Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your Daily Morning Fizz.
1. Bike advocates hoping to complete the "Missing Link" of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard got another setback yesterday, when King County Superior Court judge Jim Rogers ruled that the city's proposed design for the portion of the trail along Shilshole Ave. NW was not specific enough---that is, it didn't include specific markings and measurements for every driveway the trail would cross along that section.
A group of Ballard businesses that oppose the route are challenging the city under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
The city, in response to an earlier request for design information by the same judge, provided an evaluation at 10 percent level of design, which a city hearing examiner ruled was a "standard" level for environmental review under SEPA. Judge Rogers disagreed, and sent the trail segment back to the city for further study.
Attorney Jeffrey Eustis, who's representing the city and Cascade Bicycle Club in the ongoing saga, says the amount of time the ruling will set the city back "is really a factor of how quickly the city can gather the additional information" the judge requested.
2. At yesterday's big press conference where King County Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled private investor Chris Hansen's proposal to build an NBA/NHL arena in SoDo, Fizz was able to ask a couple of germane questions: A) Did they have any sense of the NBA's interest in the deal? ("Not our job"); and B) How would the arena and arena construction impact industrial uses in SoDo and traffic in the area while tunnel construction is also going on nearby? (There were mitigation plans).
We also asked the most important question of all. After Constantine and McGinn ran through a series of prerequisites for any sports stadium deal—no new taxes, the $200 million in public investment must be paid back by the team (at a profit), a guaranteed long-term lease, the team must cover any cost overruns—we asked if there was a requirement that the NBA team be named the Sonics.
"Yes, yes!" Constantine said. "Of course!" McGinn seconded.
Hmmm. Fizz isn't sure that's right. A bit sacrilegious? And anyway, it's no longer the Boeing era around here. We hire a new breed of engineers now.
The Seattle Softwares? The Seattle Kindles? The Seattle Unique Visitors Per Page View? The Seattle SLUTs?[pullquote]Quintana had argued that the policy would drive business out of Seattle. So much for the dire prediction.[/pullquote]
3. Speaking of South Lake Union: Here's one question that hasn't been asked about this week's other exciting news (Amazon's plan to buy three blocks in the Denny Triangle and build three office buildings.) It sure sounds cool. But the company just leased a couple of buildings near their headquarters in South Lake Union—a 106,000 square foot building at 1260 Mercer and a 28-story building at 2001 8th.
Does this week's news represent real growth? Or is it just a blow to the heart of the supposedly up-and-coming South Lake Union neighborhood?
4. And in a funny side note. The lobbyist for Clise Properties, the developer who scored big in this week's Amazon announcement (Clise owns the Denny Triangle office blocks), is Joe Quintana. Quintana was one of the lead lobbyists against last year's paid sick leave legislation and argued that the policy would drive business out of Seattle.
So much for the dire prediction. Paid sick leave passed, of course, and Quintana's client, Al Clise, psyched about Amazon's decision to move in, told the Seattle Times this week that "In terms of economic development and new jobs for Seattle, this is off the charts."
5. Although Referendum 74, the proposal that would overturn the state's new marriage equality law, is getting more attention, another anti-gay-marriage proposal, Initiative 1192, is also in the works.
Yesterday, a Thurston County judge approved ballot language for the initiative, which would define marriage in Washington State as being between one woman and one man. It would also, according to the ballot language, "prohibit marriage for same-sex couples."
Supporters of the initiative need to collect 241,153 valid signatures by July 6 to put the measure on the November ballot.
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