City Hall

Extra Fizz: McGinn Says Decision to Limit Use of Building 30 Wasn't Political

By Erica C. Barnett November 24, 2010

Mayor Mike McGinn's office took issue with an item in city council president Richard Conlin's newsletter (linked in Fizz this morning), in which Conlin contended that a decision to limit the use of Building 30 in Magnuson Park was a political move by McGinn designed to compel the council to spend a windfall of $8.5 million fixing up the building.

(Background: Building 30 has been dilapidated for years, and the city has been planning to retrofit it to meet current seismic standards. Last month, McGinn suggested spending an $8.5 million windfall loan from the Museum of History and Industry to fix up the building---a fix that, in what Conlin called "an amazing coincidence," McGinn estimated would cost $8.5 million. The council declined, spending the money restoring a number of programs McGinn's budget would have cut. In October, the city recommended closing the building---which hosts the Seattle Public Library's book sales---to most events.)

McGinn's office points to a letter the city's planning and fire departments sent to Parks Department director Christopher Williams in early October, notifiying Williams that the two departments "have reached a consensus" about the safety of Building 30. According to the letter, both departments "determined that continuing the current use of Hangar 30 is not in the public's best interest." Events at Building 30 have been allowed using "Temporary Use of Assembly" permits that require the building's owner (the parks department) to show progress toward making it conform with the fire and building codes.

After years of granting temporary permits, the letter continues, "it has been determined that DPD is no longer satisfied with the progress being made at Hangar 30 towards obtaining its [Certificate of Occupancy]. As a result, DPD and SFD jointly agree that the current level of permit issuance at Hangar 30 should be discontinued" until the building is up to code.

"The idea that the mayor made some kind of political decision to close [Building 30] is kind of ridiculous," McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus says.
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