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FW: Proposed Street Vacation of Lakeside Blvd. E. to Broadmoor Go lf Club

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  • Don Argus
    ... From: Richard McIver [mailto:Richard.McIver@ci.seattle.wa.us] Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 10:01 AM To: argus@thl-arch.com Subject: RE: Proposed Street
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 20, 2001
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Richard McIver [mailto:Richard.McIver@...]
      Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 10:01 AM
      To: argus@...
      Subject: RE: Proposed Street Vacation of Lakeside Blvd. E. to Broadmoor Golf Club

      Good morning, Mr. Argus!
      I have been woefully slow in responding to this email and I apologize for that.  Thank you for sharing your specific concerns.  Please keep me informed of your efforts for a trail.  If I can be helpful, I am glad to.

      >>> Don Argus
      <argus@...> 06/27/01 10:24AM >>>
      Dear Council Member McIver:
      Thank you very much for your personal response to my (perhaps too strident) letter regarding the  Broadmoor land swap issue.  I appreciate and agree with the concern you express for the quality of the environment, and for the wetlands in the Foster Island area in particular.  I also agree that acquiring the small wedge of land that the public already uses is a worthy goal.
      I am nevertheless very disappointed in the vote that the Council took to approve the Golf Club's proposal, and continue to believe that this has harmed the public interest.  And here's why:
      You mention that the Arboretum Lakeside Trial proposal was dropped because the proposal would harm the wetlands there.  You also stated that none of the trail proposals used the Lakeside Boulevard right-of-way.
      But if the trail proposal had utilized the right-of-way, the environmental concerns would have been moot.  And why was the public right-of-way not proposed as the trail route?  Because a private and exclusive interest had usurped the right-of-way for its own use, fencing out the public.  The problem is not the trail, the problem is the driving range.  It is the driving range (which already impacts the environment through chemical runoff and irrigation) that should accommodate a solution, not the wetlands.
      I continue to believe that the absence of connectivity, even for pedestrians, between the Foster Island area and Madison Park is a major gap in Seattle's urban fabric.  Making this gap permanent to serve the private interests of an exclusive club is an affront to the public. 
      I will continue to advocate some kind of trail connection.  Perhaps it needs to go between the driving range and the rest of the course, or right along the driving range fence. 
      Thank you for your serious contemplation of the issues surrounding this matter, and for your regard for the concerns of a citizen.   
      Don Argus
      2411 East Calhoun Street
       -----Original Message-----
      From: Richard McIver [mailto:Richard.McIver@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 3:14 PM
      To: argus@...
      Subject: Re: Proposed Street Vacation of Lakeside Blvd. E. to Broadmoor Golf Club

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding the vacation of Lakeside Boulevard for the Broadmoor Golf Club.  This measure was passed by the full Council this past Monday, June 25, on a vote of 7-2.  I voted with the majority and had done the same when the measure was previously considered by the Transportation Committee.  After exploring this issue in considerable depth and having listened to arguments on both sides of the issue, I came to the conclusion that Broadmoor's request was a reasonable one that did not in any way compromise the broader public interest.
      Broadmoor petitioned to vacate a portion of Lakeside Boulevard right-of-way (ROW) at the north end of the club, just south of some University of Washington property and Lake Washington.  This portion of ROW is a platted street, but it has never been open or used as a street.  This section of the street is inaccessible and can only be reached by water or from the adjacent Broadmoor property.  The street (about 47,780 square feet) has been fenced and used by Broadmoor under an informal agreement forged some 30 years ago.
      In exchange for the vacation, Broadmoor has offered to trade a small piece of land owned by Broadmoor, which the City has for many years used as public access to Foster Island.  Broadmoor proposes to deed this public access to the City, as well as some wetland property sufficient to make an equal exchange of square footage.
      A number of those who have contacted to express their opposition to the vacation have suggested that approval would effectively prevent any future development of a trail through the area.  This is one of the most enduring and troubling misperceptions about the vacation.  The City Council is already on record stating that the trail cannot proceed.  Unfortunately, all of the trail options were found to have adverse impacts on the environment and none can be permitted under existing City and State environmental regulations.  Simply put, the trail will not be built because it harms the environment.  (It should also be noted that none of the trail options used the portion of Lakeside Boulevard proposed for vacation.)
      As to the issuance of a street use permit to establish the property with an ongoing rental stream to the City, there are several reasons this is not a good option.  First, the City practice is to return public lands to private ownership if there is no ostensible public use for it.  Second, those holding such a permit are not able to finance capitol improvements on leases that have a 30-day cancellation clause, as is the case with street use permits.  The decision whether to vacate is never based on how much money the City could make if the street was retained and a permit was issued.
      Finally, the area proposed to be deeded to the City is classified as a wetland of exceptional value.  There are only two wetlands of exceptional value in the Seattle area, this property and Kellogg Island.  This environment is so rare and fragile that it receives the greatest level of protection under both State and City law.  It is inconceivable that public ownership of this parcel is not a public benefit.
      Simply put, I can see no reason this vacation should not be granted.  In the absence of a public need for the ROW, a vacation is an appropriate option when coupled with the trade being offered by Broadmoor. 

      Richard J. McIver
      Seattle City Council


      >>> Don Argus <argus@...> 06/18/01 11:40AM >>>
      Dear City Council members:

      I urge you to deny the application for the street vacation made by the
      Broadmoor Golf Club for the Lakeside Blvd. E. right-of-way.  Their deal
      won't pass the "smell test" -- it is a give-away of a public asset to
      private (and exclusive) interests.  It has the appearance of a "sweetheart"
      deal; it would legitimate the Golf Club's squatting on public land, to the
      detriment of the public interest.

      First of all, it is outrageous that the Golf Club has been allowed for so
      long to squat on public land.  It didn't go over well when Howard Schultz
      was encroaching on a far smaller area of public land for a much shorter
      period of time; making this permanent won't either.

      Secondly, to allow them to legitimate this private taking of public land
      would harm the public interest by preventing a future walking connection
      from Foster Island to Madison Park.  I'm interested in seeing this
      connection happen some day, and I wish to preserve the option for the
      future.  This street vacation proposal is disturbing, given that the
      environmental impact of such a trail (passing through wetlands) was one of
      the reasons given for rejecting it when it was last proposed.  The trail
      would not have to pass through wetlands if the existing street right-of-way
      had not been blocked by the Golf Club.

      Golf courses are a major source of water pollution in this country; they use
      a prodigious amount of pesticides and herbicides that find their way into
      the water.   The impact of a walking trail would be insignificant compared
      to the present occupation.  I can't imagine a golf course being approved
      there today, with the impact that runoff has on water quality.

      It's natural to want to walk along Lake Washington, and walking is
      encouraged at Foster Island.  But the location of the fenced golf course
      creates a major and frustrating gap in public access and passage along the
      lake.  Trying to walk along the lake today is frustrated by the Broadmoor
      fence, which requires a major and lengthy detour to Madison Street and over
      a hill.  Lakeside Boulevard even appeared on the first city map of Seattle
      we had, years ago; imagine our surprise when we tried to use it to find a
      golf club fence and guardhouse there instead of a public street.

      I can imagine a compromise wherein the golf course can continue to have its
      driving range sprawl across the right-of-way, if they build a walking path
      from the Arboretum to Madison Park, and allow public passage through it.
      Perhaps the trail could be atop a berm that prevents herbicide-laced golf
      course runoff from reaching the wetlands, so the runoff can be treated.
      Only then might it become the "win-win" that the golf club is portraying
      their proposal to be, and only then ought the City Council to support it.


      Don Argus
      2411 East Calhoun Street
      Seattle 98112
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