I received this flyer today in my building. I’m not sure if this is true. If it is, it could be a cause for concern for Belltown residents and investors. Has anyone else heard anything about this?
UPDATE : I called up the planning department today and they couldn’t tell me what the building will be used for. I left the applicant a voice message and will post an update if I hear from him.
UPDATE#2: Based on Gil’s last comments below, it looks like the future of this land is still up in the air and there were misunderstandings due to land use action signs not being updated on the property. Also, I should point out that my previous use of the term "cause for concern" may have been too loaded. Frankly, I am most interested in a transparent community development process where all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate. I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion on the matter.
Technorati Tags: First United Methodist Church, Belltown Video, Belltown homeless, Moda condo
great link, thalia. copied some excerpts below. it’s unclear for what exactly they’re gonna use the belltown building.
“…The Selig offer also included a new church building in Belltown for the congregation.
Within hours after members voted for Selig’s proposal, Nitze-Stagen president Kevin Daniels pitched a $23.2 million cash offer to buy the property, with the historic sanctuary in place. The deal also included a site in Belltown for a new church and a $1 million grant from a historic preservation group toward the new church building, again, if the old sanctuary were preserved…”
I develop condominium projects for a living. That’s why I’m at this site.
I also own a substantial multifamily apartment building in Belltown since 1994.
I’ve also operated a couple of small businesses such as a successful existing restaurant in Belltown – that I opened 15 years ago.
The flyer attempts to demonize any added direct service provision in Belltown. On face the flyer is emotively absurd and mostly self-explanatory as it is written.
But it’s also selfishly and morally bankrupt.
If in fact it is authored by the operator of Broadway Video, from my perspective a newbie NIMBY to Belltown, I propose that business should be boycotted in the name of public good and effectively run out of the neighborhood for behaving like a public nuisance.
I agree it’s not right to demonize the project but shouldn’t they be a little more transparent about for what purpose the property will be used?
The land use department employs a rigid set of land use classifications for a myriad of their own reasons. For example, they do not make available the classification “condominium.” All multifamily residential projects must be characterized as “apartments.” I’m not sure why the City would have required the “use” aspect be characterized, formally, as as “institution” but I’m sure the City has it’s own reasons.
Moreover, neither the stigma attached nor the colorful description assigned by the flyer’s description: “SOUP KITCHEN” and “HOMELESS PROGRAMS THAT SERVE THE HOMELESS POPULATIONS AROUND CITY HALL PARK AND DOWNTOWN!” happen to be formal options available to this permit applicant…
I propose one would be more productive and more effective at getting to some practical transparency through an initiative that petitions our City Council to make necessary policy changes regarding offering flexibility on the City’s prescribed formal land use classifications all permit applicants must use on their MUP sign boards.
Until that happens, I’ll assume the raving nuisance flyer, in it’s conclusion that the project is being “…FALSE AND MISLEADING!” is not only being a false source of information itself but just another uninformed but certainly self-serving goofball seeking to mislead as many as can possibly be misled by conjuring emotive stereotypes clearly intended to generate fear and join the ranks of the NIMBY.
The owners of all properties in Belltown are required to stay within the boundaries of their zoning permits (land-use) and their building permits. The land-use categories are large categories; commercial, residential, institutional. etc. After that, the spaces that get built inside the zoning must comply with building permits issued for specific space use inside the building. All property owners have the right use and change use of a space in any way at any time as long as both zoning and building permits apply. I can alternate being a high-priced attorney one day and a credit counselor for homelss people the next day in the same space under the very same permit.
As such, I’m not sure how useful any information you receive from the folks in land-use or building permits will be. They may, for example, tell you the number of new bathrooms being proposed. Alternatively they will not have information regarding whether or not the people that use City Hall Park or eat free soup will use those new restrooms (rather than Belltown alleys) or whether or not the new use has potential to tip over some proximate marginal business.
The point I’m attempting to make is that your post asks readers if the flyer should be cause for concern. I could not resist; that was very good question…
The answer is, (from this long-time Belltown investor and business operator’s point of view), “Yes” the disposition of the flyer itself, on face, is cause for concern – on face.
Alternatively, the possibility there may be a direct service project in the offing improving conditions for homeless people is not cause for concern – on face.
The flyer enforces negative stigma associated with the very people you and I should be focused finding short and long-term solutions for rather pushing responsibility for doing that onto some neighbor.
Collectively, we are a strong neighborhood rather than a weak neighborhood. As such we ought to be focused on what our contributions might be rather than fear mongering initiatives that ultimately will make our challenges someone else’s.
I looked at that action use sign and I commend that citizen and business owner for making me aware of the situation.Though it does look like that sign has been proven to be false, attempts to slide things past the area residents should not happen. Homelessness is an issue in Belltown as we all know, but it needs to be a collective issue. As for Scott’s comments, not even knowing the correct name of the business….it’s called Belltown video. Sounds like you are a big supporter of the neighborhood businesses Scott??
How did the flyer demonize the homeless? It is like saying, do you want a strip club across the street? What about an adult video store or a skate park? It is not Belltown Video’s fault that the word “homeless” itself carries a negative image in most people’s minds.
I think it’s good for people to be informed about what’s being developed in their neighborhood, and on that note distributing a flyer is commendable.
However, this particular flyer is also doing its best to emotionally bias readers against the proposed project. While that’s certainly a freedom of speech right, and good for starting a discussion, it’s probably not as productive as a flyer that simply describes the proposed use, including the undecided aspects.
It may very well be that a shelter helps the neighborhood’s homeless and the general community. Unfortunately, many who read the flyer may not bother to think about the issue in any depth and come to their own conclusions about the “right” thing to do.
Thanks Sam. Well put. I too appreciate the flyer poster being active in the neighborhood – as far as “being active” goes. My appreciation stops there however.
Poster Bob: I found your comparative examples less than comparative: For some reason I can more readily absorb impacts generated by non-profit service providers working to assist people that are homeless. For some other reason I can less readily absorb impacts generated by for-profit strip clubs. I imagine we all genuinely see the world differently – that’s what makes us who we are. So be it.
Poster with no name: On “..not even knowing the name of the video store business”…sorry about that… I hope my more substantive point was not lost on you.
However, I am in fact a couple of neighborhood businesses you imply I don’t support. In addition to regularly buying products and services from other Belltown buisnesses for my own Belltown businesses, I write Belltown paychecks for Belltown employees who are Belltown residents. I also invest capital in Belltown buinsesses not my own. I also like to eat and play in Belltown in the evenings. I’ve not rented a video for many years; got too much going on on otherwise.
– Wendy, thanks again for your postings and for the opportunity to post on your venue.
Regarding the posted comment question “How did the flyer demonize the homeless?”
I suggest you re-read the thing?
If you don’t see it after a second read while looking for it, I believe its highly unlikely I will be able to help you out.
I am the author of the “emotively absurd,” “selfish,” “morally bankrupt,” “newbie NIMBY” individual whose business you want boycotted and run out of the neighborhood.
Thank you for your comments, for it made me re-examine mine.
I stand by them, and ask you to re-read the flyer as you suggested above.
Please note that I mention a constructive suggestion, which so far is absent from your diatribe: That the money would be better spent by donating it to the many deserving social service agencies in Belltown.
Furthermore, rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks on you as you have on me, let me also suggest that perhaps a little more research by you on the contexts, content and process surrounding this issue, would add more substance to your dialogue.
Here is a chronology as best as I can constuct after having personally visited the DPD office on the morning of Sept. 5:
– Aug. 9: the DPD erected the Land Use Action Notice billboard at 3rd & Wall, announcing the proposed relocation of the church, it’s sanctuary and attendant charitable programs, and also announcing that written comments must be submitted by Aug. 30, including any written requests to extend the 14-day comment period, as allowed by the applicable statutes. The billboard also had outlines of the church footprint and of the sanctuary.
– Aug. 26 & 27: The Times and P-I report that the proposal had been scrapped by the developer, but that another developer had come up with a proposal that would not require demolition of the church.
– Aug. 28: The Notice billboard was removed.
– Aug. 29: I read an article in The Times (“Makeover would serve as park’s wake-up call”) concerning a plan to remove the trees and lawn at City Hall Park and replace them with pavement to make the park less desireable for the 40 or so homeless people encamped at the park.(http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=cityhallpark29m&date=20060829).
– Aug. 31: I again read in the morning paper, editorial and letters to the editor regarding paving City Hall Park. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=thulets31&date=20060831&query=city+hall+park. When I went to my store I saw that the Land Use Action billboard was re-erected. The chruch footprint was gone. In it’s place was an outline of the sanctuary footprint. However, the deadline for public comments had not changed. It was still Aug. 30. I phoned the contact name printed on the billboard to ask if there had been a mistake. I did not receive a return call. I estimated that was due to the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
– Sept. 1: I went to the church to learn for myself. As I arrived at 6:30 am, a squad car was there, lights flashing. Two officers were frisking three individuals in front of the church. I then walked around the church and saw that at several entries, a Notice, dated 2003, warning readers that it is unsafe to be on the premisis between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am. I went home, quite concerned. I logged onto the church’s website and found a brochure describing their meals for the homeless, women’s day shelter and overnight facilities for 40 men.
Sept. 2: Being a Saturday, there was no one for me to call to get more information about why the billboard was re-erected. From the convergence of these events, articles and editorials, I decided that I had to get my head out of the sand and take some kind of action. Thus my flyer over the weekend.
Sept. 5: I visited the DPD, as described above. The very helpful young lady behind the counter at DPD researched my request, and was surprised that the billboard had been re-erected on Aug. 31 because a letter in the file, dated Aug. 29, had been received by DPD from the developer requesting that the project be cancelled. She made phone calls and learned that the signage company somehow had not received a copy of the Aug. 29 letter. She apologized and said that someone would come by and take the billboard down.
I went back to my store, and pulled the flyers, having been reassured that should the project get back on track, our community would have an opportunity for a dialogue.
That’s all I wanted. By the convergence of these events, I could not escape, nor ignore, the feeling that Belltown was being left out of this momentous decision.
As for the ad hominem attacks, I have lived in Belltown for eight years, having moved to Seattle in 1990 – so I am not a “newbie.” I’ve earned my two cents. Having lived in Belltown for 8 years, I am also not a NIMBY because the homeless challenge is already in my backyard. It’s just that how many times can one walk past outstretched hands and begging eyes and not get turned to stone? If I gave money to everyone that asks, it would not be long before I would need to join their ranks. Simply put, I am loved out in Belltown.
I don’t know, Scott, but maybe you’re stronger than me in that regard. That’s a skill I guess I need to learn – just ignore the outstretched hands and hungry eyes, and walk by.
i posted the question on yelp which elicited a number of interesting responses. check them out here:
I don’t question the facts of your record. In Seattle it is common to find land-use conflicts in both process and rulings. Not only in code interpretation between interested parties but between DPD’s own staffing; mistakes are not the exception. The result is that our understaffed agency having well-meaning (often entry-level) warm bodies are effectively incentivized to hide in their cubes rather than act or make determinations inside complicated regulatory fog; they risk chopping off their own nose every time they answer the phone or write a sentence – making matters worse.
The city’s land-use code, it’s execution, and enforcement all need complete overhaul; the MUP signboard challenges, as bad as they are, represent typos in a very badly written novel. One can conclude a signboard’s appearance is not more than temporary clue codified in soviet-era officialdom effectively saying, only: “something might happen here sometime: initiate research at this phone number.”
After one gets beyond the entirety of the shortfalling public notification protocol and the low value derived from it, as well as regular errs made by those required to follow and enforce it, (much of your point Gill), my larger point is focused on your comment’s closing ideas.
You wrote: “It’s just that how many times can one walk past outstretched hands and begging eyes and not get turned to stone? If I gave money to everyone that asks, it would not be long before I would need to join their ranks. Simply put, I am loved out in Belltown.” and you wrote “…That’s a skill I guess I need to learn – just ignore the outstretched hands and hungry eyes, and walk by.”
We all give and take: some give more; some less. We all do it differently too. A long time ago I resolved not to support/enable addictions of people that are homeless; I’m not positioned or qualified to be able to determine if my spare change would do that or not. I don’t give to panhandlers accordingly. Instead, my resolve was to give “otherwise”, in many ways, and that resolve is strengthened, not weakened, by every panhandler I pass by offering only a nod or smile to.
I have contributed my “love” otherwise, for example, as an organizing (Charter) Board member of three separate non-profits that provide training, employment, direct service support and advocacy for people that are homeless. I’ve contributed thousands of hours and dollars in that. I’ve also recruited others with more to give than me onto the board of these organizations. I contributed my resume and expertise to a fourth non-profit’s launching of its first project, for example. I have held annual dinner party concert fundraisers in my own home soliciting donations from my invited friends. I’ve secured donated auction items, event entertainment, etc. for other’s fundraisers.
Over the years I’ve participated in convincing local banks to participate in giving programs and simulateously conservative landlord groups to convince their membership to give through auto withdraws from their accounts. I’ve participated in convincing corporations to make huge regular in-kind donations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I’m okay not doing the spare change thing on the sidewalk. I don’t have to.
I know how my contributions are used well because I’ve invested real time and effort in these organizations vs. relying on speculative (armchair expertise) lip service about what they are and are not.
My resolution on why and how I ignore an outstretched hand is clearly different from yours. As for feeling turned to stone and feeling “loved-out in Belltown”, I really don’t. The “love” I’ve contributed has instead been inspiration for over a decade. I feel pretty fresh too; like I’ve been through only the warm up practice part.
Gil, I’ll respond to your philosophical close with my own.
I derive strength in recognizing the compassion I sustain somehow coorelates with meaning I feel in my life. For taking that to a next higher level, I adopted the notion that my giving is mostly constrained by my perspective and creativity rather than the coins in my pocket. It works well for me.
And double thanks -Wendy.
No thanks required Scott. I’ve been reading all the comments with great interest!