Monday, November 22, 2010
The city has for a long time been battling with local residents over the issue of land that is considered public property, yet is falling victim to a number of resident created encroachments. The latest story comes from the Seattle neighborhood of Laurelhurst which is facing the problem at a small, waterfront lot called “Waterway 1”. The lot is near Union Bay and is one of the few places providing public access to Lake Washington. Only about a ¼-acre large, the public lot is at 43rd Avenue N.E. and N.E. 35th Street. The lot has an encroaching dock, fence, and landscaping features from nearby homeowners who are now facing fines and consequences from late fee payments, all coming from the Department on Natural Resources, who owns the land. The nature enthusiasts in Seattle who feel passionate about having adequate park areas (like members of Friends of Waterway 1) are set on keeping the areas public, while property owners feel they can use the area as they please, explains a spokeswoman for the parks department. Today, signs outside the park notes “public shore access”, and the DNR is taking the necessary steps to keep it that way. A Seattle Times article notes that the DNR will collect nearly $200,000 from encroachments and leases from the people using the park for private means. Hopefully, these first steps towards removing the encroachments will improve the situation.