Proclamation: Seattle Houseboat Day

November 1st is a proud day for Houseboat Owners as Mayor McGinn signs the proclamation making November 1st, Seattle Houseboat Day.  A small, but iconic on-water Seattle neighborhood has been fighting for their existence for the last 3 years, and only recently has seen a change in policy direction that will result in permitting the continued existence of Houseboats in Seattle waters.  While those Houseboats currently being used as live-aboard vessels will be allowed to remain, new Houseboats will NOT be allowed after the implementation of the new Seattle Shoreline Master Plan.

Houseboat vessels, existing in Seattle waters may be used as live-aboard vessels if they meet the criteria of being designed and used for navigation and have a means of self propulsion and steering. It is the interpretation of these phrases that has been at debate. Representatives of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) have proposed a cacophony of  interpretations over the last 3 years, including Sail Area to Length Ratio, Sail Area to Hull Plan Ratio, Hull Length to Beam Ratio, specific construction materials, specific insurance requirements, freeboard requirements, minimum horsepower, symmetrical mooring cleats, symmetrical embarkation points, requiring inboard/outboard engines if > 30 ft., fore and aft line handling stations, watertight doors & windows, performance tests, forbidden design elements (Dormers, pitched roofs, etc.),
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFortunately, reason is beginning to prevail with DPD now leaning towards a version of a Director’s Rule that is more in line with the Lake Union Liveaboard Association’s proposal. Mayor McGinn’s has committed to work with the houseboat community to reach an equitable solution. Houseboat owners are hopeful that the upcoming Director’s Rule will be sensible and will allow the continued existence of houseboats that have been moored peacefully in Seattle waters for decades. We are expecting to have a final version of the Director’s Rule next week, and we will post the results here.  The Lake Union Liveaboard Association board of directors has been working diligently to reach a solution that will allow preservation of the entire houseboat fleet in Seattle waters, which numbers something less than 115 houseboats.

CONGRATULATIONS to all Seattle houseboat owners and

 

HAPPY HOUSEBOAT DAY!

 

Share

Mayor McGinn to Work With Houseboat Owners

BREAKING NEWS: Mayor McGinn to Work With Houseboat Owners

After 3 long years of negotiations, testimonies, extensive letter writing campaigns, and numerous meetings, houseboat owners may be able to breath a sigh of relief.  Mayor Mike McGinn has indicated he will work with Houseboat owners to reach an equitable solution to the question: “Do houseboat-vessels meet the criteria of being designed and used for navigation with a means of self propulsion and steering?”

T-Shirt

Lake Union Liveaboard Association (LULA) has worked diligently to protect the rights and property of the approximately 113 houseboat-vessels currently in Seattle waters. Since 2009, when Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) began working on the new Seattle Shoreline Master Plan, houseboat owners lived in fear of losing their homes through DPD’s oppressive interpretations of 20 year old regulations.  These regulations stipulated that to live aboard a vessel in Seattle waters, the vessel must be “designed and used for navigation” and must “have a means of self-propulsion and steering .”  It has been LULA’s position that houseboat vessels meet this criteria and therefore are legal while DPD has contended (via arbitrary and unjustified interpretations) that there are approximately 150 illegal houseboats in Seattle waters based on their interpretation of this rule. The result of these allegations has meant a decrease in value of Houseboats, the loss of financing, and general insecurity for houseboat-vessel owners and buyers.

Not An Idle Threat
During the development of the Shoreline Master Plan, DPD issued 5 Notices of Violation (NOVs) regarding 5 houseboats and 1 marina operator. Nearly identical in substance and issued at the same time, these NOVs asserted that the vessels in question failed to meet the “designed and used for navigation” criteria of SMC § 23.60.942. The NOVs were based — in part — on the unpublished and now infamous DPD “vessel checklist” which lists a number of random design criteria that purportedly establish whether or not a vessel is actually a vessel. The recipients of the NOVs requested a Director’s Review of the NOVs and submitted extensive documentation (including marine surveys prepared by a naval architect) of the design and use of each vessel in satisfaction of the SMC § 23.60.942 criteria. DPD considered these materials for nearly six months before issuing orders upholding the NOVs and declaring each of the vessels in question to be unlawfully situated in the City of Seattle.

The recipients of the NOVs promptly initiated a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, alleging that the NOVs (a) were clearly erroneous as a matter of law, (b) incorrectly applied material facts, (c) sought to enforce an arbitrary and capricious standard in violation of the recipients’ substantive due process rights, (d) violated the recipients’ right to equal protection of the laws, and (e) were preempted by federal law (namely, the federal navigable servitude and the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, 46 U.S.C. § 4306, et seq.). The City filed a motion to dismiss the recipients’ claims, but in an order issued a few weeks before DPD issued the most recent draft director’s rule, the King County Superior Court denied that motion, instead ruling that the recipients had a valid basis to bring their claims under Washington’s Land Use Petition Act. That litigation is still ongoing and the case is set for trial in April of 2014.

Houseboats-Collage

Houseboats Come In All Shapes and Sizes

A Bit of History
With an initial population in 1990 of about 30 houseboat vessels, the number has grown to approximately 115 houseboat vessels in 23 years (based on an analysis performed by LULA). Representing a growth rate of less than 4 houseboats per year, houseboats have not been a significant consumer of marine slips (there are about 10,000 marine slips in Seattle waters) yet they are a staple for local marinas, providing steady income and additional security.  Houseboat owners paid sales tax on their properties at time of purchase (currently 9.5%) and they pay annual excise and registration fees based on the value of their vessel. In addition, they pay taxes indirectly through rental fees, property taxes on the marina property.  A frequent misconception is that Houseboats dump black water into our waters. Not only is this not true, Houseboats are designed such that they cannot dump their black water and must use a pumpout service, while many yachts, trawlers, and sailboats are designed so they can discharge black water with the push of a button.

Houseboat vessels are an historic and iconic part of Seattle and have been a draw for tourism and an economic benefit to the neighborhoods surrounding Lake Union and the Ship Canal. Houseboat owners are frequently first responders to emergencies in Marinas and can be credited with saving life and property numerous times. Additionally, houseboat vessels have a very small carbon footprint and are very environmentally friendly.

Mayor McGinn

Mayor McGinn

The Mayor’s Commitment
Mayor McGinn met with LULA representatives and indicated that we are near a solution that will accommodate existing houseboat vessels and he has committed to working LULA to achieve a reasonable result.  Negotiations are underway with DPD to create a DPD Director’s Rule that is rational and reasonable and which avoids the arbitrary and subjective conditions found in previous iterations of DPD’s interpretation of “designed and used for navigation (having a means of self-propulsion and steering).”  The Director’s Rule is being modified to more closely match the recommendations of Lake Union Liveaboard Association which has strong support by many people, business owners, and professional marine groups, including the Lake Union Association of businesses, the National Marine Trade Association, Shilshole Liveaboard Association.

A Petition to Protect Seattle’s Houseboats created by Lake Union Liveaboard Association received more than 650 signatures, and together with signed paper petitions amounted to over a thousand people showing their support for Seattle’s wonderful Houseboat community.

For more information and the latest news on LULA’s efforts to protect houseboat-vessels (and other live-aboards), please visit our websites:

LakeUnionLiveaboard.com and SaveOurHouseboats.com

You can also send in letters supporting Lake Union Liveaboard Association’s response to the Draft Director’s Rule to Jill.Vanneman@Seattle.gov, Faith.Lumsden@Seattle.Gov, Diane.Sugimura@Seattle.Gov, and Ethan.Raup@Seattle.Gov.

 

Share

CALL TO ACTION

LULA CALL TO ACTION

EMAIL CAMPAIGN

Your Board of Directors has been working very hard to prepare LULA’s response to the  Draft Director’s Rule, and we have completed our work and sent the letter through our attorney, Jeff Eustis to DPD for consideration. Please review and send your comments to DPD as recommended in the box below.

View LULA’s proposal in its entirety here.
Supplemental Document (Stakeholder Apendix D)
SUMMARY OF LULA PROPOSAL:

LULA makes the following specific recommendations to the DPD and the City of Seattle relating to the composition of the Director’s Rule:
* A vessel moored in Seattle waters prior to the effective date of the new SSMP (SMC § 23.60.A – Ordinance 124105) will be considered a legal vessel and will be considered conforming if the vessel meets the following criteria:

  1. The vessel is designed and used for navigation, and
  2. The vessel has a means of steering and propulsion, and
  3. Items 1 and 2 above are documented by either:
    1. An affidavit from an independent marine professional with at least 5 years of experience, such as a naval architect, marine surveyor, boatyard operator, shipwright, or boat designer; or
    2. Written or pictorial evidence (e.g., log books, video, photos) provided by the vessel owner that the vessel has used its own propulsion and steering to navigate in waters typical of those in which the vessel is moored.
  • Selection of an independent marine professional will be at the discretion of the vessel owner, who will be responsible for any costs incurred.
  • A vessel owner who submits the necessary documentation will be provided with a certificate of compliance or equivalent written ‘recognition by OPO that the vessel meets the legal definition of a vessel under SMC § 23.60.942 and SMC § 23.60.090F.
  • Once a vessel has been certified by DPD as a legal vessel, any owner of that vessel will not need to seek recertification from DPD.
  • Providing vessel documentation and obtaining DPD certification will be voluntary on the part of the vessel owner. This means that the owner of a vessel will not be required to provide documentation and obtain DPD certification unless a notice of violation (NOV) is issued against a vessel for noncompliance with the requirements of the Director’s Rule; in this case, if the owner can establish that the vessel was moored in Seattle waters prior to the effective date of SMC § 23.60.A (Ordinance 124105), the vessel owner would be afforded the opportunity to present documentation that the vessel is designed and used in navigation consistent with SMC § 23.60.942 and SMC § 23.60.090F (as described in Item 3 above).
  • Owners of vessels issued an NOV will have an opportunity to correct any deficiencies and seek DPD certification. Any appeal of DPD’s determination would be reviewable by the Office of the Hearing Examiner, with any appeals of the Examiner’s decision being reviewed by the King County Superior Court through an action under the Land Use Petition Act (consistent with the compliance recommendations in the Final Report and Recommendations of the Seattle On-Water Resident Stakeholders Group, Appendix 0,31 May 2013, copy attached).

============================================================

SEND IN YOUR SUPPORT LETTER IMMEDIATELY

The deadline for comments is 10/25/2013, however, DPD director Diane Sugimura has indicated they will accept comments up to 10/28/2013.

We need your support now! As you know, there is strength in numbers. It is important that we be consistent and united in our response. We are therefore recommending that you send in a endorsement of the LULA position.

We are asking that you do not make specific recommendations, as we want to be united in our position, however, please feel free to state WHY you support these recommendations.

Send your email statement supporting LULA’s position on the Draft Director’s Rule to:

Jill Vanneman
jill.vanneman@seattle.gov

Thank you from The LULA Board of Directors

Share

Director’s Rule msg from Mauri

Dear LULA members,

Good News:
We had a constructive meeting with the DPD, about 50 people attended and gave their opinions. A big ‘thank you’ to all of you who attended. DPD will send us the comments so we can make sure they represent our individual and collective views. You still have a chance to be heard. See below under Action Items.

DPD Compliance Director Faith Lumsden faith.lumsden@seattle.gov asked what we think “designed” and “used” for navigation means and how we would recommend the city enforce the definitions.

LULA made it clear we cannot approve a DR unless we can see the other pieces of the puzzle, written down, by the city staff including:

  • the license program they propose
  • legislative changes allowing our vessels to be NOT non-conforming in the future

LULA believes there will be significant change in the next draft of the Director’s Rule (DR) and I am hopeful.

  1. So, LULA awaits the publication of DPD’s summary comments.
  2. Then we’ll see the publication of DPD’s response to our corrections to their summary.
  3. Then we’ll see the first draft DR the first week of November (perhaps) and the second draft in mid-November (along with the proposed license program), with a one-month comment period.
  4. That moves us to mid-December.
  5. DPD thinks the DR will go to City Council in January.

Action Items in order of Importance:

  1. By 10/20/13 write to faith.lumsden@seattle.gov and tell her what you think “designed” and “used” for navigation means.
  2. By 11/4/13 write to Joe Burcar Joe.Burcar@ecy.wa.gov. at DOE and tell him what you think of the SSMP.
  3. LULA will ask members to comment on the DPD summary comments in late October.
  4. LULA will ask members to read the DR draft and send comments to DPD by Mid December.

Hope you’ve stayed dry and safe in the recent rainstorms!
If you’re unclear about any of this, please post a message to the LULA website or contact me.

Mauri Shuler
President, LULA
206-819-3819

Share

IMPORTANT LULA Meeting 8-22 6:30pm China Harbor

IMPORTANT MEETING! – Save Seattle’s Liveaboard Vessels

Seattle’s liveaboard houseboats and other vessels are in peril!

 

By regulatory decree, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) plans to implement new policies that could affect ALL vessels in Seattle. Under the proposed plan, DPD can require vessel owners to obtain certification from a naval architect that their vessel meets several tough new standards, including:

  • Installation of a working engine with a minimum horsepower rating
  • Presence of an operable navigation station conforming to steering, visibility, and control requirements
  • Hull design that includes a raked bow, a specified hull length to width ratio, and a minimum freeboard height
  • Ability to actively navigate in Seattle waters

In addition, DPD proposes to check for vessel insurance that covers use of a motor for cruising, the presence of off-shore water and electrical systems, and certain types of deck hardware.

DPD has stated publically that:

  • DPD will apply these rules to ALL VESSELS, no matter the shape of the vessel
  • DPD will apply these rules retroactively to existing vessels, not just to new vessels
  • DPD is seeking funding so that their inspectors can seek out noncompliant vessels
  • DPD will declare noncompliant vessels illegal and force removal from Seattle waters
  • DPD will work to have these rules take effect within 12 weeks

What can you do?

The Lake Union Liveaboard Association (LULA) is having a meeting of affected stakeholders on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 6:30PM at China Harbor Restaurant, 2040 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle WA.

Please attend the meeting to learn about DPD’s proposed new rules, how they might affect you, what steps LULA is taking, and how you can help.

You can also read more at: http://www.lakeunionliveaboard.com/lula-blog/.

Clearly, time is running out – action will be required! Please join with LULA in challenging these onerous regulations.

Share

Draft Schedule for Director’s Rule

Hi Mauri,

I am forwarding to you, John, Gail and Barb a draft schedule for working through a revised director’s rule on vessels and liveaboards. I’ve identified a few places where things can shift a day or two in either direction. If there are things I should be aware of that might affect the ability of the public to provide input, please let me know.

  • AUGUST: DPD reviews public comments and input from 7/10 and 7/24 Council meetings.
  • AUGUST 26-30: DPD posts revised preliminary draft director’s rule. Goal is to make preliminary draft rule available early in the week.
  • SEPTEMBER 9, 10, or 11: Public Meeting to receive comments on preliminary draft.
  • SEPTEMBER 16 or 17: Last day for public to submit written comments on preliminary draft.
  • SEPTEMBER 24 or 25: DPD publishes official draft rule.
  • OCTOBER 16: Last day to submit written comments on DPD draft rule.
  • OCTOBER 31: DPD publishes final director’s rule.

We’re moving forward with this as our basic schedule. I think waiting until the second week of September for the public meeting is important given summer vacations, the start of school, Rosh Hashanah, etc. I am out of town for the last two weeks of October, so actually adopting the rule by the 31st will be a challenge, but we will, at a minimum, be very close by the end of the month.

Let me know if you have other ideas for how this might proceed. Thanks.

Faith Lumsden
Compliance Director
Seattle Municipal Tower, 19th Floor
206-615-0097
Building a Dynamic and Sustainable Seattle

Share

Letter to Sally Clark from Susan Welch

Dear Councilwoman Clark ~

What a place we live in, when one’s own government sets about the destruction of a certain class of homeowner, for no clearly established or logical, community-benefitting reason.

Why has no one on City Council cried foul on the Department of Planning and Development’s tactic to continue to place themselves on the far extreme of vessel definition , in an apparent effort to maximize their success in displacing live-aboard houseboats from Seattle waterways, once and for all? Why have none of our elected officials publicly pushed back on DPD’s disregard for the Stakeholder Group’s fair, compromising and solutions-based recommendations?

Where is City Council’s vision?

How can the Council consciously tolerate the displacement of one of Seattle’s most iconic, environmentally efficient, most forward-thinking populations? How can it support DPD’s intentional and methodical destruction of the ‘small home living’ movement that houseboat living embodies, which should instead be heralded as a model for affordable and efficient housing? When these same slips are filled with plastic and fiberglass live-aboard boats, with no net environmental benefit, will the City Council feel that it has accomplished something meaningful for Seattle’s future, or will you realize when it’s too late, that you traded away a piece of Seattle’s identity and robbed hundreds of law-abiding, middle-class citizens of their homes and financial stability?

This matter now seems to be in the arena of pure political negotiation and horse-trading, with no public official willing to take responsibility for the havoc DPD is causing us. One wonders, after DPD’s sinister response to the Stakeholder Group recommendations, what un-disclosed special interest is being served. Please, Ms. Clark, do something to stop them from threatening to take away my home. Reign in DPD and urge your colleagues to accept the Stakeholder Group’s recommendations in toto.

Your work on City Council is much appreciated,

Kind Regards,

Susan Welch

Share

Report on City Council PLUS Committee Meeting 7-24-13

Report on City Council PLUS Committee Meeting 7-24-13

HOUSEBOATS FACE UPHILL BATTLE
THE SITUATION IS DIRE AND WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Yesterday the PLUS Committee met and put our fate back into the hands of DPD.  I don’t know how to better describe it but the folks at DPD who developed all six versions of the regulations will now be in charge again.
The video of the meeting is now posted on the city website.  http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=2391340
You will see 45 minutes or more of public comments mostly on our item and all in support.  Four members of the stakeholders group spoke. All of the testimony was heartfelt and rational, but it seemed to have limited impact.
Chair Conlin, Committee members Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien (left early) and alternate Sally Clark (arrived after the public comments) were the only Councilmember’s present.  Nick Licata was out of town.
Ecology was represented by Joe Burcar, DPD by Diane Sugimura, Director; and Maggie Glowicki, Senior Planner, and Faith Lumsden, Compliance.
In a nutshell the Committee members approved all the staff recommendations as presented (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE DOCUMENT).  They endorsed requiring a naval architect as the only party qualified to make an evaluation of our vessel.
DPD committed to working with our community (the proof has yet to be shown) in developing the license and vessel evaluation.  In my view, the DPD view of the “standards” far exceed those recommended by the Stakeholders and any prior guidance given by the city when our vessels were constructed.  This will be a long fight and I don’t predict an easy result.
We have to ask you to help again.
Please write to the Committee members, Mayor and DPD.  Give them a personal phone call in a week if you have not heard back.
  •  Tell them directly if you fear losing your home and if that concern, since the first SMP draft in 2011 or later, has affected your life and how.  Trying to sell your boat, how is that going?  Trying to refinance, how is that going?
  • Ask them to require that DPD include any vessel checklist or standards in an implementing ordinance, guaranteeing that the Council and Mayor will review and approve the “standards” after a public hearing, not the Director of DPD.
  • Ask them for a response.  Remember Mike O’Brien and Richard Conlin are running for their Council seats this fall, as is the Mayor.  Remember the Mayor is directly responsible for DPD.
Richard Conlin                Richard.Conlin@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien                   mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Tim Burgess                     tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Sally Clark                        sally.clark@seattle.gov
Nick Licata                       Nick.Licata@seattle.gov  Nick carefully follows this issue and has been very supportive
The Mayor
Mike McGinn              Ethan.Raup@seattle.gov  Mayor’s staff on this policy issue.  You can only e-mail The mayor through the City Website.
Other Council members:
Sally Bagshaw                 sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Jean Godden                   jean.godden@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell                    bruce.harrell@seattle.gov Remember he is running for mayor
Tom Rasmussen             tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov
Diane Sugimura             Diane.Sugimura@seattle.gov  Director of DPD - Tell Diane you want to be kept informed of all meetings on this issue:
Faith Lumsden               faith.lumsden@seattle.govMauri Shuler and John Chaney, President and VP

Share

Letter from Kevin Bagley to City Council 7-22

Dear City Council members,

As a participant of the On Water Stakeholder Group, I wish to thank the City Council for creating this group and applaud the inclusion, not only of those most directly affected (Houseboat vessel owners), but also those less directly affected (The majority of the group).  I entered into this group with the hope that our recommendations would be seriously considered knowing that such a diverse group would have widely varying views.

The composition of the group was chosen by Richard Conlin and was comprised such that Houseboat Vessel owners were in the minority, yet reasonable minds were able to come together and form high level consensus on most items and full consensus on some very critical items.
While the Stakeholder group was directed to provide consensus or non consensus, it appears that some of these High Level consensus items are being treated as though there was significant disagreement in the group, when in fact, most non consensus results boiled down to 2 people in the group who disagreed with a couple items and these 2 people were in disagreement consistently.  I believe that if the Stakeholder group were allowed to vote, all items except the Grey Water proposal would have passed with a significant majority.
All along, we believed that the purpose of this group was to try to reasonably clarify and provide certainty for those people (and I emphasize the word ‘people’) the vast majority who, in good faith, bought, or built what they believed, based on all available information, we legal vessels. EVERYONE in the groups was consistent with their belief that the WORST thing that could happen was if people lost their homes or their investments.
DPD’s recommendations do not take into account the DECADES of allowing these vessels to exist, be built, and bought and sold without repercussion.  In fact, many of these vessels WERE investigated by DPD and found to be vessels. People were effectively given permission to do this, and now, once again, DPD is on the hunt to remove as many of these vessels as possible by adding unfair and unpublished regulations that these vessels were NEVER previously subject to.
We have complained that DPD has been openly against houseboat vessels and has voiced their opinions with false and derogatory remarks in writing and in public.  Once again, this animosity has come to the forefront by making recommendations that are costly, unnecessary, overbearing, and beyond what is required of other vessels.
Specific recommendations by DPD that are unfair, unrealistic, costly, and punitive include:
Requiring Naval Architect certification
No other vessel is required to do this. If all of the trawlers, yachts, cruisers, etc., were required to pass this test, there would be THOUSANDS of failures in Seattle Waters. This is expensive and unnecessary. All of the questions except a subjective question specifically aimed at a naval architect can be answered by the owner (who is certifying under penalties of perjury). This speaks to the distrust that DPD has fostered during this process, consistent with derogatory remarks about houseboat owners and public accusations of evading the law, being scofflaws, and using generally derogatory terms.

Vessel Insurance that insures for Cruising. Our vessels are designed to navigate occasionally and to pay for something that only happens rarely is unnecessary. Most vessels will take out “Transit Insurance” when moving from one dock to another. Forcing a particular type of insurance is unreasonable and unnecessary.
(NOTE: Traditional vessels are not REQUIRED to do this. Why force a certain class of vessel to comply beyond other vessels?)
Vessel Insurance that requires a Motor. Based on some insurance claims, some insurers will not insure houseboats against perils of the sea. Their current insurance insures them while docked, and again, “Transit Insurance” is used when needed. Requiring this type of insurance will triple the cost, but provide no increased coverage.
(NOTE: Traditional vessels are not REQUIRED to do this. Why force a certain class of vessel to comply beyond other vessels?)
Is the floating structure designed to safely navigate in the type of waters in which it is moored considering the shape, material, size and stability of the structure and accepted naval architect industry standards?
This is an addition in the Vessel Evaluation Checklist that calls for a naval architect to make a judgement call. If this rule were applied equally to ALL vessels, there would be hundreds of vessels that would not pass. It is simply NOT FAIR, nor an equally applied standard to require this for Houseboat Vessels. It was clear that DOE required the application of rules to apply equally, but this is subjective, not measurable, and is the ONLY item that requires a Naval Architect to answer (forcing additional unnecessary cost on the houseboat owner).  This rule should be removed. The other items answer the questions of being DESIGNED AND USED FOR NAVIGATION. This is simply another way to allow the removal of houseboats based on new, unpublished regulations.  This is NOT clarification, it is an ADDITIONAL rule only applying to houseboats.
Requiring a motor to be installed at all time if the vessel is over 30 ft.
Again, a new rule, that if applied to all vessels would force many of them off the lake. PLEASE be fair and evenhanded. This is unreasonable. Many vessels store their motor when not in use. Many vessels remove their motors for repairs. Many vessels that are NOT houseboats do not have motors. Why is this only being forced on houseboats?
Proportions Hull Length twice as long as width.
Many commercially  produced catamarans would not pass this test. This is not a requirement to be designed and used for navigation. Again, no special rules should be created specifically for houseboats. They could not be reasonably expected to comply with this unpublished rule, and to make them comply now is retroactive rule making.
1/2 HP per foot
Again, a rule that is new. This was NEVER published, and is not being applied evenly.
Freeboard 1/2″ per foot of length
Many traditional vessels do not meet this requirement. This is a contrived regulation that should be removed. Again, a new rule that was NEVER published and houseboat vessel owners could not be expected to have known such a requirement.
Do you navigate the structure in the waters where it is moored, other than bringing it to its moorage location?
There is no rule that requires anyone to navigate their vessel. Many Trawlers, yachts, etc., NEVER leave the dock. Why is this being enforce ONLY for houseboats.  Houseboats are typically NOT navigated unless moving from one moorage to another, but there is no LAW that says they have to do this. I can buy a vehicle (motor home), park it and never drive it because I am not bound by law to do this. No one should be FORCED to navigate their vessel. Moving to its moorage location IS NAVIGATION. Again, this is a new, previously unpublished rule.
Requiring onboard water
Not required for other vessels. Why is this being added for houseboat vessels?  People can bring bottled water and there is no reason whatsoever to require this. It does not help nor hinder navigation.
In summary, the Stakeholder Group was created by the City Council, the members were assigned by the City Council, and they created reasonable, sensible recommendations that were well debated and thoroughly evaluated for fairness and to meet the goals set by City Council. DPD is adding rules that go beyond what could be reasonably expected to be known, and therefore will invalidate vessels that SHOULD be allowed. They met all requirements as published, but through NEW unpublished requirements, will become illegal. These people will LOSE THEIR HOME for what purpose. Will Seattle be a better place by implementing these punitive unpublished requirements?
Thank you for your consideration. Please include this letter in the official comments for the meeting on July 24th regarding On Water Resident Stakeholder Group recommendations.
Share

Critical Update for July 24th Meeting

JUST IN! Council Central Staff Memo

Seattle On Water Resident Stakeholder Group
Council Central Staff Memo - READ CAREFULLY!!!

IMPORTANT UPCOMING COUNCIL MEETING (PLEASE ATTEND)

City Council Meeting Wednesday, July 24th, 9:30 AM (CONFIRMED)
Location:
Council Chamber, City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
We have added a link to the Council Central Staff Memo and we strongly encourage everyone to carefully read this document. It contains proposed revisions to the Stakeholders Recommendations that will impact Houseboat Owners. We believe the recommendations of DPD to be excessive and unnecessary. Your comments on this at the meeting will hopefully have some impact on the City Councils reaction to these recommendations.
The links below contain the Dept. of Ecology’s response, the Mayors Office response and the Council Central Staff Memo.

Documents (Click to view): 

DPD+DOE to Present Response to Stakeholder Recommendations

This is a VERY important meeting for our members to attend. At this meeting, DPD representatives will be presenting their response to the Stakeholder Group’s Final recommendations. We believe it is important to attend and to make comment supporting the Stakeholder Group’s final recommendations. Important points to remember and discuss at this meeting:

  1. The Stakeholder Group was appointed by City Council (They are responsible for its composition)
  2. Members were diverse and represented Puget Soundkeepers. Save our Salmon, Naval Architects Live-aboards from other than Houseboat style vessels, Marina Managers, Housebarge and houseboat owners.
  3. High Level consensus reached on most important items including Houseboat Vessel Liveaboard License and Vessel Evaluation Form.
  4. Remind them that this is a VERY small number of vessels.
  5. Remind them that these are peoples homes.
  6. Remind them that these people are citizens of Seattle who did no wrong

This may be one of our last opportunities to make our presence known to the City Council prior to implementation of any changes based on the Stakeholder Group process. 

We STRONGLY encourage you to attend! Make your voice heard by signing up for comment.

We look forward to seeing you at this meeting!

 

Share