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Seattle Children’s and Laurelhurst Community Club Find Balance on Hospital Master Plan

February 10, 2010

Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) announced that they have reached a settlement concerning the hospital’s proposed expansion.

Master Plan Now Before Seattle City Council for Consideration

Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) announced that they have reached a settlement concerning the hospital’s proposed expansion. The settlement was jointly presented this morning to the City Council as providing a path forward for City approval of Children’s proposed Major Institution Master Plan .

The Settlement Agreement  negotiated by Laurelhurst Community Club and Seattle Children’s Hospital acknowledges important principles on both sides of the debate over Children’s expansion in Laurelhurst.  It achieves a compromise between the need for Children’s to expand and the livability of the adjacent neighborhoods, in response to the appeals of Laurelhurst and its co-appellants.  The agreement is consistent with and builds upon the foundation of compromises that Children’s and LCC have developed with the Department of Planning and Development and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee Majority and Minority reports.  Children’s and the Laurelhurst Community Club acknowledge the role that participants have played in achieving a solution that allows everyone to move forward.  And, the parties hope that the City Council, after due consideration consistent with its controlling role, will recognize and include the provisions of the settlement agreement in its master plan decision.

“We believe the proposed terms in the agreement will further strengthen the balance between Children’s critical need for more beds and the livability of the neighborhood,” said Dr. Thomas N. Hansen, CEO at Seattle Children’s. “The agreement allows us to build the beds we need – growing from our current 250 beds to 600 total – while further aligning our needs and those of the community. We are hopeful it will ease some of the burden on the City Council. Still, we recognize that the City Council must weigh all information and plans along with this agreement before making their final decision.”

Stan Sorscher, a member of the Laurelhurst Community Club Trustee committee that negotiated the Agreement, commented:

“It took hard work and many weeks of careful listening by both sides to work out a settlement agreement. The agreement announced today allows the hospital to grow and meet its needs while providing long term protections for the surrounding residential community. The two sides’ success in settling represents a watershed in hospital/community relations. The Community Club now looks forward to building on that success as the settlement and its agreed Master Plan are implemented.”  

Summary of Seattle Children’s/Laurelhurst Community Club Settlement Agreement provisions:

  • Development square footage reduction: Children’s proposal to add 1.5 million square feet of development is reduced by 275,000 square feet.
  • No expansion of Children’s campus across Sand Point Way:  Children’s Hartmann property, located across Sand Point Way, is removed from the Major Institution Master Plan. It may be re-developed separately under more limited non-institutional zoning. Children’s is still committed to implementing community benefits for Hartmann such as  retaining the Sequoia grove, providing landscaping screen, and building a pedestrian/bicycle access to the Burke-Gilman trail. 
  • Fifty-year  restriction on campus expansion into residential areas:  For a period of 50 years, Children’s agrees not to expand its boundaries into specified residential areas to the south, east, and north.  
  • Height limits:  No more than 20 percent of the campus land area will be over 90 feet in height and no more than 10 percent will be over 125 feet in height in the new major institution boundary area.  No structure will be above 140 feet in height. 
  • Added Setback:  The minimum structure setback/garden edge setback along the entire NE 45th Street frontage must be 75 feet, increased from 40 feet for a portion of that area.
  • Southwest Parking Garage underground:  The Southwest parking garage will be constructed underground. 
  • 40th Ave. NE mitigation:  The traffic signal at this location will be installed before occupancy of Children’s Phase 1 development. Children’s and LCC will work with the City on technology and design features to minimize cut-through traffic and queuing. 
  • Hearing Examiner conditions accepted with limited modifications: Children's and LCC accept all Hearing Examiner recommended conditions, with a few specified modifications. 
  • Mutual cooperation:  LCC withdraws its appeal of Children’s Master Plan, agrees to support the Master Plan as modified by this agreement, but retains full ability to participate in and comment on its implementation.  Seattle Children’s and the LCC will establish a permanent committee to maintain a good working relationship and resolve any issues that surface in a timely manner. Seattle Children’s will recommend that the City appoint two Laurelhurst designees to the City’s Standing Advisory Committee overseeing Children’s master plan implementation.  

In addition to these new provisions, Children's remains fully committed to, and LCC supports, the mitigation measures and community benefits previously agreed to throughout the process to date including community transportation enhancements and pedestrian/bicycle improvements.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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