Thursday, February 6, 2014

LTU letter to John Goodman and George Petrie

John Goodman and George Petrie

The following is a letter sent to Lockhaven owners John Goodman and George Petrie. As you can see, the list of people who received copies of this letter includes not only other Goodman Real Estate and Pinnacle employees, but also Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, who was instrumental in arranging our Jan. 6 meeting with Goodman and Petrie. This is a long letter, but worth reading for the wealth of information it provides on the state of both Lockhaven and our current negotiating position.

January 27, 2014

Dear Mr. Goodman and Mr. Petrie:

This letter is follow up to our January 6, 2014 meeting where we discussed improving communication and transparency; relocation assistance for those that have moved or are considering moving; the status of the “protected list”; and maintaining Lockhaven’s affordability. As Councilman Licata’s office has provided consolidated notes, we present only a broad overview of our discussion and propose next steps. 

  •  Maintaining Lockhaven’s affordability for the greatest number of units and for the longest time possible is our primary concern. 

Next Steps
  • Affordability is the LTU's top priority; specifically, our goal is to see rents at Lockhaven maintained at no more than 35% of 50% of the area median household income. Our survey results and other information indicate that current Lockhaven rents are at or below this benchmark. We realize that this goal is significantly different from what you plan for Lockhaven, but we have contacted Sharon Lee, Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute, and she is willing to explore funding options to achieve this goal while providing you and the other Lockhaven owners with a fair return on your investment. We understand that Ms. Lee has worked productively with Mr. Petrie in the past and we hope that one or both of you will agree to meet with her soon to see if she can help us all arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the Lockhaven piece of Ballard's affordable housing crisis. We will contact Natalie Quick about scheduling a meeting with Sharon Lee and one or both of you. 

Communication & Transparency
  • We discussed increasing transparency about changes to the renovation timeline distributed on November 14, 2013, and notification of any other construction on the property. 

a) We propose updated timelines continue to be posted in monthly newsletters, above mailboxes at lobby entrances of buildings, and tenant doors. We propose that Pinnacle management email tenants with these updates. We also propose Pinnacle contact tenants impacted by timeline revisions and/or construction immediately in order to allow enough time for tenant planning. In addition, we propose management be more forthcoming about construction issues such as lead and asbestos, or any other hiccups in renovation which may have an impact on tenant health and information on how they are being dealt with.
b) Finally, although we are legally (Seattle Municipal Code 22.206.180) allowed to communicate with other tenants through postings in public places, such as “in lobby and other common areas and at or under tenants doors,” in order to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the property and to avoid conflict with Pinnacle management (which we have experienced) we want greater access to public spaces such as locked bulletin boards, above mailboxes, and tenant doors. We propose working with Pinnacle management, as needed, to schedule time when we can be provided building access for interior postings.
c) We will work with Anissa Olberg in the next few days on this issue; we understand she will be fully empowered to have these follow-up discussions with us.  

Relocation Assistance
  • As acknowledged during the meeting, the majority of Lockhaven residents do not qualify for legally mandated relocation assistance; however, the cost of relocation poses an economic hardship to many tenants. In addition, some former tenants did not have the opportunity to apply for assistance because they were misled by the illegal 20-day notices posted in September. We confirmed with the City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development that all the Relocation Assistance packets had been issued, and filing deadlines have passed. 

  • Based on 47 responses from our survey, we propose relocation assistance of $2,500 for tenants who did not qualify for the mandatory relocation assistance. We think this is a reasonable amount since the city relocation assistance requirement is $500 above this request. As a first step, we will discuss this proposal with your relocation assistance specialist, Kerry Lynch.

“Protected” Tenants 
  • During the meeting you stated that management had begun contacting "protected" tenants about their status. However, several "protected" tenants state they remain uncertain about their future at Lockhaven. We spoke to several affected tenants and they had some general comments and questions which we summarize below with a proposal of next steps. 

Questions and Comments
  • How long are the terms good for protected tenants? 
  • Will they be asked to move?  If so, who will pay for moving expenses? Will terms covering their “protected” status transfer to a different unit? 
  • If they are not asked to move, how will noise be mitigated (e.g., soundproofing) during renovation? How will potentially toxic dust be prevented from entering occupied units? How will changes to existing electrical wiring impact them? 
  • Will their unit be renovated at all? Will the brick buildings have insulation added to the walls? 
  • Will there be additional charges or unbundling of rent amounts? For instance, will they have to pay for storage units or water and sewage?
  • Will there be scheduled rent increases? If so, they would like a written timeline of those potential increases and amounts. 
  • Will shared laundry facilities be maintained in each building?
  • Verbal communication is a great first step, but they want written confirmation to these questions, as well. 

  • We will work with Anissa and Kerry to clarify their comments and questions.  

In closing, we would like to thank you both for meeting with us on January 6th. We think this meeting was a great first step in improving dialogue between both groups. As the city continues to grapple with the affordable housing crisis, we hope you, a local business, will be a pioneer in finding a solution. As proposed during the meeting, we would like to meet with you again to discuss progress on the various concerns some time during the week of February 9th. We will contact Natalie Quick to schedule our next meeting. 


The Lockhaven Tenants Union

cc: John Harle, Matt Parent, Josh Obendorf, Tom Eyler, Kelli Jo Norris, Donol Fosseen, Nick Licata, Lisa Herbold, Natalie Quick, Sharon Lee, Anissa Olberg, Kerry Lynch

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