Floating Homes Association Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 7:00 – 8:00 via Zoom.
FHA President John Leness welcomed attendees and explained that Courtney Cooper would moderate the conference call. 138 members joined via video or conference call, many with partners, so it was an excellent turn out given the circumstances! John thanked board members Blair Robbins, Susan Chatlos-Susor, and Tom Campbell who are stepping down and proposed new members, Bob Burk (of Eastlake) and Dave Chapelle (Westlake) who were elected unopposed. John went on to update members on the Kenmore Seaplane situation, explained anticipated infrastructure costs for older docks Terry Pettus Park & Portage Bay, as well as the Fairview Ave E Bridge Project Finally, John paid tribute to two people who have literally helped keep the houseboats afloat – Art Holder, the indispensable stringer man, and Sid McFarland, who was the expert on moving houseboats around when required. The meeting ended at 7:45 after a couple of questions from the floor. You can view President John Leness’ presentation here and a recording of the meeting here.
Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at the Swedish Club at 1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle 6:00 – 9:00 pm
FHA President John Leness welcomed attendees and asked Courtney Cooper to lead the auction of the painting by Felis Sanchez that had been generously donated to the FHA by his widow. The painting sold for $600.
John then introduced Seattle City Community Engagement Co-ordinator Laura Jenkins whose role is to act as a connector for people who want help finding out who to deal with in the city when they have issues or questions and to connect community groups with each other. Anne Bassetti suggested establishing a community of waterfront people – docks, marinas, recreational users, and businesses. Laura mentioned that there is no official neighborhood map of the city. Anne offered to work with them. Laura announced that May 4th is neighbor day when the city suggests that people something nice for a neighbor or attend various events around the city. You can find out more about #neighborday at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/neighbor-day. Laura also said that there is money available for street improvements. Residents can vote for projects proposed in their neighborhoods here. Discussion followed about previous proposals to improve Fairview Ave E, and a neighbor shared that there is information available on the Eastside Community Council website. You can read about the Fairview Green Street plan here.
Members asked about the Vulcan developments in South Lake Union, and the Portage Bay Park plan but Laura didn’t know about them. Another asked if Eastlake could get a swimming pool. Laura said she can put us in touch with who is in charge of street end projects at SDOT
You can see the plans for Portage Bay Park here. On a separate but related note, Giff later shared that his boat hit a sizable submerged rock going past the development of the university park about 100 meters west of Aqua Verde, 50 feet from the shoreline of the new construction. He is taking Harbor Patrol to the site of the incident so they can mark it as a hazard, meanwhile beware.
FHA Treasurer, Karen Mooney raised the problem of noise levels at gas works park. Residents are worried about the noise level at Gas Works Park getting worse. During one particularly loud event, Karen phoned the city special events coordinator, but they were unable to respond. You can find out more about Laura here If you have questions for Laura Jenkins, you can reach her on 206.437.3735 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next, John introduced FHA Board member Peter Erickson who had exciting news about Terry Pettus Park. Ben Franks, a land dweller up the street from the Log Foundation, asked the Ride the Ducks bankruptcy attorney if they would like to sell the piece of land earmarked for a Ride the Ducks terminal. This piece of land has now been bought by US Seafoods. The FHA is hoping to work with the city to buy the section next to Terry Pettus Park. Working with Dixie Pintler and the ‘Friends of Terry Pettus Park’, this initiative will require a major fund-raising effort. The members present agreed to designate the $600 raised by the sale of the painting as the first donation to the fund. Terry Pettus, the founder of the FHA died in 84 and the park was established in his name. Peter, Dixie, and the city’s head of park maintenance recently met to inspect the condition of the park. Completed in 82 from pressure-treated wood, the structure is currently in a shocking state of disrepair. FHA member Barb shared that she had been involved in the development of Fairview Park and that there are state funds available from the state dept of transportation. Peter invited Barb to join the group, which she accepted. Susan Susor also has a contact in the parks department from a previous project. Audience members asked Peter if he is looking for investors. Peter replied that at the moment they need to solidify the commitment of the parks dept and then we will need to start raising the money.
Next, John Leness introduced the board members. No-one has reached term limits and the current board was re-elected. John went on to explain that 2018 was a tour year. He thanked organizer Tom Campbell and his team of volunteers, as well as everyone who opened their homes. There is no tour this year, but Tom Campbell got to his feet to explain that for 2020 he would like to have the tour based in the Westlake and North lake areas, hopefully including the Fremont Bridge.
Aurora bridge improvements continue. Thanks to Tom Hesselbrock for supplying updates to Sarah for FHA E-Alerts. Part of the purpose of the blue wrapping is to stop the red-tailed kites from nesting there. Apparently, there are daily spotters keeping an eye out for the birds who appear to be nesting elsewhere this year.
John explained that the FHA has met with the Fairview Ave Bridge Replacement project manager. The two bridges are in front of the Zymogenetics building; both bridges are being replaced. It will be a 19-month project which involves pulling out the pilings, redirecting traffic, etc. Giff Jones asked why they are taking both down when one is old, and one is newer. John replied that the city decided it was better to do both at the same time rather than do one at a time. You can read more about the project here. The project manager is Marilyn Yim, and you can reach her on 206-684-3190 or at FairviewBridge@seattle.gov
John went on to share that the FHA Board met with David Stroble, Ring Family Group president, and Lake Union Ferry Company principal, about the newly proposed Lake Union Ferries. Their plan is to use 34’ electric catamaran ferries to provide a commuter service from Fremont and Jensen’s boatyard to lake Union. They are also hoping to share the rowing club launch dock under the Aurora Bridge and use the dock west of MOHAI.
Harbor Patrol was on the agenda but unable to attend the meeting. Funding is at risk with the city. Officers are retiring and not being replaced. If you are talking to the city, let them know how important the Harbor Patrol is to the safety and well-being of everyone who uses the lake. If you have a problem, call 911 first, then call Harbor Patrol on 206 684-4071 or VHF 16. That way the city will know what can collect measurable data for the work the Harbor Patrol does. Harbor Patrol suggests that you go to the end of your dock and see if it’s identifiable. Put your houseboat number on the waterside so they can find you. If possible, make it so they can tie their boat near the end of your dock. If there is an emergency send someone to the end of the dock with a flashlight.
John Leness said that he has invited the person taking rob Johnson’s seat to come to the next FHA meeting. Anne Bassetti pointed out we are a gnat, which is why she proposes formal liaison with other waterborne entities.
John went on to discuss the DNR lease, which is now finalized. The FHA is waiting on the DNR’s internal guide which will assist docks going through the process. The FHA lobbyist, Amalia Walton has joined the DNR as deputy supervisor for aquatics and geology.
The revision of the electrical code as it applies to docks is underway. The FHA is working with Seattle City Light to get the best possible solution for floating homeowners. The most recent challenge has been a requirement for new or remodeled floating homes to have sprinkler systems installed. Discussions with the fire dept. are ongoing.
The case was raised of the floating homeowner who got a permit to replace his floating home based on it being demolished before he discovered he could sell it in Canada. The city says he can’t move it to Canada because that contravenes the permit he was given.
John Leness said he had seen an announcement on the DNR website that the city has applied to install buoys on Lake Union again to provide a landing strip for Kenmore Air. Peter and Brigitte Erickson are working on resurrecting the group that monitors seaplane flights. Previously, the Sea Plane Environmental Coalition brought relevant parties together to achieve noise mitigation, restrict hours of operation, and cap the number of flights. Last time around, the coalition achieved the first two objectives. Peter told the AGM that in 1989 there was an average of 40 flights a day, but now that number is nearer 100. Peter says they don’t want to be adversaries with Kenmore, just to be good neighbors.
Kathy Kimball asked about the seemingly increasing number of house barges. Linda Bagley explained that if you bring one in, you have to take one out just the same as for floating homes, and that the houseboats people see coming in and out are undergoing maintenance. They are limited to 195 in total. LULA does not want to increase the number of barges and is working with the city to close loopholes in the FOWR rules. By nature of their design, barges have to be pumped out properly. New regulations will prevent another one being built like the one that started sinking while it was being towed recently. James Hicks, founder of Aqua Dive Services gave a quick overview of the design issues the sinking houseboat experienced.
Discussion ensued about short term rentals of floating homes, houseboats, and Airbnb. Under new city regulations, on water residences aren’t allowed to do short term rentals. The FHA advises putting restrictions in your dock’s covenants. Per city rules, you can do thirty days plus or you can do it if you are just renting a room. City fines are five hundred dollars a day. The rules apply to anything on water with a few fee simple exceptions.
Members were told that after a long hospital stay, Elaine Eigeman has entered hospice care and stopped treatment. Elaine has asked that friends consider donating to her legacy campaign for the Lymphedema Treatment Act, which you can view here. https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/march-madness-for-the-lta/elaineeigeman. James Hicks also asked that we note the passing of former FHA member George Thomas Johnston.
Finally, Anne Bassetti shared that the 2420 coop received a notice of violation because they replaced boards on their dock. They used pressure treated wood without a permit, and another home on their dock replaced the whole deck without a permit. They are discussing the resolution with the city but want floating homeowners to be aware of the $500 a day fines the city imposes if you don’t respond.
End of Meeting