As-it-happened coverage: Neighbors speak out about 36-unit, no-parking Junction development

November 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 69 Comments

6:45 PM: We’re in the basement at Hope Lutheran Church along with more than 30 people here for a meeting that wouldn’t have happened if neighbors hadn’t petitioned the city for it. While the 36-unit, no-parking-space apartment building proposed for 4535 44th SW is going through Design Review – with at least one more meeting to come – other components of public comment are routinely dealt with via e-mail, postal-mail, phone comments … unless at least 50 people petition for a meeting to address SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)-related impacts. No decision will be made tonight, but anyone who wants to get up to a microphone and speak is supposed to get a chance to do so. City planner Tami Garrett is presiding. We’ll be publishing notes as it happens. It’s starting with some voicing of confusion over the meeting’s topic – “we thought it was about the lack of parking,” per a few voices from the audience. “Is there anyone here from SDOT?” one man asks. No, just the Department of Planning and Development. Garrett clarifies that Design Review doesn’t include impacts such as parking, traffic, and noise, but this type of meeting does.

6:51 PM: Some confusion continues. Garrett explains that this is not microhousing – the units are proposed as full-fledged, if small, apartments. One man asks her to clarify how best they can express their opinions to decisionmakers about the lack of parking; he says he was “stunned” to find out this building has none. Garrett finally moves into the introduction, explaining that this project is in what’s considered a “frequent transit zone” that is part of an “urban village,” and that’s why no parking is required. She says two planners will review this project – she deals with Design Review and SEPA, while another planner will deal with “how it meets the land-use code.”

Questions arise from around the room, again, regarding why the law doesn’t require parking in this kind of law. Both city law and SEPA have changed, explain Garrett and co-worker Molly Hurley, who says “Tami’s role and my role are limited to review of this project to make sure it meets current codes. Therefore we are not effective conduits for your concerns about … the codes and policy,” which she says need to be expressed to City Councilmembers. A few minutes later, Hurley acknowledges that DPD does “have a hand in writing codes.” This particular change traces to last year, they say. “It was adopted at the City Council level,” explains Garrett, after someone in the back asks, “Did we get a say in (the change)?”

7:04 PM: The first speaker, Ellen, begins.

She refers to the 2009 city study of parking in The Junction, with parking close to 80 percent utilization then – “and since then, more than 4,000 new units are going up.” They’re going to need buses, she said, “but transit has been cut, and now there might be even more cuts.” She says “parking is horrendous” now, and while she’d be fine if 36 people were moving in without vehicles, she “doesn’t believe” that’s what will happen, so “unless the city can come up with money (for) a whole lot more buses … something like this project is very detrimental for the neighborhood.”

Next speaker, Bud, says he is a general contractor and believes this will be a “built-in ghetto, and if we think people are going to get out of their cars, we’re crazy … I think this is a scheme actually to get people out of their cars.” Murmurs of “right” ripple around the room. “I think what we have to do is take it further than this, take it to City Council, to the mayor and whomever developed this change in the rules. This is a scam. It’s going to make West Seattle impossible.” He is followed by Greg, who says that while he understands the city is not required to mandate parking, the effects on homes and businesses should be acknowledged.

Next speaker brings up the impending potential bus cuts, not just for getting to and from West Seattle, but also within WS, and says that the transportation that’s available will result in a loss of business for local stores, if people can’t find parking – inconvenience could lead to people deciding to “do it all online.” She is followed by a Gatewood resident who says there’s “not enough enforcement of safe driving and safe parking.” A Morgan Junction resident takes the microphone and asks Garrett and Hurley “how many meetings with projects like this” they have attended – “an urban village, units like this, where the zoning code has been changed, no parking has been required.” Hurley notes that it’s just a year after the code changed, so “we’re seeing developments like this” but mostly via Design Review. After a difficult exchange, he asks, “Have you ever heard a COMPLIMENT on a development like this?”, resulting in laughter. He says that renting in a building like this should result in everyone signing a statement that they are not going to have a car. “It’s common sense … but it doesn’t seem like the city has common sense right now.” Applause follows as he sits down. “You need to be our next mayor,” someone tells him.

Lorraine is next to speak and says her family has deep roots in West Seattle, then goes on to say that her comments are more questions than comments. She brings up the recycling and trash containers that will come with the residents and hopes they are part of the plan. “Even if none of these people have cars, they have to move in and move out, which requires trucks and so on … there are bus bays across from this building; are there places where people can (pull moving/delivery trucks in) so they won’t be blocking the buses … ?” She also asks about the height limit – 40 feet, but this is proposed as a 5-story building? Garrett subsequently answers the questions and says, basically, it’s all part of the plan; she notes that the building fronts two streets, so there’s room for moving-truck activity. She explains that the sloped topography of the site is the reason why the building can meet the allowable height limit despite being 5 stories.

7:25 PM: The next speaker says she works at a nearby clinic where they see many people with foot injuries and they are having trouble finding parking, as is she when she comes to work from outside the neighborhood “and my bus is one of the ones that’s going to be completely cut … I’m not going to start riding a bike at age 62, or hop a pogo stick, or …” She says construction workers are taking much of the parking near her workplace. She echoes the earlier speaker who suggested that residents in a parking-free building should “sign a contract that they won’t have a car.” The following speaker asks about water/sewage plans, and whether these will be one-occupant units. “No,” says Hurley, “the current code says up to 8 unrelated persons can live in one dwelling unit.” Many in the room laugh loudly. Next, a man who lives near Camp Long says he’s “watched the razing of businesses for tall condos … I come here with a single focus … it’s unconscionable to build housing and not provide parking for the automobiles that will inevitably be associated with those residents, and I’m encouraged by the number of people who have shown up here.” Next, a man who says he’s been a developer and been a businessperson in The Junction since the ’80s. He built the apartment in which his family lives, and when he did, “we had to have 1.17 parking spaces per unit.” He says he wishes he had added underground parking at the time but at the time it cost $25,000 per space. Now he says, no one is enforcing the two-hour parking, but he thinks the city should be. He says parking was 10 percent of the cost of his project back then and developers should be required to provide parking now.

7:32 PM: John Nuler says he’s going to be the first person to “speak against the crowd.” He says he doesn’t see a parking issue in The Junction, and West Seattle is nothing like other cities where he’s lived. How many people here have cars they don’t keep in their garage – should they have to sign a contract? he asks. Regarding water and sewage, he says that efficient small apartments have less environmental impact than single-family homes. He also says 4,000 more units for a place with 80,000 residents is “a drop in the bucket.” He also says “everyone in the room is older, like I am, and the younger people are moving in … the future is not going to be as reliant on cars as” his generation is. “West Seattle needs to change and needs to embrace the changes.” He is applauded as he finishes. (Meantime, a TV crew has just turned up.) Next, Marty Westerman from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s interim board speaks. He talks about the pending bus cuts and how that could mean transit service is unavailable to people moving in without parking under the assumption they have transit access. “What I’d like to see is, #1, my job is not to make developers money, my job is to make my community livable … I’d like to see a holistic sense of development, not single building by single building …”

7:38 PM: Diane Vincent mentions how important it is for people to get involved and watch projects that don’t even go to Design Review. She reiterates how parking is not an element of DR meetings “but it’s still important to show up and talk about them … and write to the City Councilperson who’s in charge of transportation and lives in West Seattle, Tom Rasmussen, who (mentioned at the WSTC event yesterday) is even going to lose HIS bus.” She explained her knowledge of the background of this project – and mentions how the advocacy of the acupuncture clinic owner next door helped lead to this meeting.

7:43 PM: Another person talks about the Design Review process not including parking and how buses run in the area. She is from the acupuncture clinic. She talks about how the clinic deals with people who say they can’t park near other clinics and that’s why they come to West Seattle. “Businesses (here) benefit from free parking … but the whole neighborhood is changing a lot.” Another man says West Seattle is “beginning to be an unfriendly place to have a business.” Speaking next is Deb Barker, who has been involved in design and land-use issues around the area. She first thanks Vincent for “telling people to show up at the Design Review Board …”which she used to chair, and says she has only seen one meeting which had this size of turnout. “If you have (anything to say), come to Design Review … we are all West Seattle …the Design Review is the single public process we have in the review mechanism … If your particular project you learned about doesn’t have a Design Review process … remember that thanks to (citizens requesting special meetings), we know there is a process (to request a meeting). Don’t just go ‘they don’t listen to me’ and walk away.”

She talks next about the 6917 California SW project, and the “overlay” zone there. She notes that the zones where parking is not required are not just in West Seattle. She wonders what kind of analysis was done when it was decided which zones would not have parking required: “I hope the environmental analysis is an analysis that is not a cut and paste … I hope those analysis look into the impacts when the zone is facing cuts in transit service.” Barker says she’ll be taking this up with councilmembers and the mayor-elect – and that Morgan Community Association, of which she is president, will be offering “Development 101″ meetings starting early next month. She thanks participants for coming to the meeting and says “We’re all related, we’re all West Seattle.”

The last call for speakers goes out. Vincent stands up again and says parking spaces actually cost $25,000-$30,000, “so with our losing bus service I have been asking for (an impact fee that would be paid by developers) … if they don’t have to pay for parking, how many parking spaces that they no longer have to build, multiply that by $25,000, how much money (are they saving)?”

A man says, “I’d like to know who voted for that (changing the rules regarding parking).”

7:59 PM: Garrett is wrapping up the meeting by mentioning that this project is scheduled for its next – possibly final – Design Review meeting at 6:30 pm on December 5th (at the Senior Center of West Seattle, California/Oregon). She also explains that she will write a report on this meeting and the SEPA process, and that once the report is published, there will be an opportunity for the public to appeal it to the city Hearing Examiner. (The appeal costs $85, she replies to a question.) That process, Hurley adds, will be explained along with the decision when it is made public.

69 Comments

  1. “Frequent Transit Zone.”

    I think this variance should be abolished until we actually get the transit situation figured out. With Metro threatening to cut routes, no project can rely on this “amenity” being present.

    Comment by sw — 6:58 pm November 19, 2013 #

  2. And the McGinn legacy lives on. Maybe it’s time for West Seattle to become it’s own city. We’ve been shafted by the city and school district for too long. We’re dense enough (population similar to Redmond) with similar incomes to Redmond. Maybe we impose a tax on the city of Seattle to use OUR port.

    Comment by Mike — 7:25 pm November 19, 2013 #

  3. Henry Ford’s Model T revolutionized the world, allowing the general public the freedom to travel beyond the confines of their small community and experience the world at large. I find it ironic that now being car-free is glorified. Living in West Seattle, it takes a bus ride of 30 to 60 minutes (not counting time spent at the bus stop), often standing the whole way, then a one mile walk, to reach work downtown. Speaking from every-day experience.

    Comment by CE — 8:13 pm November 19, 2013 #

  4. aww buzzwords like “urban village” are sooooo cute and also make the traffic disappear…

    Comment by flimflam — 8:26 pm November 19, 2013 #

  5. The issue is the zoning law. Not the development. Don’t change the rules after ya dealt the cards

    Comment by dale — 8:44 pm November 19, 2013 #

  6. DPD is a complete joke.

    Comment by coffee — 9:10 pm November 19, 2013 #

  7. Just like the condos over the water-there is a reason this is the only one–it was ruled out of existence after it was allowed.
    -
    Zero parking makes sense if there was more (and not less) frequent Bus routes. Have the tenants sign a no car agreement…Why not? That is what the development is literally banking (Cha-Ching) on. Call them on it. They profit, we lose.

    Comment by JayDee — 9:11 pm November 19, 2013 #

  8. Judging by the turnout and comments, parking or the lack of it poses an impact. Any declaration of no significant impact, DNS, should be declared invalid.

    Comment by dsa — 9:45 pm November 19, 2013 #

  9. Bravo John Nuler! Hear, hear!

    CE: Henry Ford didn’t bring Americans freedom as much as it brought us the illusion of freedom and indentured servitude to big petroleum, auto companies and banks. 100 years later and we have sprawl from sea to shining sea and live in a geography of nowhere that requires us to roll two tons of steel and plastic down the road just to get a loaf of bread. We’ve built our landscape in a way that forces many of us to rely on cars at a great cost to our quality of life. Thank the gods the Millenials have enough sense to not embrace car culture the way the generations before them did. America is firmly on the downswing of car use and car ownership. Cities work better with more density and fewer cars. And last time I checked West Seattle is part of one of the larger cites in this country.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 9:48 pm November 19, 2013 #

  10. Yes- your city council at work. Folks really need to pay more attention to who they are electing & how they are representing us.

    Comment by Gene — 10:00 pm November 19, 2013 #

  11. Car lovers, fear not. Us car-free folks will probably be moving away from West Seattle once the proposed Metro cuts go ahead, and you will be left to fight over parking in peace.

    Comment by Last53BusRider — 10:08 pm November 19, 2013 #

  12. “Both city law and SEPA have changed, explain Garrett and co-worker Molly Hurley, who says “Tami’s role and my role are limited to review of this project to make sure it meets current codes.”
    .
    Can someone clarify if this project does not appear to meet the just-revised code?

    Comment by Melly Mel — 10:42 pm November 19, 2013 #

  13. Kudos to John Nuler. It takes guts to go against the crowd.

    Comment by Moose — 10:47 pm November 19, 2013 #

  14. “America is firmly on the downswing of car use and car ownership.” LOL Ya, that’s why GM, Ford, Chrysler, VW/Audi, BMW, Toyota, Subaru, Honda and Volvo are all crying over their record sales and stock gains.

    Comment by Mike — 11:10 pm November 19, 2013 #

  15. And when you “car-free” folks start having babies that require hauling around diaper bags, managing binkies that keep falling out, managing a collapsable stroller and then making sure you have to also have blanket to cover your child in that stroller while trying NOT to play a game of “stop and pick up my hat again, Mommy” while you are just trying to get onto one of your beloved buses, you’ll be one of the first ones in line at the nearest car dealership. If you still think you won’t want one then just try and hop a bus a 3 a.m. when your child needs medicine for an earache or a trip to the hospital because of a 104 degree temperature. That, my dear, is the real world the rest of us live in.

    I’ll be keeping my car, thank you very much!

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 11:19 pm November 19, 2013 #

  16. Amen to that, Fauntleroy Fairy!

    Comment by S — 11:55 pm November 19, 2013 #

  17. Fauntleroy Fairy, how true, how true. It’s easy to be a car-free advocate when one is also child-free. Dropping the kids off and picking them up from daycare around tight 8-6 work hours is virtually impossible.

    Comment by evergreen — 12:32 am November 20, 2013 #

  18. Can they make it female tenants only?

    Comment by Glocson — 1:50 am November 20, 2013 #

  19. Seattle is not New York City, or Munich, much as the childless no-car advocates would like to believe. Seattle is in the dark ages when it comes to mass transit, and the preaching is futile; automobiles are a reality in this city, and construction without parking requirements, without efficient mass transit, is just irresponsible planning. All that energy should go into creating and building REAL mass transit, where a person can get from West Seattle to Ballard in less than 10 minutes, where no one has to wait longer than 7 minutes for a bus, train or subway. THEN people will start to abandon their cars. NOT ONE PERSON will abandon his/her car because someone else thinks it’s morally wrong. sheeesh.

    Comment by sidfro — 2:27 am November 20, 2013 #

  20. Imagine our local news if Tracy and staff had to pedal or bus to each news scene. If you don’t need a car, great, but don’t expect everyone to live their lives through “YOUR” set of ideals.

    Comment by 4thgenWS — 6:46 am November 20, 2013 #

  21. 1) I agree that developments that aren’t required to have parking should be put on hold until metro stabilizes bus service. Bus service and parking/no parking should be directly linked and part of the DPD review process.
    2) when the City Council changes the code so radically, as was the case with urban villages & no parking apt developments, they should mandate & fund studies that will measure the impact of the code changes. In this case, how many occupants of these developments own cars. Easy enough to gather the data through the state DOT vehicle registration data base.
    3) to those who wish to file an appeal: I don’t think Tami Garrett & her co-chair are correct in that the slope of the street allows 5 rather than 4 stories; having jumped through that hoop myself in constructing a home, the slope of that street isn’t great enough to allow another 10′.

    Comment by WSeattle Redux — 7:31 am November 20, 2013 #

  22. sidfro-I so agree with you. would love true convenient mass transit from WS. In the meantime-I think many more would take the bus-if they could get to a bus & one that would require the least amount of transfers. For many-that would mean getting to a “hub” so to speak-like the junction. A park n ride or plain old parking structure could be the answer. It would also provide parking for those wanting to shop in the junction. When I’ve mentioned this idea-on the blog-have been told that city/planners/whoever have flat out said no way.
    As to Urban Villages-this concept started long ago-but wouldn’t common sense dictate a re-examining of current situation here in WS? Population, traffic, etc. It makes no sense to build more apartments, condos with 0 parking-expecting those residents to take the bus-then cut bus service!!?? But common sense never seems to be in great supply when it comes to government decision making.
    And by the way-if anyone thinks traffic is horrific now-wait until the viaduct is gone.

    Comment by Gene — 8:14 am November 20, 2013 #

  23. I have a new proposal. If a developer wants to construct a building without parking, how about we require that their contractors/workers take public transportation to the job site along with all of their necessary tools. Seems fair enough to me.

    Comment by redfoxx — 8:36 am November 20, 2013 #

  24. Many of these comments seem to be missing the point that not only is West Seattle changing so is all of Seattle. There are plenty of people who don’t have cars. These car-less people are not asking the rest to live the way they do but are asking for options to live in places that they can walk to and frequent the local merchants that we all love in West Seattle. In many of the West Seattle single family neighborhoods people have two cars and no garage or only a one car garage which they often don’t use. Should every house and business be required to provided parking for residents,workers and customers? A project like this one is not for everyone but will be perfect for some, Change can be good

    Comment by Jack Carson — 8:38 am November 20, 2013 #

  25. Has anybody read a SEPA document? The document is a checklist that in my opinion is cursory, subjective, and generic (generic as the same for rural development to “urban village”). SEPA is for bugs and bunnies, and not for communities… For example, A question in the checklist, “Proposed measures to reduce or control emmissions or impacts to air (quality), if any”. Answer: Provide no parking. So all is good in SEPA World. The City is just checking boxes… I doubt they ever go back and verify their assumptions when codes/regulation/rules are enforced without any more thought than just trying to keep up with Portland…

    Comment by McFail — 8:41 am November 20, 2013 #

  26. Just a reminder for all those folks concerned about transportation. Sound Transit is having a long range planning meeting TOMORROW, the 21st, from 11:30am – 1:30pm at 401 S Jackson. Members of the WSTC will be there, but the more West side voices, the better. And! make sure you have filled out this survey, and asked all of your friends and neighbors in West Seattle to do the same. You have 5 more days!!
    *
    http://soundtransit.publicinvolvement.net/
    *
    And Join us!
    http://www.westseattletc.org/
    *

    Comment by AmandaKH — 8:42 am November 20, 2013 #

  27. I’m not a member of the anti-development brigade, but I agree with them on this one. Even if the residents sign a no-car pledge, they have friends and family who will drive cars to visit them. They’ll have parties. Their circumstances will change (baby, marriage to people with a car, etc.) It’s unenforceable and impractical to assume they won’t have cars ever.
    .
    I think many people would like to live in a neighborhood that lets them leave their car parked much of the time, including for commuting. But to ask that people have no car at all is challenging and not practical for most Seattle neighborhoods.
    .
    Soon West Seattle will look and feel like Capitol Hill, but without the easy access to the downtown corridor. Yuck.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 8:55 am November 20, 2013 #

  28. The attitudes of car advocates versus public transportation advocates have to change – it’s not an us versus them, zero sum situation, and any car driver should want more people to take the bus, even if it costs a little more to register your car. If good public transportation is available and used, your drives to work will be significantly more efficient. Commerce will flow more smoothly if we can find a balance between good public transportation and road efficiency. Many of us do make a choice to use public transit from West Seattle every day, and the more of us that make the choice, the fewer single occupant vehicles on the road with you.

    However, with regard to development in West Seattle, it seems many are unabashedly opposed to all of it. If people weren’t complaining about zero parking, they’d be complaining about a 1 to 1 ratio of spaces to units, and even if there were 2 parking spaces per unit I have no doubt that many of you would still be complaining about development.

    Comment by Traditionalist — 9:09 am November 20, 2013 #

  29. Ugh, this is what I get for not checking the blog this week – I forgot about this meeting, and I live a half block from this crazy project.
    .
    Tracy, if I read this story right, is the Design Review meeting on Dec 5 the only way to provide additional public input at this point? Is it too late to submit a written comment that will actually be considered? (outside of an appeal once it’s already a done deal)
    .
    Taking the bus is great if you can, but as many other commenters have pointed out, life circumstances don’t always make that possible. And as Metro keeps slashing service, it’s becoming even less likely. Don’t get me wrong – I love being able to walk to places in the Junction, and take the bus when I go downtown. But I also have a car that I use for other trips. Expecting that NO ONE in this development will have a car is just what I said above: crazy.

    Comment by LAintheJunction — 9:16 am November 20, 2013 #

  30. Everyone must own a car and drive everywhere. If you don’t you’re not a human and should die! I will chase these carless animals out of west seattle with torches. If they dare step on my lawn that only serves as a patch of green to be stared at I will lynch them in the public square!

    Comment by Hank — 9:25 am November 20, 2013 #

  31. LA – no, you can e-mail the project planner at any time with additional input. tami.garrett@seattle.gov – I should have mentioned that in the story. Comments do go into the public file and keep in mind that even if a specific project isn’t changed, if people last night who vowed to contact City Council, Mayor-Elect Murray, etc., go through with it, comments that are on file are also noted in terms of looking at public sentiment (from any standpoint, pro-no-parking, anti-no-parking, neutral, whatever). It’s kind of like what we always say about reporting even minor crimes to SPD – maybe your case can’t/won’t be solved, but it will show as part of a trend, which could affect staffing/strategy, etc. Take a few minutes, be on the record … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:28 am November 20, 2013 #

  32. One point that seems to get lost in this discussion. Any zoning, including zoning that allows apartments or condos without parking, comes from the city while public transportation (Metro) is provided by the county. Not surprising that they seem to be out of synch.

    Comment by Twobottles — 9:52 am November 20, 2013 #

  33. With the city encouraging us to get out of our cars by discouraging vehicle ownership and fostering the use of K.C. Metro, why is Metro considering service cutbacks? Shouldn’t these two levels of government be working together and not at cross purposes?

    Comment by Bill Bacon — 10:19 am November 20, 2013 #

  34. Kayleigh-exactly! Many may choose to not own/drive a car-& I applaud them. But to think that every person that visits them will take a bus-or that their circumstances might not change in some way is short-sighted at best. When visitors do come-where will they park??
    While many are opposed to any kind of development–that too is short-sighted-it’s going to happen-but why can’t it happen with some consideration for existing neighborhoods & some plain old common sense. I think that’s what most folks are concerned about & to dismiss them as just disgruntled complainers is unfair.

    Comment by Gene — 10:20 am November 20, 2013 #

  35. Apartment buildings without parking spots should only be occupied by tenants without cars. Somehow that would have to be enforced.

    Comment by Matt — 10:21 am November 20, 2013 #

  36. BB – Metro says it will have to cut unless funding is found to replace two big sources that are expiring next year, one of which hits West Seattle especially hard. It has nothing to do with coordination – although it could certainly be argued now that the city rules saying “hey! you’re near frequent transit, so you don’t have to provide parking” should be revisited …

    Comment by WSB — 10:52 am November 20, 2013 #

  37. Hank, it’s not about disliking people with cars. It’s about the reality that people in apartments, on average, likely have more than zero cars. I wonder if there are any survey data out there that break down the average number of cars per apartment in West Seattle, and also within a 0.5-mile radius of the Junction. I used to live in the apartments behind the 7-11, and a lot of the tenants had cars (judging by the full garage and knowing tenants that parked on the nearby streets).

    Comment by s — 10:56 am November 20, 2013 #

  38. P.S. Anybody with Metro-possible-cuts questions, in addition to the Dec. 3rd West Seattle meeting, Metro also has mini-outreach events with info tables, etc., coming up. I just checked their calendar and noticed one in The Junction tomorrow morning, also one ahead @ Westwood (but marked as tentative) … http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/participate.html#calendar

    Comment by WSB — 10:58 am November 20, 2013 #

  39. I’m not important enough to anyone to need a car:(

    Comment by Last53BusRider — 11:26 am November 20, 2013 #

  40. So sad to see this going on. I understand change and boy has WS changed in the last 50 years. Some for the better but this project sounds horrible! We used to live just about four blocks north of the Junction and never had a parking issue. In the past few years however our street has been used for overflow parking for events in the Junction, diners and sometimes WE weren’t even able to find parking in front of our own house! Sad to say we have moved away from a beautiful little community.

    Comment by C — 11:35 am November 20, 2013 #

  41. FREQUENT TRANSIT ZONE
    Tammi Garrett twice made reference to the junction bus stop as a TRANSIT CENTER. A call to Metro yielded some info on this jargon. Many, if not most, “Park & Rides” are considered TRANSIT CENTERS. Metro also calls many smaller bus stops without parking, but where different routes come together and then separate, as TRANSIT CENTERS. Same jargon, different things. no wonder we have a problem.

    The Urban Village concept promotes high density living near TRANSIT CENTERS without differentiating between a P & R or a neighborhood hub like the Junction, WHICH HAS NO PARKING. This is so unfortunate.

    Project planners: look at the REAL context of the site (a NO PARKING TRANSIT CENTER bordering a single family residential neighborhood), exercise responsibility, get creative, and present to the public a beautiful SCALED BACK project that fits the neighborhood (not one that simply follows the max allowable by code – that is irresponsible designing.)
    Thank you.

    Comment by Anne — 11:58 am November 20, 2013 #

  42. It’s a sad statement about our culture that ample parking is the primary concern for our built environment.
    .
    I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by John Nuler at 7:32 in the report. Also, it disturbs me that the public sees fit to pick a fight with this project, when the most vocal of them most likely had absolutely no involvement at the City Council level when the changes to the zoning code were being developed.

    Comment by bada-bing — 12:50 pm November 20, 2013 #

  43. Districts passed the election. We are District 1.

    Tom Rasmussen will be West Seattle’s Councilman unless he his voted out or retires.

    Reach him here:
    Email: tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov
    Phone: 206-684-8808

    Comment by MCJ — 12:55 pm November 20, 2013 #

  44. Why is it so difficult to understand that some people in Seattle don’t own cars and don’t want to PAY MORE for parking they don’t need?
    .
    No one is telling you to give up your car(s), or garages, or single family homes.
    .
    And please rethink your comment about where friends and family who come to visit will park. I can’t park in any of my friend’s gated apartment garages when I go to visit them on Capitol Hill… and where do your visitors park on your street? I am guessing you don’t always have an extra space in your garage or driveway for them to park in.

    Comment by Mickymse — 1:47 pm November 20, 2013 #

  45. How about just SOME parking bada-bing- it’s a legitimate concern as well. No parking means the cars that folks – no matter how many- in those buildings have will be parked in & around existing neighborhoods- that is a concern. You’re also assuming that the most vocal had no involvement at the City Council level– maybe just a tad presumptuous??

    Comment by Anne — 2:03 pm November 20, 2013 #

  46. Regarding the City Council passing this … I wish I had done a better job of covering it but I will note that it was passed in a sheaf of other changes, and even for those few of us reporter types who read every council agenda that comes into their mailboxes, it’s hard to slog through … For an example, check out this 21-page document of code changes proposed for the next Planning Land use Etc. committee meeting. Same kind of thing. I hope to read through the rest of this during a spare moment at some point before 2 am tonight …
    .
    http://clerk.seattle.gov/public/meetingrecords/2013/plus20131122_1a.pdf

    Comment by WSB — 2:06 pm November 20, 2013 #

  47. @Mickymse -
    You can stop paying for my parking spot, when I have to stop paying to subsidize your selected mode of transportation be it bus, Sound Transit, train or bike. My guess is you don’t walk EVERYWHERE……

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 2:07 pm November 20, 2013 #

  48. The visitor factor mentioned by Gene is real. The younger set that would live in these places will have friends, perhaps even carpooling friends, visiting their homes. I’ve experienced the problem of visiting someone on Avalon at night and driving fruitlessly around to find a spot for my 8-month pregnant self. Driving in circles for 15 minutes along with a host of other drivers in the same predicament is NOT green.

    Comment by amisella — 2:22 pm November 20, 2013 #

  49. There is likely a major generational divide here – rapidly increasing numbers of young people just don’t see the point of buying a car. They are big, expensive, depreciating, maintenance-hog investments that return less and less value every passing year (while gas is more, insurance is more, parking is more, etc.). There’s ZipCar, Car2Go, Uber, Lyft, Taxis, Buses, friends… lots and lots of options. And a very rapidly growing number of people don’t see the point of owning a depreciating money hole like a car, given they can get mobility through other means.

    My point is this – there is just a certain mindset that doesn’t understand the difference between having mobility and having a personal car. And people with that mindset will never get it, never want to live in these apartments, and likely avoid cities once they reach a certain density.

    Comment by nullbull — 2:37 pm November 20, 2013 #

  50. What the people need are nice big juicy parking spaces, none of this nonsense!
    Parking Space, a love song – youtube

    Comment by TIna — 2:53 pm November 20, 2013 #

  51. fauntleroyfairy — you need to add highways and roads to your list of subsidized transportation options; they are much more heavily subsidized than public transportation.
    .
    Anne — unless terminology has changed drastically in the last few years, the info you were given is incorrect. Most P&Rs are served by a couple of express routes; there are some P&Rs that are attached to a transit center and are served by several all day routes (i.e. Fed Way, Issaquah, Northgate). These are often fed by local routes with one route providing trunk service to Seattle. Most of the newer TC/P&Rs involve multi-story garages and were funded primarily by Sound Transit(which only operates express bus service or rail service.)
    At best, the bus stops at Alaska Junction are a transit hub or transfer point; keep in mind that the city wrote the bldg. code and may have used a generic term like ‘transit center’ that would cover more than one location.
    The only cuts proposed for RapidRide C Line are for evenings and weekends, so the current frequency will continue during periods of heavy use.

    Comment by metrognome — 3:37 pm November 20, 2013 #

  52. @fauntleroy fairy

    OK. Stop paying to subsidize my families bus trips and you will have to pay more for the two cars that we put on the road. Cars take up space, and in a city like Seattle, which is constrained by water and topography, roads are more expensive. Oh, and while you’re waiting for the additional road capacity, plan on a lower quality of life due to spending more time in congestion and experiencing more air pollution.
    .
    Not spending money on transit is a bad investment. It will cost this city more money in the near and long term. The overwhelming evidence is that non-transit users benefit from transit. The transportation density benefits everyone who uses the roads and breathes air.

    Comment by JB — 3:46 pm November 20, 2013 #

  53. Looks like my old neighborhood in Portland is having some of these same difficulties as well.
    .
    http://www.katu.com/news/local/Micro-apartments-Not-in-our-neighborhood-232744831.html

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 4:28 pm November 20, 2013 #

  54. Umm when I had a car and would visit my friends houses or apartments guess where I would park? On the street! Sad that west Seattleites can’t imagine a world where not everyone drives. Well west seattleites that’s how most of the world is.

    Comment by Hank — 4:30 pm November 20, 2013 #

  55. To expand on the good points that @nullbull made.
    It’s not that younger people don’t like cars, it’s just that they’re being priced out of the car market. With wages stagnant and the cost of living and goods going up each and every year, it makes it too much of a hassle to deal with owning a car.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 4:42 pm November 20, 2013 #

  56. Hello again!

    I never said I wasn’t for subsidizing transit, roads, etc. I was merely responding to a hypocritical (IMO) post by someone who didn’t want to subsidize my mode of transportation, but appears to have no problem with me subsidizing theirs. We all benefit with good roads and lots of good choices for transportation, but let’s be clear, I will not force you into a car if you don’t force me onto a bus.

    As for “quality of life”? I think you should just worry about yours, mine’s fine thanks.

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 6:20 pm November 20, 2013 #

  57. Park on your own property. If you can’t, get over it.

    Comment by JesseD — 7:01 pm November 20, 2013 #

  58. “We’ve built our landscape in a way that forces many of us to rely on cars at a great cost to our quality of life” — you said it: “forces.” So quit blaming.

    And it’s not a generational trait — it’s a job and work location trait.

    BTW, still going to be so against cars when they are all electric?

    Comment by LivesInWS — 7:17 pm November 20, 2013 #

  59. Common sense should tell you that when you run out of parking the carry over effect is folks will no longer come to WS resulting in businesses lacking patrons.

    Comment by Lonnie S — 8:18 pm November 20, 2013 #

  60. I was at the meeting last night, and found it frustrating listening to the ladies from DPD as they clearly had no power or real interest in listening to the citizens.

    They did share some troubling numbers with us about the units being 300sf with cooking facilities and a bath; when asked how many people could occupy a unit that small they believed up to 8… Shouldn’t be legal and can’t be an asset to our neighborhood.

    I am not against development at all, but I am troubled with the complete lack of concern for established, property tax paying citizens who have made the area their home; sometimes for generations. And it is not that they are NIMBY either, some genuinely love the area and hate to see greed of a few ruin a community. The cheap and aesthetically devoid developments sprouting up are as shameful as the action of our local government and city officials. No thought or consideration is actually put into how these developments fit into our community. And apparently a SEPA review is not necessary for most everything going up these days.Those who believe in density for density sake are either working for or getting paid by the developers; and if not getting paid have been totally dooped.

    One last thought for the “just build it” minded individuals. The large development nearly complete on 42nd and Oregon is located where 3 single family houses used to be. Does it cross anyone else’s mind that the infrastructure to support so many is not and can not sustain this area without impacting quality of life for all who live here.How long before going to the beach will go from being an enjoyable activity with family and friends to signage stating due to the amount of sewage in the Sound they advise you to keep away from the water.Yes, destiny and developers are dandy; if only the WS bridge would effect their payday as much as it effects the residents just trying to go to work and make an honest living.

    Comment by HonestlyConcerned — 8:49 pm November 20, 2013 #

  61. I think the one thing we can all agree on is we need better mass transit to West Seattle.
    .
    Please respond to this Sound Transit survey, just a few days left to comment.
    http://soundtransit.publicinvolvement.net/
    .
    Can you believe that we’re not even included in ST’s long-term plans for light rail? That’s just nuts, we’re the ideal location for light rail! Dense and hard to get to. Please respond to the survey and make sure they hear our West Seattle voice.

    Comment by JVP — 9:22 pm November 20, 2013 #

  62. Leave it up to J Nuler to be the ultimate NIMBY yapper at the meeting. The guy has a what’s-right-for-every-neighborhood attitude that conveniently never includes his own because he DOESN’T live remotely close to the projects he routinely potificates on. Sounds as if this Junction apartment is his latest cause celeb. The other was the Delridge DESC building.
    -
    Any time I hear someone such as Nuler speak out in support or opposition to something I immediately think of their proximity or level of skin in the game. It is all well and good for apartments with no parking or addict housing to be built as long as it doesn’t affect the Nuler NIMBYS of West Seattle.

    Comment by D I D — 9:23 pm November 20, 2013 #

  63. The issue here is exactly the same as for the 6917 California SW proposal. With the proposed Metro bus cuts, this land use loophole for developers will only leave local residents scrambling for parking. The City Council must address this zoning requirement in the era of budget cuts to Metro, which have already happened. We live on Beach Drive, where the 37 has almost been eliminated, and will be if the current budget cuts go through. Current Council land use assumptions are NOT based on current METRO budget funding. Transit budget reductions will likely shift people back to their cars, making this land-use policy assumption invalid. Before more units of this type are approved, there should be careful coordination with transit funding over the long-run.

    Comment by Bill & Margi Beyers — 9:36 pm November 20, 2013 #

  64. JVP, thank you for the reminder. We will call that out again before time runs out.
    .
    Bill/Margi, speaking of comments, there is one week remaining in the extended-by-citizen-request comment period for that project. It’ll be in our next development report, which will be tomorrow, since we’re on School Board watch right now and it’s running extremely late…

    Comment by WSB — 9:44 pm November 20, 2013 #

  65. A lot of these stupid decisions were made by the Seattle City Council. At our recent election, I decided to vote against all incumbent city council members. How many of them were defeated? One. We keep putting the same people back in office, and then we complain. Complain with your vote.

    Comment by artsea — 7:37 am November 21, 2013 #

  66. “WE weren’t even able to find parking in front of our own house! Sad to say we have moved away from a beautiful little community.”

    I still don’t understand this attitude. You have no rights to the curb space in front of your house. If you want parking right in front of your house, buy a place with a garage. You have no more right to space in front of your house than any other person who wants to park in the neighborhood, for whatever reason they are there.

    Comment by Jic — 9:42 pm November 21, 2013 #

  67. So park a few blocks away and walk. If you are handicapped, get a handicap parking space designated in front of your home/business. We used to build cathedrals, temples and monuments. Now the only temples you see being built are for cars (have you seen that spectacular new one at the airport?) The car-worshippers have lots of money for that. You really want one of those in West Seattle? Why don’t they find money for the dedicated bus lanes all the way to downtown and SODO Link Station that West Seattle so desparately needs? Now. But the car lobbyists in our fair city won’t allow that. Even though it would make more room on the streets for their cars if people had the choice of fast, frequent and convenient transit.

    Comment by Kathy — 8:57 am November 22, 2013 #

  68. Hear hear Nuler, CJboffoli and others. We are talking about a development 1 block from the intersection that is the epicenter of WS. Density is exactly what we need to support a vibrant junction with all the great shops and restaurants we love. To expect parking will be free and plentiful there is unreasonable. To expect you can live within blocks of the junction and have “your” street parking spot in front of your house is unreasonable. (Alki residents know this already.) If you require ample free parking within crawling distance from your home/business/shopping (even on the street) there are a number of neighborhoods in WS you can have just that, but it’s not going to be the Junction.

    Comment by AlkiKirsty — 10:01 am November 22, 2013 #

  69. Fun, frustrating conversation. Let’s put in a monorail…

    Comment by AO — 10:23 am November 22, 2013 #

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