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The Licton Springs Blog

Opinion: We need your help to extend the push for Aurora revitalization


Call to Action: We hope you will work with ALUV to extend the Aurora zoning controls and help ensure a vibrant Aurora Village has a chance.


Unfortunately, I recently had to report on the upcoming closure of the Oak Tree Starbucks, the only Coffee Shop within the Aurora Licton Urban Village (ALUV). This came not too long after the nearby Gold's Gym, which brought additional caffeine craving foot traffic to the area, closed to be replaced by a storage facility. This facility did have an appeal put forth, but it was dropped before being heard. This is one of 2 large storage facilities being built in the area. And while some storage is undoubtedly necessary, it is sad to see so much land taken off the market. Property that could instead be used for much needed additional housing which would support a thriving retail core within ALUV. As it is, the village is set to contain at least four storage facilities and not a single coffee shop.

Gold's Gym becomes Public Storage.

The only thing that has kept even more of the land along Aurora from being repurposed for storage use is a temporary moratorium that was put in place October 2017, right after these storage facilities applied for permits. When this moratorium was passed, the intention was that it would act as a stop-gap measure until permanent zoning changes took effect with the passage of HALA. Predictably though, that law has been delayed by legal challenges, leaving the moratorium set to expire soon with no zoning changes in place. On Wednesday, Sept. 5th at 9:30 AM the Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing on the renewal of the Interim Zoning Controls for the Aurora Licton Residential Urban Village. We hope to encourage you to come out in support of the extension and/or email the Seattle City Council with your thoughts.

I want to make it clear: this is not an attack on the many existing businesses along Aurora that may fall into the categories being blocked by this extension. Many of them are family run, have been here for decades, and have always done their best to help the community. We are glad they are here, appreciate their contributions, and hope they continue to thrive. This zoning extension and the permanent zoning changes proposed will not affect existing businesses or already pending permits. The goal is only to encourage more housing, and pedestrian-friendly businesses are built in existing empty lots and new lots as they become available. We believe this will result in a more lively and friendly area that will benefit both residents and existing businesses alike.


Call to Action: We hope you will work with ALUV to extend the Aurora zoning controls and help ensure a vibrant Aurora Village has a chance.


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Starbucks's Original North Seattle Store is Closing

It's a sad day for Starbucks lovers in Licton Springs. After 31 years the Oak Tree Starbucks location is set to close permanently this September. The location was Starbuck's first to open in North Seattle and one of the 10 original stores.

Starbuck's Last Month

Regulars, some of who have been going to the store since it first opened, have been given the news they will soon need to get their caffeine fix elsewhere. A hard pill to swallow, without a single coffee shop available within a 15 Minute Walk.

The closure will add to the many other empty storefronts at the plaza:

Store Closures Store Closures Store Closures

Many of which closed after the complex lost Larry’s Markets and with it significant foot traffic. And while the complex has recently had a bit of a revitalization in the last year, with the remodeled AMC bringing in a substantial increase in customers, the Starbuck's 6 PM closing schedule may not have effectively leveraged the bulk of the additional movie traffic.

At the end of the day, while many things may have contributed to the closure:

  • Many new Starbucks opening nearby. Including one on N 84TH that is more easily accessible for pass-through traffic w/ a drive-through.
  • Few evening hours.
  • A growing preference to frequent small independent coffee stores, even if that means drinking coffee near where you work instead of where you live.

The store is closing for the reason most business closures happen: it is not profitable. While many will be sad to see it go, we can only hope it leads to a small independent coffee shop finally opening in Licton Springs - just like the Starbucks itself was when it opened in the area so many years ago.

If you'd like to contact Starbuck's Corporate about the closure, you can use this form to do so.

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North Seattle Picnics in the Precincts is This Saturday!

Flyer

Did you know the only Police Station in all of North Seattle is right here in Licton Springs? Now is your chance to meet them! This Saturday, August 18th from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Seattle Police Dept-North Precinct (10049 College Way N) the police department will be hosting a picnic. Come check out various booths (including LoveLicton.com!), enjoy music and meet with the many Department units including K-9, Mounted Patrol, Bomb Squad, and SWAT. Precinct Picnics provide opportunities for each precinct’s surrounding neighborhoods to come together and enjoy an afternoon of celebration with the officers that protect their families and businesses. Businesses financially support the event through donations and community groups assist in the planning and execution of each picnic.

Here are some images from last years picnic:

Precinct Vehicles Horses! More Horses! Tents Dog At Attention Robot Delivering Lolipops! Soft-serve! Live music

(See all images here.)

For more information about the event, please see the Police Department's website.

For sponsorship information, please contact [email protected] or 206-733-9372.

To register for a booth at the picnics, please contact [email protected].

Hope to see you there!

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Licton Springs chosen for Home Zone pilot

We're excited to announce that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has selected the southeastern corner of Licton Springs for its pioneering home zone pilot in North Seattle! Home Zones represent an innovative and inexpensive approach to increasing walkability, safety, and the sense of community in neighborhoods that lack full sidewalk coverage. The pilot will cover the area north of 85TH, south of 92ND, west of I5 and east of Wallingford Ave. N Below is a map of the area, as well as some of the ideas that have already been proposed for the pilot:

This area was chosen, in particular, because it represents a small well-defined area in which to prove out the concept. If the pilot is successful: it could be expanded both to other areas in Licton Springs and throughout greater North Seattle.

Why are home zones something to get excited about?

It is known by many that Seattle has a sidewalk, or rather lack thereof, problem. As shown in this map prepared by SDOT in 2015, over a quarter of Seattle is laking sidewalk.

Sidewalk Coverage

Most of the need is concentrated in North Seattle, predominantly north of N 85th. And while Licton Springs is lucky to have the best sidewalk coverage of any neighborhood this far North, it still has less sidewalk coverage than any of the communities immediately to the south of it.

There's an often repeated claim that Seattle promised all these areas sidewalk when they were annexed so many decades ago. And, while I haven't definitively been able to determine if that claim is fact or folklore, the city is slowly keeping that promise. The only problem: starting at around $500K+ per a single block, sidewalks are expensive. At the current rate of expenditure, it will take over 300 years for all of Seattle to have sidewalks.

What are Home Zones and how do they aim to solve this problem?

A Home Zone is an area that is protected from lots of fast moving traffic so that streets are safe enough to walk on. Home Zones keep local access for residents, emergency access, and deliveries while discouraging cut-through traffic. Home Zones can use a variety of street improvements to accomplish this but focus on improvements that have the best “bang for our buck” recognizing Seattle’s pedestrian budget is stretched very thin.

Home Zones are meant to:

  1. Make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk in a neighborhood
  2. Reduce cut-through traffic and speeding by keeping this traffic on the arterials (not increasing traffic on other neighborhood streets), while allowing neighbors to get to their homes, emergency access, deliveries, etc.
  3. Enhance the quality of life for neighbors and strengthen our community (one way to do this is by integrating community art).

In essence: Home Zones aim to offer a drastically less expensive alternative to improve the walkability of currently unsidewalked streets, while also achieving a greater and more cohesive sense of community than can be made with sidewalks alone.

Can I donate to the effort?

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways which is a local nonprofit working to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live, is currently supporting this project with staff time and resources. You can donate to help make this a reality at seattlegreenways.org. Or contact [email protected] for more information.

What happens next? How can I get involved?

If you live in or near the pilot area or want to give input on the very first North Seattle home zone, you can find more information about the details of this project here. Additionally, we encourage you to fill out the survey here or email us at [email protected] to be kept up to date on the project.

The first public in-person meeting to provide feedback will be held at the Meridian Health Center (10521 Meridian Ave) starting at 6:30 PM September 13th. If able, please register your intention to attend the meeting on Seattle Greenways home zone website.

We hope to see you there!

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Night Out Success!

Thank you to everyone that came out across Licton Springs to meet with your neighbors and make 2018 another great success! Across the Licton Springs area, hundreds of neighbors got to know each other across over seven block parties.

Packed! Packed! Bubble Man Community Board Emergency Preperation Board

Many community resources were shared at these block parties, including:

  • Smart 911 - A way to add the information you want responders to know in case of an emergency before one happens.
  • Alert Seattle - The official emergency notification system used by the City of Seattle to communicate with city residents during emergencies.
  • Block Watch - Instructions on how to start an officially recognized neighborhood block watch.
  • Emergency Event Calendar - Upcoming events that teach crucial skills needed in the case of an emergency.
  • Emergency Hubs - A map of all the nearby emergency hubs to meet at after an emergency strikes.
  • Licton Springs Community Calendar - A shared calendar for all the events happening across the Licton Springs area.

Here's to hoping the community connections made at Night Out continue to grow over the next year!

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