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Letter to the Editor: Shoreline Loves Trees, But It Loves Developers More

Letter writer concerned that neighbors concerns over loss of trees is being ignored by city planning department

To the editor: 

In 2007 when development of the Overland Trailer Court property at 152nd and Aurora was first proposed, there were 32 trees on the site (Brent Spillsbury, public testimony City Council hearing, Dec. 17, 2007). There have been several proposals for the property (SHAG, 2007; Brighton Court, 2011; now Shoreline Star. 2012) all of which involve paving the 1+ acre lot virtually lot-line-to-lot -line. No chance for these trees. 

A major concern throughout the lengthy development process, evidenced by letters in Planning and Development Services (PDS) files, has been for the twelve mature pine and cedar trees on the adjacent privately-owned, residentially-zoned property.

In the August 2011, “neighborhood meeting” the then “owner” (5/27/2011 PDS pre application information for Brighton Court), Patrick Carroll, was very supportive of and attentive to neighbor concerns, including the trees. He assured us the underground garage would be set back 20 feet from the property line and that an arborist would be retained to insure preservation of the privately owned trees.

On August 21, 2012, thirteen months after the “neighborhood meeting” Mr. Carroll submitted the meeting report to support the development application of Shoreline Star.

“We stated that we would hire an Arborist to help us protect as many trees as possible. This plan will be submitted to the city for their approval,” he said.

By letter (6/17/2011 Levitan, PCD to Matt Driscoll, architect for the three proposed projects), “. . . property owners are encouraged to retain trees where feasible, especially when adjacent to single family residential zones.”

Perhaps Mr. Carroll misread “retaining trees where feasible” to include trees on his property as well as trees on all property in the vicinity of his project? In his Report, Mr. Carroll presented other neighborhood concerns inaccurately and treated them with as much indifference as he did our concern for the trees.

In five years dealing with PDS, my neighbors and I have lost confidence that it represents community interests.

Now there is a new owner (4/30/2012 e-mail Links to Eernissee), John Links, developer, and Trent Mummery, project manager (7/26/2012 e-mail Eernissee to Hall).

Who knows what they have in mind for this property - and ours? PDS declared that the August 2011 neighborhood meeting met regulatory requirements. With the exception of continued meetings with city staff, which have been for the most part unproductive and frustrating for five years, our neighborhood is at the mercy of developers. 

That in July city councilman Will Hall entertained Mr. Mummery in a private box at a Mariner’s game (PDS e-mail files) hardly inspires confidence that the anyone in the city has any interest in our neighborhood, much less our privately-owned trees. 

Links and Mummery are connected with other proposed Shoreline development projects. Are you really sure your neighborhood and your property aren't next?

Susan Melville

Parkwood

Tony Dondero September 12, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Thanks, everyone for the different and diverse, perspectives, let's keep this discussion going, it's a good one.
Janet Way September 13, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I agree with Tom Jamison on the matter of Karla Fay's posts. It is irrelevent Tony, with all due respect whether she is using her real name or not. She is clearly someone who is keenly aware of this issue and many others and contributes valuable points of view. If you want to have this type of exchange on Patch, then you need to allow pseudonyms. On many issues, there are people with very valid reasons not to disclose their names. I hope that PATCH will respect that in order to promote civic conversations. Thank you.
Tony Dondero September 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM
From Patch terms of use: "We ask that the e-mail address you provide when you register be a valid e-mail address for you. We encourage, but do not require, that the user name you provide be your real name." Although the terms of use "encourage" people to use their real names, "Karla" has a right to be anonymous, which I did say above. Tom and Janet seem to agree with each other that my attempt to encourage or "goad" to use Tom's word, the person to use their real name overstepped, but I think it's hardly an ad hominem attack. The Federalist Papers, which helped shape the U.S. Constitution, were published as serials anonymously for political reasons in New York newspapers, so there's obviously significant precedent for this type of anonymous communication, although I'm not sure it's always necessary.
Tracy Tallman September 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What is a good reason not to use your real name?
Janet Way September 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Hi Tracy, I would suggest that there are many reasons a person might not want to use their real name. For instance, (depending on a particular issue) a person may be employed somewhere that publishing a specific comment might be too controversial, such as a teacher, police officer, government staff, elected official, or a neighbor affected by a particular issue. That person may not wish to identify themselves, because of concerns about threats or innuendo. These are just a few examples, but as Tony says above, even the Federalist Papers were published anonymously. If Karla Fay wants to use a pseudonym, it's no harm to anyone.

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