Possible Water Spout on Puget Sound

Yesterday one of our neighbors captured video of what looks like the beginnings of a water spout off the shores of Alki Point.

Video credit: Barb Howell

Other neighbors contacted us as well inquiring about the water wind wonder on Puget Sound. We don’t have any meteorologist in our household…but this certainly looks spouty to me!

USS Carl Vinson heading to Bremerton

The USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 is heading to Bremerton, the ships home-port.

Big Changes for Short Term Rentals along Beach Drive and Alki

If you or someone you know owns or operates a vacation rental along Beach Drive or along Alki, you may want to let them know about regulations that are going into effect January 1, 2019 that will prohibit short term vacation rentals on waterfront homes and potentially including homes within 200 feet of Puget Sound.

We believe this is an unintended consequence from the City of Seattle labeling short term vacation rentals as “commercial lodging” which is not permitted per the shoreline code. This includes detached single family residences, condos, apartments and homes that are within 200 feet of the high water mark of Puget Sound (homes across the street from Puget Sound could be included). Other areas may be included as well if they are within the shoreline management restricted areas.

From the City of Seattle – one of their many pages regarding Short Term Rentals (aka “STR”s):

“Floating on-water residences, waterfront residences, and other areas where lodging activities are prohibited by the Shoreline Code

We have owned and operated a short term vacation rental on Beach Drive for a couple of years. We are saddened that it looks like we will no longer be able to offer Beach Drive Bungalow as a vacation rental. Many of our guests over the years have been from neighbors and other Seattle-ites with visiting families.

Many who have owned and operated vacation rentals near the shoreline in Seattle may not know about this snafu. To our knowledge, there has been no notifications from the vacation rental platforms, like VRBO/Homeaway or AirbNb nor from the City of Seattle (unless you visit their website and try to make sense of the shoreline code).

I reached out weeks ago to our City Council. Today, I received my first response from a representative for O’Brien who stated:

“Thanks so much for reaching out to Councilmember O’Brien on this issue.  I am sorry for the complicated and confusing nature of our code and that your property is no longer eligible as a STR.  After looking into it a bit, my understanding is that this is due to the shoreline code – lodging activities are prohibited in Floating on-water residences, waterfront residences, and in specific shoreline environments.  This was not a policy choice about waterfront locations specifically but rather just making it explicit that defining short-term rentals as a lodging use (and not a residential use) means prohibiting STRs where lodging uses are prohibited by the shoreline code.   To modify this would require amending the shoreline code which typically requires working with and approval by the Department of Ecology.

Sorry to not have a more hopeful response for you.  Have you considered renting the property as a long-term rental?”

No response yet from our West Seattle rep, Lisa Herbold.

We do plan on reaching out to the Department of Ecology.

If you have questions, you can email: str@seattle.gov.

Sea lion #11?

Yesterday, yet another sea lion has drifted upon the shores around West Seattle. This one conveniently floated around the rip-rap sea wall right into the Don Armeni Boat Ramp. Although this sea lion wasn’t immediately pronounced “shot” by the person performing the necropsy, odds are pretty good according to recent history. Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters informed me that it would be a couple of days following X-rays to determine cause of death.

Seal Sitters tape off latest victim.

The following video was taken yesterday afternoon , December 4th as a crew of folks worked to turn the large mammal over for examination. I can tell you now that it’s good practice to stay upwind!

 

Scupper. reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Argosy Christmas Ships passing by this Friday

Argosy2008The Argosy Christmas Ships are scheduled to sail along Beach Drive this upcoming Friday, December 7, 2018.  They are scheduled to be at Lowman Beach Park at 7:55 p.m. and then arrive at Alki Beach Park at 11:40 p.m.

Currently the weather for Friday looks like it will be cold and without rain. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Happening Now: Power Paddle to Puyallup

If you’re lucky enough to be home right now or near a Beach Drive Park, look to Puget Sound to see Native Americans participating in their annual canoe trek. This year’s event is the Power Paddle to Puyallup. The tribes plan to arrive in Puyallup tomorrow with 108 tribal nations participating.

You can hear some of the participants sing as they paddle against the current and tide as they head south.

This is always such a treat to witness!

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

Getting Chummy off the shores of Beach Drive

Puget Sound chumming season is in full swing on this beautiful day.

Photo credit: Scupper