By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We first wrote about it in December, and then again when the city formally published notice of that application on January 16th. That notice launched a comment period that now has been extended two weeks by request of neighbors, until February 12th.
Though this application only covers the proposed lot-splitting, city files (as mentioned in our previous reports) include plans for eight homes on those proposed eight lots. The creek runs through the front yard of homes across the street, neighbor Cyndie Rokicki points out, sharing this version of the same view as the top photo, when the water runs high in heavy rain:
She says, “The creek has gone over the banks and flooded the road 6 out of the 8 years that I have lived here. While at flood state, we are unable to get in or out of our property. My concern is, what the impact of cutting a road to establish access to the subdivision (which has an extreme slope which runs directly into the creek) will have on the already bad flooding situation, not to mention the effect of 8 more homeowners’ ability to reach their property during the flooding.”
She says she’s been leading a years-long effort to develop plans to improve the culverts and banks, but those proposals didn’t include effects of that site turning into a subdivision, since that plan has just emerged now. The plans to deal with the flooding started with extensive research through the city, and she shares some backstory: “My contact at the city got me in touch with several non-profit groups that deal with environmental issues like ours. We joined forces with Mid Sound Fisheries. Over the past 4 years we have been working with them to try and develop a plan to improve the condition of the creek and to deal with the continued flooding. Mid Sound Fisheries was able to procure a grant that was used to hire Geo Engineers to research the problem and come up with a plan.
“This plan involves the replacement of the undersized current culverts which are under the driveways of the four homes on the west side of the 6500 block of 24th Ave SW as well as widening the channel of the creek to improve the water flow and planting vegetation to stabilize the banks. As of now we have a design proposal ready to take to the DPD and other agencies. However, these designs were done with the current conditions of water flow to the creek. If the property across the street is allowed to develop the site as they currently plan to, by directing all runoff into the creek, I don’t know that the design we have made for the creek restoration will accommodate that much additional water.” She says the proposed development’s site owner attended one neighborhood meeting but didn’t mention the lot-splitting/home-building plan. (The project documents online include a drainage report that says concerns will be mitigated via trees, 2,900 square feet of permeable pavement, and “green stormwater infrastructure” – 660 square feet of “bioretention.”)
She’s also concerned about wildlife, including eagles that nest on the site, and adds, “At least part if not all of the property is currently zoned environmentally critical due to the flood plan and wetlands on the property. The damage to this already unstable ecosystem that would be caused by the construction equipment alone is immeasurable.”
Comments on the lot-splitting proposal can be sent via this form, which is linked from the original January 16th notice. Rokicki says another neighbor has informational signs on her property with details on how to comment and postcards that can be mailed.
SIDE NOTE: This is one of at least three sites within a few blocks where multi-home developments are possible on or near the creek. To the north, a new listing touts 6504 24th SW as a half-acre with one home plus three additional lots that were split off a decade ago. To the south, 6941 24th SW is also listed for sale – one acre of land holding one house; the listing notes, “Short plat to build up to 7 homes in addition to the existing home.” City records show a previous proposal to do that was canceled in 2011.