Busy meeting last night for the Alki Community Council, including first word of a development proposal for the heart of the beach business zone:
Architect Roger Newell, noting he grew up in the Alki area, gave the ACC first word of a project he says has been in the works for several years. It’s proposed for a 13,700-square-foot site owned by West Seattle resident Borge Steinsvik on the east corner of 59th/Alki, which currently includes the buildings housing Alki Beach Properties and Saigon Boat Café.
Newell showed the four options they’ll take to the Southwest Design Review Board (no date set – the plans haven’t yet been submitted to the city, but he said they will be soon). It will be one or two mixed-use buildings, three stories (the maximum allowable for the site), with some apartments, some live-work units – numbers not firmed up yet – and commercial space, likely a restaurant. The site actually spans two zones, NC1-30 (where the commercial space will have to be) and LR-2. (Here’s the Seattle zoning-classification list.)
At least 25 parking spaces are planned (city rules set requirements such as 1 1/2 spaces per living unit and 1 car for every 250 feet of restaurant). The parking will be on the ground floor, under two levels of living space, because an underground garage can’t be built on the site, Newell explained, much as they would have preferred to do that – turns out there’s a peat-settlement zone beneath it.
All but one of the proposed alternatives would have the parking entrance off 59th.
The property owner is intent on environmentally friendly features, and Newell says they’ll be aiming to qualify the project for LEED Silver certification. Though the early stage of the Design Review process is only for shape/size of the building, he showed one concept for its appearance – with glass and “heavy timber.”
However, he said, the materials choices could go in a variety of directions, since buildings in the area “have no particular style.” (That drew laughter from the attendees.)
They’re expecting it’ll take a year to get through the permit process before construction can begin. Newell also said the property owner plans to keep the building – it’s “not something he’s going to build and then turn around.”
The 20 or so residents on hand for the meeting were impressed enough, they applauded at the end of Newell’s presentation.
Ahead – toplines on the meeting’s three other topics, from police and Metro updates to a resident who wants to revisit the idea of parking restrictions:
POLICE’S PLAN FOR ALKI: “Every year we try to ramp up our presence – you’ve probably seen us, our bikes, let us know if that’s working … we’re looking at the statistics every week as we ramp up our emphasis patroling out there (on Alki).” So said Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis. “Obviously we can’t camp out endlessly for periods on end … (but we want to) give the citizens what they need so we can have a nice quiet summer.” He reiterates that Block Watches are “the first tier of defense,” as are alert citizens in general, whom he credits for helping them catch some “prolific burglars in the area.” He also says that the precinct is ramping up community outreach such as safety walks and something along the lines of “Coffee with the Captain,” a chance to sit down with Precinct Capt. Joe Kessler in a local coffee shop and chat. No dates yet – stay tuned.
RPZ FOR ALKI? A restricted-parking zone has been proposed before, and now it’s being proposed again. Local resident Marty says he lives at 64th and Alki and came home from the store one day and couldn’t find any place to park. He knows the area’s a big draw and that’s good for businesses, but … He says he’s here because he talked to SDOT about the parking all getting taken up by visitors, and they told him the first step would be talking to the local community council, which, he then learned, had gone through an unsuccessful process about eight years ago that got caught up in red tape. (That hadn’t been the first attempt.) He says he’s talked to his neighbors and “everybody’s in favor” of the idea. He got some empathy, and then the group had to discuss: What’s next, now that this proposal has been thrown out there? Maybe getting an SDOT rep in for a meeting and public input, ACC president Tony Fragada and vice president Randie Stone suggested. That won’t likely happen before fall, since Marty, the proponent, said he wouldn’t be in town for next month’s meeting.
METRO’S POSSIBLE CUTS: Two Metro reps came to the meeting to talk about the potential cuts looming if no replacement is approved for the two types of funding that are expiring next year. Same basic information as previous briefings in other venues – see our coverage, including here and here – but there was a bit of extra West Seattle-specific information:
Service planner Doug Johnson recapped that West Seattle ridership has increased, and the service is more efficient, after last fall’s changes; Route 50 is carrying 2,200 people a day; Route 37 ridership has gone up 25 percent per trip; 56 Express “is also more productive,” he said, “so the greater net effect of these changes is positive.” But if the dramatic changes are required, the 37 could completely go away, he noted. The Water Taxi shuttles would remain, since “their funding is separate from Metro.” One attendee said she’s not surprised that the 50 is busy, because with the service cuts in this area, they feel like they are “captive.” Another attendee said the commute time from this area “has doubled” to up to 45 minutes, “and you have to take three buses if you want to get from Alki to the north end of downtown.” Direct service is most desirable, the Metro reps were told. “That was a tradeoff,” they replied. And another attendee offered a counterpoint that “the hardship placed on us down here is not too bad” (he identified himself as a 5-day-a-week bus commuter”).
How does Metro anticipate population growth? they are asked. They pull the data “on an annual basis to assess where the needs are … when (the current development) comes on board, that could bump it in investment needs … we take that into consideration as we set target service levels.” But, they admit, “we need to be better at foreseeing where that growth is going to be.” ACC president Fragada asked about transit impact fees. Hasn’t been discussed, he’s told.