go here for information about the portable that was delivered in August then removed.
And here is a KING 5 news report on the issue.
(Photo: KING 5 News)

Increased Construction Activity At Children's Hospital This Month

Children's Hospital has detailed various construction activities taking place this month in their Construction Blog:

This month, multiple projects are taking place at Seattle Children’s as we continue to expand and improve our facilities. As a result, you will see an increase in construction activity around the hospital campus.
The projects include relocation of our ophthalmology clinic located on the southeast portion of our campus, construction of an exterior porch and patio in conjunction with the new Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit,  and build out on three floors in the Forest zone. 
With these projects, we expect higher truck traffic on NE 45th Street and an increase in deliveries on our service roads, particularly the drive that runs from the bus layover space along the south side of our ambulatory care, parallel to NE 45th Street.  
There will also be one day of crane activity, specific date not established yet, in the southwest portion of our campus. This week we are making repairs to an exterior wall along the southeast side of our campus. This water proofing work will be completed today.  
Additionally, you might hear roto hammering and drilling that will occasionally operate. The roto-hammering will take place this week - 60 to 80 holes will be drilled and they take 30 seconds each.  
There will also be a concrete truck delivery sometime this week, day and time not established yet. 
All of this work will occur during normal business hours. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have questions please contact the construction pager line at 206-469-5860. We greatly appreciate your patience as we continue to make improvements at Seattle Children’s.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Laurelhurst Garden Featured In Seattle Times

Here is an article recently published in the Seattle Times featuring a garden in the 3000 block of West Laurelhurst Drive:

Laurelhurst garden is a study in grace with subtle color and good geometry

Jason Morse of the landscape architecture division of AHBL took his-and-hers desires and melded them into an elegant design that pleases both homeowners.

Special to The Seattle Times

Map DataMap data ©2015 Google
Map Data
Map data ©2015 Google
Map data ©2015 Google

OLD HOUSES hold many charms, but their aged landscapes are rarely among them. It was difficult to even glimpse the facade of John and Tina Jacobs’ 1928 Georgian Revival home through the overgrown bushes shrouding the house.

“You had to fight your way through the shrubs to get to the front door,” says Jason Morse of the landscape architecture division of AHBL. Morse had designed the Jacobs’ garden in Broadmoor years ago as his first professional project. They hired him again a few years ago to work his stylish magic on their Laurelhurst front garden.

There were challenges. A steep slope slanted toward the house from the street. The narrow strip of lawn along the front of the house was perpetually soggy from water draining down the hillside toward the lake.

Tina’s vision for the garden, and the home’s architectural symmetry, guided Morse’s design. She wanted a front yard that was dry and welcoming, and offered a better view of the house. Because Tina’s kitchen sink looks toward the street, she pictured garden rooms to be enjoyed from the inside out. Tina loves subtle colors and simple lines. And she wanted plants that look good even when they aren’t blooming.

Then there were John and Tina’s differing aesthetics. John likes formal gardens; Tina prefers a more casual look. By enclosing looser plantings within layers of hedging, Morse created a garden that pleased them both. Floppy-leafed hostas and the pale-pink flower spikes of astilbe soften the garden’s geometry. A taller hedging of yews offers screening from the street and textural contrast to the shorter, tightly clipped boxwood hedges.

Morse began by tackling the drainage problem. He reversed the flow of water by creating a slight slope away from the house. He got rid of the planted hillside down into the garden and poured a new retaining wall with proper drainage.Next: installing wide bluestone pathways and patios, outlined in sandstone cobbles to complement the home’s vintage.

An old cherry tree and camellia bush were preserved, as was a huge magnolia along the side of the house. But most of the plants are new. A thick planting of the ground cover Saxifraga ‘London Pride,’ with its foamy haze of little flowers, lines the sidewalk.

Most of the plantings were chosen for leaf over flower. Morse planned for seasonal color with compact Rhododendron ‘Dreamland’ flowering palest pink in May, followed by the feathery pink blooms of Astilbe ‘Peach Blossom.’ Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’ has soft blue lacecap flowers midsummer into autumn. A stately urn and window boxes hold flowering annuals. A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’) blazes red in autumn.

Morse extended the home’s architecture into the garden with a white arbor. He repeated an oval motif from one of the home’s old doors on the arbor and fence, tying house to garden. The home’s traditional symmetry is reflected in the garden’s rectangles, circles and view axes.

Tina is especially pleased by the garden’s sense of serenity. The color scheme is quiet, mostly green and white with touches of pink and blue. This feeling of repose lies not only in the choice of plants but also in Morse’s attention to scale. One garden room unfolds into another, each comfortably intimate in scale and enclosure.

The Jacobses aren’t quite through yet. Walk around the house, and the property opens up to a sunny expanse of grass that runs down to Lake Washington. Tina sighs as she says, “We’re getting up momentum to do the back garden.”