West Seattle development notes/updates: Charlestown Café site project and more

January 16, 2014 at 11:11 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

Five West Seattle development notes this morning:

FIRST LOOK AT EARLY DESIGN FOR EX-CHARLESTOWN CAFE SITE: After tonight’s unrelated doubleheader, the Southwest Design Review Board‘s next scheduled meeting is now set for January 30th (instead of the originally published 23rd), and 3824 California SW, proposing 30 townhouses and live-work units for the ex-café site, with 30 parking spaces, is one of the projects (here’s the official notice). We first told you about the plan last June, but there was no public hint of the design until now – its Early Design Guidance packet is available online for public perusal; see it here. Remember that this stage is just the “size and shape” (massing) stage; what you see above is the developer’s preferred massing – light blue represents live-works facing California, darker masses are townhouses behind them – pending discussion at the meeting two weeks from tonight, which also includes Early Design Guidance for 4505 42nd SW, 50 apartments and 16 parking spaces (here’s that official notice).

3005 HARBOR AVENUE: Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin announces the land-use application for 3005 Harbor Avenue SW (map), proposing a four-story, 8-residential-unit project replacing an 97-year-old house. Comments are being accepted through January 29th; you can use this form, linked from the application notice, if you’re interested in commenting.

6536 24th SW: This potential eight-house site (map) was first mentioned here last month. Today’s LUIB includes formal notice that comments are being accepted for the proposal to split its two parcels into eight.

TWO MORE FORMAL DESIGN-REVIEW NOTICES: Both mentioned here before, but in case you missed them, from today’s LUIB, the official notices for two projects that return to the SW Design Review Board on February 6th – 4400 SW Alaska and 3210 California SW.

2 HOUSES AFTER A LOT SPLIT: This has NOT hit the LUIB yet, but a new land-use application is in for two houses on the site of one at 4022 19th SW (map), where a lot-boundary adjustment was approved last year.

35 Comments

  1. Blah blah blah…PARKING PARKING PARKING…TOO MANY PEOPLE…LOUD NOISES…Blah blah blah…TRAFFIC, BUSES…(lather rinse repeat)

    Comment by WS Taxpayer — 11:22 am January 16, 2014 #

  2. YEA! more rabbit hutches.

    Comment by SrslySharon — 12:20 pm January 16, 2014 #

  3. 30 townhouses? No stopping “progress.” On the plus side, my kids will never have to suffer through their mom dragging them all over her childhood neighborhood, telling stories and prattling on about how it used to be. It’ll be too depressing to even come back here. You win, Californians! Seattle is yours.

    Comment by Rebecca — 1:43 pm January 16, 2014 #

  4. Welcome to Ballard.

    Comment by maplesyrup — 1:50 pm January 16, 2014 #

  5. Hopefully they will build these as close to the curb as physically possible…Why not squeeze in as many townhouses as you can, right?

    Barf!

    (and I live in a townhouse)

    Comment by Maggie — 2:28 pm January 16, 2014 #

  6. These NIMBY attitudes are really getting old. I’m so tired of hearing all the negative comments related to the densification of WS. Seattle is a growing city and change is inevitable. Most of Seattle is unrecognizable from what it was 50 years ago. If you want different move to Detroit or some other stagnant city in the Midwest. The Seattle economy is growing, that means more jobs, and these people need a place to live that is close to downtown. I agree that parking and traffic need to be addressed, but you can’t stop growth.

    Comment by WS Dawg — 2:38 pm January 16, 2014 #

  7. Let’s hope that this developement will follow suit as the builders did across the street and provide realistic off street parking spaces for tenats. That is a huge space you think they could have come up with some sort of court yard design and do a green village!! Oh well another litter box on the AVE!

    Comment by Silly Goose — 2:40 pm January 16, 2014 #

  8. Neighbors east of California Ave.. say good bye to the street parking you used to enjoy.
    .
    City of Seattle, hire more parking enforcement.. people are not giving up their cars, they are parking longer and more creatively (illegally) .. camping for more than 3 days, parking too close/blocking firehydrants, driveways, crosswalks, etc ..
    .
    Growth is inevitable but I think people get sick of it when there are these poor designs and piss poor planning by the city. For example, green lighting development but closing elementary schools like they did a few years ago. Now schools are at double or triple capacity.
    .
    A more recent example is greenlighting development but cutting bus service with drastic plans to cut more in 2015 unless we pony up $ ..
    We still had bumper to bumper traffic when gas was almost $5 a gallon a few years ago and when the US was in a recession. People aren’t giving up thier cars.. to allow development that doesn’t address this or when there is no mass transit option in place is insane!
    .
    People have a right to be pissed! And going to a design review meeting wont do SQUAT!

    Comment by enough — 3:36 pm January 16, 2014 #

  9. One positive note, maybe the Charlestown Cafe development will force the police cruise car rancher to finally give it up. That guy has been storing 4+ vehicles on California Ave and Bradford for about 10 years that I know of. Public parking spaces are not for personal storage. I’ve filed abandonded vehicle forms on that guy for atleast 5 years and he’s still doing it. I know other neighbors have filed them as well.

    Comment by enough — 3:43 pm January 16, 2014 #

  10. I get tired of the NIMBY thing too.

    I grew up on an island where the newcomers (relative to me) would constantly gripe. “I moved to this place to get away from it all, and these people are ruining it”!

    Ever think that YOU might have “ruined it” for someone else?

    Pull up the drawbridge but only after I have crossed!

    Comment by Smitty — 3:45 pm January 16, 2014 #

  11. Regarding the 4400 Alaska and 3210 California projects, does anybody actually use the “live/work” spaces?

    Comment by Mark — 4:45 pm January 16, 2014 #

  12. What a misuse of prime WS real estate. The developer’s goal is to cram as many bldgs as possible on a small piece of land for the highest return. Seattle piggybacks on that w/more tax revenues to squander. WS lacks the infrastruction (roadways, parking, transit) to support the over-development of land.

    Comment by Seattlite — 4:47 pm January 16, 2014 #

  13. Of course the developer is putting as many units as are allowed. Welcome to the USA, est. 1776. Hello, capitalism, hello supply and demand! If you want to really price out younger people even more and those who don’t make much money, just keep putting the brakes on supply.

    Comment by JW — 5:04 pm January 16, 2014 #

  14. The growth is a given. People need housing units, so they’re being constructed by developers who only build when they can make a profit. (However, spare me the “if there’s no parking it will be more affordable housing!” argument. Capitalism’s market forces allow rental rates which may not be “affordable” to most, regardless of the availability of car space.)

    But why can’t this city commit to some sort of public transit? Sure, it’s challenging with our geography. But here in Seattle we’re super smart, right? That’s why we have all these high-falutin’ tech firms! We build cutting-edge airplanes (or…we used to…). Amazon lives here, and I hear they control the USA online retail world.

    We need viable options to our old-school “one person – one car” paradigm. Growth + adequate transportation = liveable Seattle.

    Comment by AP — 5:26 pm January 16, 2014 #

  15. Money talks people. The developers goal is to make MONEY. And yes, a general misuse of prime real estate @Seattlite. These will continue to go up unless we can pass legislation opposing micro housing, get it on the ballot and change the zoning rights/regs. Not sure if it was McSchwinn or Nickels that approved the rezoning of land throughout WS. And we think the traffic is bad now… (I have a ~5 mile commute to work and it takes me 40-50 minutes some mornings) I was born and raised WS and to see how this place is transforming hurts, it’s tragic. What will these places look like in 20-30 years…IMHO there’s just no character.

    Your truly,

    Sadness in (W) Seattle

    Comment by WSoriginal — 5:33 pm January 16, 2014 #

  16. quite disgusted at some of the attitudes here….breeders? really?

    I realize this is just preliminary, but that looks like a helluva lot of housing for that piece of land…

    Comment by JanS — 5:37 pm January 16, 2014 #

  17. Just noticed that particular insult used; comment deleted. Sorry, name-calling is not acceptable here, including name-calling for someone’s reproducing status, or nonstatus for that matter, any more than for race, gender, size, sexual orientation, among others. If you would like to make a point, do so without name-calling. Speak to the point. And the population growth in our area, for that matter, is not coming through childbearing. The U.S. rate has been below replacement rate for six years now. http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/06/news/economy/birth-rate-low/
    It’s coming because people are moving here. (As did we, full disclosure, 23 years ago.)
    .
    Regarding a “lot of housing” for that site. It is certainly 100 percent more housing than was there before. For context’s sake, it also is less than what was once proposed – it’s been a while since I’ve run through the 3824 California site’s history again, but it’s gone through other development proposals that did not go through. One was a single-story PETCO that was scrapped even before the Charlestown Café went out of business. The first proposal post-café was a mixed-use building with about 100 units: http://westseattleblog.com/2011/04/charlestown-cafe-sites-future-apartments-new-cafe-new-zoning/

    Comment by WSB — 6:10 pm January 16, 2014 #

  18. Hahaha, each town home is as wide as a parking spot. No joke.

    Comment by Mike — 7:06 pm January 16, 2014 #

  19. My only concern is people walking on the bike path and off leash dogs on the beach.

    Comment by Guy — 7:44 pm January 16, 2014 #

  20. I liked the Pet Co. idea better

    Comment by trevor — 7:48 pm January 16, 2014 #

  21. Well, they could have crammed more units in and it could’ve been taller. I’m glad they didn’t go that direction, because the neighbors to the east would’ve lost a lot of light. As it is, their street will be packed with cars.

    I’d like to see the property set back from the curb a little more so something green can grow. And the corner could be jazzed up, too. The building that sits diagonal to this one (housing Budget Cuts, etc.) looks a lot better. Yes, I’ll be at the DRB mtg later this month.

    Comment by NeighborMom — 8:11 pm January 16, 2014 #

  22. “These NIMBY attitudes are really getting old. I’m so tired of hearing all the negative comments related to the densification of WS. Seattle is a growing city and change is inevitable. Most of Seattle is unrecognizable from what it was 50 years ago. If you want different move to Detroit or some other stagnant city in the Midwest. ”

    Completely agree. I also love the fact that the NIMBY folks are complaining about losing their free street parking in front of their property as if they own it. Unless you have a garage or a driveway on your property you have no claim to parking directly in front of your home. Give it a rest. And if it’s that big of an issue for you, leave. There are plenty of people who are willing to take your place on this community. They are the very people you are complaining about moving here last I checked.

    Comment by Jc — 10:36 pm January 16, 2014 #

  23. I’m not anti-development, I’m anti UGLY development, which this appears to be (the Charlestown site).

    Comment by Jerald — 10:48 pm January 16, 2014 #

  24. If you build 50 units then there needs to be 50 parking spaces.

    Comment by S — 8:17 am January 17, 2014 #

  25. I too dislike the attitude that some have- you know, that things have to stay EXACTLY the same as X years ago. I don’t mind development as long as it has accompanying infrastructure, sufficient parking and last but most importantly, enhances neighborhood value.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 8:27 am January 17, 2014 #

  26. How does live/work units work? I mean is it a term that is being thrown around or is it actual commercial use spaces? If so, 6-8 of those spots will need to be dedicated for handicap spaces (including van accessible).

    Comment by McFail — 9:32 am January 17, 2014 #

  27. It’s not just development, it’s the lack of transportation that people resent.
    .
    For at least 30 years now, this city has been run by benighted, obtuse busybodies obsessed with a utopian fantasy about “getting people out of their cars.”
    .
    They simply refuse to face the reality that more people ALWAYS bring more cars!
    .
    Their retrograde transportation plans like road diets and sharrows are not only insanely dangerous but patently stupid–even a child would see the danger of putting a bike lane in the middle of a car lane!
    .
    On top of that, they waste, waste waste money. $Millions for protracted “studies,” $billions for a tunnel that will actually REDUCE lane capacity!
    .
    Not to mention their “alternate” modes of transportation like the water taxi, which is a huge pork-barrel project subsidized by millions of tax dollars each year.
    .
    No other US or European city can even approach the levels of transportation dysfunctionality and stupidity we have here.

    Comment by JoAnne — 11:56 am January 17, 2014 #

  28. Water Taxi operating costs = $6 million/year. Fares bring in $2 million. They’re going up again in March – cash fares will rise March 1st to $4.75 for West Seattle run (one-way), $5.50 Vashon (one-way). That brings farebox recovery to almost 30 percent, higher than Metro buses according to what I have found.

    Comment by WSB — 12:38 pm January 17, 2014 #

  29. WSB – With all due respect, maybe the OPERATING costs are $6M/year, the last time that I looked,the King County Ferry District budget was for over
    $25M/year. The Ferry District exists to provide ferry services which DUPLICATE existing subsidized
    transportation services! How many bus trips could be added for that $25M/year? I don’t know if that $25M/year includes the enormous Federal Subsidy that the County receives for the construction of new ferries.

    Comment by flynlo — 12:58 pm January 17, 2014 #

  30. Flynlo, most of that is the cost of the two new vessels, yes. One-time cost. There are other capital costs in the budget plan. But the actual operating cost is $6 million in the current budget, and fares bring in $2 million. Whether that is “enormous” or “massive” is totally subjective, I do my best to avoid adjectives, but throwing out some facts. That’s all the research I have time for at the moment but it is also pointed out that roads are heavily subsidized, etc., and as a driver, I am not paying even a fraction of the costs of maintaining massive networks of roads available for me to use with no further charge …

    Comment by WSB — 1:20 pm January 17, 2014 #

  31. JoAnne, I’m in total agreement – the willing blindness and fatuous stupidity is amazing. But hey, we’re #1 in something!

    Comment by WestofJunction — 1:23 pm January 17, 2014 #

  32. JoAnne, since the population of the city is growing, and as you do not seem to support alternative modes of transportation, what’s your plan for addressing congestion and increasing mobility?

    Comment by Moose — 2:32 pm January 17, 2014 #

  33. JoAnne — I wholeheartedly agree w/you. Fragile political egos also seem to be a problem. No one admits that it could possibly be a big mistake to overdevelop WS or other neighborhoods w/out first addressing the transit problem and infrastructure (roadways) needs. America still loves cars. People are getting smarter on conserving gas (walking, biking). A high % of households (homes, apts, apods, condos) have more than one car. Hence, parking problem.

    Comment by Seattlite — 5:16 pm January 17, 2014 #

  34. The thing that they always seem to leave out of these townhouse & live/work proposals (besides parking) is a plan for all the waste bins. If you’ve ever driven down a townhouse alley on a trash day (or after a windy night) you might know what I’m talking about.

    I would imagine that for the Charlestown spot, bins would go in the alley. Picture 3 bins per unit (garbage, recycling, compost) in the teeny strip of alley along with all the cars sardined in.

    It looks like they’ve got a designated dumpster area for the Charlestown project but how does that work when these are individually-owned units that don’t have an HOA? Does the city provide dumpsters and just split the bill based on your address/scenario?

    Comment by Keith — 4:31 pm January 18, 2014 #

  35. FWIW the trash arrangement is always part of design review. It’s in the design packet, the board asks about it, members of the public usually bring it up. In the 3078 Avalon Way discussion the other night, one neighbor wanted to make sure the containers weren’t going INTO the alley but would have their own spot alongside it …

    Comment by WSB — 5:07 pm January 18, 2014 #

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