Thursday, December 4, 2014

Special Neighborhood Meeting Monday Evening To Address Laurelhurst Elementary School Portable Plans And Neighborhood Crime

A special neighborhood meeting is being held on Monday, December 8th, at 6:55pm at the Laurelhurst Community Center, to learn more about two issues - the portable plans for Laurelhurst Elementary School and crime concerns.

Various speakers will present information on these important two time-sensitive and important topics affecting the neighborhood:

Here is information the Laurelhurst Community Club recently mailed out:

PTA Leaders to Present Information on Plans for Up to Four New Portables at Laurelhurst Elementary School

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is seeking neighbors living within 600' of Laurelhurst Elementary School to apply by December 17 for a position on the School Design Departure Advisory Committee.

This group is tasked with helping to decide if up to four more portables should be added to the North and already-small South playground.

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

A group of concerned Laurelhurst Elementary parents calling themselves "Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning," with the motto, "Playgrounds Grow Students," is against higher lot coverage and the addition of more portables.

Laurelhurst already has the smallest lot size of all 11 NE elementary schools, in addition to the highest building:lot ratio.

LCC's preliminary discussions of the proposal include why the issue of adding portables matters to our city schools:  
1. Portables have a way of becoming permanent structures - note the long length of the current ones at Laurelhurst. 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. 
2. Traffic impacts must be considered - access from the very congested NE 45th St., local neighborhood parking for extra staff (there is no parking lot). Safety for all children must be a priority, and enough space for safe bus drop offs. 
3.Is there adequate LASER space to support longer day care? If not or if so, how is that program impacted? 
4. 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, away from electronics. 
5. The City has 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.

A very thorough article on this topic can be found here:

Seattle's New Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole along with North Precinct Lieutenant James Arata  Will Address Crime Concerns

Neighbors will have this important opportunity to raise your concerns directly with the Chief and hear about her plans to address them.  We have had a major surge in property crimes here in Laurelhurst, and our residents are very concerned about the lack of resources from the Seattle Police Department targeted to address its continued escalation.

Nightly car prowls are practically the standard, and both daytime and evening burglaries are on the rise in our neighborhood which is known as the number one "family friendly" Seattle neighborhood. LCC is pro-active on crime prevention with our private security patrol, block watches, and educational tips for prevention.

However, we also need City of Seattle support and resources to help reverse this very frightening crime trend in this quiet, tax-paying, single-family neighborhood.

No comments: