Councilmember Licata left office on January 1, 2016.
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Urban Politics #88: City Parks Fall Levy

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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.



  • City Parks Fall Levy
  • Noise Ordinance Update
  • Music & Youth Task Force Update

City Parks Fall Levy

On Wednesday, June 8 there is a City Council Public Hearing on the Pro-Parks Proposal for a $223 million voter-approved levy to implement Neighborhood Plan recommendations for parks and open space. These recommendations include:

1. Implementing many of the priority parks and recreation and open space acquisition projects from Neighborhood Plans.

2. Funding efforts to preserve Seattle’s green spaces, green belts and natural areas by acquiring key privately owned properties.

3. Funding efforts to restore existing boulevards to preserve the Olmsted legacy of our historic boulevards.

4. Creating pedestrian and bike connections by enhancing the city’s trails network.

5. Funding efforts to implement the Joint School-Park Athletic Facilities Development Plan with major investments at Sand Point and other locations.

6. Consistent with recommendations from most Neighborhood Plans, upgrade ongoing day-to-day maintenance of existing parks.

7. Provide more after-school and summer recreation programs for youth and teens, and more programs for senior adults.

8. Invest in education programs, animal care, security staff and underfunded maintenance for the Woodland Park Zoo.

As chair of the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee, I worked with Mayor Schell and Department of Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds in the creation of the citizen-based Pro-Parks Committee making these recommendations.

The City Council will hear public testimony on the Mayor’s recommendation for the Pro-Parks Levy at a Public Hearing on June 8, 5:30 PM at City Council Chambers, 11th floor of the Municipal Building (600 4th Ave). I urge you to attend this important meeting.

If you are interested in seeing more specifics about this proposal, I direct you to the Pro-Parks 2000 website at.

Noise Ordinance Update

Late last year, the City Council passed a resolution directing the Dept. of Design, Construction and Land Use (DCLU) to further study the issue of noise control in four areas: balancing public safety and 1st Amendment freedoms; a warning for commercial establishments; nuisance abatement; and the plainly audible standard.

I introduced an amendment to this resolution that passed on January 18. This amendment directs DCLU to “appoint a citizen panel representing a broad spectrum of interests, to solicit their participation in drafting a proposal.” The amendment was designed so that there will be a more inclusive public process than in 1999, when a number of citizens and groups criticized the DCLU process. Hopefully, this will allow the Council to focus on the pertinent policy issues.

DCLU will be meeting with a number of citizens interested in noise issues this weekend, and will issue a report at a later date. The resolution notes the report is due in July, 2000.

Music & Youth Task Force Update

The Music & Youth Task Force issued its report on April 25. In the report, the task force recommends the City Council repeal the Teen Dance Ordinance, and replace it with a less restrictive All-Ages Dance Ordinance. They also recommended the City develop an all-ages City owned music venue, and open up community centers for more music events. Further, they recommend a Music & Youth Commission. The report can be viewed at the website of Councilmember Richard Conlin at

A public hearing on the task force recommendations will take place Monday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the 11th floor of the Municipal Building at 600 4th Avenue, between James & Cherry. A committee vote is scheduled for June 27 in a joint meeting of the Neighborhoods, Sustainability and Community Development, and Culture, Arts and Parks Committees of the City Council.

The All-Ages Dance Ordinance is in the process of being developed. I expect to have a draft available within the next 10 days. For copies please call my Legislative Assistant, Newell Aldrich at 386-9011, or email him at

An earlier URBAN POLITICS discussed the Music & Youth Task Force at

Aboretum Update

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Arboretum was released on May 12, 2000.

Copies are available at the Downtown, Montlake, University, and Madrona branches of the Seattle public library, as well as several neighborhood service centers. Reference copies are available at the Suzallo and Allen libraries at the University of Washington, and the Graham Visitors Center at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Copies may be purchased from Parks for $22 by contacting Laurel Mercury or Seattle Parks at 206-684-7055. In addition, the EIS can be viewed on Parks’s website at This site has the Draft EIS, and Financial Report.

There will be a 45-day period for written comments on the EIS, though June 26. Written comments can be sent to Peter Marshall at: Peter Marshall, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, 800 Maynard Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134 or e-mailed to

Parks will hold a public hearing on the EIS Thursday, June 15, at the Mountaineers Club, at 300 3rd Avenue West, Seattle, 98119, at 6 p.m., in the Tahoma Room. All citizen comments from this meeting, as well as written comments, will be included in the final version of the EIS.

On May 12, Parks also released a preliminary Financial Report for the Arboretum. Parks originally planned to release this after the Final EIS was published. Constituents contacted me about this, and I requested that Parks release this concurrently with the Draft EIS, as it is essential to understand how any changes in the Arboretum might be financed.

After the 45-day public comment period, Parks will prepare a Final EIS. Parks will then prepare and make a recommendation to the Mayor, City Council, and University of Washington Board of Regents for a new Arboretum Master Plan. Parks expects to issue a Final EIS and make a recommendation in late summer or early fall. Only then will the Arboretum come to the City Council, where it will be considered in the Culture, Arts & Parks (CAP) Committee I chair. The CAP Committee will hold a public hearing.

Any changes at the Arboretum will need to be approved by both of the governing agencies, the Seattle City Council and the University of Washington Board of Regents.

Keep in touch…

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