A beautiful letter to DPD from Montlake resident

30 Oct

I live down the hill in Montlake, and have kids at Stevens Elementary so I frequently visit the Volunteer Park Café.

1.       I believe that the Café simultaneously brings value to the extended neighborhood while negatively impacting its immediate neighbors (I will not into the cases of harm because they are well-documented here: http://wp.me/P13gjT-bJ)

2.       I believe that the mark of an enlightened society is when members of an unafflicted group lend support to an afflicted group

I do not feel personally impacted by the plans of the Café to expand. However, I do want to comment on a few things. There is a natural propensity to enjoy the value of the Café without feeling or acknowledging the impact it brings to its immediate neighbors. Unfortunately for those homeowners, they are at a real disadvantage to find supportive voices  – they are relatively limited in number, they don’t have an installed base of supportive clientele, and they don’t have anything to offer (they are simply private citizens).

It seems to me that the Café owners have capitalized on this imbalance to harness the energy of contempt-without-investigation, to rally their clientele for their cause. However, I see evidence that the Café has a history of willfully disregarding their zoning limitations, has made misleading pledges of cooperation with their closest neighbors, and lacks a willingness to compromise (in the form of an offered settlement) even while they themselves are outside the law.

I’m sympathetic to the homeowners because they appear to be unfairly burdened with proving the negative. This is backwards. I think that the burden of proof should be on the Café, that they should be required to have the support of their closest neighbors before receiving a permit to expand.

And I would hope that someday my fellow citizens (and the DPD) would look out for me in similar fashion if I was at a numerical disadvantage like this.

David Kaill
Kombi, Inc.

Before this public process, two members of Volunteer Park Neighbors had a passing relationship with David. All of Volunteer Park Neighbors thank David for is nuanced understanding of this complex situation.

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