Sustainable West Seattle Summer Meetup is tonight 6-9 pm at C&P coffee 5612 California Ave SW.
Join us and get a preview of the upcoming Greenlife Festival and hear about everything that is going right in our sustainable community.
WEST SEATTLE NEIGHBORS – CALL TO ACTION!
On June 8, the City released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed citywide HALA upzones. It is 800 pages long, includes brand new maps that do not yet reflect community input, and negatively impacts our neighborhood in several significant ways. Most important, we only have until July 23 to comment despite it being the summer season.
There is more information about the DEIS below. But there are three things you can do today to make your voice heard:
- Demand an Extension of the Comment Period. Email MHA.EIS@seattle.govand tell the City that, given the size of the document and the fact that it is summer and many people have prior commitments, there isn’t enough time to review review and comment on the DEIS.
- Mark Your Calendar – JLUC Workshop on July 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m, West Seattle Senior Center.The Junction Land Use Committee (JLUC) will present a summary of relevant portions of the DEIS and their impacts, detail further actions you can take, and have hosted tables to help you in identify areas on which you might wish to comment.
- Comment Online. If you cannot attend the workshop or don’t feel you can adequately review the document without a JLUC workshop, comment using the City’s online form at http://bit.ly/2sBgzJe.
About The DEIS
The purpose of this DEIS is to analyze the impact of the proposed upzones on affected neighborhoods – and to propose actions to address any problems the upzoning would create. The City is seeking comments as to whether the DEIS does a good enough job analyzing the impacts of the upzones and/or addressing those impacts. Addressing the impacts is known as mitigation.
From an initial read, the JLUC has determined the DEIS is deficient in many ways, including failing to identify negative impacts to our neighborhood and failing to propose adequate, if any, mitigation of the negative impacts it does identify. We will be submitting a detailed list of those deficiencies in a formal response to the City.
Here is a link where you can find the DEIS: https://www.seattle.gov/hala/about/mandatory-housing-affordability-(mha)/mha-citywide-eis
The 23rd annual West Seattle Garden Tour will feature 10 stunning private gardens, and shine a spotlight on one of West Seattle’s beautiful P-Patches. From waterside gardens with sweeping views of Puget Sound to pocket-sized tribute gardens rich with emotion and personal history, the variety of gardens on this year’s tour will offer something special for every gardener looking for a little inspiration.
Annually West Seattle Garden Tour donates net proceeds, about $25,000, to other non-profits promoting horticultural-based interests, education, and artistic endeavors. The 2017 beneficiaries are City Fruit, ArtsWest, West Seattle Bee Garden, Pianos in the Parks, Seattle Children’s PlayGarden, and Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association.
Sustainable West Seattle summer meetup at C&P coffee 5612 California Ave SW.
If it seems to you that everything is going wrong this a chance to commiserate with friends of a like heart. It is also a time to inspire. Join us and get a preview of the upcoming Greenlife Festival and hear about everything that is going right in our sustainable community. This social gathering is Tuesday evening June 27th from 6-9 pm.
The 29th annual Fremont Solstice Parade is this Saturday June 17th, and 350 Seattle, Backbone Campaign, and the Rise Up Action Band will be joining forces for a parade ensemble focused on climate change and the natural world we are committed to preserving.
This will be a unique opportunity to celebrate our successes and put our message squarely and hilariously in front of tens of thousands of unsuspecting parade watchers.
Our contingent will include a float with Trump clinging to the side of the Eiffel Tower (swatting at a swarm of harassing wind turbines), an amazing marching band, and a host of giant inflatables provided by Backbone campaign.
To pull this off – we need your help! Please:
- reply to Matthew and Shemona to let us know you can join in
- find a parade-day outfit in a single matching color of your choice
- come to the parade staging area (3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St. – where Leary changes to 36th) at 11:00 AM this Saturday – look for the Eiffel Tower float and Backbone’s electrified train cars
Peter, Shemona, Matthew, Lisa, & Les
Living in one of the most expensive cities in the US makes it challenging to find sustainable sources of food on a budget. An affordable and increasingly trendy alternative to grocery stores is micro farming. This is an incredibly effective way to beat the ever-rising costs of local grocery stores and become self sufficient. Since micro farming removes the need to travel to pick up food, it is also a great way to reduce your carbon foot print. Here’s how to get started on your new micro farm and start growing some eco-friendly savings!
Creating Your Farm
With the multitude of micro farming designs, it’s easy to create a garden that will suit your space and farming needs. Those living in an apartment or condo might opt for a rooftop garden or greenhouse. These can be built out of an outdoor shed or a series of low crates to house your plants. With the multitude of greenhouse designs available, you can choose a unique greenhouse layout that will suit your needs and personal style.
If you don’t have access to a communal roof top patio, a hydroponic garden is a great option. Hydroponic gardens are by far the most popular method of micro farming and can be constructed using PVC pipe. This is quite an affordable material and can be picked up at any local hardware store. Visit a local hydroponics shops for tips on how to create your own.
What to Grow
The possibilities of what a micro farmer can grow in their garden are endless. Growing your own vegetables is very rewarding and is the first step in living a sustainable lifestyle. Vegetables like lettuce, kale, leeks, and cucumbers are perfect for growing in a plot style micro farm. It is even possible to grow larger vegetables like sweet corn, potatoes, beets, and cabbage in your micro farm. Certain root vegetables can be cultivated in small pots, along with herbs, lettuces, and other small plants and make the perfect sustainable apartment décor.
Depending on if you live in the city center or the suburbs, your municipality may have specific rules on the type of crops and livestock you are allowed to raise. If you live in an apartment building or condo complex, be sure to check with your building manager before you embark on a mission to erect a massive outdoor greenhouse. Another thing to consider is the types of crops that are best suited for Seattle’s rainy weather and short summers. Plants such as tomatoes, strawberries, or cucumbers are examples of hardy plants that can stand up to the harsh Northwest weather.
If you still find yourself seeking information on how to start your micro farm, paying a visit to a local gardening or hydroponics store is a great first step. After following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a full fledged urban farmer.
West Seattle Garden Tour’s 2017 Gardens & Ticket Info Announced Seattle, WA – April 27, 2017 – The 23rd annual West Seattle Garden Tour will take place on Sunday, June 25, 2017, from 9 AM to 5 PM. This year’s tour will feature 10 stunning private gardens, and shine a spotlight on one of West Seattle’s beautiful P-Patches. From waterside gardens with sweeping views of Puget Sound to pocket-sized tribute garden rich with emotion and personal history, the variety of gardens on this year’s tour will offer something special for every gardener looking for a little inspiration.
Purchase tickets and get more inforamtion at westseattlegardentour.org
The Junction Neighborhood Organization is one of many neighborhood organizations in the city that is beginning to take an active part in the conversations around development and land use. In May, any day now in fact, we are expecting the city to release its Environmental Impact Statement on how the proposed upzones are projected to affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Following this release, there is going to be a comment period.
WEST SEATTLE JUNO
Land Use Committee
HALA NEWS – March 2017
We know it’s not easy to keep track of everything related to the proposed expansion and upzoning of our urban village. That’s why we’ve summarized the most important things below and called things you can do things to make a difference. Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of the neighborhood we all call home!
Procedural Status of City Proposed HALA/MHA Upzones
The City is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) that will set forth its findings on how the proposed upzones will impact the quality of life in our neighborhood. It is scheduled to be released in May. After this release there will be a 30-45 day comment period in which people can challenge the City’s findings. If the EIS is approved, the proposed rezones will be submitted to City Council for approval.
What You Can Do. It will be critical to object during the comment period if you disagree with the EIS. Once the EIS is released, the JuNO Land Use Committee will hold workshops to help you understand how to comment most effectively. Stay tuned!
City “Door Knocking” Campaign
You may have received a door tag relating to the HALA proposed rezones. This is in direct response to our community’s complaints regarding the City’s lack of outreach. However, be wary of information provided by the individuals distributing the fliers. When asked, a City representative assured one resident that the rezones would not happen for a year, there was plenty of time raise concerns and/or issues and the City’s plans are not set in stone. This is at odds with the information our Committee has received from the HALA team (see below).
What You Can Do. Read this newsletter and if a canvasser comes to your door ask the questions that are important to you – and take notes!
JuNO Land Use Committee Meeting with Jesseca Brand of HALA
On March 9, 2017, members of the Committee met with Jesseca Brand of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and a member of the Mayor’s HALA team. Ms. Brand advised that, at this time, Mayor Murray has directed the HALA team that, regardless of neighborhood input and/or the findings set forth in the EIS Statement, the HALA team must recommend to City Council that all single family areas with the Junction Urban Village (and in all Urban Villages throughout the city) be upzoned.
What You Can Do. Let Mayor Murray know the City must keep the promises set forth in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan: that it engage in bottom-up, collaborative neighborhood planning not top-down decision making by the Mayor.
Letter Submitted by JuNO Land Use Committee to City
On March 8, 2017, the Committee submitted a letter to Samuel Assefa, Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development and head of the HALA team. The letter advised that (1) the proposed rezoning is at odds with the West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Plan, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and the Seattle Municipal Code; (2) the City’s engagement with the West Seattle Junction neighborhood has shown that the neighborhood does not support the HALA rezones in their current form; (3) West Seattle has already absorbed and is projected to continue to absorb significant density without the proposed HALA rezones; and (4) any rezoning should be carefully coordinated with the coming of light rail, which will itself require significant upzones, coordination that has taken place in other neighborhoods. The letter was also submitted to all City Council members and the Mayor; you can view it at JuNO LUC Letter Submitted 3.8.17.
What You Can Do. The City’s stated policy in the Comprehensive Plan is that it will collaborate with a neighborhood in the event the City is proposing a course of action that conflicts with the Neighborhood Plan in order to resolve the inconsistency. While Director Assefa promised a response within a few days to the issues we raised, nothing has been provided to date. When we receive one, we’ll let you know more about what you can do next.
Potential Legal Action
The Committee has met with potential attorneys to explore alternatives in the event that an acceptable solution cannot be reached with City.
What You Can Do. In the event that legal action is required and/or desired, the Committee will provide information about how you can assist with building a neighborhood legal defense fund.
Public Records Requests
The Committee has made a number of Public Records Requests to understand, among other things, whether and how the City is taking into account the Junction neighborhood feedback.
What You Can Do. As the Committee receives information, we may come to you with specific requests for action.
Stay Informed & Take Action!
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JuNO Land Use Committee
By the Numbers – How Solar Is Transforming Seattle
On the surface, Seattle doesn’t seem like it would be a hotbed for solar power. After all, the city is infamous for its clouds and rain, so deriving power from the sun doesn’t make much sense, right? Well, not necessarily.
In terms of climate and sunlight, Seattle is not all that different from a slew of European cities that have embraced solar power far more than most American cities. Just because Seattle doesn’t have 300 days of sunshine every year like Florida doesn’t mean that solar power can’t work in The Emerald City.
How Much Sunlight
To be fair, Seattle is on the low end when it comes to the average annual solar radiation value compared to the rest of the country. However, despite significant disparity over the course of the year, Seattle does receive quite enough solar radiation during the summer months to make solar panels worthwhile.
From May to September, Seattle averages around 5-kilowatt hours per square meter per day (kWh/m2/day) or better. Over the course of the year, Seattle has an average annual solar radiation value of around 3.75 kWh/m2//day. This doesn’t compare well with other west coast cities of comparable size, but it’s enough to make solar worth exploring.
Costs and Perks
The biggest drawback to solar power is the large upfront costs for equipment and installation. However, there are both federal and state incentives that can help reduce the upfront costs of moving to solar power. It’s also possible to get financing on solar panels to defer some of the costs.
Once installed, solar panels can generate enough power to reduce or eliminate the amount of power a household must purchase from their local power company. In Seattle, the solar radiation during peak summer months creates enough of a surplus to make up for the winter months, allowing everything to even out over the course of the year.
In some instances, solar systems are grid-tied, so that any excess power can be moved back to the grid and the owner of the solar system is given credit towards future months when they may use more than they produce. Essentially, owners of solar systems are paid for the energy their panels produce, allowing them to pay little towards the monthly energy bill, or in some cases eradicating the ongoing cost completely.
In the event electricity prices increase, those with solar panels are going to be in a much better position, as they will produce most if not all their own electricity. Investing in the upfront costs of solar makes sense if you believe the cost of fossil fuels will increase in the decades to come.
Most importantly, utilizing solar power lessens the need for fossil fuels and therefore reduces the strain on the environment. This reason alone is enough to make solar power an intriguing possibility, even in a cloudy city like Seattle.
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