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October 12, 2011

Hazel Heights P-Patch

by ebmeier

We helped purchase this property for the P-Patch Trust.  In the process a covenant was put on the land to protect it in perpetuity, so that it can only be an open space or community garden — forever.

After the purchase, we also helped the Friends of Hazel Heights and the P-Patch Trust with the design and construction grant writing.

This is a wonderful story of neighbors and community members being ready to act when a good opportunity came along. A childless couple passed on, and their home became part of an estate to be distributed between 12 heirs in the mid-west.

A nearby resident suggested to neighbors and the city that it could be a P-Patch, but was unable to find a way to acquire the land.

We went into action looking for ways to make that possible. We got to know the lawyer for the estate and the executor of the estate, found a donor who offered to pay for the land and found a holder for the deed: the P-Patch Trust. Then we worked hard for a few months to work out the details of the purchase, which involved splitting up two properties and mitigating the risk of a buried furnace oil tank. It was tricky to make sure that no one was exposed to unreasonable risk.

Hazel Heights is on the elevated SW-facing corner of NW 42nd St. and Baker Ave. NW with a view of the ship canal in Ballard.

Hazel_Heights_house_and_lot

The propoerty at the time of purchase

We’d like to thank the many folks who helped make Hazel Heights a reality:

  • Our anonymous donor
  • John Bjorkman of Preston Gates and Ellis, the P-Patch Trust’s pro-bono lawyer
  • Ray Schutte, President of the P-Patch Trust and their board of directors
  • Tom Hurlbert, the executor who made this vision work with his family’s needs
  • Keith Baldwin, the estate’s lawyer, who told us what the offer would need to be
  • Peter Hanning and his family, who modeled community involvement
    (Peter bought the adjoining house to live in. A NIMBY he is not!)
  • Beckey Sukovaty and Toby Thaler who conceived of and started this project
  • Rich McDonald and Hugh Tobin of the Department of Neighborhoods.
  • Numerous people gave bits of valuable advice:
  • Jim Diers, past Director of Department of Neighborhoods
  • Peter Goldman of Washington Forest Law Center
  • Lora Brown of Stokes Lawrence
  • Chip Nevins of the Cascade Land Conservancy

Thank you, everyone.

The P-Patch was designed by Barker Landscape Architects who did a wonderful job of meeting the challenge of a steep hillside site.

The P-Patch opened on March 20, 2010.  If you’re interest in participating in this or other P-Patches, contact:
the Citt of Seattle’s P-Patch Program,  the P-Patch Trust, or Hazel Heights.

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