Update: State Supreme Court rejects Satterlee House case

June 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm | In Development, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

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(WSB photo of the Satterlee House, 4866 Beach Drive, taken in 2008)
Just got word from the clerk’s office at the state Supreme Court that the justices have said “no” to the request that they take up the longrunning case of whether a specific 3-house development can be built in front of West Seattle’s city-landmark Satterlee House, aka the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive.” As previewed here Monday night, the court’s Department 2 took up the “petition for review” (along with dozens of others) yesterday, behind closed doors. This is a process that does not involve oral argument – the justices review the documents submitted in the case, and decide whether to take it on. And the clerk’s office tells WSB “the petition for review was denied.” They confirm that’s the end of the line as far as judicial review; we will be checking for comment from both owner William Conner‘s lawyer G. Richard Hill and the city’s lawyer, Judy Barbour; this case even had drawn national attention along the way. More to come. (We have covered this extensively over the past 2+ years, each step of the way through the system – our stories are archived, newest to oldest, here.)

2:33 PM: We’ve heard back from Barbour, who called the ruling “a nice retirement present for me! And I do hope that Mr. Conner will now give up the fight and let the old place be fixed up and returned to usefulness as a home.”

5:09 PM: Hill hadn’t seen the decision yet, so is reserving comment until he has. The denial has now been noted on the Washington Courts website, however.

17 Comments

  1. I think it’s about time that this guy quits spending the people’s money in such a frivolous thing. He needs to move on now. Thank you State Supreme Court.

    Comment by JanS — 12:25 pm June 2, 2010 #

  2. I’m sure he spent alot of his own money also. If people are so concerned about what happens to this house why don’t they just buy it, I’ve seen a for sale sign on it off and on over the last year.

    Comment by M — 12:34 pm June 2, 2010 #

  3. I don’t want to be mean, OR too obvious in pointing out market economics, but seriously…what’s the point here? This house has been for sale for YEARS! Literally. The problem we get here is that they NEED to be able to split up the front yard, or do this or that. No. No, the problem is you want too much money. Real estate is SIMPLE economics. You can offer a house for sale for $50 million if you want, or $19.95. Most are in between. If you can’t sell your house in the open market in 5 years, YOU’RE ASKING TOO MUCH MONEY! This isn’t opinion, this is just market forces. If you drop the price, $10k a week…at SOME point someone will buy it. You may FEEL it’s worth more, or maybe you NEED to sell it for $x to get your money back, but sorry, if you can’t sell a house in 5-10 years, it’s too expensive. I think of the little corner ‘office’ space across from La Rustica here on Beach Drive. That’s been for “rent” since I moved to Seattle 15 year ago. Uh…maybe you could drop your rent you want in HALF, and you would have gotten at least that over the last 15 years, instead of nothing. Wake up folks, it’s simple math.

    Comment by Alki Area — 12:59 pm June 2, 2010 #

  4. it’s way over priced. It’s a lovely house, but needs quite a bit of work. 2.2 mil is wayyy over the line.

    Also, this house has “landmark” status with the city, and whatever you do to it needs approval by the landmarks board before you proceed. Not everyone wants to own a place under those conditions. Mr. Connor knew that when he purchased it, yet has gone out of his way to get over on it.

    Comment by JanS — 1:02 pm June 2, 2010 #

  5. M – on the surface, that “may” sound good, but the logic would then imply I should buy my own police officer if I want an existing law enforced, etc, etc.

    We taxpayers have already “paid” to protect this house – we don’t need to buy it out-right. Why should we be further burdened when some random greedy self-righteous developer feels they don’t need to follows society’s rules. This person knew what he was buying – they should’ve respected that fact and NOT bought the house!

    I wish we had a system more like in the UK where the loser pays most of the legal costs.

    Comment by Unbelievable — 1:29 pm June 2, 2010 #

  6. I love this place and always dreamed of winning the lottery and buying it, but like Jan said it needs lots of rennovation work. I toured this property during an open house and you can place a marble on the floor and it will roll all the way to the other side of the house the floors are so slanted, plus it is a shared drive way who wants to share!! But Imagine the croquet games you could play on that lawn oooh la la!! ;)

    Comment by Silly Goose — 1:45 pm June 2, 2010 #

  7. Alki Area said it. There’s always a price point where someone buys. If it’s priced too high, that’s not the public’s fault. Seems the owner took a gamble when they purchased with the intent to change the property’s legal status.

    It’s got a nice lawn for summer parties. Heck, it will sell for more than $19.95!

    Comment by meg — 2:09 pm June 2, 2010 #

  8. I believe they can still may be able to build, just not their current proposal, unless they shot themselves in the foot with all this litigation.

    Comment by dsa — 2:47 pm June 2, 2010 #

  9. Pretty sure nobody will be building any additional buildings near it or on that property.

    “In 2000, Historic Seattle was granted an easement for the “purpose of preserving historic, architectural, aesthetic, visual, spatial and scenic values of the property in perpetuity including without limitation the current exterior appearance, materials and structure of the building, improvements to the building and site on which it is located and the view of the property from the street.”"
    - http://www.historicseattle.org/projects/Ongoing_Satterlee.aspx

    Comment by Mike — 3:22 pm June 2, 2010 #

  10. As I understand it, the historical board would have allowed (and still would allow) 3 smaller homes (e.g. 2 story cottages) to be build along the left side of the property. This would allow the owner to divide and develop and still preserve the view corridor. But the owner wanted to build 3 very large homes there. Perhaps now that he has been “supremely” rebuffed, he will either now develop it accordingly, sell it to someone who would, and/or lower the price to the $1.1-1.3 million range that is more realistic. The current sale price of $2.2 million is absurdly high and everyone (most especially the owner) knows it. He just wanted to be able to say the house wasn’t marketable as a single family residence. It’s nice to see arrogance and greed not pay off.

    Comment by Meghan — 3:38 pm June 2, 2010 #

  11. The easement was actually incorporated into the Conner plan – it happened about the same time that the property was sold to him – and Historic Seattle supported him during the case. The city’s contention was that they were not a signatory to the Historic Seattle easement and were defending the landmarked characteristics of the property as they were – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:56 pm June 2, 2010 #

  12. The foundation has been fixed so the floor no longer tilts as one person wrote. But it still needs work — as does the land around it. Lots of water issues. Satterlee asked too much money for it to begin with and would not take the offers he had. The only person who would pay what Satterlee wanted was a developer. Conner has had offers that he would not take. We’ll see what Conner does now.

    Comment by vp — 5:06 pm June 2, 2010 #

  13. Speaking of sad nearly abandoned properties…what’s going on with the Alki Homestead? It was a super popular always busy business. But since the recent “goings on” it’s now sitting abandoned. I’m SO angry at the owners for letting this great business just die for no reason. Why can’t it just reopen as the restaurant it had been for decades? I know there was this fire, but, um, er, didn’t you have insurance? Didn’t you get money to repair it? Or can you have a running public business with no property insurance for fire?

    Comment by Alki Area — 6:39 pm June 2, 2010 #

  14. Alki Area, the most recent info here on WSB is from the middle of January.

    .

    I don’t know how much you already know about it, but the info up to that point is Here. The same link is also available in the WSB Categories Archive, a ways down on the right sidebar.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:57 pm June 2, 2010 #

  15. Last public action on the Homestead was a presentation to the Architectural Review Committee of the Landmarks Board – but a hearing before the full board, which would have to sign off on any proposal to alter the structure (a particularly big deal here since “reconstruction” is what’s being proposed), has not yet been scheduled. What owner Tom Lin showed to the ARC and to the Alki Community Council last year would be a significant commercial project, and everything we hear indicates that commercial lending remains extremely difficult to get.
    .
    However, information is starting to emerge regarding an event coming up July 4th to call public attention to the Homestead’s plight. We’d heard little bits and pieces of it but Jim Del Ciello revealed the date when the Homestead came up, briefly, at the Southwest District Council meeting tonight. He told the council it’ll be called “This Place Matters” and will involve an event to be held in the street nearby. We’re working to get more details – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:51 pm June 2, 2010 #

  16. The Satterlee house would be an awesome B&B

    Comment by Dan — 10:21 am June 3, 2010 #

  17. @alki area: Bravo…and well said! Anyways, i’m glad the supreme court put it to rest.

    Comment by picky x — 6:44 am June 4, 2010 #

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