Update on January Negotiation Meeting

*We met on January 9 in my office in Columbia City. We came to agreement in principal, and are still working out final details. I will be very pleased to publish the signed around agreement when it is signed around. Please stay tuned.

The principals of Marina Management, the Parks Dept and the Friends of Lakewood Moorage are meeting with their lawyers the second week of January. (See * above) This is a first opportunity for us to discuss the problems we have had since Marina Management took over operations last January, and to explain our insistence on keeping Lakewood for small boats. If you have something to report, even if you think you have already reported it, please send an email to FriendsOfLakewoodMoorage@gmail.com by Monday, Jan 7th.

We were optimistic after our lawyer met with MM LLC lawyers and Assistant City Attorney Eddie Lin. Since then, MM LLC has retreated to their initial position, essentially the lease as is, with the minor exceptions of agreeing not to provide transient moorage, dry stack storage or a restaurant. I hope that when Dwight Jones hears from FoLM directly, he will understand a few of our issues. MM LLC’s legal team just doesn’t believe what Craig is doing, and it is frustrating. With Craig and Dwight at the meeting, there is potential for them to move off their current position.

The 5 proposals below show where we started, our negotiation progress after the first meeting, and an update of the current status, essentially showing minimal movement toward settlement on the part of MM LLC. I was clear with the city attorney that he needs to do more than act as mediator between FoLM and MM LLC if he wants this case to settle. He has to meaningfully engage, and encourage MM LLC to give a little.

FoLM 1:   Maintain small slips, no transient moorage or pump out. Progress: MM LLC is committed to providing 125 small slips, a loss of only 3. Transient moorage won’t be built, but the pump out station is required by city’s shoreline code. Working on dedicated small slips vs large slips shared by 2 or 3 small boats to constitute 105 dedicated small slips and 20 shared. Update: MM LLC will not dedicate any of the large, shareable slips for small boats.

FoLM 2: More than 3% in moorage revenues paid to Parks in rent after debt is repaid, specifically geared to improve south Lake Washington Park properties. Progress: MM LLC not interested in paying any more than 3% in rent over 40 years. City is not interested in negotiating this point. City will require MM LLC to mitigate construction impacts at Lakewood and Leschi, and MM LLC offered to benefit parks areas around Lakewood in mitigation and to develop some sort of long term community benefit in coordination with the Lakewood community. Update: We have withdrawn this proposal. MM LLC is going to be required to do mitigation when permits are issued.

FoLM 3:  Any commercial endeavor must be vetted and approved by the Lakewood Seward Park Neighborhood Association.  Progress: MM LLC has agreed that it will not undertake certain commercial activity including restaurants, retail or dry stack storage. Specific prohibitions will be discussed, and memorialized in the settlement agreement. Update: MM LLC has agreed not to develop for dry stack or a restaurant or offer either services.

FoLM 4: Lease agreement with tenants reviewed by tenants and city’s law department; lease agreement to provide mechanism for dispute resolution. Progress: MM LLC agrees to an annual lease agreement, and will remove their paragraph allowing anyone to be evicted with 30 days notice without cause. MM LLC is open to further discussion about other lease terms. Update: MM LLC has backed off their agreement to offer an annual lease agreement or removing their eviction without cause provision in the lease agreement.

FoLM 5:  Reduce rent to Port of Seattle pricing at Salmon Bay Terminal (freshwater marina, publicly owned, recreational boat moorage). Progress: Again, the city is not interested in advocating for us here. We moved up to $10 a foot in the second round of negotiations from POS pricing, but got nowhere. This is a dead end. Higher rents will cause vacancies. We are still working on what happens if small boats are priced out @ $12/ft, and there are small boat vacancies in the large slips designated to be shared, but can be occupied by a large yacht at a higher rent per lineal foot. Stay tuned. Update: We have withdrawn this proposal.

Media Coverage 

The Parks Board resolved in 1910, just before lowering the lake in 1916, to provide public moorage to Lakewood residents who were soon going to lose their waterfront properties. Lake Washington Boulevard South was constructed soon after Lake Washington was lowered, but Parks didn’t deliver on their promise until 1953 when Lakewood Moorage opened.

NW Yachting News says Lake Washington was flooded, not lowered, and quotes Jeannie O’Brien (who would never say that property owners lost out with the rising water – how embarrassing!)

Had our NW Yachting News writer taken a minute to research the origin of Lakewood Moorage, he could have found this article explaining the historical significance of the boathouse on Ohler’s Island, and Lakewood Moorage’s contribution to fulfillment of the Olmsted Brothers vision for a comprehensive park and boulevard system based on the Parks promise to maintain a public boathouse between Mount Baker Park and the Bailey Peninsula (Seward Park).

Seattle DON Historical Sites: 4500 Lake Washington BLVD 

Another frustrating quote from the NW Yachting News article linked above:  Out of the ashes of the nullification arose another RFP from the City to fix up the marina, and Foss put forth another bid. After a very public process, the City and FWM penned an agreement to negotiate a contract in late 2015. The new vision from FWM seemed to sit better with the community at large and made clear revisions to retain the small-boat, paddler-accessible, public-oriented spirit of the marinas as people knew them. The plans submitted by FWM (Dwight Jones) in 2016 were exactly the same plans submitted by Elliott Bay Marina (Dwight Jones) in 2013. Same date stamp, same burger shack on Ohler’s Island. The ONLY difference is that Lakewood lost even more slips when C dock was dedicated to transient moorage only, an attempt to satisfy the public benefit requirement of Parks. 

At least Judge Catherine Shaffer admitted in her findings that Lakewood Moorage would be changed to accommodate larger boats, something undisputed if you read the lease.

According to Peter Joers, “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the city to take a debt and fill a balance sheet to subsidize boat owners.” Public moorages have never been subsidized by tax dollars. Tenants at Seattle’s public moorages have been subsidizing other parks programs for years! Debt financing could have been repaid with moorage revenues, and after repayment returned to support other parks programming. With this 40 year lease, 97% of moorage revenues will be kept by a private company, and very little moorage revenues will be available to fund other needy park projects. Not a win for this city, that’s for sure.

Source: Madison Park Times August 15, 2018