Seattle City Light has some surplus properties in our neighborhood that they are considering selling and are seeking public comment on the idea. More information can be found on Seattle City Light’s surplus properties website. We asked them to come discuss these properties with us at last night’s HPAC meeting. We also asked Seattle Parks to comment on them: they are not interested in these properties as they are not located in any gaps in park locations according to their gap analysis studies.
One site is the old Trolley property at 8820 9th ave SW- near 9th and Henderson:
This is the site of the old Highland Park Lake Burien Trolley Barn and was the Sub station that provided power to the Trolley. A bit of history about this property sent to me by a Highland Park resident: This land was originally donated to the community of Highland Park by Clyde and Grace Sherman to build the car barn and substation so the community could have transportation and power. The Sherman’s lived next door to the south in the tall house that still exists. The Trolley line was independently owned by local community shareholders but when there was a land slide near the Abrahamson brick yard on West Marginal Way the local shareholders could not finance the replacement of the tracks and the land became the property of the City after a deal was made to repair the tracks and and run the line for a certain number of years. This became the first City owned street car line.
King County may be interested in this property near 9th and Henderson for Green Stormwater Infrastructure / Roadside Raingardens. If this were to happen, there would be community input and involvement through design. We heard support from community members that this would be a good use of the property- it is a very preliminary idea and no studies or decisions have been made. We also heard support of an idea to install a solar powered phone charging station available to the community in case of emergencies at this site.
The point was also made that this property was donated to the city by a member of the community, and proceeds from the sale of the property should come back to the community in the form of funds for our underfunded parks projects. City Light, however, has some very strict orders/laws that dictate where the proceeds from the sale go.
The other property is located across from the Seven Eleven at 1605 SW Holden:
We heard from the majority of the community members present that they do not want this property to become a park.
There was a lot of discussion about this property on 16th and Holden. Most of those present at the meeting would like to see this property’s zoning change from residential to commercial in an effort to create more of a walkable community for our neighborhood. The opinion is that maintaining residential zoning on one corner of a busy arterial intersection does not make sense and would not be the best use of the space for the community. The point was made that City Light could get more money for their property if they rezoned it prior to selling it, and the neighborhood would be happy to see that change happen prior to the property changing hands.
There was also a request for the City to re-look at zoning along the entire stretch of Holden from 16th to 9th, as it seems haphazard in its delineation.
If you are interested in commenting on these properties, there is a public hearing coming up on October 2nd from 7pm to 9pm at High Point Community Center. I know it’s so hard to attend all these meetings- so you can make an official public comment online too. Please note that last night’s meeting was just a discussion and not considered a public hearing, so our comments need to be submitted formally. Please go to this website to submit your comments, you’ll see a link on the right side of the page that says “submit comments here.” You can also write to Sally Clark, our City Council president, while you’re at it! They are the ones that will ultimately be signing off on this, so it is imperative that they know we have an opinion on the properties.
West Seattle has 6 properties total, and a coalition has formed peninsula wide that is trying to slow down these sales until it is known what is the best use of each property for the community. The “West Seattle Green Space Coalition” was present at our meeting asking for signatures on their petition to slow the process down. While it doesn’t seem like “green space” is what is best for our community in regard to the 16th and Holden site especially, HPAC is supportive of the idea of slowing the process down to determine the best use of these properties for each community in question.