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North Beacon Hill Council Notes

North Beacon Hill Council – March 5, 2013:
By Louis Watanabe

Tonight’s North Beacon Hill Council was exciting because it was standing room only, around 100 people, the majority being young families some who brought toddlers and infants with them to the meeting. Overall, the meetings have been growing over the last 2 years as a the area gentrifies and this was the most packed I’ve seen so far. Most of the participants were white with a few Asians and Latinos. This means that African Americans and immigrants were not represented at a meeting influencing city policy.

About a third indicated by hands that they were interested in the issue of bicycles, particularly the bike park proposal & the park’s department policy on recreational bikes. It’s interesting to see how it works in tandem with planning for greenway and transportation planning. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw was there.

El Centro is about to begin the design review process for the development of their south parking lot with plans that involve 2 buildings representing 111 units, 11,000 sq. ft. of affordable housing, 7,000 sq. ft of retail space on the ground floor, and a 9,000 sq. ft cultural center that has meeting space and a kitchen facility. They’re hoping to start construction in 2014.

The other major discussion was about broadband service on Beacon Hill. CenturyLink has been constrained by Ma Bell cabinet infrastructure and a city planning rule that makes it difficult to approve upgrades, Essentially a majority of property owners must be canvassed and sign off. The trouble is that many residents are renters and non-response from a property owner is counted as a no. (Robert Kangas from the 11th Legislative District talked about how difficult it was to canvass his neighborhood and fail.)

The city also has invested a lot in fiber optic infrastructure since 1995, much of which is unused. Through a Request For Proposal(RFP), the city has been talking to companies interested in leasing excess capacity. A representative of Gigabit Seattle talked about their plan for a “community broadband network” which could include Beacon Hill as a demonstration project. So far they are planning for 14 demonstration areas, up from 12. The city expects to sign a letter of intent with Gigabit in April.

North Beacon Hill Council Meeting (NBHC)
Tuesday, March 5th at 7:00 p.m.
Beacon Hill Library

7:00-7:10: Introductions (Melissa), Greater Duwamish District Council (Judith) & Department of Neighborhoods (Steve) updates
7:10-7:35: Cheasty Greenspace presentation – Rick Nishi, Parks and Green Spaces Levy Manager & Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
7:35-7:40: Greenway update – Ryan from Beacon BIKES
7:40-7:50: Plaza Roberto Maestas update – Kate de la Garza, El Centro
7:50-8:10: Broadband in Beacon Hill – SDOT representatives Brian de Place and Barbara Gray
8:10-8:15: Happening on the Hill/Community Calendar
8:30 General Meeting agenda
8:35-9:00: Board meeting begins (open to public)

For further information about NBHC, please refer to
Twitter: @NBHCSeattle

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