(WSB photo, July 25: Original house at right, under-construction house at left)
The city Department of Planning and Development has just announced that it is approving the revised boundaries for splitting what was once one home’s lot at 55th/Manning (map) into three. “Lot boundary adjustments” are not uncommon, but this one has been under a microscope since early this year, because of a challenge by residents who call their neighborhood Benchview. They appealed the city’s original approval of the lot split and went all the way to King County Superior Court, where they won a partial victory last month. They believed Judge Mariane Spearman‘s decision meant the site’s new owners could only build one new house on the lot. Shortly after the decision, the owners/developers filed documents for revised boundaries, and today, the DPD sent this letter saying those will be approved – read it here (or as a PDF here if you can’t see Scribd embeds):
Benchview residents had contended the city could choose to “protect the neighborhood” rather than consider the revised boundaries; DPD director Diane Sugimura contended, in both a letter earlier this week and the letter today, that her department was required to review them for consideration. We will be checking with the Benchview neighbors to see if they plan to challenge this new decision.
ADDED 5:17 PM: Benchview spokesperson Dave Allen cc’d us on his reply to the city – an excerpt follows:
This response is incomplete.
On what grounds do you say that the permit was not issued in error, or that 23.76.034 does not apply because the judge remanded the issue back to DPD?
This law makes no mention of anything other than a permit being issued in error.
Once again, the permit was issued in error. That is a fact.
> The judge instructed that “This matter is remanded to DPD for modification OR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.”< DPD was not required by the judge to revise the permit. If you approve this permit, we will file another (land-use) case. ... We find your issuing of this revision on the eve of a long Labor Day weekend to be incredible. There was absolutely no reason to issue this today. Why the rush? The first and obvious conclusion any rational person would make is that you were hoping the news media will miss this story by breaking this news before the long labor day weekend. Finalizing this decision without a complete response to the nhood would be inappropriate. DPD issued the first permit in January prematurely when the junior planner issued it without the supervisor fully reviewing the issues. You cannot make that same type of mistake again. Finally, slapping the neighborhood in the face with this news right before what should be a restful Labor Day weekend is insensitive at best. Again, why do this this afternoon?