Seattle Courant

Seattle Politics This Week February 22, 2009

By Keith Vance
February 22, 2009 05:02PM

This council bill was supposed to have been discussed last Tuesday but it was postponed for a week. Councilwoman Sally Clark said that new information needed to be taken into consideration before a full council discussion and vote takes place.

Several citizens spoke out against the change to the noise ordinance last week. Most of those opposing the changes live near one of the major transportation projects, and they are concerned that twenty-four hour construction will be too disruptive.

But there’s cost associative with prolonging a major construction project by limiting the hours it can operate. So the council appears to be trying to balance the fiscal needs of the city’s budget with the quality of life expectations of Seattleites.

Council bill 116204 reads: “It is the express intent of the City to control the level of noise in a manner that promotes commerce; the use, value and enjoyment of property; sleep and repose; and the quality of the environment.”

However, “The ability to work during nighttime hours is often essential to complete such projects on a timely and financially feasible schedule.”

Also on Monday, the council will talk about implementing interim tree protection regulations. According to the bill, the council “is aware of ongoing tree removal on sites that are not undergoing development, which is inconsistent with Comprehensive Plan goals concerning no-net loss of tree canopy.”

To save Seattle trees, Council President Richard Conlin sponsored council bill 116404, which states: “It is in the public interest to maximize the retention of large and exceptional trees as these trees provide considerable benefit to the city in reducing storm water runoff and pollution, absorbing air pollutants, providing wildlife habitat, absorbing carbon dioxide, providing shade, stabilizing soil and enhancing property value.”

While not necessarily a controversial issue, Councilman Richard McIver voted against moving this bill out of the Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities committee.

On Wednesday, the Culture, Civil Rights, Health and Personnel City Council committee, and its chair Councilman Nick Licata, will attempt to move a council bill forward authorizing Mayor Greg Nickels to sign a collective bargaining agreement between the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Dispatchers’ Guild.

If you’re a cyclist, you might be interested in attending a brown bag lunch this Friday with Niels Torslov from Copenhagen. Torslov is the Copenhagen traffic director and he's traveling from one North American city to another to share his knowledge about how to get people out of their cars and on a bike. More than 36 percent of Copenhagenis commuters peddle their way to work. To see how they did it, Torslov will be at Seattle Central Library from noon to 1 p.m. in the Microsoft auditorium.