West Seattle schools: Milestone for new Arbor Heights Elementary

July 29, 2015 at 6:07 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

(Photo by Scott Thomas)
11 months after crews began the process of building the new Arbor Heights Elementary by demolishing the old one, construction has reached a milestone, with structural steel going up. Both Scott Thomas and Darren Pilon sent photos today.

(This photo and next by Darren Pilon)
We also have an update on the construction plan – Seattle Public Schools is building to the maximum possible capacity, about 660, rather than to the smaller option, 500 students. This is according to district spokesperson Tom Redman; the decision had not been made when the last pre-construction community meeting was held, nor had it been made when we asked a few times in the ensuing months.

Arbor Heights students and staff will spend their second year in interim quarters at the Boren Building starting in September, with enrollment projected at about 400. As of right now, the plan to occupy the new building for the 2016-2017 school year is still on. That’s three years earlier than what the district was planning until the Arbor Heights community convinced SPS leadership that they couldn’t serve students appropriately for that much longer in the old, crumbling buildings.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Official state hearing for what would be West Seattle’s first charter school

July 21, 2015 at 6:12 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 55 Comments

SUMMARY: Twenty people spoke tonight at the only local hearing the Washington Charter School Commission will have for Summit Public Schools‘ proposal to open West Seattle’s first charter school in a supermarket-turned-church building in Arbor Heights. Only one was a charter-school critic. Another voiced some skepticism. The other 17, including Summit employees and even a recent graduate from a Bay Area Summit school, voiced strong support. The speakers were chosen in a drawing; when they were done, time remained, and many more numbers were called, but almost all those ticketholders seemed to have vanished. Meantime, the commission will make its decision in mid-August and is still taking written comments.

Below, our as-it-happened coverage of tonight’s meeting:

*************

6:12 PM: We’re at what will become, if the state Charter School Commission approves, the home of the first charter school in West Seattle, where three commission members are in attendance for an official public hearing/forum on the proposal. Summit Schools, a California-based charter operator, wants to open a middle-/high-school campus at 9601 35th SW, just purchased by a charter-development firm from Freedom Church (which is leasing back the space until the project gets under way). We’ll be reporting live as the hearing goes.

Joshua Halsey, executive director of the commission (whose members include West Seattleite Steve Sundquist, former member of the Seattle Public Schools board), has just welcomed attendees and explained the process, that the commission will vote to approve or reject Summit’s application in mid-August. Two other commissioners are here, including Trish Millines Dziko, who leads the Technology Access Foundation, which has its headquarters in White Center.

Halsey says speakers will have up to 2 minutes each (longer if they need translation services). A stenographer is here to record the comments. A rough estimate of the crowd? Maybe 100 people, seated in the Freedom pews. Written comments are being accepted, by e-mail and postal mail, between now and July 31st, Halsey says.

And with that, Jen Davis Wickens, Summit’s chief regional officer for Washington, begins her presentation. (We spoke with her for our most-recent story on the proposal, which we’ve been covering since the first of the year, after finding out about it via an application in city Department of Planning and Development files.)

She first shows, on the big screens here in the cavernous former supermarket, a shot from “signing day,” a celebration of college acceptance among Summit schools.

Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Official state hearing for what would be West Seattle’s first charter school…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Seen this stolen 1991 Honda Civic?

July 18, 2015 at 2:03 am | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news | No Comments

From Cheryl:

We live in Arbor Heights and someone stole our 1991 Honda Civic around 2:00
a.m. (Friday) morning. It has been reported to the police. Have you seen this? License: ASU1041

If you have any info, call 911.

What might West Seattle’s first charter school be like? Here’s what Summit Public Schools’ regional executive says

July 8, 2015 at 10:30 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 33 Comments

(WSB photo, June 2015: 35th/Roxbury site purchased for charter-school development)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Before California-based charter-school operator Summit Public Schools even opens its first two campuses in our state, it’s in the thick of awareness-raising for its pending-state-approval third one, a middle/high school at a supermarket-turned-church in Arbor Heights.

That awareness-raising includes a public forum at the planned West Seattle site on July 21st – a key test Summit must pass before the state Charter School Commission decides whether to let it go ahead with its plan (which is spelled out in this 472-page application).

We’ve been reporting on the Arbor Heights plan since we dug early word out of a city file at the start of the year. But much of our coverage in the ensuing six months has focused on the physical plan for the school, planned for the southwest corner of 35th/Roxbury, the property recently sold by Freedom Church/Jesus Center to Washington Charter School Development for $4.75 million. Meanwhile, our reports have sparked comment discussions on what might or might not happen at the school. While voters in our state approved charter schools – which are public schools, run with public dollars (explained here) – three years ago, so far only one is open.

More are about to launch – the prospective operator of West Seattle’s first charter school, Summit, is getting ready to open two charter high schools in the International District and in Tacoma next month. The school year starts in mid-August; they’re moving into the locations on August 3rd. While overseeing all that, the woman in charge of Summit’s operations in this state – including the West Seattle middle/high school – sat down with us for a conversation this week.

Click to read the rest of What might West Seattle’s first charter school be like? Here’s what Summit Public Schools’ regional executive says…

35th/Roxbury charter-school updates: Site sale finalized; new development plan; local forum scheduled

June 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 37 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Four updates today on the planned charter middle/high school at what’s now the Freedom Church/Jesus Center on the southwest corner of 35th/Roxbury, almost six months after we discovered the proposal:

DEAL CLOSED: The nonprofit that’s developing the school for California-based charter operator Summit Public Schools, Washington Charter School Development, has closed the deal to buy the property. King County records show the purchase price was $4,750,000, almost $2 million more than the site’s 2008 sale price.

TWO-PHASE SITE DEVELOPMENT: Once we found the records of the purchase, we started checking on the status of the plan to remodel and add onto the former supermarket building at the site, and discovered a change in the plan: It’s now going to be developed in two phases, confirms a spokesperson for WCSD, which is affiliated with Los Angeles-based Pacific Charter School Development. First, they’ll remodel the existing building, and they’ve applied for a building permit to do that. The proposed additions (shown here a month ago) would be in a second phase. The school itself would be phased in anyway – Summit says it would start with 6th and 9th grades and add middle/high grades each year until fully enrolled as 6th through 12th.

CHURCH STAYING TFN: Summit Public Schools is still more than a year away from its proposed opening (and awaiting state approval, required because charter schools operate with public funding). So in the meantime, WCSD says, Freedom Church/Jesus Center is “renting back the building for the near future to allow the Church to continue providing its outstanding and award-winning community service in West Seattle while plans for the school are being finalized.” In addition to the church, the center also works with a variety of community programs and partners, including the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

PUBLIC FORUM NEXT MONTH: According to the calendar for the Washington Charter School Commission – which will have to approve Summit’s application (linked here) before it can open the school – a public forum is planned at the site as part of the process (as mentioned in our previous update), 6 pm July 21st.

If you wondered about the police response in Arbor Heights

June 14, 2015 at 11:52 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 2 Comments

Police are wrapping up at the scene of what was reported to be an armed person threatening self-harm in the 35th/98th vicinity. Via emergency radio, we hear the person was taken into custody, apparently with no injury to them or to officers.

(Reminder: Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline for anyone considering self-harm: 206-461-3222.)

West Seattle Crime Watch: Police search in Arbor Heights

June 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 9 Comments

2:35 PM: If you’ve been wondering about the police search in Arbor Heights, around the 9800 block of 33rd SW – police have been looking for a man whom we heard described at one point as carrying a pillowcase. We’re still seeking official comment from police but one neighbor tells us this started with a call about a potential burglary. More info as we get it.

2:42 PM: From the scanner, the suspect is described as a white man in his 30s, slender, dark hoodie, tan shirt beneath it, jeans. And we just talked with Det. Drew Fowler from SPD media relations, who says it actually started as a report about a person behaving suspiciously – walking inbetween homes, not known to neighbors, and then when police showed up, he started to run. However, according to Det. Fowler, they can’t call him a burglary suspect until they have confirmed a burglary somewhere. He’s not in custody yet.

One person to hospital after two-vehicle Arbor Heights crash

June 10, 2015 at 8:51 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news | Comments Off

While the shooting incident was unfolding elsewhere, two vehicles collided in Arbor Heights and closed 35th SW south of 98th for a while. By the time we were able to get there, both were on tow trucks – a convertible and an SUV, which a witness says was “flipped” when she went by earlier. One person was taken to a hospital, but her injuries were not life-threatening, so the major-crash investigation team was not being called out and the road was expected to reopen shortly.

UPDATE: Electrical fire at house on 31st SW in Arbor Heights

June 7, 2015 at 4:40 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

(WSB photos)
4:40 AM: Big Seattle Fire response on the way to a possible house fire in the 3100 block of SW 103rd. More to come.

4:46 AM UPDATE: The first crews on scene are reporting this to be an attic/vent fire. They say the person who was home got out OK. Some of the units that were dispatched are being canceled.

4:55 AM UPDATE: Our crew on the scene reports “obvious smoke” and firefighters ventilating the roof.

5:02 AM UPDATE: Our crew says this is believed to be an electrical fire. No injuries reported. Not major. We’ll continue monitoring via scanner as they move on to another West Seattle fire.

5:04 AM UPDATE: The address of this fire has been updated to the 10200 block of 31st SW (updated map here). No injuries reported.

5:27 AM UPDATE: Talking to a supervisor at the aforementioned other (unrelated but almost concurrent) fire scene, we got confirmation this was a wiring fire – (added) apparently the old power meter overheated.

FOLLOWUP: Plan for West Seattle’s first proposed charter school proceeding on multiple fronts

May 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 53 Comments

Less than five months after we discovered the plan for what would be West Seattle’s first charter school, its prospective operator has officially submitted its application to the state.

California-based Summit Public Schools is asking the Washington State Charter School Commission for authorization to open what would eventually be a 6th-through-12th-grade campus at what’s now the Freedom Church/Jesus Center, a former supermarket site on the southwest corner of 35th SW and SW Roxbury. Summit says it would phase in the seven grade levels, starting in fall 2016 with 6th and 9th grades. (Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated, as explained here.)

Summit has approval to open its first two schools in our state this fall, both high schools – one in the International District and one in Tacoma. Last week, when Seattle Public Schools were closed on May 19th, Summit brought members of the future first Seattle class over to the Roxbury/35th site to paint murals for the school opening in the ID this fall, which is still being remodeled.

They were advised by Native American artist Andrew Morrison, who also worked with young artists on the signal-box mini-murals along Delridge two summers ago:

But back to the Roxbury/35th plan. It’s making its way through the city system, with a site plan now on file showing more details than the one we first reported on at the start of the year:

In addition to renovating the main building – the former grocery store – two 2-story additions are planned along the Roxbury side of the property (shaded in the “site plan” sketch above), and a one-story addition to connect the one at the Roxbury/35th corner to the main building. The site-plan document says the additions will total more square footage – more than 27,000 – than the existing building (23,000+).

For parking, 65 motor-vehicle spaces and 52 bicycle spaces are proposeed. Though the document says the school could eventually bring 125 cars, the prospective school operators say they only will be required to have spaces for half that many because the site is close to frequent transit – the RapidRide line stops right across the street. The bicycle-space count is 22 more than the city requires.

HOW TO HAVE A SAY: The land-use-permit application is in the system as #3019454, if you’re interested in commenting. No public meeting is required, as this is not going through Design Review. Meantime, the process for approval of the charter school itself is outlined here; the Charter School Commission must set a date for a public forum on Summit’s application to open the school, but as far as we can tell from the commission’s calendar, it has yet to be announced. We don’t yet have the official application document for the proposed school, but hope to procure it later this week, and will publish another followup when we do.

@ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: CSO projects, AH microsurfacing

May 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

Our toplines from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting:

CSO PROJECTS: It’s been about three months since Seattle Public Utilities started working on improvements to its two combined-sewer-overflow storage-tank sites in eastern West Seattle, one a few blocks east of Westwood Village, one on the east side of the Delridge/Orchard/Dumar intersection. Project manager Tara Wong-Esteban came to WWRHAH with updates. Both projects will be done by year’s end, she says. The one that’s in WWRHAH’s area of interest, CSO #3 at 22nd/Henderson, is is the midst of major work right now, including a diversion facility at Barton St./Barton Place. Soon an access path for city trucks’ maintenance access will be built; it will include paving stones surrounded by grass. The landscaping overall will make the area more open, she said. Here’s the design concept:


The project also is getting an art installation, as part of the Municipal Art Plan; artist Rebecca Cummins was introduced at the meeting. She’s going to use water valves like those found in CSOs to make cameras obscuras – you can see an image on this city webpage (scroll down to the bottom and click the image for a closer look). Two will be installed along the Barton side of the project, the smaller one intended for kids walking by.

ARBOR HEIGHTS MICROSURFACING UPDATE: As he had at last month’s Southwest District Council meeting, SDOT’s Art Brochet provided an update on this summer’s plan for more microsurfacing in AH.


Compared to chip seal, microsurfacing needs time to set and dry, once it’s put down. They’re still trying to work out logistics for the roads going into the Arroyos in southwesternmost West Seattle; the project is out to bid and the contractor’s not chosen yet, Brochet said, so that’ll be worked out once those details are finalized. He was asked about some other pavement issues in WWRHAH’s area, including the Westwood Village area, and promised to pass those along. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick noted at that point that issues had arisen during the recent multi-agency walking tour around WWV (WSB coverage here) and they hadn’t received updates from the city reps who had participated, so she said she’d take Brochet up on his offer to help them find out where things stand.

WWRHAH meets on first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Library.

PHOTOS: See inside the new Westside School, as it gets closer to ‘Heading Home’ to new Arbor Heights campus

April 24, 2015 at 11:29 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 12 Comments

(Looking southward toward the new Westside School campus)

Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Two and a half years in the planning … seven weeks to “substantial completion” … one year after groundbreaking.

Westside School (WSB sponsor) moves into its new home in Arbor Heights this fall and is now showing off how it’s taken shape.

We toured the construction/renovation site this week with Westside’s head of school Kate Mulligan (above) and assistant head of school Don Cunningham, who has been the “owner’s rep” on the project. (They’re getting ready for an open house tomorrow at Westside’s current location – more on that later.)

First, some backstory: We first reported in November 2012 that Westside was planning to buy what was at the time Hillcrest Presbyterian Church, at 34th SW and SW 104th (map).

Westside, founded in 1981, has been leasing the former EC Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights from Seattle Public Schools since 2010, moving there from a former Highline Public Schools building just east of Arbor Heights. So in many ways, this is, as Westside has dubbed the journey of building and moving, “Heading Home” (a theme that figured into its groundbreaking celebration almost exactly a year ago).

The process of transforming the former church – via Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects and general contractor Kirtley-Cole Associates LLC – brought unique opportunities. This wasn’t a teardown project – it’s a remodel and expansion, as is particularly notable from the outside of the former sanctuary, with “pop-out” added space like this:

“We’re excited to repurpose an under-utilized old building,” Mulligan enthuses. “Because (of that), we get a lot of elements a pre-K-8 school doesn’t usually get.”

That includes a gym – already part of the site – and a performing-arts center, which is on what was the choir-loft level and is now a full third level.

The transformation begins outside, where the project includes new sidewalks lining 104th and 34th.

Traffic will enter on 104th and route through the site southbound onto 34th. Queueing will happen on campus, not on the street. The campus has parking as well as an agreement with the New Apostolic Church to the south for overflow use when needed.

34th, on the west side of the campus – where dropoff and pickup will happen – is the street onto which Westside’s grand entrance and lobby are fronting.

Mulligan points out that everyone will come through that entrance.

Click to read the rest of PHOTOS: See inside the new Westside School, as it gets closer to ‘Heading Home’ to new Arbor Heights campus…

UPDATE: Why Guardian One helicopter was over Arbor Heights

April 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm | In Arbor Heights, Helicopter, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(Thanks to Sherry for the photo)
12:40 PM: Thanks for the tips (206-293-6302 any time) about the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter over Arbor Heights. It was gone by the time we got there to look, and nothing was detectable via the scanner, but King County Air Support has just tweeted that they were helping look for a stolen car, and that the car was found.

ADDED 2:20 PM: We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. BJ Myers for a few more details. Among other things, this explains why we didn’t hear anything on the scanner:

Early this morning, a deputy on his way to another call got an indication on his in-car LoJack sensor that a stolen car was in the Arbor Heights area. The deputy wasn’t able to follow up on the alert, so Guardian One came out today with their LoJack sensor and located the stolen vehicle dumped near SW 102/26 Av SW. A detective came out and recovered and processed the vehicle for evidence. It was stolen from Seattle.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Arbor Heights exposer reported

March 19, 2015 at 10:25 pm | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Reader report with an alert from an Arbor Heights resident who encountered an exposer this afternoon:

In the alley behind 100th between 37th and 39th, a 20-30-year-old white male (was) masturbating, watching me mow my lawn. I contacted SPD. Be aware of your surroundings!

That’s the only description given.

Arbor Heights Elementary School project update: Winning bidder; restart date

March 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

(WSB photo, taken this week, looking southwest across the AHES site)
Someone asked us why the Arbor Heights Elementary rebuild site is idle. That’s by design – as reported several times before, this was intended to be a two-phase project, with demolition/site prep in the first phase, and then a stopdown while the full construction project went out to bid. We checked in with Seattle Public Schools today and confirmed that Bayley Construction is the winning bidder, for $25.4 million; the contract is expected to be awarded within a few weeks, likely going to the School Board on April 1st. If all goes as planned, work at the site is expected to (re)start in early May, though the district tells us neighbors might see some activity – such as “trailer mobilization” – before then. The new school is expected to open in fall of 2016; AH continues using part of the Boren Building as its temporary site until then.

Door-to-door alerts: Two today from Arbor Heights; plus, read the rules

March 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm | In Arbor Heights, Door-to-door alert, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

With warmer weather and later light, solicitor reports are picking up – including these two reports from Arbor Heights today, which are followed by information on city rules and what you can do if someone you don’t know comes to your door, soliciting or not:

Click to read the rest of Door-to-door alerts: Two today from Arbor Heights; plus, read the rules…

Tomorrow night: Talk about the Westwood transit hub with WWRHAH

March 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

The Westwood transit hub is a perennial hot topic, for a variety of reasons, particularly safety at the bus stops as well as in Roxhill Park and at Westwood Village. If it interests you, consider making time to be at tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. We just received the agenda and it includes a discussion of the hub, with reps confirmed from both Metro and Westwood Village. The meeting is at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson), starting at 6:15 pm Tuesday and wrapping up by 7:45 at the latest, when the library clears everyone out in advance of closing time – all welcome.

West Seattle’s first charter school: ‘Info session’ dates set

February 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

(WSB photo)
When we last reported January 12th on the plan for West Seattle’s first charter school, its prospective operator, California-based Summit Public Schools, was planning to organize an informational community meeting; today, it announced two local dates.

As first reported here in early January, the school is proposed for the 2 1/2-acre Freedom Church site (above) on the southwest corner of 35th/Roxbury. Summit already has approval for two other charter schools in Seattle and Tacoma, and plans to apply to the state Charter School Commission for permission to open a high school here. Charter schools are publicly funded and were approved by voters in our state in 2012. The two meeting dates just announced by Summit, if you’re interested in finding out more about their plan, are 6:30-7:30 pm Thursday, February 26th, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson) and 6:15-7:15 pm Tuesday, March 17th, White Center Library (11220 16th SW). Meantime, the project continues proceeding through the permit process, according to city Department of Planning and Development files.

Arbor Heights appeal ruling #3: Hearing Examiner upholds approvals – with a few tweaks

February 16, 2015 at 1:21 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

City Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner has made her ruling on the third appeal filed against decisions relating to the Arbor Heights Elementary School rebuild. The appeal was filed by the Committee to Save Seattle Schools and three area residents; we covered the hearing downtown on February 2nd. Tanner promised a written ruling within two weeks; we found it in the city files today, dated February 9th. Read it in its entirety below (or here, as a PDF):

Toplines: While the appellants had argued that aspects of the decisions allowing the project, including four zoning exceptions, were “clearly erroneous,” Tanner found that was not the case. Her decision notes that two points of contention in the appeal, filed last November, had already been remedied by the district before the case was argued – the matter of two large Douglas firs on the northeast side of the site, which at one point were to be moved, will be left in place, and the issue of contacting the Duwamish Tribe before excavation work starts at the site; district testimony indicated that the Duwamish and four other tribes will be advised and invited to observe the work, in case of “inadvertent discovery” of cultural relics. But Tanner did decide to modify the conditions of the zoning exceptions’ approval, including the possibility of a four-way stop sign at 35th/104th – an intersection which will by fall of 2016 lie between the rebuilt AHES and the new home of Westside School (WSB sponsor) – provided SDOT approves. She also ordered a provision requiring any mitigation ordered for the project’s removal of what was considered an “exceptional” madrone tree.

BACKSTORY: We also covered the previous two appeals, both of which were argued and decided last year – May 2014 WSB coverage here; August 2014 WSB coverage here. The new AHES is being built in two phases, with the first – demolition and site clearing – now complete, and the second to start this spring; it’s still scheduled to open in fall 2016.

@ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC: The no-$ urban village

February 5, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood, White Center | 1 Comment

Spotlight topics at this week’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting included how the area’s “urban village” has fared in city spending, plus, potential White Center/North Highline annexation.

Click to read the rest of @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC: The no-$ urban village…

Arbor Heights appeal hearing #3 ranges from trees to transportation

February 2, 2015 at 2:53 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 15 Comments

(Mid-January photo of Arbor Heights site, courtesy Mike R.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The hearing’s over, and now a written decision is awaited in the third appeal filed against the Arbor Heights Elementary rebuild project.

Testimony heard this afternoon before city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown included one new wrinkle: A question about traffic effects to potentially be compounded by the charter school proposed at 35th/Roxbury, a plan that just surfaced a month ago, which is why it was not a factor at the time of the two appeals decided last year (May 2014 WSB coverage here; August 2014 WSB coverage here).

APPELLANTS’ CASE: District watchdog Chris Jackins presented the appeal case, though he is not the lone appellant; several nearby residents are listed too.

Click to read the rest of Arbor Heights appeal hearing #3 ranges from trees to transportation…

Followup: See who’s behind the plan for West Seattle’s first charter school, at current church site in Arbor Heights

January 12, 2015 at 8:28 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 36 Comments

(WSB photo)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Eight days after discovering West Seattle’s first charter school is planned for the north edge of Arbor Heights, we’ve found out much more about the plan.

When we first reported on it January 4th, we knew only that Washington Charter School Development, an arm of Los Angeles-based Pacific Charter School Development, was proposing to remodel and add on to the Freedom Church/Jesus Center property at 9601 35th SW (SW corner of 35th/Roxbury) for an unspecified charter school. Our state’s voters authorized creation of charters two years ago; 10 are approved so far, but only one is open.

We’ve been working for the past week-plus to find out more about the West Seattle plan and have finally connected with WCSD to get answers to some of the many questions raised by the early information we found in city planning files:

Click to read the rest of Followup: See who’s behind the plan for West Seattle’s first charter school, at current church site in Arbor Heights…

Followup: Arbor Heights appeal hearing date pushed back

January 8, 2015 at 10:30 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

(Added 1 pm: Site work continuing at Arbor Heights today)
Quick note from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin: The hearing date for the third Arbor Heights Elementary appeal has been pushed back, “due to a problem with the notice.” Today’s notice says the Hearing Examiner will hear it February 2nd. As first reported here last month, this appeal involves issues including zoning exceptions and the fate of two trees. The construction was already scheduled as a two-phase project, resuming this spring.

West Seattle’s first charter school? Remodel/addition proposal at 35th/Roxbury church site

January 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 35 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Arbor Heights already has two school-construction projects under way – and might soon have a third.

Reviewing city permit application files today, we discovered a just-filed early-stage proposal to remodel and add to what is currently the Jesus Center/Freedom Church building at 35th/Roxbury, in the name of Los Angeles-based Pacific Charter School Development.

The one document publicly visible in the Department of Planning and Development system so far, dated December 31st, is a roughed-out site plan, showing the addition primarily along the Roxbury side of the 2 1/3-acre site.

In addition to the land-use permit filing, we’ve also found a one-month-old LLC filing listing the site’s official address – 9601 35th SW – and listing PCSD’s Washington branch, Washington Charter School Development, as the sole member. The company’s website says it works with charter-school management organizations, so it may not necessarily be the potential operator.

We can’t find any record of a past application for a charter school at this site, or anywhere else in West Seattle, but the next application period is just a month away, opening in mid-February, according to the Washington Charter School Commission website. Of the 10 charter schools approved since a statewide vote legalized them two years ago, the list includes approval for a charter-management organization called Green Dot to open one at an undetermined “South Seattle” site in fall 2016 (added: Green Dot had an informational event in West Seattle last summer). And a charter middle school called Rainier Prep, says it is planning to open in the Highline area this fall, but has no location finalized yet, according to its online FAQ.

Freedom Church bought the site, a former supermarket, for $2.8 million in 2008, according to county records. The 2 1/3-acre site is zoned NC3-40, meaning it could be developed up to four stories, though this proposal mentions only the two-story addition, and renovation of the one-story existing building.

We’ll be following up on this tomorrow, seeking answers to a variety of questions.

SIDE NOTE: The site has four current/future schools within less than a mile – Roxhill Elementary at 30th/Roxbury, the Arbor Heights Elementary rebuild on 104th west of 35th (opening fall 2016), the starting-this-fall campus of Westside School (WSB sponsor) at 37th/104th, and Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) on 28th south of Roxbury.

More road repairs, more microsurfacing ahead for Arbor Heights

December 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | Comments Off

Just in from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduled to make minor repairs such as filling potholes and depressions on numerous blocks in Arbor Heights starting Monday, Jan. 5, weather permitting. SDOT anticipates the work will be completed in less than a month.

The repair work will focus on non-arterial blocks in the western and southwestern sections of Arbor Heights. These repairs will improve the pavement condition to a level where a microsurfacing preventive maintenance treatment would be effective.

Microsurfacing is a protective seal coat which extends the life of pavement. It is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone for traction.

SDOT’s contractor microsurfaced approximately 27 lane-miles of streets in Arbor Heights last summer. SDOT is now in the process of finalizing the list of blocks that will be included in a smaller microsurfacing project in Arbor Heights this summer. Streets being repaired at this time may or may not be included in this summer’s microsurfacing project.

West Seattle schools: Hearing set for third Arbor Heights appeal

December 30, 2014 at 10:44 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 9 Comments

Although work on the Arbor Heights Elementary School site has been under way now for more than four months, one more appeal is pending against a city decision allowing the new school to be built. We covered the two appeals that already have resulted in rulings, in May and August; the current appeal, filed in November, has a hearing coming up January 13th, per a notice in this week’s city Land Use Information Bulletin. It was filed by three area residents and district watchdog Chris Jackins, along with his Seattle Committee to Save Schools, who pursued the two other appeals. Here’s the two-page document covering four points, including the fate of two large trees on the edge of the site, and four zoning exceptions that were granted:

(If you can’t read it embedded above, here’s a PDF version.) We believe these are the two Douglas firs at issue (visible toward the upper left of the top photo – the trees between them and the excavator are not part of the site):

Documents related to the appeal are linked on this page of the website for the city Hearing Examiner, whose chambers on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown will be the location of the hearing at 1 pm January 13th.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC: Signs & safety; livability/growth

December 3, 2014 at 1:11 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 9 Comments

Should the issue of improving safety on 35th SW also take into consideration the proliferation of signs at some businesses? An attendee at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting brought that up, according to meeting notes from co-chair Joe Szilagyi. And from pre-scheduled agenda items, what he describes as “a rolling discussion about the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda and future growth impacts on the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village” yielded a dozen discussion points.


See those points, and the rest of the meeting notes, here. Next WWRHAH meeting: 6:15 pm January 6th, Southwest Branch Library.

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