New Thornton Creek school departure requests approved

The corner of NE 77th Street and 40th Ave NE, which presently has portable classrooms, is proposed as the site of a new school building to operate in addition to the Thornton Creek School.

Wednesday, July 23rd was the third public meeting for the Thornton Creek School Departures Committee.  Public comments were heard, and debate held on the merits of granting the Seattle Public Schools request for three exceptions (“departures”) to the Seattle Land Use Code.   The departures would allow them to proceed with the current design for a new school building on the grounds of the Thornton Creek Elementary School (to operate alongside that school as a separate entity.)

The three departures being requested were to allow for additional building height to enclose the mechanical systems on the roof of the proposed school, to allow for on-street loading and unloading of buses on 40th Ave NE, and to allow for less than required on-site parking.

Proposed new building to be added to the present Thornton Creek School site.

Many neighbors who live across from or in close proximity to the school attended the meeting.  Most of those that gave public comment voiced their concerns about increased traffic, pedestrian safety, and more general concerns about changes to the character of the neighborhood.  There were also some neighbors who spoke about the desire to maintain as much open field space as possible to accommodate the increasing number of children who live in Northeast Seattle.

The Departures Committee had previously approved the request to allow for additional building height to enclose the mechanical systems on the roof of the new school.  After the public comment period ended, the Departures Committee debated the merits of the two remaining exceptions: bus loading and on-site parking.

With the help of staff from Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the committee eventually crafted a list of several conditions that they wanted to see implemented if the departure requests were approved.  After the list was complete, a majority voted to grant the departures with the conditions suggested by the committee.  Links to info about trees on the school site are given in comments below, following this article.

2 Replies to “New Thornton Creek school departure requests approved”

  1. I am concerned about the tree removal for this project. I cannot find a DPD map showing which trees will be removed, or how many, or which retained, only a general site inventory.

    1. Richard, That information is often provided in the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) checklist. The District is their own SEPA agency, meaning they can approve their own projects. Therefore, the SEPA Checklist is not with DPD, but with the District. Please see Slide 14 and 15 on the following SEPA presentation:
      http://bex.seattleschools.org/assets/bexiv/TCES-SEPA-Informational-Meeting-Presentation-April-22-2014.pdf
      Also, see Section 4a on Page 22 of the project’s SEPA checklist. They’re keeping all 6 exceptional trees. Apart from that, I believe they’re removing the remainder of trees and will replant many new ones throughout the site.
      http://sepa.www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/gwp/1583136/4286973/File/Capital/ThorntonCreekDNSandFinalSEPAChecklist.pdf?sessionid=f7051997be0cbf64ddf901819bed5093

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