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Lowest Tides of the year & Starfish sightings

Tomorrow’s -3.7 tide represents the lowest of the year & gives beach combers a good opportunity to see how the starfish recovery is going. Sea star Waisting Desease nearly wiped out our entire local populations starting back in 2013.

I spoke to a neighbor that had walked a few blocks of low tide shoreline along Beach Drive today. She mentioned only seeing 3 starfish clinging some of the larger rocks but was happy to report that they were making a big comeback just north of Seattle along Discovery Park. She went on to say that “biologists were stunned how fast the recovery was coming along”.

While scientists claim we’re not out of the woods yet in the Salish Sea, they’re optimistic that we’re near the end of the epidemic.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Seawall project starting sooner than expected

Construction of the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Seawall Project was projected to begin this Fall according to BDB sources from the Army Corp of Engineers. Yet, it appears that construction, ahem, “design” work will commence within a week. This info sign was just installed at the park….


Anticipated impact to neighbors and the public will include drilling/boring equipment taking soil samples from numerous locations along the 450′ stretch of seawall. Constructing the actual wall has been updated to “TBD”.

Sooner the better is my opinion for getting this done. Fall might be too late for the tattered original structure.

From the City of Seattle’s press release:

Soil borings and sampling at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the City of Seattle, and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) are collaborating on the Emma Schmitz seawall repair. Together we are ensuring a successful cost-sharing program to restore shoreline protection at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook in West Seattle. SPR entered into a Project Partnership Agreement with the Corps for the replacement of the seawall. The Corps is responsible for the design of the seawall, and one of the steps in the design process is to take soil borings to inform the final design. Drill equipment will be on site for several days starting the week of June 4.

Built circa 1927, the 450-foot stretch of seawall supports important City and County infrastructure, including a 54-inch sewer main, various Seattle Public Utilities drainage and wastewater lines, and Beach Drive Southwest road. The seawall is badly deteriorated, with a 30 percent chance of failure in the event of severe storm or tidal conditions. The new seawall will be built approximately 2 feet seaward and 2 feet higher than the existing wall, thus significantly improving the grade of this scenic viewpoint for the enjoyment of park users as well as ensuring long-term stability.

The implementation cost of the recommended plan is estimated to be more than $2 million, and will be cost-shared with 65 percent federal funds and 35 percent non-federal funds. The non-federal sponsor, SPR, is responsible for all lands, easements, right-of-ways, relocations, and/or disposal areas which are controlled by the sponsor.

The Corps is designing the seawall, and SPR will be designing the park amenities on top of the wall area. SPR will be holding a public meeting to provide information and gather input on these park amenities.

For more information on the boring and soil collection please visit http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Programs-and-Projects/Projects/Alki-Erosion-Control-Project-Seattle-WA/  or SPR Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook page: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/emma-schmitz-memorial-overlook

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Buddhist ritual helps crabbing in Area 10

Although I’m not quite sure what the karma penalties would be for catching one of the dungy’s, it was a great sight to see this Taiwanese family repatriating 30 large crabs into Puget Sound.

The grandfather and father of the newborn (on left with mother) carefully remove bands from the claws before releasing the 30 crabs purchased from a local market.

This Buddhist ritual is meant to give good health and wellbeing to the newly born child and create harmony with nature. Pretty cool!

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

FOUND Tomatoes & expertise on Beach Drive

With the tease of warmer weather on the way, I imagine many Beach Drive area neighbors have tomatoes on the brain. I’m usually too late to the party and end up choosing from the picked over scrawny or wounded plants at the local nursery. Other years I’ve resorted to picking a few plants up from a big box store and wondering what type of “unfriendly” processes might’ve been used to create this mass produced Early Girl??

With that in mind, I stumbled into tomato paradise during a dog walk to Lincoln Park yesterday.

I figured this sign on the 6500 block of Beach Drive was leading the way down a driveway to a few card tables of plants. Boy was I wrong. Instead I found a couple of people working around a small green house with raised beds and several varieties of toms spread out along the garden. A polite young man greeted me and asked if he could Answer any questions I may have. I’m pretty sure he could sense that I was a tomato novice with the questions I asked… “do you have anything that thrives near water in a, um, medium large like pot about so big?”. Kyle didn’t miss a beat and grabbed a tom labeled Hot Tub. He explained that it accidentally sprouted on the west side of their house near their hot tub by the water and absolutely thrived. “Ok, I’ll take that one and also looking for a good tomato for salads?”. Kyle picked a yellow variety and explained that it retains it’s moisture better than most so it won’t mush out on your greens. He then went on to pick another variety that works perfect on a piece of bruschetta with mozzarella and olive oil… SOLD! Then came the detailed instructions in how deep to plant, prune, and size of planter/hog wire to use for stabilizing each plant for it’s anticipated size.

As was walking home with the plants, a neighbor down the block saw me and said “ah, looks like you’ve been by Kyle’s!”.

                             Kyle working on his many different varieties of tomato starters

Ok, so maybe I’m the last to know about Kyle Winslow’s Nightshade Nursery on Beach Drive. Just in case I’m not, this young man is a great source for answering any questions you may have for what toms to plant this year … and send you off with a few plants to put in the ground!

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Blake Island closure scheduled

Blake Island is closing off the island to visitors this Wednesday through Friday to deal with thinning the enormous rabbit population.

Like many of the larger islands in the San Juans, Blake has seen it’s rabbit population grow out of control. Much of the island’s daucus carota has been decimated which could spell disaster for the beloved deer population. Hundreds of traps will be set mostly on the southeastern and northwestern ends of the island where burrowing is most pronounced.

Park officials have organized volunteer veterinarians from both King and Kitsap counties to spay all females caught during the 2 day closure. “Our goal is to thin the rabbit population by at least two thirds.” said long time ranger Peter Hare. An adoption rescue line has been set up for local residents to provide homes for many of the exiled bunnies. Peter’s team has currently secured homes for 375 rabbits (at the time of writing this article) however, anticipates the need for a few hundred more. They’ve also made this link available for any interested hosts that have questions regarding care for this particular species of San Jaun rabbit. Please contact the bunny rescue effort at islandbunnies.gov or call 360-Bun-Home if you’re interested in the rescue efforts. Hop to it!

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall construction Fall 2018

The Seattle City Council finally put the OK stamp for construction to begin on the Emma Schmitz seawall project. If it holds, construction is due to begin around storm season, I mean Fall of 2018. Seattle Parks and the Seattle Division of the Army Corp of Engineers have been tossing plans around since 2013. BDB posted extensively about the needed repairs for years as the wall has wasted away.

King 5 is filming a live report tonight announcing the final approval of construction.

Update: Here is King 5’s coverage.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Highly anticipated Cyclone Donald not so HUGE

 

Looked just like another beauty day on Beach Drive around 2:00

storm-2-oclock

Things began to change up a bit at 3:00 on the horizon and you could see the water starting to churn up on the other side of the Sound due to easterly winds…

storm-3-oclock

 

White caps starting to form just after 4:00 and the tide looks a hell of a lot higher than the tables suggest (11.9). I’m guessing that there’s a bit of coastal flooding adding to the height…

storm-4-oclock

 

First burst of wind at 4:40 and finally seeing the rollers coming in from Tacoma at 5:00…

storm-5-oclock

 

Almost 6:00 and only a few slurps over the bulkhead.Looks like we dodged a bullet as far as flooding is concerned on Beach Drive SW. Now it’s time to kick back & enjoy the show with a hot toddy.

Parking pinch on Beach Drive

Street preservation repairs will take place on July 11th though the 14th from the 4200 block to 5300 Beach Drive. SDOT map labels it as Spot Rehab. See you on the west side of the road! [Read more…]

Update: Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook seawall project

It’s been since December 2014 that the public comment period ended in regard to the Alki Coastal Erosion project spearheaded by the Seattle District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project outlines a plan to replace a stretch of seawall that precariosly holds back the 50″ diameter sewage pipe that flows around 2 million gallons of wastewater per day.

BartonPumpStation

A representative from the Army Corps Public Affairs Office promptly responded to my inquiry in wondering what the delay was for getting construction started….

“According to our project manager, we received a letter of concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Officer and we sent our feasibility report and appendices to our higher headquarters in Portland June 1 for review and approval. We are now waiting for them to review – if they determine we’ve adequately addressed their comments, then we’ll be ready to get going on the Design and Implementation phase. We are anticipating approval this summer.”

I’m not sure if “approval this summer” will result in any near-term progress. However, I can tell you that the Seattle Parks Department’s truck drivers are getting pretty nervous how the seawall is holding up every time they park near it to backfill the erosion

The newly refinished Barton Pump Station and nearly completed Murray Ave Station won’t do much good if the main artery to the West Point Treatment Plant ruptures due to a collapsing seawall. All of us living down near the beach will know first hand the meaning of “it all rolls downhill”.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Beach Drive short term rental properties under direct fire (opinion)

Representation of known short term rental units in Seattle

More like a scattered shot gun approach if you ask me. The Seattle Mayor & esteemed Council members are set to propose strict regs on ALL short term (under 30 days) rental properties in the entire city. That of course includes all of West Seattle and the handful of units on Beach Drive which yours truly just went live with in May. 

The purpose and intention of the proposed legislation is to discourage homeowners with non-owner occupied properties to choose housing out of town tourists over more permanent long term renters. If it all goes as planned, the Council predicts there will be 300 new long term rental units on the market.  They stop short on claiming they’ll be “affordable” but that’s what they really want, and frankly should want.

Councilmember Tim Burgess that chairs Affordable Housing prides himself on using “smart policies and evidence-based solutions”. Really?

From personal experience, the few guests we have hosted so far have either had family living in West Seattle, were referred by neighbors that don’t have enough space for out of town relatives, a family from Minnesota that drove up from Portland to hang out and see a Twins game at Safeco Field, and a local West Seattle resident celebrating a landmark birthday with her out of area friends as a stay-cation. What they all had in common is…

  • They did not want to rent a hotel downtown and fight traffic and parking.
  • They did not want to stay in the basement of someone’s primary residence.
  • They all wanted a private waterfront home all to themselves which is not available anywhere commercially in the city.
  • They all spent a majority of time & money hanging out in West Seattle.

Other than required licensing, the Council is not going to hinder homeowners that are using their primary residence for housing STR guests. The idea is that this segment of the market is merely trying to make ends meet and subjecting them to the proposed regs wouldn’t result in additional permanent units anyhow. Well, the only 2 homeowners I know around here using their primary residence as a STR have entire apartment units on their lower floor and choose short term rather than permanent renters. Not trying to pull them into the crab boil as well but it probably won’t be long before the City sics their proposed staff of STR inspector goons on them as well!

Now we need to make a decision what to do with our house next door if the legislation passes through as proposed. Rent it out on a permanent basis? No, we also like the flexibility of using it for ourselves, family & friends. Sell it? Maybe some years down the road. Bottom line is that the City of Seattle will miss out on any further taxes & licensing fees we generate and West Seattle establishments will lose some year around tourism dollars. It’s just too much work & expense to run a STR like ours for the proposed limit of 90 days a year when the break even point is more like around 160 days.

 

WShotel

West Seattle’s one and only hotel/motel

I’m not saying a problem doesn’t exist in other parts of the city. All of Burgess’s example’s of why short term rentals are cheating permanent locals from finding affordable housing border downtown Seattle. He claims extreme abuses of entire apartment/condo floors being held out for STR to tourists. We’ve recently learned that “entrepreneurs” are actually renting out permanent apartment space and then jacking the rent to STR guests all with 100% approval of the building’s management team (also receiving a cut, of course). I also wouldn’t be surprised if abuses are taking place with the recent high density rezoning and micro housing attended for gram & gramps or permanent local renters.

Seems to me that the Council and Mayor should be targeting those abuses rather than ma & pa on Beach Drive.

 

Scupper, reporting/ranting for Beach Drive Blog