After 3 years, a thumbs-up for California SW ‘upzoning’ proposal

June 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm | In California Ave upzoning, Development, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

upzonescreengrab.jpgAlmost three years after it was originally proposed, the recommended zoning change for California SW between Hanford and Hinds (and a bit beyond, on the west side) is moving ahead. We got first word from one of the property owners who first proposed it in 2007, Mike Gain. It’s not reflected yet on the project’s Department of Planning and Development webpage, but DPD’s Bryan Stevens confirms to WSB that the notice is about to be published:

DPD’s recommendation on the rezone request will be published for public viewing on Monday. There will be a 14-day appeal period which initiates upon publication and a required hearing with the City’s Hearing Examiner to review the department’s recommendation. The date for the hearing has been tentatively scheduled for August 18th at 9 am. After the hearing, the Hearing Examiner will issue findings and make a recommendation to City Council to help inform their decision on the rezone proposal.

According to Gain: “The Director’s Report supports the rezone of the 3200 block of California Ave SW from NC1-30 to NC2-40. This essentially would return it to its previous zoning while allowing for one additional floor and increased flexibility in the size and/or type of ground floor retail.” He adds:

This rezone has undergone a lot of review and received substantial public comment. We are pleased with the decision. Several benefits to this that will occur over time are that it will:

· Help enhance the California Ave “corridor”
· Encourage job creation and business vitality
· Maintain and enhance neighborhood character
· Provide more and a better mix of housing options
· Increase the number of goods and services that allow people to shop locally

As you are aware, in the 1980’s this area was zoned for 40’ and is consistent with surrounding building heights. For some unknown reason and no notice the city down-zoned this area. Since that time there has been little reinvestment – many businesses have come and gone – while some storefronts remain vacant for lengthy periods of time. This rezone will help to change that.

When the proposal was first made, it stirred a fair amount of controversy, which we covered extensively – as archived here (reverse chronological order). Gain and partner Roger Cayce had not put forward a specific project proposal for the area, but at one point along the way, discussed their ideas with WSB. We will be continuing to follow this process, including any proposals they may bring forward in the future. MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: We’re writing a separate story, but in the meantime, here’s the link to the DPD page with the “director’s report,” officially published today as expected.

8 Comments

  1. I’m glad I don’t own a home on the west side of 42nd.

    Comment by dsa — 7:26 pm June 25, 2010 #

  2. parking and additional vehicles/increased traffic in WS are being addressed where???

    Additional jobs–how? Are Mike or Roger hiring?

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 10:20 pm June 25, 2010 #

  3. “For some unknown reason and no notice the city down-zoned this area” Are you kidding!!

    In the late 1980s the folks of Seattle were up in arms about the 1980 upzone of most of the city. The home owners got parts of the city rezoned back to the pre 1980 level. This rezone was to try and put a lid on the un-controlled changes in density for the city.

    Lesser Seattle is no more. Emmett we miss you.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Watson

    Comment by Will o the wisp — 10:02 am June 26, 2010 #

  4. Will o the wisp: Great example. Many examples in previous WSB comments and at the one public meeting held so far (scheduled only as a result of outcry after applicants set the ball rolling three years ago) have shed light on misleading information. Hopefully the city will pay attention to this.

    (And what does it mean that going from NC1-30 to NC2-40 would be a return to original zoning of 40′, but with an additional floor allowed?…)

    Comment by nou — 12:48 pm June 26, 2010 #

  5. We’ll be following this up as the official public notice comes out Monday – this was meant to be a short “we just confirmed this with DPD so we want to get it out there” first report. As those who have been following this may remember, we had so many “just checked with DPD and the report’s out soon” stories in the interim – finally it was clear it was at least temporarily on hold, we had even stopped routinely checking! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:52 pm June 26, 2010 #

  6. it’ll be nice to see some of those old ratty buildings done away with and the area prettied up.

    Comment by grr — 1:16 pm June 27, 2010 #

  7. Buildings like the glass/concrete monolith built inches from PCC, or the gray condo compound dwarfing Spiro’s, surely haven’t “prettied up” West Seattle. On the other hand, the re-model of the Swinery building (done recently in the proposed upzone area) appears very tasteful, and was done within existing zoning code.

    Comment by km — 3:05 pm June 27, 2010 #

  8. Agreed, km…there are some great new buildings, and some pretty fugly ones. But as long as I have to look at the Chuck and Sally’s eyesore, amongst others…I’ll gladly accept them being torn down and something new going in.

    Personally..I like very modern looking stuff, even mixed in with traditional Crafstman/Mission style neighborhoods. I’m weird that way :)
    -
    now..if designers can get past ‘tiny windows’ phase..I’d be happy :)))

    Comment by grr — 5:47 pm June 27, 2010 #

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