Thursday, June 11, 2015
Why Zoning Laws Matter - Landscaping: The Case Of Northrim Bank
This is the site of the now closed Northrim Bank branch office at 36th and Old Seward. Notice the beautiful carpet of asphalt. Nothing is marred with soil or green in this picture. (Though to be fair, there were a few bushes up along the building on the other side.) This building was at this location long enough that the old Municipal code Title 21 for landscaping commercial property applied. You can see how strict the code was.
This is where the "hybrid single point urban interchange" is planned for 36th and New Seward. Given the state of the budget, maybe we can be spared the engineers' overbuilt creativity with exit lanes on the left, not the right.
Now here is the new Northrim branch that just opened this week about a mile away.
And here it is from the other side. This landscaping is only a few weeks old and it already looks a million times better than their old location.
And a lot better than this location used to be. I don't have handy a good picture of the old lot, but you can get the idea from this picture of the rebuilt Sugar Shack coffee stand after it was vandalized and burned. It's almost the same view as the one above, just a little closer. Basically the whole space where the bank and parking lot sit now was just dirt with maybe a little bit of asphalt on one side and some weeds along Lake Otis. When we moved in here in the late 70s this lot was all birch trees. Then they all got cut down one day and it sat empty for years and years until the Sugar Shack was put on it.
They even put trees and bushes in the ally, on the other side of the fence from the parking lot, giving the neighbors a bit of green screen. Some might say that the old Sugar Shack and old Northrim landscaping is the 'real' Alaska. But I'd say the real Alaska was when this lot was all birch trees. But I'll take this new landscaping over the open dirt space that's been here.