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MCC Board Meeting -- Montlake Playfield Action Items -- Wednesday, September 7

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  • Mahon, Robert (Perkins Coie)
    Neighbors,The Montlake Community Club will have its Board of Trustee meeting on Wednesday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Montlake Community Center s
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2005
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      MCC Board Meeting -- Montlake Playfield Action Items -- Wednesday, September 7

      Neighbors,

      The Montlake Community Club will have its Board of Trustee meeting on Wednesday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Montlake Community Center's modular building.  Here is a proposed agenda:

      7:30 - Welcome and Approval of Minutes
      7:35 - Neighborhood Business District Grant Award (update by Matt Johnson)
      7:40 - SR 520 (brief update on recent meetings and preview of resolution)
      7:50 - Montlake Playfields (update, discussion of community goals, and confirmation of negotiating team)
      8:55 - New Business
      9:00 - Adjourn

      Although MCC Board meetings are always open, I would like to specially encourage people with an interest in Seattle proposed renovations of the Montlake Playfields to attend.  We will be devoting an hour or so of the meeting to a discussion of the Prep proposal and Montlake's goals and priorities.

      Background

      As many of you know, the Seattle Parks Department took public comment on Seattle Prep's proposal at two public meeting on April 20 and May 18.  Despite significant community concerns, the Parks Department staff recommended that the Parks Board advance the proposal to "project status."  Consistent with the Montlake Community Club's resolution of June 8, the MCC submitted written comments to the Parks Board requesting that the Board vote not to advance the proposal to project status because of concerns about lighting, traffic impacts, use of the playfields, and the Parks Department's failure to meaningfully engage the public in the planning process.  At the Park Board's public hearing on July 28, Parks Department staff presented a briefing on the project, several Montlake neighbors weighed in with comments opposing the proposal, and several Prep supporters commented in favor of the proposal.

      On August 22, neighbor Kathy DiJulio-Smith hosted Park Superintendent Ken Bounds and a small group of Montlake neighbors for a walk around the playfields.  Bill Oseran and Steve Milam get kudos for having the foresight to mark out approximate lines of where the fields would be moved under the Prep proposal.  This lose of space seemed to make a deep impression.  Bounds also cut through months of bureaucratic run around and told us that the lighting issue could be addressed by agreement or ordinance (so much for months of staffers saying that it couldn't be done).

      On August 25, the Parks Board formally considered the Prep proposal.  Although the Board voted to move Prep's proposal to "project status," they also voted to give Montlake, Prep, and the Parks Department two months to try to resolve disagreements about the project.  The Board essentially tabled its decision on the proposal and directed Parks and Prep to try to accommodate community concerns.  The Board will take up the proposal again after this negotiation process concludes.  It appears from comments of the commissioners and Ken Bounds that everyone is in agreement that the lighting issue should be dealt with in a council ordinance or some sort of agreement.  The Board also seemed sensitive to the field alignment issue raised by Bill and Steve at the August 22 meeting with Bounds and by Steve at the Board meeting.  Overall, this seems like the best outcome that we could reasonably expect.

      Last week, Ken Bounds called to discuss the process for trying to reach resolve differences between Montlake and Prep.  He asked that each side limit their group to 3 people.  I tentatively identified me, Ken Schubert, and Lester Gray to represent Montlake.  I expect that Prep will be represented by Father Vance and Brew Bede.  Ken Bounds has asked Susan Golab to facilitate our discussions with Prep.

      Objectives of MCC Board Meeting

      There are three main objectives for tomorrow's meeting:

      1.      The Board needs to confirm the three-person team that will be sitting down with Parks and Prep to try to reach agreement on behalf of Montlake.  As noted above, I tentatively told Ken Bounds that our team would be me, Ken Schubert, and Lester Gray.  If anyone has any concerns with the composition of this team, please raise them at the meeting or, if you prefer, send an email to me or the Board.

      2.      I would also like to identify a committee of ten or so neighbors who are willing to work with and provide support for the negotiating team.  This group would work very closely with the negotiating team on details that may arise during this process.  A number of neighbors have already invested a lot of time and energy scrutinizing the Prep proposal, and I hope that they would form the core of this group.  Please let me know at the meeting or by email if you are interested in being involved in this group.

      3.      I would like the Board and interested neighbors to discuss and ultimately set some community goals and priorities for this process.  Some of the issues and potential goals to consider include:

      • Field alignment / configuration -- keep fields in their current foot prints?  If the football field needs to shift, eliminate track in order to reduce the encroachment to allow the shift while reducing encroachment on other uses?
      • Use -- confirm Prep's use of existing fields, confirm no games, use of renovated fields defined by formal agreement rather than Parks' scheduling policy?
      • Artificial turf -- confirm no turf in baseball outfield; confirm plan to maintain and replace turf; is turf the best surface anywhere?
      • Lighting -- confirm best mechanism to protect Montlake from lights
      • Traffic mitigation and enforcement
      • Environmental -- wetland restoration, water access, trail development (perhaps in lieu of track)?
      • Seattle Prep good neighbor agreement -- agreement and mechanism to monitor student driving and behavior in the neighborhood near the playfields?

      Some of these items appear to be more appropriate goals than others.  For example, Parks and Prep appear willing to address the lighting issue (the only area for discussion is the precise mechanism).  It probably doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time on an agreed or conceded issue.  Also, environmental problems outside our control may kill this project.  We probably don't gain much by bargaining over those environmental issues that are largely driven by state and federal law, not our community's desires. 

      I encourage anyone who is interested to attend the Board meeting or share your thoughts by email.

      Regards,
      Bob

      Bob Mahon
      President, Montlake Community Club

      2556 24th Avenue E.
      Seattle, WA 98112
      Tel. (H): 206.720.0688
      Tel. (W): 206.359.6360
      Email: RMahon@...

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