Continuing our report on details about the California Ave (Hanford to Hinds) rezoning request that were revealed at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting: While, as we mentioned earlier, there are two “primary applicants,” the area involved in this request to “upzone” from the current NC1-30 to NC2-40 has more than 20 property owners. The applicants’ rep Josh Stepherson says 70% of them have signed on for this, but even among the other 30%, he says, none are opposed. His presentation included bullet points on what “positive impacts” the applicants think this would have on the area — but first, the full text of their statement, included in the 10-page handout Stepherson distributed tonight:
STATEMENT FROM PRIMARY APPLICANTS:
“We (Mike Gain and Roger Cayce) are lifelong residents of West Seattle. We have raised families here, have worked here our entire careers, and plan to spend the rest of our lives in West Seattle.
The block in which the rezone request is made is where our offices are located. Next year we will have had our offices located there for 25 years. Hopefully, we will continue to have it located there for another 25 years.
We are very much interested in enhancing the character of the area. We want to build a high quality building that will look like “Admiral” with some brick work, character and charm.
We intend to instruct our architect to come up with a design that will be of such high quality and character that it will hopefully be an example for others to follow.
The change from NC1-30 to NC2-40 is consistent with the surrounding area and will provide the financial feasibility to build a much more interesting/attractive looking building with very nice storefronts at street level.
Parking has always been a problem in the Admiral area. The additional floor will allow us to build more below-grade parking – two floors with storage space – that will exceed City parking standards. This will hopefully help to ease some of the on-street parking “crunch” in the area.
In summary, this is not just another investment to us. We are not outsiders. We will continue to live and work here. We want to build something we are proud of, that improves the area and enhances the identity of the Admiral neighborhood. This proposal will enable us to do that.
We are sorry we were not able to attend the Admiral Neighborhood Council meeting but had out of town commitments that we were unable to change. When we are back in town we look forward to speaking with you more about the proposal and how we feel it will benefit the area.”
Roger Cayce and Mike Gain
Stepherson’s cover letter laid out seven expected “positive impacts,” also reproduced here in full before we get to some of the tough questions/potential concerns, plus what happens next:
*Encourage the development of more housing in the Admiral RUV [Residential Urban Village] that will provide a mix of housing options for present and future citizens.
*Locate density in the urban village that will take pressure off adding housing in the surrounding single-family neighborhoods.
*Spur the creation of additional businesses that will provide a diverse range of desired services for the surrounding area.
*Increase employment opportunities in the subject area that will benefit local residents by providing work opportunities close to where they live.
*Support the creation of a more livable, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood by locating more housing within walking distance of many public services (schools, libraries, etc.), stores, restaurants, and the other places people frequent.
*Support transit use by locating more businesses and housing near existing Metro bus lines.
*Improve quality and design of buildings by providing greater development flexibility.
Now, pull out your fine-toothed comb. As Admiral Neighborhood Association president Mark Wainwright noted, “greater development flexibility” is particularly significant here in the NC change of the proposed upzone from 1 to 2, rather than the height change from 30 to 40 (which basically amounts to 1 extra floor). NC2 allows larger commercial spaces than NC1, potentially dramatically larger. Mark and other meeting attendees also noted a few potential sticking points — this development is a fair distance south of the heart of the Admiral District (Admiral/California), and development diffusion may not necessarily be a good thing — it also was noted that the existing Admiral Neighborhood Plan “discourages rezoning.” (Read the plan here.)
Keep in mind, there is no specific proposal right now for this area other than the rezoning request — that theoretically would follow approval of this. But what is most important right now is that this is the time to find out more about the rezoning request and to comment on it. Several things toward those ends: First, the ANA asked for an official public meeting about this; DPD is going to organize one, and the most likely dates will be November 28 or 29, with the meeting probably to be held at West Seattle High School. The date/time/location should be finalized within a day or two, and we will let you know as soon as that happens. Also, the public comment period on this is under way RIGHT NOW and in effect for just a few weeks — you can use the “comment on application” link from this city page, although you should be aware that the comment deadline listed on that page has been extendced, and the city planner who said tonight that she’s handling this application is not the same one named on that page — the planner who attended the meeting is Malli Anderson, and she says you are encouraged to contact her by e-mail, postal mail, or phone regarding this proposal:
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, WA 98124