Rezone concerns, crime stats, more @ Fauntleroy Community Association

The Fauntleroy Community Association board just wrapped up tonight’s monthly meeting at its usual location, the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, where more than 15 people crowded into the conference room, several drawn by the biggest topic on the agenda – this site about a block west:

REZONE PROPOSAL: We broke the news two weeks ago about an early-stage proposal to rezone and redevelop 9250 45th SW in the heart of Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district. Since then, two FCA board members have talked with the site’s owners to find out more.

Treasurer Alexis Zolner recapped the discussion: The owners are West Seattle and Tacoma residents. “Their goal is to build … a 5-story building. The first floor they envision as retail (with a) ceiling height (required by city code) of 13 feet. The second floor (is envisioned as) offices, and a doctor has contacted them and expressed interest in putting a practice in that building. Floors three through five would be apartments … ranging from between 400 to 500 square feet for each apartment. (One owner) mentioned that eventually he might even sell his (WS) home and live in one of those apartments. They recognize that the neighborhood has a certain picturesque view and their view of what they want to build has to fit within the neighborhood … they used the word quaint … something that would fit in and have a quaint vibe to it.” She asked them how long the city process would take; they were projecting a year.

Though the owners said they don’t consider themselves developers, they are “tuned in to Seattle’s density plan … how builders are being courted to put in units,” she said, adding that they did not want to talk about the possibility of fewer stories. A “few units would definitely be low income. … In their minds, they were going to go through various permutations of what the design would look like … I felt they are pretty committed to the five stories. They need to make some money off this.”

FCA president Mike Dey picked up from there: “They said they did not intend to put in parking; we pointed out that (the site would be losing) 10 parking spaces. They asked what the feedback was; the two things we heard were parking and elevation. … They said there was a certain requirement for break-even. They said that in West Seattle, apartments of that size were renting $1,200-$1,700 a month, and if there are three affordable housing units, that would be about $1,000/month.” Dey noted that the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzone “preferred alternative” announced last week would upzone the site from NC1-30 to NC1-40, “so the request from these guys is an additional 10 feet above what the city is already proposing for that area.” He also noted that the lot slopes, eight feet difference between its highest and lowest sides, and the height of the project would be based on the midpoint. “If they got permitted to go up to a 50-foot zone, the Brace Point site would be 46 feet and 45th would be 54 feet.” The building currently on the site (photo above) is considered one story with a basement.

The owners have an architectural firm from Denver (LAI Design Group, according to what’s on file with the city) representing the in talks with the city. Dey asked them why they also were seeking changing the zoning to NC3 from NC1 “when this is clearly an NC1 neighborhood,” explaining the difference (which is explained here); they said that was something their Colorado-based design firm was handling and they had no idea. Dey said that they were talking to Endolyne merchants, “who would be a very important voice” in the discussion because of the prospective loss of parking.

“Is anyone here to say they’re in favor of it?” asked board member Vicki Schmitz Block. No one replied.

Another question: “Is the 50 feet a done deal?” Reply: No, it’s not.

“It does set precedent,” noted Dey. “And it’s at an awkward time,” given that the one-story upzone for HALA MHA has just been proposed, and adding more for this “would be a huge jump.”

“What we have done over the years is try to ensure the quality of life here,” Schmitz Block said, acknowledging that “changes will occur,” but saying they need to hear from the community about how others feel about this. She proposed forming a subcommittee “right away … I think we need to get on this.” She recalled the organizing against the commercial zipline proposal for Lincoln Park (back in 2012), which drew 150+ to a fast-turnaround community meeting. “I think the only thing the city listens to is fury.”

One attendee said that regarding the size and scope of the proposed development, “that’s not what this neighborhood is.” He added that the neighborhood already has absorbed the ferry traffic and its accompanying parking. “It is a neighborhood that’s kind of under siege.”

Dey reiterated that the owners already could put up a 30-foot building right now, and if HALA MHA goes through, 40 feet. He was seeking to clarify objections beyond “we just don’t like the idea.” Responses included the height, the lack of parking, and that “it’s going to open the door to more development, more traffic, more changes.”

Another attendee said she understands “the crisis in this city with housing … the city is right to make some changes and I’m willing to absorb some of that …” but already the proposed 10 extra feet is a lot. To add beyond that is “adding a lot of density all at once, and it does set a precedent.”

Schmitz Block suggested it’s a safety issue, especially for pedestrians, and that building without offstreet parking “is a denial of reality … We have traffic jams here already.”

One attendee said he moved away from Capitol Hill as it got more crowded … and fears something similar in Fauntleroy. “I think it’s time for the community to take a stand, because if you don’t stand up now …” said another.

It’s not that they’re opposed to apartments (two corners at that intersection already have them), said Dey. It’s the bulk and scale of the building, others added.

Dey said that FCA can respond, but it’s also important that anyone else with something to say needs to comment. One place to start is the HALA website. Schmitz Block added that also sending comments to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is important. “She really does count votes and count voters here.”

There’s a process to register as a “person of interest” regarding specific properties so they hope to sign up for that. Zolner also suggested surveying the community regarding the sentiment about this proposal; it also was suggested that a community meeting be organized, or maybe a mass e-mail message.

“Time is short and you have to speak up,” said another attendee. Again, this is an early-stage proposal, so watch for more on this from FCA.

SPD UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith had the crime trends. Property crime is down 33 percent year-to-year in the Fauntleroy area; residential burglaries are down 15 percent compared to this time last year; car prowls and auto thefts are down too. They’ve had emphasis patrols, including some on package theft; they’ve been working with delivery services on their routes, and will be stepping that up again after Thanksgiving. No shots-fired incidents in Fauntleroy (defined as either a victim, property damage, casings found, or gunfire actually seen). Shots-fired incidents in West Seattle overall are down two from last year. Two notorious nuisance houses are being watched in this community, Lt. Smith said. Someone asked about graffiti vandalism; it’s “skyrocketed” citywide, Lt. Smith said. He advised using the Find It, Fix It app to report it.

Asked about homelessness, and why Fauntleroy didn’t seem to have much camping, Lt. Smith mentioned that the Southwest Precinct may be “more aggressive” than others in the city. He also mentioned that a rule has changed and there’s no longer a “three-structure minimum” for police to address a camping situation – now the minimum is one. You can also use Find It, Fix It to report illegal camping, Lt. Smith said. He also noted, though, that when people are moved from one area, “it’s like a tube of toothpaste” and they will show up somewhere else.

Asked about current SW Precinct staffing, Lt. Smith noted that they have three shifts, and on a night like tonight, maybe 10 officers are on duty for the entirety of West Seattle. Sometimes officers adjust their shifts to deal with certain situations, like illegally parked vehicles, which might require they start shifts later because the rules kick in at midnight.

FALL FESTIVAL RECAP: Last month’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival was successful in terms of turnout and fun (WSB coverage here) but consider this if you’re solicited for a sponsorship, or see a donation box when you go:

Revenue from sponsors and donations was down, while the cost of putting on the no-admission-charge festival was up.

COMMUNITY SURVEY: Two years ago, FCA sent a survey to 3,000 local residents. It is now ready to do a survey again, and is finalizing the questions, as well as how to get the survey out – it will be linked from the FCA website and announced in a variety of ways, onlineand offline. If you live/work in the area, watch for updates on this – we will of course link to it when it is live.

WESTSIDE NEIGHBORS NETWORK: About a year after her first appearance, Judie Messier returned to FCA with an update on the organization that is meant to help its members “age in place.” As she has told other community groups lately, the organization is now accepting memberships, starting by signing up 11 “founding members.” Tomorrow (Friday) night, WNN launches a series of Movie Nights, with “Dr. Strangelove,” to be followed by “some interesting discussion” – event details are in our calendar listing. She asked the FCA board and attendees what kind of community events they would be interested in attending, to bring together community guests as well as WNN neighbors (they’ve also already presented a wine-tasting event). In discussion, FCA board members asked the same question that had come up at last month’s Morgan Community Association meeting – about the cost – and Messier replied that anyone who has concerns about affordability will be asked what they can afford to pay.

The Fauntleroy Community Association meets second Tuesdays most months, 7 pm at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW), but not in December – so the next meeting will be January 9th. You’ll find FCA online at fauntleroy.net.

29 Replies to "Rezone concerns, crime stats, more @ Fauntleroy Community Association"

  • Jeannie November 15, 2017 (2:43 am)

    Is there anything more we can do to express our opposition? I’m OK with a new building, but how can a FIVE-STORY building be “quaint”? Let’s downsize this proposal.

    • m November 15, 2017 (11:41 am)

      It is no longer quaint. The Endolyne area already has lots of apartments and townhomes, major transportation (C line RapidRide, ferry), and the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse which houses a big daycare and multiple businesses. It is areas like these that should be developed. I’m all for a five story building there…heck, make it six…we need more housing and this is the right location for it.

    • No Chains November 16, 2017 (8:08 am)

      I agree with “m”. We need the housing, and the new neighbors will add flavor to the neighborhood. The political activity I’d like to see is some jurisdiction over the businesses that go onto that 1st floor. If it’s a bunch of national chains, that just sucks money out of Seattle. I’d much rather see more businesses like Wildwood Market or the old bakery. 

  • Dave November 15, 2017 (4:23 am)

    Interesting how neighborhoods can conceptually  agree to increase density and improved access to housing until it hits their neighborhood, then not In my backyard  mentality,sets in.  I understand their frustration and it was “not who we were either”.  If this level of density is shoved down our throats then it should be equally shared across west seattle.  There should not be any scared areas in west Seattle or across Seattle in general.  Welcome to the pain your other west seattle neighbors have been dealing with

    • Also John November 15, 2017 (7:48 am)

      I agree with both sides.  Currently it’s a wasted piece of valuable property.  Building a mixed use structure would be nice.  However, I believe five stories would really look out of place.  How about keeping it to a max of 4 stories?  That appears to be the height of the mixed use structure ‘The Endolyne Garden’ across the street.  Would the 4 stories block the views of any of the homes just east of the proposal? 

      I agree that the local business’s will see their off street parking places taken over.  I remember reading here on WSB that studies indicated that 60% of tenants in those micro-apartments have vehicles that end up parked on the street……  Sorry Endolyne Joes,  but finding parking is already horrible.  Say ‘good-bye’ to those that can’t walk to your business.

       I agree that all of Seattle should share in this rezoning.  I’m currently in on of those areas and othesr should join in on the stress.

       

       

  • Scott A November 15, 2017 (7:39 am)

    I’m wondering what zoning the applicant is actually thinking of requesting.  A 50′ foot building is mentioned in the story but the conceptual section view of the building on page 5 of 8 in this pdf shows the existing zoning (NC1-30), HALA proposed zoning (40′) and then NC3-65.  As far as I know there is no 50 zoning option in Seattle but some HALA zones have gone from 40 to 55′ I think.

    http://web6.seattle.gov/dpd/edms/GetDocument.aspx?src=WorkingDocs&id=952964

    I think the test for contract rezones needs to be: what was the oversight or error that should prompt one property owner to get a gift of more building height?  There are real impacts to neighbors losing views let alone the somewhat easy on-street parking they have now.  The past couple of years of HALA rezone discussions was the best chance for the property owner to speak up about why this small business district should be more aggressively upzoned.  City staff have worked really hard to come up with the 40 foot zoning justification and the Hearing Examiner should consider this the state of the art for unless the applicant is proposing some great benefit for the neighborhood.

  • Up the hill November 15, 2017 (7:46 am)

    Yes, definitely no “scared areas” in West Seattle, as Dave inadvertently noted!  I think Dave meant no “spared areas” from density.  And we are at the point in the proposal where we can control the pain, not just “welcome” more pain!  Mandate parking for this large project, for one thing.  Speak up now, neighbors!

    • John November 15, 2017 (9:35 am)

      My bet is that Dave meant “sacred areas”.  

      But having grown up in Fauntleroy with faint memories of the old restaurant trolley stop on this site as well as the new exclusive Fauntleroy parking permit requirements, I can feel the outrage of this privileged community.

      Interesting that every photo of the parking lot (as in photo at top of story) shows virtually no use, a definite waste  of the valuable space. 

      Residents claims of traffic grid-lock and no parking available are pure fiction.

      • WSB November 15, 2017 (9:50 am)

        FWIW, I don’t know when the Assessor’s Office photo we used in the previous report was taken, but mine above was taken at 9:10 am yesterday, while co-publisher Patrick ducked into The Original Bakery for a donut.

        • justadumbguy November 15, 2017 (1:02 pm)

          Would it be out of line to say here that the Original Bakery is one of my absolute favorite ‘hidden gems’ in West Seattle?  Their sugar raised donuts are …. well I get chills just think about having one! :-)

      • Jordan November 15, 2017 (10:55 am)

        I had to chuckle at the “new exclusive Fauntleroy parking permit” comment.  I take it ‘John’ doesn’t get out much.  We’ve lived in Fauntleroy for 25 years and the “new” permits predate us by 10-15 years.  It is also one of the least restrictive RPZ’s in the city, only restricting parking to permits between 2-5a, so it stops ferry commuters from leaving their junkers in the Fauntleroy neighborhood and walking across. 

        Other than during ferry load and unload times, I don’t see traffic in the neighborhood as being an issue, but parking is often a problem.  During the summer, we see on street parking for Lincoln park stretch nearly to Endolyne.  In the evenings, 45th is pretty much solid for 3-4 blocks north of Endolyne into the surrounding neighborhoods.

        If off-street parking is not provided for a residential building in an RPZ, that building’s residents should not be eligible for RPZ permits.  They are, after all, not car owners according to the city.

        • geographer November 15, 2017 (4:09 pm)

          Just to play devil’s advocate here, should homeowner’s who have more vehicles than their single-family home can accommodate also be ineligible for the RPZ permits?  Why aren’t single-family homes being built with larger garages and driveways to account for all of the lost parking spaces in the neighborhood? Can difficulty finding a parking space really even be considered a problem when it’s a given that the neighborhood is popular?

      • ACG November 15, 2017 (4:30 pm)

        John-

        That parking lot is reserved specifically for the massage therapy clinic and perhaps the dentist in the building. So if the photo was taken when those offices aren’t open, there is no one there- obviously. 

        There is a huge red sign in the parking lot that threatens to tow anyone parking there who isn’t using a business in that building. Believe me, if that parking lot were for ALL the neighborhood businesses to use (the Bakery, Endolyne, Wildwood, etc) it would be full all the time. Parking is very hard in that neighborhood and will just be worsened by the car owning folks who WILL move into that no parking provided new construction. 

  • dhg November 15, 2017 (9:56 am)

    I think Dave meant “sacred areas”.  It is surprising the number of people who are angry with development but want to inflict the problems on others as a way to share the misery.  Each nieghborhood has unique attirbutes that should be taken into account.  I lived on Capitol Hill for 20 years and for many of those years I did not own a car and did not particularly miss it.  I could easily walk to the grocery store.  There were 3 choices of film theatres, live theatre.  Downtown was just a 20 minute walk.  Fauntleroy is not like that.  Increasing density in a neighborhood that is already straining from heavy ferry traffic will only reduce the quality of life here.

    • Jon Wright November 15, 2017 (10:07 am)

      “Straining from heavy ferry traffic.” Oh, the humanity!

      • WSB November 15, 2017 (10:20 am)

        Whether you agree it’s “heavy” or “straining” or not, ferry traffic has increased … we’ve been covering the WSF Triangle Route Task Force much of the year and the stats have been part of the story. In particular, Fauntleroy-Southworth is growing at a double-digit rate, it was noted recently. The Triangle Route’s capacity will increase again down the line when the route is routinely served by three Issaquah-class vessels. As a longtime ferry wonk, I recall when the standard assignment was one steel-electric, one Evergreen State class, and one Issaquah class (possibly one without a second deck – they almost all have second decks now). The latter has double the vehicle capacity of the former. So the outbound bursts, at the very least, through the Endolyne area, are heavier than they used to be.

  • nonni November 15, 2017 (10:25 am)

    Raingardens (drainage swales) are not a substitute for green space. Lawns are a waste of water, but humans need places to touch the earth, and be surrounded by plants, not just when they go camping twice a year, or visit the park.  Living piled on top of other people is fun in your twenties, but there is a reason why The American Dream was associated with single-family dwellings, rather than apartment living. Density is inevitable, but can we be less hostile toward people who still believe a garden is a better place to raise the kids?

    https://www.newgeography.com/content/003945-health-happiness-and-density

  • Hermit November 15, 2017 (1:38 pm)

    FCA members need to lawyer up.  That’s how Magnolia does it.

  • Diane November 15, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    fyi; same night, same time; 50+ people participated at Morgan meeting, with excellent discussion of Community Land Trusts  

    • WSB November 15, 2017 (2:41 pm)

      Yes, we had to make tough decisions, with three interesting events (all of which we previewed) last night; Patrick was at the Seattle Public Schools “State of the District” event. We’ll be talking to MoCA leaders for a followup on what’s next with their plan. – TR

      • Diane November 15, 2017 (5:33 pm)

        grateful I could be there; it was very complex stuff, and very important ideas that could be duplicated throughout the city; major kudos to Deb Barker and Cindi Barker

  • dhg November 15, 2017 (2:39 pm)

    To all those outsiders who wonder how we say we have a parking problem when the lot in the photo is empty:  It is a private lot, reserved for people using Janice Baach’s excellent massage services or Holmes’ dentistry.  After the new 5 story building is erected, not only is that parking going away but we then have the demands of 32 apartments, a medical business on the 2nd floor and retail on the ground floor.  Employees, customers, residents will all want to park somewhere.  Seattle Council idiocy has it that we will all give up and take the bus but that is not how it works.  The bus has limited hours and provides a limited network.      

  • Nice Try November 15, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    This will be approved and built. It is a tactic being used hoping to break the strangle hold us long time residents have had on our properties. Fauntlee Hills has been a desired neighborhood for fifty years. It’s also a neighborhood that you drive around and don’t see many for sale signs very often and people are getting tired of waiting. So they will slap this 5 Story eyesore down hoping it will ruffle enough feathers to start the vacating of West Seattle’s prime real estate. 

    • Jethro Marx November 15, 2017 (4:25 pm)

      Is your contention that a)people are driving around Fauntlee Hills looking for their favorite house to go up for sale, b)growing frustrated at the locals’ perseverance in living there, and then c)somehow manipulating city zoning policy in such a way that said locals throw up their hands and “For Sale” signs? Because that sounds a bit far-fetched; you got some strange, powerful, patient people in mind, I guess.

       What do they do in the meantime, camp in the parks, perhaps? Live out of fancy RVs? I hope they at least stay up late at night, swimming in piles of money a la Scrooge McDuck, going “muuaaahahahahaaaaaa.”

  • Ellis Otrek November 15, 2017 (4:14 pm)

    The fact that the city wants to pave Seattle is not all well and good.  We need to slow development so we can catch up with our infrastructure, importantly transportation.  Cities that plan ahead and work towards growth do it right.  The city of Seattle has been developing without plan since the 90s and look what has happened to this city?  Their gift to developers and tax breaks to companies has caused the problems this city faces.  The point that people need to think about is that the city is greedy and is rife with money.  Do you see that money going into the community?  Developers want to make money, money talks.  I have lived here all of my life and one thing I can tell you about the city of Seattle, it is corrupt. 

    There should be no animosity for people who want to own homes, I suspect a lot of people who move here wish for that.  Constant development WILL NOT stop the non-affordable problem of this city.  This is a lie that only the city can tell well enough to frighten people into thinking we have to develop more.  Yes density is better than sprawl but there has to be some conscious thought.  The units that are supposed to be affordable still aren’t affordable and they are tiny. 

    Traffic is a huge problem and consequence all over the city.   Development without plan caused this problem.  More traffic causes environmental impacts that people often don’t consider, but we share this city with nature.  

    I say people, please do research and see what is really going on and understand what is happening to your city.  Seattle is losing its soul.  Take action wherever you can before the city degrades even further.

    • wetone November 15, 2017 (6:46 pm)

      Well said and so true from a 3rd generation of WS. As you say city has done zero planing for what their allowing through out the city not only WS. I bet city has no clue to how many new units/bds built in WS. Commute times in/out of WS will double with in 7yrs as I see it.  Main reasons being population increase, new tunnel, increased port traffic and the new T-5, increased train traffic through area, I-5 traffic will be much worse backing up WSFwy traffic, roadways/ bridges not being maintained properly needing lane closures to rebuild/fix and so much more. City sold its soul yrs ago to the big building boom investors. Today city has less funds available than ever before, a pyramid scheme of sorts leaving the city residents to pay for…. Is Seattle better off now than it was 15 yrs ago ?

  • HelperMonkey November 15, 2017 (4:45 pm)

    parking concerns aside, a 5-story building is going to look goofy as hell right here. It will stick out like a sore thumb. Not that the developers care about things like aesthetics. 

    • M November 15, 2017 (9:33 pm)

      It’ll look fine. There are monstrous houses right up the hill behind it, the giant Fauntleroy Schoolhouse across from those houses, and clusters of apartment buildings, town homes, and a retirement center across the street in the other direction. Also some big new homes on 46th and 47th. C line stop half a block away and the ferry station down the hill. 

      • HelperMonkey November 16, 2017 (10:56 am)

        the houses look “monstrous” because they’re up on a hill. there are no 5-story houses, there are no other 5-story buildings in that immediate area. it will loom over Endolyne Joe’s and again, not even remotely fit into the neighborhood. even just bringing it down to 4 stories would be better. just my opinion. obviously developers gonna develop. 

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