Who owns your front yard? Come to the ELNA meeting on Feb. 21 and find out

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Echo Lake NA board members and neighbors
pose with Senior Planner Paul Cohan (back row, left)
The stairway was built by Inland Construction after the Planning Dept held them
to their original agreement and would not allow a public trail up a tiny side street
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Echo Lake Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 7-9pm, Shoreline City Hall, N 175th and Midvale Ave N.

By Diane Hettrick

A popular complaint in Shoreline is the lack of sidewalks. Every city council in the history of Shoreline, regardless of politics, has struggled to find money to install sidewalks, particularly on school walk routes.

However, when sidewalks are installed, residents have often been horrified at the reality, when they find out where their property lines actually are.

Most homes in Shoreline date to the 1950s, and most do not have sidewalks. In the intervening years, individual homeowners have made decisions about what to do with their street frontage - parking strips, planting beds, trees, fences, decorative brickwork. It is very possible that some or all is on City property.

Further complications arise for neighborhoods along the Interurban Trail, which is mostly on the City Light Right-of-Way. City Light owns from 50 to 100 feet from its power lines on the Trail and some of that may be on property you think you own.

The Echo Lake Neighborhood Association recently saw a new sidewalk on Ashworth near Echo Lake Elementary school and followed the negotiations between City and residents. The previous summer, ELNA helped foster discussions with the City of Shoreline, Inland Development, and to an extent, Seattle City Light, when neighbors on a tiny lane by Echo Lake were faced with a proposal to run a public trail up their little street.

In the latter case, the City Planning department held Inland to its original agreement to make the promised connection to the Interurban Trail on their property. Inland built a stairway up the hillside to the Trail.

The Echo Lake Neighborhood Association is presenting a program on the topic of property lines at its Tuesday, February 21, 2012 meeting. "What part of your property don't you own?" Speakers will include Shoreline Public Works Director Mark Relph, City Light Real Estate Manager Dave Barber, and ELNA Board member and civil engineer Dale Lydin.

The meeting will be held at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Avenue North, from 7-9pm.


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