Thursday, October 22, 2020

New North Precinct Captain Seattle Police Department

The Seattle Police North Precinct, serving Laurelhurst and 23 other neighborhoodshas a new Captain replacing Captain Sano, who moved to the East Precinct. 

Captain Brian Stampfl, recently became North Precinct Captain, which includes these North Precinct Area boundaries.

Here is some information about Captain Stampfl:

Captain Brian Stampfl joined the Seattle Police Department in 1995 after serving four years with a police agency in Southern California. He was promoted to Captain in 2020 and is honored to have been assigned to the Seattle Police Department's North Precinct. 

Captain Stampfl has enjoyed a variety of assignments within the Patrol Operations Bureau, the Investigations Bureau, and assignment with the Office of Professional Accountability.

Captain Stampfl was first assigned to the West Precinct as a patrol officer where he also worked as a Field Training Officer (FTO). He later became a tactical officer and instructor for the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff Department's joint training academy. In 2001, Captain Stampfl moved into the Investigations Bureau where he worked as a detective in the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit (SAU).  

In 2004, he was selected as one of ten detectives tasked with creating the Seattle Police department's first Crime Scene Investigations Unit (CSI). There he served as a detective and later as the supervisor of CSI. 

Tapping into his knowledge of forensic science and a passion for teaching, Captain Stampfl was invited to become an adjunct instructor at Seattle University where he taught a course in Crime Scene Investigations for over a decade. Working with college students and sharing his law enforcement experiences remains one of Captain Stampfl's most rewarding things to do.

In 2015, Captain Stampfl was promoted to Lieutenant where he was first assigned to the Office of Professional Accountability and later to the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit. Having come full circle, Captain Stampfl returned to the West Precinct where he served as a Watch Commander and Operations Lieutenant. 

Now as the Captain of the North Precinct, Captain Stampfl looks forward to building collaborative relationships with the communities of North Seattle.

Captain Stampfl recently told the Laurelhurst Blog about the recent spike in car thefts in the neighborhood:  

Here is how we are addressing these thefts:


Since my arrival to the North Precinct, SPD as a whole has been undergoing some significant changes, many of which have forced SPD to reconsider how we approach complex and frequent crimes such as auto theft. 

My Operations Lieutenant will reviewing the recent car thefts. in this response so that the information you’ve provided can be further reviewed and also shared with our district officers. 

The officers are being asked not only to provide extra patrol to these areas, but to identify patterns, such as the ones listed in your recent Crime Report published on the Laurelhurst Blog, to assist all of us in preventing these thefts.

In addition to SPD’s own efforts, we are fortunate to have a Seattle University Masters student who will be working within the North Precinct to identify crime trends. I have already spoken to Katelyn about the rise in auto thefts and our need to address them.  She will be assisting us in interpreting the crime data and developing plans to address the crime trends. 

For more information about the North Precinct go here.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What Is All The Street Work On NE 45th Street?

Neighbors have been asking about the street work currently underway on NE 45th Street in between Children's Hospital and Laurelhurst Elementary School.

Coincidentally, two separate projects were underway at the same time. One has finished on the north side of NE 45th Street and the other is still ongoing with multiple construction machines and SDOT workers, after several weeks. The work has affected the flow of traffic on NE 45th Street, sidewalk access and parking. 

The Laurelhurst Blog contacted SDOT regarding the 2 work projects posted on the signs around the work area to inquire who was responsible for each of the projects.  

One of the projects is Permit# TNPN-00-39949 managed by KC Equipment LLC.

SDOT said that this work originates from a SDOT Capital Projects work order to install curb ramps at the intersections of 45th Avenue NE/NE 45th Street and at 48th Avenue NE/NE 41st Street.

The other project, Permit #: TNPN-00-36429, was initiated by Children's Hospital and the work was done by Gary Merlino Construction. 

SDOT told the Laurelhurst Blog:

The permitted work is related to new ADA curb ramps and sidewalk paving on NE 50th Ave, new sidewalk paving on 45th Avenue NE and curb replacement on NE 45th Street.  There are new curb ramps being installed around Seattle Children’s Hospital’s campus as well as new sidewalks.

Children's Hospital told the Laurelhurst Blog:

This work occurred on NE 45th Street between the Boulevard (43rd Avenue NE and 45th Avenue and on NE 50th Street and Sand Point Way NE. The work included replacement several sections of sidewalk and installation of ADA ramps at curbs.  All work associated with this project has been completed. 

Children's maintains a "Construction Blog" which specifically details work having to do with the hospital expansion as laid out in the Master Plan.  

The Construction Blog states:

Building Care construction is underway. There will be ongoing construction activity at the hospital campus until the building opens in spring 2022. Seattle Children’s will publish a weekly post on this Construction Blog that outlines the work expected to occur the following week. Follow our progress as we expand our hospital so we can better serve the medical needs of children and teens in our region.

After the Laurelhurst Blog suggested also including work that impacts neighbors not having to do with the Master Plan or perhaps starting a neighborhood work Blog, Children's just added:

We will also post to this blog whenever a construction activity will be especially impactful to neighbors.

The Hospital added about the sidewalk project and a recent landscaping project impacting neighbors on 45th Avenue NE:

Our sidewalk project is considered as ongoing maintenance and we have not included these kinds of projects in the Construction Blog in the past. 
We will discuss how we can ensure that anything that will have a substantial impact on the neighbors could be added to the Construction Blog. 
We do not plan to add an additional blog beyond the Construction Blog. 
We will include any major projects on the Construction Blog (including major landscaping projects from now on), but very well may have smaller or more minor projects that will not be on the blog. 
We will not be including ongoing/routine campus maintenance as part of the Construction Blog. 
At times, we have delivered fliers to nearby neighbors when we have particularly impactful work and will continue to do so when we feel it is warranted. Normally we do this for night work or after hours work that might disturb neighbors during off hours, not for regular maintenance. 
We do not have any specific plans to change how we have communicated with our neighbors. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Thursday Neighborhood Birder Having On-Line Birding Class

Laurelhurst resident and master birder, Connie Sidles, is having an on-line (via Zoom) bird migration class on Thursday from 7-8pm.  The cost is $22.

The information says:
Fall migration at the Union Bay Natural Area starts with waves of shorebirds from the tundra flowing through our state bringing up to 29 different species of sandpipers to stop with us a little while and fuel up before they continue some flying as far as South America on their long journey to their wintering grounds. 
As the season advances the flow of birds increases as the tropical flycatchers leave us and more birds begin to come down from Alaska. Billions of birds pass through North America before the migration ends. Find out how and why birds migrate and get a peek at the species that we're most likely to see here.

Register online or call 206-685-8033.

Sidles is a master birder and long-time member of the Seattle Audubon Society where she has been on the Conservation Committee and Chair of the Publications Committee. She has written four books about nature focusing on her the Montlake Fill, also known as the Union Bay Natural Area. at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Her most recent book, Forty-Six Views of Montlake Fill includes poems and Sumi paintings about "finding joy in the connections we make with nature and with each other."

For more information go here.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Hospital Crane To Be Removed This Week-End With Increased Noise 6am-6pm

Building Care, also called Forest B, of Phase 2 of Children's Hospital expansion is underway and the new building is planned to open in Spring of 2022.

This week-end the tower crane will be removed. The Hospital posted this information:
On Friday, a mobile crane will arrive at the site around noon in preparation for the removal. Expect increased noise and truck activity to and from the construction site.  We do not anticipate any impacts to street parking or traffic flow.
Sellen Construction has submitted a noise variance request to the City of Seattle, which would allow work to occur outside standard construction hours: Saturday and Sunday from 6am-6pm. 

The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan.

The helicopter landing pad moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active until Building Care is completed. Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height).
Lights were added to the horizontal swing arm (boom) portion of the tower crane to increase safety for helicopter landings. These are in addition to the lights at the end of the boom and on the crane operator’s cab. The additional lights will help the helicopter pilots in identifying the location of the boom when landing or departing the helipad in the dark. While the lights are visible from the ground, they are not bright enough to interfere with any neighboring properties. As a reminder, the tower crane is scheduled to remain onsite through August 2020.
The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week:
  • Dismantle and remove tower crane (see separate blog post called “Building Care Tower Crane to Be Removed” for details)
  • Pour concrete for slabs and walls
  • Framing
  • Paint
  • Install roofing
  • Install windows
  • Install elevator equipment
  • Install metal sheeting and panels
  • Install mechanical and electrical wiring and plumbing equipment
  • Install drywall
  • Install siding
  • Build out electrical, mechanical, telecommunication, machine and generator rooms
  • Install flooring
  • Build out interior spaces
  • Set air handling units
  • Building connection work:
    • Set up infection prevention barriers and demolish walls, ceilings, and windows on level 5 of River C
    • Install insulation and drywall on level 6 of River C
    • Form and pour concrete slab on level 7 of River C
    • Paint on level L1 of Forest A
    • Frame walls, set walls, and install utility wiring, steel beam, and fireproofing on level 1 of Forest A
    • Complete framing and install utility wiring and pneumatic tube connections on level 2 of Forest A
    • Set walls and install seismic joints and pneumatic tube connections on level 3 of Forest A
    • Set walls on level 4 of Forest A
    • Install seismic joint covers on level 5 of Forest A
    • Paint on level 6 of Forest A
    • Paint, patch ceiling, trim utility wiring, and install flooring on level 7 of Forest A
    • Trim utility wiring and install flooring on level 8 of Forest A
    • Paint, install drywall, and trim utility wiring on level 9 of Forest A

All work will take place 8-6pm weekdays and 9-6pm on Saturdays.
Call 206-987-8000 or email with questions.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Aegis Living Update To Be Located At Five Corners At Old Baskin-Robbins Site

Demolition is complete at the future Aegis Living triangular site (3200 NE 45th Street) at Five Corners

The design proposal, submitted in July 2016, includes 135 units in a six story building (55-70 feet) with 53 parking stalls and 2500 square feet of retail on the first floor proposed to house a salon and cafe.  First residents are scheduled to move in around spring of 2023 according to the Aegis website

In July of last year, the building in which China Village resided for over 30 years was demolished. The Wong family have owned the restaurant since 1987. In 2016 Amy, and her brother, Lee Wong bought out another family member and changed the name from "China Village" to Uncle Lee's and remodeled the restaurant. It is now located at Sandpoint Village (5408 Sand Point Way).

Amy told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff at the time: "We started off as “China Village” and now we will continue our family business and passion as 'Uncle Lee’s'!"

Also demolished was the building where Benton Jewelers used to be, which was most recently a brokerage firm.

Before demolition, the landmark Benton clock, which since 1986 stood in front of the old Benton Jewelers location, was removed and put into storage at a cost of $30,000. The new clock location will be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Board and De
partment of Neighborhoods. 

Also demolished was the building, in which for over four decades, Baskin-Robbins was located.  In September 2015 it was forced to close, even though the building was not demolished until 4 years later. 

The manager of Baskin-Robbins who owned that franchise for 15 years, told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff at the time that "unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement regarding a lease on the site with the Broderick Group, a real-estate brokerage company, so Baskin-Robbins is forced to close." 

He added that the new landlord "wanted to raise the rent by more than 50% with all costs included." 

Other buildings demolished housed well-know long-time businesses at one time or another, including Select Hair Salon which had rented their building for over 20 years and was originally located in the north side of the current Varlamos Pizzeria (3617 NE 45th Street) before it expanded.  

Jennifer, Aegis, Director of Marketing, told the Laurelhurst Blog:
The construction site was temporarily placed on hold June 1.  The site will remain quiet for some time, unless we elect to do some early utility connections.  All demolition and the current status of the site follow the requirements of the City, for example, the slab on grade being left in order to comply with the state erosion requirements. 
Aegis Living had planned to break ground in May. Construction activity will still occur as previously conveyed and which is dependent on City of Seattle approvals which have pushed the start of major construction tentatively to February 1. 
We received a Phase 1 permit on 8/28/20 which allows us to begin construction up to the ground floor, including street enhancements, public and private space, tie ins and utilities into the street, once we complete financing. 
The banks drive their financing and we do not have an exact date for that process to come to a conclusion, it is likely the first few months of 2021. 
We are currently working toward our Phase 2 permit which would allow for work on all of the exterior. There have been numerous delays in receiving permits due to City of Seattle rounds of review and due to the slowdowns from Covid 19. 
Aegis will continue to paint over any graffiti on an ongoing basis.
After demolition, the site appeared to be unmaintained for a number of months and began to be covered with graffiti and weeds.

The Laurelhurst Blog contacted Aegis, several months ago, and asked if covering could be put on the fence surrounding the property since construction will not start for many months to help cover and secure the property at such a well-travelled intersection and entry point into many neighborhoods.

The site also consistently has graffiti , which the City requires to be covered within 10 days. 

Aegis responded to the Laurelhurst Blog saying:
We are working with site maintenance team to improve the site’s appearance. 
We will be installing a blue mesh cover around the entire fence, as well as having the construction contractor work to better secure the fencing around the site. And we plan on continually maintaining the vegetation on site. 
Additionally, our team is working with development and our designers to create  new signage for the fencing, which will blend attractive imagery and Aegis marketing, will enhance the look of the site and will block any view of the interior.  It should be installed soon.   
In addition, the project manager and our service partner will make sure the site is cleared of trash, graffiti is covered, the fencing is standing and stays connected.  
Recently, a contractor painted the adjacent wall, which is not our property, to match the adjoining business and will keep it painted throughout the project. We will continue to follow the city ordinances to manage any graffiti, with assistance from our maintenance contractor. 
Our project manager will do regular site visits to ensure site security and maintenance. 

The City of Seattle told the Laurelhurst Blog about the site:
The City provides regulations and standards for Safeguards During Construction under the Seattle Building Code and for Protection of Adjoining Properties under the Seattle Residential Code. As inspectors are on site to monitor permit conditions, they also look for safety concerns. Once the building is demolished, we require erosion control measures such as silt fences and drain covers. 
Code compliance staff also take complaints about violations at private properties. In addition to stabilizing slopes and retaining walls on construction sites, the owner must also keep it free of debris and trash should be stored in an orderly fashion. Potential fall hazards must be secured with fencing or guardrails. If utility connections are installed, they must be secured from unauthorized access. 
The same vegetation requirements apply to all private properties; owners are responsible for ensuring nothing grows into streets or sidewalks that might impact the path of travel. Private properties are required to maintain the same standards on vegetation during construction. To file a complaint regarding vegetation overgrowth, please file it online here or via phone at 615-0808. 
Any observed graffiti should be directed to the Graffiti hotline managed by SPU. They will follow up with the property owner to have it removed. 
To file a complaint about dumping or trespassing at an inactive construction site, call 206-615-0808 or go here.  The State Department of Labor & Industry monitors active construction sites for workplace safety.

The City recently sent an Inspector to the site regarding the issue of vegetation along the sidewalk who followed up with this information to the Laurelhurst Blog:
Vegetation along the sidewalk is an element we enforce through the complaint process. Based on your inquiry, we had an inspector drive by and evaluate the conditions of the vegetation. We will create a complaint about the vegetation and follow up with the owner to have them cut back along the sidewalk.

The "Aegis Laurelhurst" website says:
Offering 111 stylishly designed assisted living apartments for seniors and 24 memory care apartments for your family member needing specially trained dementia care. Aegis at Laurelhurst is designed to be the center of social activities. With a large plaza at the main entry, families can play, connect, and relax. Don’t miss the top floor sky lounge with views of the UW campus, Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline.

Another retirement home, Empress Senior Living (4020 NE 55th Street), is currently under construction, on the former Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital site, across from Metropolitan Market. The proposal, Permit #3025827, includes 3 stories of approximately 74 units with a restaurant at street level and parking for approximately 30 vehicles above and below grade.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Electric Bike Stolen

The Laurelhurst Blog received this information from a neighbor:

On the night of October 13, my black Wallerang Tapper electric bike, which was locked, was stolen out of our garage located on 50th Avenue NE and NE 39th Street.

They got the battery but no charger or key to get the battery off, without which its just a 50 pound bike. 

I have reported this information to the police.

Please contact if you have information.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Hospital Construction Activity This Week


Building Care, also called Forest B, of Phase 2 of Children's Hospital expansion is underway and the new building is planned to open in Spring of 2022.

The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan.

The helicopter landing pad moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active until Building Care is completed. Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height).
Lights were added to the horizontal swing arm (boom) portion of the tower crane to increase safety for helicopter landings. These are in addition to the lights at the end of the boom and on the crane operator’s cab. The additional lights will help the helicopter pilots in identifying the location of the boom when landing or departing the helipad in the dark. While the lights are visible from the ground, they are not bright enough to interfere with any neighboring properties. As a reminder, the tower crane is scheduled to remain onsite through August 2020.

The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week:
  • Pour concrete for slabs and walls
  • Framing
  • Paint
  • Install roofing
  • Set walls
  • Install windows
  • Install metal sheeting and panels
  • Install mechanical and electrical wiring and plumbing equipment
  • Install drywall
  • Install siding
  • Build out electrical, mechanical, machine and generator rooms
  • Install insulation
  • Install flooring
  • Install sprinkler systems
  • Build out interior spaces
  • Set air handling units
  • Electrical power installation (Seattle City Light)
  • Building connection work:
    • Set up infection prevention barriers on level 5 of River C
    • Saw cut concrete, install seismic plate, frame walls, and demolish windows, walls, and ceilings on level 6 of River C
    • Set up infection prevention barriers and start demolition on level 7 of River C
    • Install seismic joint covers and drywall on level L1 of Forest A
    • Install drywall and utility wiring on level 1 of Forest A
    • Set walls on level 2 of Forest A
    • Set walls and install seismic joints on level 3 of Forest A
    • Complete framing and install seismic joints, utility wiring, and pneumatic tube connections on level 4 of Forest A
    • Install utility wiring, insulation, and drywall on level 5 of Forest A
    • Install drywall and seismic joint covers on level 6 of Forest A
    • Trim utility wiring on level 8 of Forest A
    • Install gurneyway connection and drywall on level 9 of Forest A

All work will take place 8-6pm weekdays and 9-6pm on Saturdays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NE Seattle Public Library Offering Curbside Pick-Up

Starting Wednesday, October 14, the NE Seattle Public Library (6801 35th Avenue NE) will offer curbside pick-up service. It is walkup only (no appointments).

The walk-up service (no appointments) is available Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 12-6pm.  - noon to 6 p.m.

Here is the press release:
NE Seattle and Greenwood branches will offer Curbside Walk-up Pickup Service.  Other Curbside locations will continue to offer patrons the option of picking up their holds from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Patrons can schedule pickup appointments at these locations by app or by phone, or drop by for walkup service. 
Go here for information on how Curbside Service works and hours of service for Curbside locations. 
Also starting on Wednesday, October 14, materials can be returned at all Curbside locations, as well as at five other locations, from 10-6pm.  
Go here for information about book returns and all Library services. Call 206-386-4190 to  to request an ADA accommodation for pickups or returns.

Go here for more information.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Today Comment On Hospital's Phase 2 Construction Impacting North Laurelhurst

Children's Hospital has submitted plans for a new surgery pavilion and parking garage at the north end of Laurelhurst, in the area of 45th Avenue NE and NE 50th Street.

The proposed height is 37 feet and according to images prepared by the architect, neighbors on 44th Avenue NE will be able to see the top of both of the proposed buildings.

The public is encouraged to submit comments to the City for  project 3036201-LU by EOD today to 

The original comment date was extended according to Maureen, with Seattle Neighborhoods, Major Institutions and Schools Coordinator, who said: 

SDCI has determined that based on the comments received by public on the unavailability of documents for review that the Project Copper proposal should be re-noticed. Please see the re-notice here

The next SAC meeting to review this project will not occur until the re-notice comment period or extended comment period has closed.

Here is a pre-recorded presentation on the project. And here is the presentation from Monday's SAC meeting.

Master Use Permit 3036201-LU states, as well as the signs around the perimeter:
Land use application to allow a 3-story building addition to existing institution (Children’s Hospital, Surgery Pavilion & Garage (2 buildings connected by a bridge span). Parking for 1,138 vehicles proposed. Portion of existing garage to be demolished. Addendum to Final Environmental impact Statement for Seattle Children’s Hospital Major Institution Master Plan dated November 2008, has been prepared.
This comment was received: 
The Hospital is at it again, doing what is best for them, rather than taking into consideration the livability needs of neighbors.  The two very tall structures will be visible by those living on the east side of the Hospital on 44th Avenue NE. There will also be glare, excessive noise from the mechanicals on the tops of the buildings. 
And on top of that, Children's is opening an entrance to employee parking on NE 45th Street! That very busy street has constant traffic, sometimes at high rates of speed. So an accident is waiting to happen. Why does the Hospital get to just open a parking garage as they deem necessary and destroy the flow of traffic for the residents? Because it benefits them and their employees, period. Oh and they will have flaggers but they will let employees in while neighbors wait.  
And let's not forget added to this new parking entrance will be an even bigger back-up at the light at NE 45th Street and Sand Point Way. The back-up which includes Children's Hospital shuttles (mostly always empty!) sometimes can be 10 cars long. And the timing of the light is horrible. Long waits on the week-ends when there is no -line before the light finally switches. And then short lights during heavy traffic times. How does that make sense? 
Added to this to completely benefit Children's employees, will be about 70 construction trucks per day making a continuous route through the neighborhood, bothering neighbors from early morning to evening. Some streets on the route of the numerous enormous trucks are quite narrow with cars on both sides. Oh and children playing outside. But that doesn't matter, let's do whatever the Hospital needs, not the neighborhood. 
Neighbors, read the information, take it in and then send in your comments asap.  This construction period is going to last FOUR years, FOUR YEARS. 

Another neighbor wrote:
It is hugely concerning that neighbors living near “ground zero” for this new Phase 3, will be greatly impacted.  The 2 1/2 year project is very close to neighbors along 44th Avenue NE and it really seems as if the Hospital needs to be open to some mitigation especially for those neighbors who will endure that intense, noisy and dusty construction for such a lengthy period of time.  
It's also unclear why the Hospital cannot dig below grade for the parking garage, rather than building up. It has been reported that the Hospital says it is too expensive!  That seems irrelevant with them buying a row of houses on NE 45th at one time, along with their latest construction projects and now this one. 
Putting the garage lower would not impact surrounding neighbors  and would be below sight line.  If course the Hospital can do this.  They just don't want to and pretend they don't have enough money. They want what they want, not what works for the neighborhood.  Both need to work together. Of course Children's can afford doing this; it's just their excuse to say they can't.  Children's appears to always have plenty of money for their many,many capital projects as well as the many large donations they received who in turn get their names put on the buildings and the pocket parks.  
Information has also been circulated to neighbors that employees will use a parking garage on NE 45th Street during the almost 3 year phase. Isn't this dangerous with so many cars zooming down NE 45th Street and employees turning left into the garage? It's an accident waiting to happen...multiple accidents, all for this next phase and employees getting the right of way into a parking garage jeopordizing safety of the neighborhood drivers. 

The City also received these comments from a nearby neighbor:
I am writing to express concern about Copper Project Phase 3 at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. I live across the street on the east side of Children’s site. 
For the last twenty years we have been protected from impact from the hospital by a 75’ landscaped buffer that has been quite effective. A low level of lighting on the surface of the Ocean Parking Structure has preserved the residential feel of the neighborhood and protected wildlife during the nighttime from light pollution. 
Parking restrictions on 45th Ave NE for Children’s employees have been generally effective, though I have noticed in recent years that the no parking signage along the periphery of the hospital has gotten run down and overgrown so that the supposed fire lanes around the hospital are often no longer clear of parked cars. 
I am concerned that the proposed Copper Project Phase 3 takes away these effective buffers along 44th Ave NE, exposing my neighbors not only to very significant construction noise, but also to long-term traffic impact of noise and pollution. 
My concerns are: 
  • The proposal realigns Penny Drive so that it takes away about one third of the landscaped buffer along 44th Avenue NE, and routes all traffic for the Ocean garage parallel and next to 44th Ave NE. This exposes the residents of 44th Ave NE to unnecessary noise and traffic pollution and deprives them of part of their buffer. Since the surgery pavilion is supposed to be connected to the existing hospital by a bridge (as will the parking structure), it seems to me that Penny Lane should retain its existing alignment and the Surgery Pavilion be connected to the rest of the hospital by a bridge (that will be there anyway). That would require the Surgery Pavilion to be sited somewhat north from where it is in the proposal, but by doing so not only will the residents of 44th Ave NE be protected from noise and pollution, but it may be that the existing view of the Olympics along NE 47th Street could be preserved. 
  • The height of the north parking garage, while within the height overlay, is unnecessarily tall. It could be reduced considerably by excavating at least some of it underground. 
  • While the height of the surgery pavilion is within the height overlay, it goes above the buffer tree canopy. If it cannot be reduced, the plan must be very careful to protect the neighborhood from nighttime light pollution and daytime glare from the building. We don’t want the neighborhood lighted up 24-7 as if it is a downtown office park. 
I have a second set of concerns having to do with construction impacts. The construction of the Ocean parking lot across from my house some twenty years ago made work at home impossible for me. I am a professor at the University of Washington. Luckily, I had an office then to flee to during the day, but now no more. I am retired and work primarily at home writing for publication. My wife is also retired and at home during the day. I know that many of my neighbors are working at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
All of this means that disruption of our lives during the day by construction noise is not a trivial issue. The town houses on NE 50th street will be very seriously affected. I have also heard complaints from residents along Sand Point Way (which is scheduled to get a new high-rise apartment, and a retirement community over the next couple of year). The hours during which heavy traffic can be allowed must be strictly limited. The proposed construction entrance on NE 50th street negotiates a very steep gradient. Construction vehicles grinding up that hill will seriously disrupt the high-density residential district north of Children’s. Perhaps reversing the flow of vehicles so that they exit rather than enter on NE 50th street would ameliorate that problem. 
In addition, entrance and egress to the Ocean garage is slated to be at approximately the corner of NE 45th Street and 45th Street Northeast during construction. This has happened before. When this exit was last used a traffic jam from Sandpoint Way up NE 45th Street almost as far as the Ocean Garage itself occurred every afternoon making it almost impossible for residents to exit the neighborhood at that time. Perhaps Children’s should consider parking even more employees at the UW Montlake lots and bringing them in by shuttle as they already do.  
Finally, traffic has gotten heavy enough that it is time for a traffic light at Sandpoint Way and NE 50th Street. This is a major point of entry and exist for Laurelhurst residents, yet getting across Sandpoint Way (either to go south or cross to 40th Ave NE) has gotten very dangerous. I know that Sandpoint Way keeps getting more traffic lights, but that is mainly due to growth at Children’s Hospital. I wonder if the lights could not be coordinated so that traffic can run down Sandpoint Way smoothly while still allowing those needing to cross the highway to do so safely.

A north Laurelhurst neighbor submitted these comments:
In the 2010 MIMP there is strong language regarding Children's commitment to move the bulk of there expansion "downhill" and the "extraordinary mitigation measures" that were incorporated into the MIMP.  building a surgery pavilion at the top of the hill on Children's property is not consistent with a number of the statements that Children's made in the adopted MIMP.   
The eastern edge1 of Children’s property is at the highest elevation of the entire property. The proposed Surgery Pavilion would be sited on the eastern edge. In other words, the Pavilion is proposed to be sited as high “uphill” as Children’s site allows. This is opposite of the development conditions indicating that new hospital additions to the existing campus should be sited “downhill.”   
The Master Plan will primarily utilize the lower elevations of the expanded campus for new development.  The majority of the new buildings will be located on the lowest areas of the expanded hospital campus and closest to Sand Point Way NE and 40th Avenue NE on Laurelon Terrace. 2010 MIMP, page 42. 
While the 2010 MIMP did show a potential parking garage near the corner of 44th Ave. NE and NE 50th Street, a garage is not a hospital facility.

Other neighbors submitted these comments to the City:
I am concerned about the level of landscape screening present along 44th Ave NE. As it is now, there are several bare spots along the west side of the street that do not sufficiently hide the parking lot. As many of the homes on 44th Ave NE, including mine, are perched up from the street, I am also concerned about sight lines from first and second story windows of the residential houses on 44th Ave NE onto the new parking and surgery structure. This concern becomes more pronounced during dark hours as light from the buildings and parking surfaces reflect back at the houses. Maintaining the screening level at the current height will not be sufficient to block the view of the parking structure as well as shield the street from noise from the building's mechanical systems. Given that about half of the 75' setback is used for a road, I hope there is sufficient room for screening. If this screening does prove to be sufficient, please consider planting more and taller trees into the landscaping area. 
I live in North Laurelhurst. With all the development that has gone on, and continues, the details revealed for the development on the NW corner of the campus are extraordinarily out of sync with all that has been going on. What on earth is the idea of using a 75 ft. buffer (along 44th Ave NE) to become a two lane road? In this case, how does it then ever meet the definition of "buffer"? Why is the parking garage not to be sunk into the property? This would be one step in lowering the impact on North Laurelhurst which is supposed to always be paramount.

LCC submitted these concerns and comments:
In accordance with the City Council bill from April 5th, 2010, and the Settlement Agreement  (Feb 2010) that was agreed upon which allowed the hospital to add 2.1 million square feet of new buildings and parking, the role of LCC continues to be the compliance with "rules" that govern their Major Institution Master Plan, the MIMP. The overarching goal of both of these documents is to provide a balance of liveability for neighbors and allow growth for the needs of SCH. 
To date, LCC and the public have had real "process" problems with getting the information needed for analysis. SCH also had the "comment deadline" before the public viewed these plans at the SAC meeting! 
The EIS addendum is still in a format on their permit website that is locked out to the public as well as their document about proof of "Need" for the added surgery rooms and parking.  LCC has requested it 3 times, but they claim they cannot get "the Applicant" to fix it.   
The location of the development, the additional exit lane on Penny Drive and the large massing of the added buildings and parking , plus 17 feet of height for mechanical equipment will have visual and noise, and glare impacts on surrounding residences.  On this mechanical roof of the surgery what is the noise level predicted? Can it be mitigated? 
Neighbors want to ensure that it respects the promised 75 foot "setback" around the campus where it is adjacent to residences. One question that the City should answer is what is the purpose of a setback, and what is allowed in it by code? 
There is more hardscape added in the NW campus for new buildings and an added access road and a new turnaround along the NE corner of the site for "access" vehicles. Residences are located along 44th Avenue NE and 45th Avenue NE and NE 50th Street and a new two lane road is planned to be located in the 75 foot buffer, a requirement in the Conditions of the MIMP for its approval. Cannot the new buildings be made in a smaller footprint to comply with the green buffer along residential borders, and add the road , outside of the 75 foot green buffer?    
Since the original operating rooms have had issues with Aspergillums mold, what air quality emission controls will protect neighbors whose residences are located below the new surgery pavilion , albeit at a height 75 feet away from the buffer? How will toxic waste be removed? 
The elevations show a tall "wall " of structure along these residential streets when completed. What mitigation will reduce this visual barrier? What is the composition of trees. 
There will be over 390,000 square feet of new development, and the majority of the demo and construction will occur nearby the residences on NE 50th Street, 44th Avenue and 45th Avenue NE on a temporary road. How will the impacts from construction dust and noise and emission be controlled and mitigated for neighbors?   
Noise. tall lights, and seeing tall walls are something for neighbors to question, and better to do it now than after it is approved.

LCC sent out this information this week to neighbors:
Neighbors near Children’s along 45th Avenue NE and 44th Avenue NE between 45th Street NE and 50th Street NE will want to pay particular attention to Phase 3 plans. The additions will be highly visible on the northeast side of the Laurelhurst Children’s complex.

Some of key elements of the MIMP’s Phase 3 project include:
  1. Plans now show five phases instead of four, which were originally approved for the MIMP.
  2. A new surgery center called The Copper Surgery Pavilion is proposed at a height of 37 feet+ 15 feet for a mechanical penthouse along 44th Ave. NE with a service road in the setback area.
  3. One of the existing parking garages off Penny Drive will be demolished and three above-ground stories of parking will be added at the corner of NE 50th St. and 44th Ave NE for a total of 8 floors of parking. The project adds 500 parking spaces.
  4. An elevated sky bridge is proposed to connect the new parking garage with the Copper Surgery Pavilion at the eastern boundary.
  5. A drop off tunnel is planned in the new parking garage.
  6. The total amount of new development is 621,324 square feet of building and “moving dirt” in Phase 3. However, much of it is exempt from being counted in the 2.1 million campus limits because it is counted as parking, underground (below grade) location, or is rooftop mechanical, allowed on 40 percent of the roof, over the allowable height. So the height is 37 feet for the two new buildings, plus 15 feet for added height for mechanical, which totals 52 feet height visible along 44th Ave. NE and NE 50th St. but also very visible from many other nearby locations.
  7. Penny Drive, the main road entrance off Sand Point Way NE, will be changed to connect the campus with the new buildings with a drop off in front of the Surgery Pavilion. In addition, with a special “No Protest” agreement with the City of Seattle, a second left-turn lane will be built into Penny Lane to ease exiting congestion.
  8. Also the new temporary exit for the Ocean garage for the clinics, etc will be re-routed onto NE 45th Street from 2021-2024. SCH is planning to hire professional flaggers to help the exit the Seattle Children’s users onto this very busy street.
  9. A temporary construction road is planned to be built from Sand Point Way NE through NE 50th St. and 44th Ave NE.
  10. A paved permanent access road in the 75-foot mandatory buffer is planned along 44th Ave. NE and NE 50th St. with a hard surface turnaround.
While SCH posted the public comment deadline of August 26, 2020, the public was not able to see or hear about the plans until the SAC meeting on August 31, 2020. In its permit application on the SDCI website, the EIS addendum and Statement of Need, which contain valuable information for the analysis, were not accessible to the public to view. LCC requested the documents three times and the Applicant was notified by the City to fix the files for public access; unfortunately, the detailed analytical documents needed were not available to the public for more than three weeks after the signs were up to notify neighbors. LCC requested and received a 14-day extension to prepare comments, which are now due by September 9th.  
Phase 3 is governed in accordance with the Seattle City Council Clerk File #308884, dated April 5th, 2010, and the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) and SCH Settlement Agreement, recorded with the City on February 3, 2010. After the original expansion plans were denied by the Hearing Examiner, the Settlement Agreement was negotiated and agreed upon by both parties which allowed the hospital to add 2.1 million square feet of new buildings and parking for the duration of 20 years, (to 2030), in four phases. 
In addition, to the physical development, the Seattle City Council bill includes a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) that established a requirement that SCH must meet before each phase of its development is approved, established the maximum single occupancy vehicles (SOV) allowed on campus, commuting goals, and regulates on-site and off-site parking to reduce the impacts on the surrounding, mostly residential, neighborhoods. The approved MIMP also established development standards, added a 75-foot setback around three sides of the SCH campus next to the neighbors’ homes, changed the existing allowable heights, required an increase in on-campus parking and authorized the demolition of the Laurelon condominiums for their new and taller buildings along NE 45th St .and Sand Point Way NE. 
When the MIMP was approved, it also created the Standing Advisory Committee (the SAC), which reviews these plans and phases to add feedback and ensure compliance with the terms of the MIMP governing rules set by the City from the Hearing Examiner. Many Laurelhurst residents serve on this board to represent the whole neighborhood. The meeting to review the Phase 3 was August 31, 2020, at which many details of Phase 3 were revealed. 
LCC supports the mission of SCH to provide growth in its excellent pediatric health care. LCC also must review the proposed plans at each development phase to ensure that it is in compliance with the requirements governing both the Settlement Agreement and Major Institution Master Plan.
For more information on the project go here.