Eastlake residents don't want 'Ducks' moving into neighborhood

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 8:26 AM

The popular Seattle tourist attraction, “Ride the Ducks” is looking to make a move.  A proposal now on the table would build a new ramp on the southeast shore of Lake Union, and become the main access point for the company's boats.

That's not sitting well with neighbors, particularly those living on nearby houseboats.

"We're worried about the fumes, we're worried about the pollution," said resident Charles Aanenson.  "We came here for this idyllic setting, and now it's endangered."

"Ride the Ducks" owner Brian Tracey understands those concerns, and says that's why he's already met with residents on two separate occasions.

He says the land he's hoping to build on is a former NOAA site that is zoned for industrial maritime use.  His plans for that site include landscaping and beautification that he believes residents would welcome, once they get a better look at the proposal.

"If you look at the site where we just bought, it's full of construction, a lot of debris, it's really ugly," said Tracey.  "And we're going to completely landscape it and make it absolutely beautiful.  It's going to look just like a park.  So I don't know about you, but if I was someone living in a floating home, I would rather look at a nice beautiful park with a ramp on it then all of that junk that's there now."

Aanenson and his neighbors aren't yet convinced.

"Everybody wants business to succeed, but it needs to be within certain parameters," said houseboat resident Peter Erickson.

Erickson says calls the duck boats "boisterous", and says the loudspeakers, duck squawkers, and songs sung by passengers don't fit into the quiet Eastlake neighborhood.

“The unmitigated noise on those things, it's not good," he said.  "He could have put that ramp right in the industrial area where it wouldn't’t affect anyone, instead he puts it 20, 30 feet from a residential zone, from houseboats. What’s the logic of that?”

Tracey says his company has been a part of the community for 15 years, and wants to continue to be a good neighbor.  He also says the boats would travel south once they leave the ramp, and would not pass directly in front of the houseboats.

"I'm going to give someone there at the Eastlake Community Association my personal cell number, and if there's ever an issue at all about noise or anything else, they can call me personally, because I really do care," he said.

For now, Tracey says he's submitted all the necessary documentation and is awaiting final approval from the city. 

Eastlake residents estimate duck boats are entering Lake Union once every four minutes during the busy summer season. 

They believe there are better alternatives out there, that wouldn't negatively affect their neighborhood.

"We're not against the ducks participating in this lake, but there are better avenues," said Aanenson.

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