Rezoning proposed for six acres of West Seattle waterfront

July 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm | In Development, West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 17 Comments

Six acres of West Seattle waterfront industrial land on Harbor Avenue SW is proposed for a rezone that’s now before the City Council for approval.

It’s the site immediately southeast of the SW Bronson street-end park that in turn is east of the Salty’s on Alki parking lot. The site’s ownership of record is AnMarCo (owned by construction entrepreneur Gary Merlino) and has a history of development proposals, including the Pier 1 controversy of the ’90s, though city records show nothing pending right now – except the rezoning proposal.

Notification signs, including the one shown above, went up this week (thanks to David Hutchinson for the tip) and then the notice – see it here – appeared in the city’s latest Land Use Information Bulletin. Here’s the outline map included in the city’s notice:

The site’s owners want the council to approve rezoning for 275,000 square feet, described as currently zoned Industrial General 2/Urban Industrial, and seeking a change to Industrial Commercial/Urban Stable. This apparently has been in the works a while; we found a document online from last year, from a request to have the shoreline designation changed along the lines of this request, as part of the city’s Shoreline Master Program Update. The document, a letter from the land-use law firm McCullough Hill Leary, representing the property owners, included this statement:

The planned uses for the property would likely be mixed use commercial …

The city’s industrial-zoning designations are explained here; the proposed IC classification is intended for “businesses which incorporate a mix of industrial and commercial activities, including light manufacturing and research and development, while accommodating a wide range of other employment activities.” The “Urban Stable” designation is explained as an “environment” of a Seattle “shoreline district,” with a detailed description in this city ordinance, with its purpose including to “Provide opportunities for substantial numbers of people to enjoy the shorelines by encouraging water-dependent recreational uses and by permitting nonwater dependent commercial uses if they provide substantial public access and other public benefits.”

If approved, this would be the third major rezoning action in West Seattle in recent years, by our count. It’s almost twice the size of the California SW upzoning (between Hinds and Hanford) finalized last fall after four years; there also was a sizable zoning change approved by the City Council last year in The Triangle/east Junction area (map included in this city file).

If you are interested in commenting on the Harbor Avenue rezone proposal, July 18th is listed as the deadline, and you can comment online by using this project-specific form.

The proposal was on the council’s introduction calendar June 25th (scroll down this page), and has been referred to the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee; no date set for a review, so far, but we’ll keep watching the agendas.


  1. Several years ago the City had a task force look at this proposal. Surprisingly, the task force ended up recommending that the property remain industrial, given the lack of industrial land in the City. Looks like the City forgot.

    Comment by Mike — 5:06 pm July 6, 2012 #

  2. I was noticing the same thing. Was wondering why the City changed its mind, since Industrial is still a valued and rare commodity here.

    Comment by ws_s — 5:46 pm July 6, 2012 #

  3. Hotel, boardwalk, retail, condos and would be nice if they moved the foot ferry to that location as the port has a lot of empty space next to it that would be good for parking. :)

    Comment by Wetone — 6:26 pm July 6, 2012 #

  4. I love the map. It shows NP RR. The Northern Pacific Railway merged with several other railroads, including Great Northern, to become Burlington Northern Railroad back in 1970. Wow, that is only 42 years ago. LOL.

    After several more mergers, it is now BNSF, in 2012. The only cool aspect of the whole shebang is: the drawbridge over the Duwamish River still shows the “ying-yang” symbol of the Northern Pacific Railway. Look for it sometime you take Metro to downtown…

    Comment by West Seattleite — 6:33 pm July 6, 2012 #

  5. And various local transportation agencies STILL describe road work/closures as happening on the “West Seattle Freeway,” which is the Spokane Street Viaduct’s old name …

    Comment by WSB — 6:36 pm July 6, 2012 #

  6. I want the same microscope this proposed sports arena is getting. This better make more than 3% or I sue.

    Comment by Rob — 6:50 pm July 6, 2012 #

  7. Land speculation at work here. When the current owners bought this property (from the Port of Seattle) there was an industrial building on the site, and small vessels such as fishing trawlers used it to dock. After they bought the property, the current owners obliterated all industrial uses and have been positioning the land for a use that would raise the value 10X. Speculation of this sort is a very old game, and we don’t have to play along. This land should either be used for what it is zoned, or taken and used for a public use.

    Comment by gatewooder — 8:11 pm July 6, 2012 #

  8. More mixed use down there is a good thing.

    (West Seattleite)
    I have an old NP or GN RR property blueprint map for Seattle from 1919 or ?1932. I will check what went through there then.

    Comment by patt — 8:31 pm July 6, 2012 #

  9. Did AnMarCo prepare the following documents 15 years ago?

    - An Environmental Assessment (EA)
    - A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI); or,
    - An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

    Those are public documents.

    Comments from the West Seattle residents who belonged to the advisory board that studied the site would be of interest as well.

    Comment by Karl — 8:33 pm July 6, 2012 #

  10. (West Seattleite)
    Sorry it’s a blueprint of the Seattle tide lands map for NP 1918, the Seattle side not WS

    Comment by patt — 10:00 pm July 6, 2012 #

  11. My bet is the land is highly contaminated and needs a lot of work and would be a hazard to put anyones condo/apartment there.
    Anyone know why the Port of Seattle so kindly gave us all that wonderful park??? Anyone, anyone? Anyone know how much toxic waste costs per barrel to haul away? Anyone know how that relates to the park? Ever read the signs to be careful if you touch the sediment? :)

    Comment by Mike — 11:17 pm July 6, 2012 #

  12. I remember them floating the idea of a shopping center plus movie theater way back. It got shot down.

    Comment by LyndaB — 6:33 pm July 7, 2012 #

  13. Nothing should ever change! I remember the way it was in my childhood in the (70s, 60s, 50s, 40s,30s)….it was perfect then as a polluting ugly dangerous industrial site filled with toxic chemicals. Who wants nice clean properties that can actually be used by the public when we could have a good old fashioned industrial site surrounded by barbed wire like the port….like God intended. (Sarcasm)

    Comment by Dave — 6:30 am July 8, 2012 #

  14. Nothing should ever change. I remember the way it was in my childhood in the (70s, 60s, 50s, 40s,30s)….it was perfect then as a polluting ugly dangerous industrial site filled with toxic chemicals. Who wants nice clean properties that can actually be used by the public when we could have a good old fashioned industrial site surrounded by barbed wire like the port….like God intended.

    Comment by Dave — 6:37 am July 8, 2012 #

  15. I think a floating shopping center and movie theatre would be cool, as long as it’s done with thousands of small boats like Hong Kong.

    Comment by Fiwa Jcbbb — 7:42 am July 8, 2012 #

  16. Hotel is what is planned here. Similar planning happened in ballard not to log ago.

    Comment by Jwff — 10:25 pm July 8, 2012 #

  17. That was suggested more than 4 years ago:
    However, the zoning designation that’s being sought does NOT seem to include lodging.

    Comment by WSB — 10:43 pm July 8, 2012 #

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