July 19th, 2011 by Thea
The Seattle City Council has taken steps toward legalizing medical marijuana in the city this week, voting Monday to establish a municipal licensing, regulation and taxation system for medical marijuana. The licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops would fall under a new state law going into effect on Friday, July 22, which would make medical marijuana dispensaries illegal. From Reuters:
The 8-0 vote in favor of the measure comes nearly three months after Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law a new measure allowing cities to regulate and license production, processing and distribution of medical marijuana on a limited basis.
That statute, which takes effect on Friday, requires storefront dispensaries and other medical pot suppliers to reorganize themselves as small, cooperative ventures serving up to 10 patients. These “collective gardens” are confined to growing 45 plants total but no more than 15 per person.
This vote is a ground-breaking move for Washington, and is the farthest any city in the state has gone toward legitimizing medical marijuana usage. Dispensaries and co-ops citywide would benefit from the licensing decision, including Queen Anne area dispensaries the Seattle Medical Marijuana Association on 15th, the E.C.C. Emerald City Collective on Elliott, and Sens-Able Patient Network, and Fremont-based Dockside Co-Op. From MyNorthwest.com:
“They’re not kicking the can down the road and having somebody else deal with it,” [Dockside Co-Op owner Oscar] Velasco-Schmitz says. “They realize that there is a need for medical cannibis within the community, and they’re taking steps to be able to provide that for the community in a safe manner.”
While Seattle has taken measures to license medical marijuana dispensaries, such businesses are still in violation of federal law. If signed by Mayor Mike McGinn, the proposed ordinance would require medical marijuana businesses to comply with city codes, governing everything from plumbing to public nuisance complaints. From Reuters:
Seattle officials backing the proposed city ordinance say more than 25,000 of the city’s 600,000 residents use cannabis for medical reasons. They argue that regulation will bring more order to the burgeoning supply chain.
“We’re saying, ‘You’re already here, now we need to regulate you,’” Seattle Councilwoman Sally Clark said.
Clark told Reuters that some 80 medical marijuana dispensaries have sprung up in Seattle over the last few years, but of those, only about 50 have officially registered with the city. The mayor is expected to sign the ordinance as early as Tuesday. Once signed, the measure would go into effect in 30 days.
But not all medical marijuana proponents are praising the decision. Medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt told The Seattle Times he’s planning to sue the city to block the action. “He says marijuana remains illegal under both federal and state law, and the city does not have authority to regulate an illegal substance,” according to the Times.
What do you think? Is it time for medical marijuana dispensaries to be full licensed by the city and state?
And while we’re on the topic, check out these stories from our sister sites on the gray area that exists in the world of medical marijuana and the Wallingford Cannabis Farmer’s Market.
Tags: City Council, Councilwoman Sally Clark, Dockside Co-Op, Douglas Hiatt, E.C.C. Emerald City Collective, Governor Christine Gregoire, licensing medical marijuana, Mayor Mike McGinn, medical marijuana, medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops, MyNorthwest, Oscar Velasco-Schmitz, Reuters, Seattle City Council, Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, Sens-Able Patient Network, The Seattle Times, Wallingford Cannabis Farmer's Market
July 14th, 2011 by Sean Keeley
The City of Seattle moved one step closer to a new kind of street food community on Wednesday when the City Council land-use committee unanimously approved a measure that would allow mobile vendors to park in designated spots citywide.
Currently, vendors have to work out deals with local business owners, which is why you always see food trucks in parking lots or outside local companies. The new guidelines would allow for street food carts to park in specific spaces throughout the city on their own.
With the new legislation would come changes to street food vendor rules as well.
These called for increased parking fees; upping the buffer between sidewalk vendors and business entrances/exits (from 10 to 15 feet) and schools (now 1,000 feet, before it was 200 feet); and notification of nearby property owners. Previously vendors were to notify all owners within 100 feet of their site; now they will have to inform owners on each side of the street as well as those on the adjacent block when the slinger is situated on a corner. The legislation dictates no more than two merchants are permitted per block; if there is little or no commercial activity, that number could increase.
Not everyone is a fan of the proposal. Many restaurants are against the measure as an increase in street vendors could leads to a decrease in customers for them. See the full details here.
The City Council is expected to consider the bill on Monday, July 18.
Tags: City Council, City Council Land Use Committee, restaurants, street food, street food vendors
June 10th, 2011 by Thea
Neighborhood retirement community Merrill Gardens, located at 800 4th Ave N in Lower Queen Anne, celebrated the completion of a brand new and long sought-after crosswalk on Thursday, June 9 with a ribbon cutting with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.
Merrill Garden’s Lower Queen Anne location is home to around 190 senior citizens who live in two buildings on either side of 4th Ave, a busy street which has been a safety concern for the many residents who cross it frequently.
The seniors living at Merrill Gardens and its administrative staff have been trying to get the City to approve a new crosswalk in the middle of 4th Ave since 2006, only to be met with repeated denials. In September they reached out to Councilmember Rasmussen, who got involved and helped bring the project about. From the press release:
He [Rasmussen] convinced the Seattle Department of Transportation to take another look at the request and upon review, SDOT approved plans for a crosswalk with curb cuts and signage. The crossing now provides residents with easier access between buildings, and Thursday’s ceremony will celebrate the retirement community’s victory.
“I’m so glad that Merrill Gardens brought this issue to my attention,” Rasmussen said in a statement. “It’s important that our City responds to requests from its residents. I am thrilled that we were able to get the plans approved.”
Tags: City Council, crosswalks, Lower Queen Anne, Merrill Gardens, safety, SDOT, Tom Rasmussen
May 19th, 2011 by Doree
Seattle’s Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee wants to hear from the public about their transportation priorities at a series of public meetings. The closest meeting to Queen Anne is next Tuesday, May 24 at the Fremont Library.
In January 2011, Mayor McGinn and the City Council convened a 14-member Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee III (CTAC) to advise them on priorities for maintaining and improving Seattle streets and sidewalks and to evaluate funding options including a potential ballot measure. Input from the community will inform the CTAC’s decisions and recommendations.
The meeting is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fremont Library, 731 N. 35th St. Mayor Mike McGinn is scheduled to attend that meeting. The first half-hour is an open house, followed by presentations by CTAC members and Seattle Dept. of Transportation Director Peter Hahn. The final hour will be small group discussions.
If you can’t attend the workshop but still want to participate, you can comment or take an online survey here.
Tags: City Council, CTAC, events, Fremont Library, Mayor McGinn, public meeting, Seattle's Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee, transportation issues
April 26th, 2011 by Thea
Last week we wrote that a City Council panel approved the lease agreement that will bring a Dale Chihuly exhibition space to the South Fun Forest site at Seattle Center. On Monday Council Bill 117157, which was subject to the full council’s approval, passed by unanimous vote.
The deal will allow Center Art, LLC “to develop, construct and operate an exhibition hall and art garden in the former South Fun Forest site at the Seattle Center,” according to a City Council statement released Monday.
The agreement came after months of back-and-forth and negotiations between city administrators, Chihuly himself, and members of the community. As per the terms of the deal, Center Art, LLC will be privately financing the entire project, as well as donating $1 million for the development of a creative children’s play area north of the Monorail in the former North Fun Forest space.
This project also includes an enhancement of 39,000 square feet of public walkways and landscaping around the exhibition site and a community partnership program with a focus on arts and education.
“The past sixteen months of negotiations have shown that good public process can lead to good public policy,” Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who is chair of the Parks and Seattle Center Committee, said in a statement. “Seattle will have another world class attraction and Seattle Center will be further invigorated through art, music and a creative new family play space.”
“I would like to thank the City Council for their hard work on this issue. Their efforts will make Seattle Center a better place for the public to enjoy,” Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement.
Just last week Seattle Center marked the one year countdown to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair, “The Next 50.” Currently Center Art, LLC plans to open its exhibition hall on April 21, 2012, to coincide with the 50th anniversary kick-off event.
For more information on the Chihuly exhibition space, and other projects going into Seattle Center in time for the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair next year, see our past coverage or “The Next 50″ website.
Tags: "glass house", 1962 World's Fair, Center Art, City Council, Dale Chihuly, Fun Forest, lease agreement, Mayor Mike McGinn, Sally Bagshaw, Seattle Center, The Next 50
April 21st, 2011 by Thea
On Wednesday Mayor Mike McGinn announced his appointment for a permanent director of the Department of Neighborhoods, Bernie Matsuno, who has been serving as the interim director since February 1.
Most of Matsuno’s career in the public service sector has been within the Department of Neighborhoods. She previously served as interim director under Mayor Greg Nickels in 2006, before Stella Chao was hired, and was also previously the deputy director of the Department of Neighborhoods in 2007, director of the department’s Community Building Division from 2004 to 2006, and participated in the creation of the Department of Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Matching Fund in 1988.
“Bernie has great experience in the Department of Neighborhoods from its inception,” Mayor McGinn said in a statement released Wednesday. “Her experience will help all city departments engage and partner with the public in improving our communities.”
Matsuno’s salary is going to be $127,950, according to the Mayor’s office, and her appointment is subject to City Council confirmation.
Citywide budget cuts over the last year hit the Department of Neighborhoods, and the community, hard. Back in January these cuts resulted in the closing of the Magnolia and Queen Anne Neighborhood Service Center on Roy, which in addition to providing resources for community members, served as a meeting space for many neighborhood organizations.
Tags: Bernie Matsuno, budget cuts, City Council, Department of Neighborhoods, director, Mayor Mike McGinn, Neighborhood Service Center
March 11th, 2011 by Sean Keeley
Queen Anne loves its street food. There’s plenty of food trucks that come and go, some stay longer than others and almost all of them bring tasty food with them.
However it’s a tough racket to run a food truck in Seattle. Restrictive city laws make it hard for many small businesses and impeded the growth of the street food scene in neighborhoods like Queen Anne.
That may be changing very soon, according to a report by The Seattle Times.
New legislation is expected to go before the City Council by the end of the month, detailing changes that would make it easier for street-food vendors to set up shop and, in the process, help bring more economic vitality to neighborhoods.
“Urban neighborhoods are where we want our growth,” said Gary Johnson, center-city coordinator for the Department of Planning and Development, which helped craft the proposal. “A street-food scene can help brand a neighborhood in a positive way.”
Outside of the sunnier months and the Seattle Center grounds, you don’t see many sidewalk vendors in Queen Anne. Right now, street cart vendors in the city of Seattle are limited to mostly selling coffee, popcorn and hot dogs. Under the new guidelines, the city would “allow everything on the push cart except raw proteins.”
The Seattle Department of Transportation also wants to designate zones where curbside vending would be allowed. Right now vendors have to work out deals with business owners, which is why you always see food trucks in parking lots or outside local companies.
The flip side of this possible change is that local restaurants could see their business decrease, especially if a like-minded food is available down the block on a food cart.
Here’s the full rundown of the proposed changes. We’ll keep an eye on how this unfolds as we hear more.
Tags: City Council, City of Seattle, food truck, Queen Anne, street food, street vendors, The Seattle Times
February 17th, 2011 by Thea
The city is looking for an artist or creative team to develop artwork for the new Fire Station 20 in west Queen Anne. The project is a partnership of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (DFAS), and the Seattle Fire Department (SFD).
This project is part of a larger program to move the fire station, which was built in 1949 and is one of the oldest un-remodeled stations in the city, from its current location at 3205 13th Ave W, to a new location just a few blocks away at 2816 15th Ave. W. After four years of debate regarding the move, City Council unanimously adopted the measure in October of 2009.
Though the new station, which will be two stories with two engine bays built to current safety standards, is still in the pre-planning stages, the city is moving ahead with the plan. In August the city selected Schacht Aslani as the architect on the project. Schematic designs for the new fire station are expected to drawn up in June 2011, with construction anticipated to begin in 2012, and the final move tentatively scheduled for 2013.
In preparation, the city is looking for an artistic design. From the press release:
The selected artist/artist team will work with the community, firefighters and city of Seattle staff to develop the artwork. The artist will create artwork that will be either integrated into the fire station facility or a site-specific, durable, three-dimensional, free-standing artwork next to the building. The artwork should address the work and spirit of the firefighters and the unique character of the surrounding neighborhood.
Established professional artists living in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana) or California are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by 11 p.m. on Friday, March 25. The selected artist will receive an all-inclusive commission of $90,000 to design, fabricate and install the artwork on site.
For more information about the project and how to apply, click here. Or contact public art manager Jason Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 684-7278.
Update 2/18/2011 3:10 p.m.: Here is some information from the city about how it will be funding the commissioned artwork for the new fire station:
The new Fire Station 20 is funded by the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy passed by Seattle voters in 2003. Over a nine-year period this program, which started in 2004, will use $197 million in levy proceeds and other funding to upgrade, renovate or replace 32 neighborhood fire stations. The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, with DFAS and SFD, developed an art program to commission artworks that address the intersection of firefighters and the community and to form a distinct body of new artworks for the city’s public art collection. Since the passage of the levy, the city has commissioned 11 artists to develop artworks for 10 neighborhood fire stations. Over the next two years, the city will commission artists for two upcoming station projects.
Find more information about the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy and Fire Station 20 at www.seattle.gov/fleetsfacilities/firelevy.
Tags: architecture, artist, artistic design, call to artists, City Council, construction, Fire Station #20, projects, Schacht Aslani, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, west Queen Anne
February 15th, 2011 by Thea
Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco will present the final report on the recent testing of more than 37,000 streetlights and associated facilities citywide to the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee of the City Council tomorrow, Wednesday, February 16.
Testing began back in December after the Thanksgiving Day death of a dog that was electrocuted by an energized metal plate covering a streetlight vault on Queen Anne Avenue N. This was followed up by reports of other potentially dangerous energized streetlights and groundcover plates.
City Light crews and contractors hired for the inspections identified a total of 56 instances of contact voltage that measured at least 30 volts across the city, including the location here in Queen Anne. In addition to discussing the testing process, Carrasco is expected to outline the utility’s plans for ongoing inspections, testing and maintenance.
The Council Committee meeting starts at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16 in the Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall, located at 600 Fourth Ave. A media briefing will follow at 3 p.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes Room. Specific questions will be addressed during the briefing.
Tags: City Council, contact voltage, electrocution, energized metal plates, energy, groundplate covers, Jorge Carrasco, media briefing, report, Seattle City Light, stray voltage, streetlights, Technology and Civil Rights Committee
November 12th, 2010 by Doug Alder
Residents who battled to keep the Queen Anne Community Center gym open have finally won. Today, the City Council voted 8-1 in favor of a plan to keep the gym open and add back 15 hours of drop-in time each week at the center.
Queen Anne Community Center gym
Councilmembers went against the mayor’s proposed budget that called for the gym to be closed and rented out as a production studio. That planned rental agreement later fell apart.
Councilman Tom Rasmussen voted against the measure as a whole since he opposed turning some space at other community centers into offices for Parks staff.
Tags: budget, City Council, gym, Queen Anne Community Center
November 10th, 2010 by Doug Alder
It appears the Seattle City Council may save the Queen Anne Community Center gym. During budget discussions this morning, council staff members presented a plan that would keep the gym open next year. The gym would be available 30 hours a week during drop-in time, and would also be open to the extent that people pay registration fees for basketball lessons and for facility rentals.
Queen Anne Community Center gym
The staff proposal would add back 15 hours of drop-in time to the community center as a whole on top of the 15 hours proposed by the mayor. The City Council must still approve the changes when it votes on the budget later this month.
Mayor McGinn had proposed closing the QA gym next year and turning it into television studio space. That plan fell apart after producers of the television show for children decided to back out in the wake of community opposition.
Tags: budget, City Council, gym, Parks Department, Queen Anne Community Center
October 26th, 2010 by Doug Alder
As it stands right now, the Queen Anne Community Center’s gym is still scheduled to be closed next year even though a deal to turn the gym into a television studio fell through. But there are more signs the City Council could reverse that part of the mayor’s budget.
City Council members heard more about the proposed cuts to five community centers across Seattle during a meeting yesterday. Our news partner the Seattle Times reports Council President Richard Conlin expressed concerns about reducing access to the centers.
“I can’t help feeling we’re making a mistake,” Conlin said.
Queen Anne gym
Earlier this month, Councilmember Tim Burgess also voiced support for keeping the QA gym open.
“This is not a City Council idea (to close the gym). It came from Mayor McGinn,” Burgess told the Queen Anne Community Council. “You have lots of support not to do this on the Council.”
The Council is expected to adopt a budget before Thanksgiving. The final public hearing on the budget takes place tonight (10/26) at 5:30pm at City Hall. Sign in starts at 5pm.
Tags: budget, City Council, Mayor McGinn, Queen Anne Community Center, Seattle Parks Department