747 Boulevard Rd SE 7pm – 9pm
Monthly Board Meeting of the Eastside Neighborhood Association
Board members in attendance: Brian Brannies, Jim Sweeney, Nathan Allan, Sherry Cillicut, Rita Sammons, Sheena Pietzold
Others: Roger Horn
Treasurer’s Report from Sherry Cillicut
- Checking $411.29
- Savings $1061.60
- Neighborhood Signs $1298.73
- Legion Way Trees $151.69
- Community Beautification $506.26
CNA Updates emailed from Sam Green
Mike Dexel spoke about his process of addressing problems in the City’s code, regarding nuisance homes. Several years ago, he brought the issue of a neighboring home that was causing a nuisance to the CNA. This led to him working with representatives from other neighborhood associations and then mayor Doug Mah to create a subcommittee of the CNA. This committee existed from 2009-2012 and focused on 1)identifying concerns from residents 2)making an improvement plan for city code enforcement and 3)proposing a repeat violator ordinance. City attorneys drafted the repeat violator ordinance and the city council passed it. The city also put resources into creating a system where people could track a code violation after they had filed a report. The system did not get off of the ground but the city mentioned being able to use a similar system that is going online soon (early 2017). After discussing this backstory, we discussed the City’s current process and philosophy of code enforcement. They currently send friendly reminders first asking for the nuisance to be abated or the violation remedied, then they move on to punitive fees, and eventually they can pursue some legal action. The city is also now weary of enforcing the repeat violator ordinance (Olympia Municipal Code 8.24, searchable here) because the 9th circuit court says it does not hold up as constitutional. We also discussed problems of graffiti and some neighborhoods have mentioned forming graffiti abatement teams. The CNA then formally voted to create a new subcommittee to 1) look at problems with and ways to improve the repeat violator ordinance 2)improve the feedback loop regarding code violations from the city and 3)possibly revisit the action plan for code enforcement improvement. I spoke with the chair of the subcommittee and we can elect someone to join the committee on behalf of ENA.
The city gave a presentation on the several major laws that have come to govern Land Use regulations in the state of Washington. The presentation was actually really fascinating but not something I can do justice with via my scribbled notebook notes. I can track down my handouts if anyone is interested. Then Michael Johnston from the cooper crest neighborhood told about his neighbors process of dealing with land use review. In the fall of 2015, a developer put in an application to rezone a 5 acre parcel next to the cooper crest neighborhood. I believe he said it was to rezone from R-5 to higher density residential. Resident’s chief concern was that there weren’t any roads that would access any new development other than the small roads winding through cooper crest. The application went through the usual process and residents focused on bringing up concerns during the hearing that takes place in the rezone process. I don’t believe the project was entirely halted but I think the hearing wrote in stipulations that addressed the traffic connection (this last sentence is from memory so no quoting me).
Bike Corridor Follow-up
The final segment of the corridor (near three magnets brewing) should be completed in late fall or winter. The city has tried to get feedback from residents and has so far received 190 comments. Of those comments, about 90% are positive. The negative comments were that there was no more need for bicycle infrastructure, that the corridors had too many cars, and that the corridors were not direct enough routes. Based on the positive reviews, the city is considering the corridor test a success and will look at adding more across the city as they function best as part of a larger network.
The process began in 2013 with members of 5 neighborhoods on the NE side of Oly forming a group to begin sub-area planning. They based their planning on the models used in Eugene and Vancouver. They spoke with the City and got approval to move forward as a recognized group. The city also put resources into doing a neighborhood profile that included demographic data (available as a pdf here). Using the models mentioned earlier, the group made sure that their subarea plan reflected the values and goals of the greater oly comprehensive plan. They broke their report, and their work, into identifying goals, objectives, and actions. To identify these qualities, they supplemented the neighborhood profile with a direct mailed survey to 3,000 area residents. They received 219 responses and made their plan, accordingly. Like I mentioned above, they are down to help us if we want to put the work in. Mike Dexel thought it made sense for us to go next and the city seems supportive.
A brief report back from the subcommittee stated that they had their first meeting on October 4th. They said they are currently working to 1)identify the problems with the current nuisance ordinance, 2) review the work of 2011-2013 to see what has and has not been effective, and 3) look into whether serious drug houses can constitute a criminal rather than ordinance-based issue. They are hoping to only exist as a committee for 2-6 months and we can still send someone if we want.
Sub area planning info from Jim Sweeney
Jim looked into what a sub-area planning process would involve. The City would want a designated planning committee to formally communicate with. They also would want the process to involve strong community outreach including area businesses, nearby neighborhoods, regional planning organizations, and other potential stakeholders. The NE Oly group met approximately monthly which is part of why it took as long as it did to get a final product. Future efforts may want to meet twice a month to keep momentum. The board discussed wanting something more specific than what came out of the NE Oly sub-area plan in hoping that the plan will lead to action in the future. Ideally, a sub-area planning committee would be a sub-committee of the ENA board. Board will reach out to neighbors at general meeting for interest in participating.
The board voted in favor of Jim drafting a formal letter to notify the City the ENA is interested in being the next neighborhood to make a sub-area plan.
Traffic calming device improvements/community beautification from Brian
Brian will select dates (probably 2 weekends)and make a post on Nextdoor to ask for volunteers. The group will need to reach out to the neighbors living in front of or near the areas to be improved. Volunteers will need to wear safety vests and we will need to put up safety cones while doing the work (Brian will cover these small costs). The board discussed donating funds to the neighbor that keeps up the traffic circle at 7th and Sawyer.
Potential ideas for the next round of neighborhood grants:
- Community reader board
- Little lending libraries
- Community pantries
Crime and Safety update from Roger
Neighborhood block parties – there was a lot of good turnout for the four block parties held across the neighborhood, and a lot of good feedback from the neighbors. The board discussed support for doing them again, potentially more frequently and in more areas of the neighborhood.
The next Eastside Crime and Safety Committee (ECSC) meeting will be on Nov. 3rd. Brian will attend as an ENA liaison. At the previous ECSC meeting, the group discussed how to expedite changes to the nuisance laws. The committee felt they were able to help keep the City’s attention and focus for code enforcement in the neighborhood to improve conditions for those near Central St. Improvements have been made, but committee still sees the need to keep pushing the City for changes.
Ideas for community engagement discussed:
- Neighborhood walk in December
- Neighbors paint windows – holiday theme
- Garden tours
Madison Elementary liaison – Mr. DSK (principle) liked the idea, board will discuss further at a future meeting
Emergency Preparedness – with the latest near miss “storm of the century,” ENA might want to organize some neighborhood emergency preparedness events, information, etc. Will discuss further at future meeting.