West Seattle, Washington
Tomorrow morning at 9:30 am, the City Council’s Transportation Committee revisits the “alley vacation” request for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, the mixed-use project now named The Whittaker. Four weeks have passed since March 11, when the committee held the required-by-law public hearing but decided to postpone a vote until some questions could be answered (WSB as-it-happened coverage here). While tomorrow’s meeting is not an official public hearing, it will begin with a public-comment session. Meantime, six West Seattleites sent City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the committee, one more plea not to advance the alley vacation, and detailed concerns about the project and process. It is in essence their response to his response to those who sent him comments and concerns, as reported here on March 14th.
RE: ALLEY VACATION PETITION FOR THE 4755 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL
Dear Councilmember Rasmussen:
Thank you for the explanation of your analysis of the proposed development at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW in West Seattle. We appreciate the time you took to listen and respond to community inquiries about this proposal. We continue to be concerned about several aspects of this proposal presented during public testimony by the developer and others that appear to be in error. This letter is sent to ensure that the record is accurate and that our concerns are appropriately considered.
Triangle Plan – First, we want to make it clear, we are not opposed to redevelopment of this site within the applicable zoning code requirements. We also feel strongly about adherence to the Triangle Plan because this is a legacy decision that our community will live with for 50 to 75 years (at a minimum). The community, including residents, businesses owners, and other interested parties, dedicated significant time and effort to making the Triangle Plan the best guidance possible for the life of the planning area. Attached is an analysis of concerns we have with the proposed development’s compliance with the Triangle Plan in Exhibit A – Triangle Plan.
Public Benefit – We understand the alley vacation is not a “giving” of the public right-of-way to the property owner, but a market rate sale. We hold that public property is a limited resource that should not be sold or otherwise transferred out of public ownership without substantial public benefit being achieved. To that end, we sought, without success, a Community Benefit Agreement with the developer that would establish terms of the benefits accruing to the community from such transfer. We remain concerned that some of the benefits identified by the developer to justify the alley vacation are standard requirements under the Seattle Municipal Code and should not, therefore, be counted toward the benefit required for vacating public right-of-way. Please see the full discussion in Exhibit B – Public Benefit.
Community Outreach – Members of the community have been actively involved in the review of this project since first presented in 2012. We appreciate that the developer made presentations at meetings with the community. We are concerned that on Page 5 of the developers March 11, 2014 presentation to the Transportation Committee, many of the Community Outreach Meetings listed with a particular group actually involved only one or two members associated with that group. Further, the meetings were held in conjunction with members of other groups. The developer has by accident or design overstated their outreach to the West Seattle community. This is important because it may appear that a particular group or board has supported the project, when in reality that group or board never saw a presentation. Please see full discussion in Exhibit C – Community Outreach.
Traffic Impacts – We also are concerned about the lack of a more robust traffic analysis for the retail component. In May of 2013, we submitted to the Seattle Design Commission (SDC) the attached pictures and vehicle counts of actual delivery truck traffic patterns and conflicts associated with the Whole Foods located in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood. We also provided the SDC with a copy of the USDOT/WSDOT-sponsored study of truck traffic at Puget Sound grocery stores, which showed that even at conventional grocery stores, freight deliveries are much more frequent than project proponents assume. We ask that you look carefully at these highly relevant comparisons because they do not comport with the traffic analysis relied on by the Seattle Department of Transportation in making its recommendations to the City Council on this development. There is also additional analysis available from work done by Ross Tilghman, P.E, who is now a member of the Seattle Design Commission. Please see Exhibit D – Traffic Impacts.
Review Process – Much has been made of the project reviews before the Southwest Design Review Board (SWDRB) and the Seattle Design Commission. We attended all of the public meetings and we believe that these reviews were much more tentative than characterized in public testimony. The SWDRB was not unanimous in its final approval. The SDC conditionally approved the vacation, and had scheduled an administrative review of a key design condition prior to the alley vacation hearing. But that review was cancelled purportedly because the developers were not ready to provide updated plans. This is consistent with what happened to the public as this proposal moved forward, i.e., the chance for public review continually shifted, and our comment opportunities diminished. Please see Exhibit E – Review Process.
Finally, we believe the inaccuracies and insufficiencies in the public record are enough to ask the City Council to pause in its deliberations. Pretty drawings and clever naming does not change a poor development into a good one. If this developer has the staying power to do a development that provides the legacy and cornerstone project the West Seattle community is looking for, there is no need to rush this forward. We believe there are sufficient reasons to hit the pause button and make sure the record is clear and correct before you proceed.
Thank you for your consideration.
West Seattle Residents:
Diane Rose Vincent
C: Seattle City Council
Mayor Ed Murray
Exhibits: Exhibit A – Triangle Plan
Exhibit B – Public Benefit
Exhibit C – Community Outreach
Exhibit D – Traffic Impacts
Exhibit E – Review Process
This remembrance sent to us by a friend of Roberta Weak, gone at 82, includes a message especially meaningful on a beautiful evening like this:
Roberta Arlene Weak was born in Beatrice, Nebraska on August 18, 1931. She passed away on March 18, 2014. She is survived by 11 brothers and sisters and 3 cats.
She lived in West Seattle for the past 25 years, but had lived all over the US while working and exploring in Europe and hiking in Nepal. She loved to tell stories of hiking on Mt. Tamalpais in California, cooking classes with Julia Child in Boston, rescuing and providing homes for many cats that had been abandoned, attending the Fremont Solstice Parade, volunteering in schools to help kids and of course cheering on her Boston Celtics.
Roberta gave to others all of her life. Her motto was to “get out and LIVE! No matter what you do – ENJOY LIFE!”
Roberta was an inspiration to all who met her. Not to be deterred by her Parkinson’s, she exercised every day either at the YMCA Silver Sneakers or at home riding her recumbent bike. Her hope was that friends would take time to gather together, tell stories and celebrate that part of her life they had shared. Have a dark chocolate Dove bar in her honor.
Her final wish: “Stop the VIOLENCE – Be kind to people and pets.”
(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Quick update: We’re just about to leave the King County Courthouse after a second day of awaiting a verdict in the murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers. The jury has gone home after deliberating all day Friday and all day today, and is due back at 9 am.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ever wish for advance alert of an upcoming meteor shower/eclipse/etc. – and/or wonder “What’s that bright ‘star’ up there?” This should help. It’s our periodic feature by West Seattle’s own Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen, famed for her solstice/equinox sunset watches, among other things.
By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog
We’re getting into stargazing weather again, and the Sun’s been active this week, leading to tantalizing chances for aurorae – though I haven’t actually seen one. That’s not what’s most exciting about this month, though: This month we will have a total lunar eclipse, and (depending on the weather) the entire thing will be visible from West Seattle.
(Diagram by Fred Espenak via MrEclipse.com, licensed via Creative Commons)
Date: The night of Monday April 14, 2014 to early morning on Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Time: 10:58 pm-2:33 am
The Cool Part: 12:07 am-1:25 am
What is a lunar eclipse?
Thanks to tipster “Gatewood Guy” for reporting a liquor-license-application sighting on the door at the former Stitch and Sew Studio (now consolidated with parent West Seattle Fabric Company in Admiral). West Seattle winery Viscon Cellars confirms to WSB that the 5910-B California SW storefront is its future tasting room. Proprietor Ben Viscon says they’re going through “the permitting process … and some minor construction inside the location,” so no projected opening date just yet. Once open, he says, they’ll pour wines from the VC label, offering wine by the glass/bottle: “All of our wines are made in West Seattle, utilizing grapes from premier growers in Eastern Washington. Our vision is to bring the Urban Winery and Tasting Room concept to our neighbors. We have lived in West Seattle for over 18 years and are committed to bring the goodness of Washington wine grapes to our community.” They hope the tasting room will be a “neighborhood gathering place” for wine lovers and the wine-curious, including those who might want to “bring in food to enjoy with our wines while visiting with friends,” and that it will support “private events for small groups.” (WSB file photo from January)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Now that Alki Auto has moved into its new Luna Park home, its former beachfront site’s future has been confirmed: Blue Moon Burgers is indeed opening on Alki.
As reported here last month – when we first learned that the auto shop was moving – although the city website said a restaurant was moving in, with BMB proprietor Charlie Olson‘s name on the permit, he wasn’t ready to comment on whether that was the plan.
Now he is, so we just talked with him by phone to get the details:
Alki will be the fourth Blue Moon Burgers location, after South Lake Union, Fremont, and Capitol Hill.
Blue Moon’s distinctive features, according to Olson, include:
We’re heading into what might be the warmest day so far this year – but it’ll be a while before the majestic Olympics lose their winter caps. Thanks to James Bratsanos for the photo! Highlights from today’s lineup on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
FREE CO-WORKING: Check out the new home of West Seattle’s only co-working space, WS Office Junction (WSB sponsor), today – free co-working from 9:30 am to 5 pm: Bring your laptop and lunch! (6040 B California SW)
‘JOURNEYS THROUGH MUSLIM LANDS’ OPENS: New exhibit at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor)’s art gallery, which is open today 10 am-4 pm – read about it in our calendar listing. The gallery is in Brockey Center on the south end of campus. (6000 16th SW)
VOLUNTEER WITH THE WHALE TRAIL: The West Seattle-founded organization is recruiting new volunteers, as its educational mission extends further along the West Coast “Whale Trail.” Tonight, find out how you can help by checking out a volunteer meeting at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library, 6:30 pm (the meeting is for prospective AND current volunteers). You’re asked to RSVP by e-mailing email@example.com. (2306 42nd SW)
FREE GARDENING WORKSHOP: “Gardening 101 for everyone!” as described here. Part of the “Family Matters’ series at Fauntleroy Church – all welcome to the workshop in the Fellowship Hall. (9130 California SW)
HI-YU MEETING: 7 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, West Seattle Hi-Yu needs you! From secretary Kristin Botuchis:
Meet the two young ladies and one young man who are candidates for the 2014 Senior Court and hear about our upcoming events, including:
May 3 Community Breakfast and Talent Show
May 18 Annual Spring Tea, Auction, and Coronation
We have many volunteer opportunities available including a strip-the-float party coming up April 12th, so even if you cannot make the meeting please let us know if you can help.
Contact info is at westseattlehiyu.com. (42nd/Hanford)
And a friendly reminder:
WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY REGISTRATION CONTINUES: Be part of our region’s biggest Community Garage Sale Day (which we have coordinated since its 4th year – this is now year 10!) by selling and/or shopping on Saturday, May 10th! If you’re going to be a seller, registration is open now – please sign up ASAP via the link you’ll find here.
All’s well so far this morning. Above, the eastbound West Seattle Bridge; below, northbound 99 at the south end of the remaining elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct:
Any time of day/night, you can find more cameras, and other info, on the WSB Traffic page.
The Paris-based parent company of the Lafarge facility along the West Seattle shore of the Duwamish River is merging with another global cement giant, Holcim. The “merger of equals” was announced in Europe early today, three days after the companies disclosed they were talking about joining forces. No Washington state holdings for Holcim, according to its website. Too soon to say what it might mean for local facilities like this one, aside from the company changing its name to LafargeHolcim. Given the size of the merger, regulatory approvals aren’t expected until next year at the earliest.
(Photo courtesy Jason Grotelueschen)
On fields all around West Seattle, Sunday was opening day of West Seattle Soccer Club‘s “World Cup” spring season – 67 games played on fields from Alki in the north to Roxhill in the south.
(BU-8 Holland vs. Germany at Roxhill; this photo and next, courtesy of WSSC)
(GU-10 at Walt Hundley Playfield)
This was the first of eight Sundays in the season (excluding Easter Sunday and the Sunday before Memorial Day).