Urban Politics #48: Resolution 29845, Parks Citizen Participation


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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Two resolutions that I authored unanimously passed at this Monday’s City Council Meeting. Below is a description of each.

Resolution 29845, Parks Citizen Participation

This legislation sets up 3 workshops to evaluate the Parks Department’s public involvement processes concerning facilities acquisition, planning, development and maintenance.

As the Chair of the Culture Arts and Parks Committee, I have been drawn into heated community discussions around proposed improvements and possible changes to two neighborhood parks: the Queen Anne Bowl (Rodger’s Park) and the Wallingford Playfield. In both instances, citizens questioned the Parks Department’s public involvement policies/procedures in balancing diverse community interests in making facility development and maintenance decisions.

The legislation has City Council directing the Parks Department to sponsor a facilitated forum, made up of citizens, community groups, and relevant City departments to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of its existing public involvement policies and procedures, and make recommendations to the Council by January 15, 1999.

Specifically, the Parks Department is requested to:

1. Hold public workshops to define problems and potential improvements concerning the Parks’ public involvement processes.

2. Use actual projects to illustrate the adequacy of existing public involvement policies & procedures.

3. Make recommendations to the Council on changes to existing public involvement policies and procedures, including but not limited to the definition of constituent groups by project category, minimum notification requirements by project category, and the proposed means and minimum frequency of public meetings or hearings by project category.

4. Identify resource implications of the proposed changes.

5. Document and disseminate records and results of this process.

The consequent reassessment of the Departments public involvement procedures could lead to the most significant changes they’ve undergone since they were adopted in 1992.

For information on when the workshops will be held contact Dewey Potter, the Park Department’s Manager of Public Information, at 684-7241 or email her at Dewey.potter@seattle.gov

Resolution 29844, Pike Market Hildt Amendment

Back in 1983 the City of Seattle and the Pike Market PDA entered into an Agreement to confirm and clarify the rules and regulations governing the Market Daystall Tables, including the allocation of tablespace between Farmers selling locally grown produce and arts and crafts vendors. The agreement ran for an initial ten year term, renewed in 1993 for a five year extension, and came up for renewal this year for another 5 year period.

The original “Hildt” Agreement was a product of consensus among the various official Market community groups after a couple of years of hard negotiations. Either the City or the PDA could none renew it if they gave a thirty-day notice to the other party before the agreement’s renewal date.

The PDA transmitted to the City on June 26,1998, (just before the 30 day period would have expired on July 1st) a resolution which said that they did not wish to have the Hildt Agreement renewed unless certain amendments were made to it. Among the proposed changes, was a reallocation of table space in the market favoring some type of farmers over others. The new arrangement would have also economically impacted those working the crafts and arts tables.

A number of Pike Market stakeholder groups (The Historic Commission, The Constituency Group, The Merchants Association, and The Daystall Tenants Association) passed their own resolutions requesting that the Hildt Agreement be renewed without any changes. The PDA Council subsequently voted 7 to 5 to make the proposed changes. That decision was met by a strike (possibly the first in the Market’s history) of many if not most of the vendors and farmers in the market.

As Chair of the City Council ‘s Culture Arts and Parks Committee, I received the proposed changes and had to respond to them. My committee then held a public hearing, on August 27, in which both those in favor and those opposed to the changes spoke. I was most impressed by how many vendors and farmers felt that the process for proposing the Amendments to the Hildt Agreement had not provided them sufficient time to participate in the decision making process.

I subsequently talked to the leaders of the above stakeholder groups plus The United Farmers Coalition, the only organized group representing farmers, to see how they would like the City to respond. They said they would like another opportunity to review the proposed changes. I then drew up a resolution to that affect and ran it past them for review and approval.

Council Member Peter Steinbrueck, whose father was instrumental in saving Pike Place Market from being converted into a mall, and who personally lead an effort to stop the Market from falling into the hands of out-of-state speculative investors, significantly contributed to the final draft of the resolution. Council Member Jan Drago also included some wording.

The City’s Resolution requests that the PDA provide a report to the City Council by January 31, 1999, that will present a resubmittal of its proposed amendments to the Hildt Agreement, after conducting further public review to work towards obtaining the support of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission, the PDA Market Constituency, the Merchants Association, the Daystall TenantsAssociation, The United Farmers Coalition and the general public

The PDA is further requested to report on:

1) any proposals to provide for fair, equitable, and stable management of daystall table space in the Market consistent with the PDA’s charter;

2) any regulatory changes that would add permanence and stability to the management and allocation of the Market Daystalls in the best interest of the entire Market community;

3) any proposals for expansion and allocation of table space of fresh produce by farmers.

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