We’ve spent the past three-plus hours in the city Hearing Examiner‘s hearing room on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown, listening to arguments in the appeal of the city’s decision granting two “departures” for the Denny Middle School/Chief Sealth High School co-located campus project. (Those “departures” allow the project to exceed height requirements – for the “galleria” roof peak shown in the rendering above — and to not meet parking requirements, and were finalized by the city after going through a community/district advisory committee.) The appeal was argued by West Seattle-based district watchdog Chris Jackins, who brought two retired educators as witnesses; they focused largely on arguments against the co-location in general, rather than focusing on the parking/height issues that were officially challenged. Defending the decision, the city Department of Planning and Development and also private land-use lawyer Richard Hill on behalf of Seattle Public Schools. Jackins’ contentions include “The project will have adverse impacts on views and shading, removal of trees and vegetation, and parking and traffic,” and “The DPD decision … did not properly balance the ‘project’s relationship to educational needs’ ‘with the level of impacts on the surrounding area’.” Deputy hearing examiner Anne Watanabe heard the case and will now take it under advisement; she says she will issue her written decision within 14 days.
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