What might West Seattle look like in 2035? Grab the steering wheel @ upcoming meeting – or speak up by e-mail, social media, postal mail …

September 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

(Above, 1962 view looking west over Luna Park and beyond, from the Seattle Municipal Archives. Below, April 2013 aerial view looking south from Duwamish Head, by Long Bach Nguyen)

The seeds of our current growth and zoning, whether you like the way things are going or not, were sown many years ago – going back in the 1990s, during a big civic process. Maybe you weren’t here to get involved. Maybe you never heard about it. Here’s your chance to change that for the next 20 years. Right now – somewhat drowned out by a lot of other noise – another big process has been under way for a while, aimed at coming up with a road map to last through 2035. Even if you’ve missed earlier discussions, here comes another chance. West Seattle will be the site of one of five meetings coming up to talk about the next revision of the Comprehensive Plan. The announcement, just out of our inbox:

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will hold five community meetings this fall to solicit public comment on the Draft City of Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Titled ‘Seattle 2035,’ the Draft Plan was released for public comment on July 8, 2015. The updated Comprehensive Plan will be our roadmap for Seattle’s next 20 years.

The meetings will include open house displays and a presentation to provide a broad overview of the Draft Plan, highlight major changes and get feedback on proposed village expansion areas, especially areas near meeting locations. Since some of Seattle 2035’s policies about affordable housing will be implemented as part of the City’s proposed Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda, there will be information and opportunity for feedback at the meetings.

The Draft Plan is informed by the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was released in May 2015. The Draft Plan includes goals and policies to help achieve our vision for Seattle’s future. Seattle is expected to grow by 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs in the coming 20 years. The Draft Plan also includes a new Future Land Use Map, showing a pattern of growth that supports the City’s vision.

The City of Seattle is seeking public feedback on the Draft Plan as we continue to evaluate goals and policies to build a safe, livable, vibrant, and affordable city for all. City staff has already received hundreds of public comments on the DEIS and on the overall direction of the Draft Plan document.

DPD is extending the public comment period through Friday, November 20th. The Online Community Conversation will remain live through this period. Here’s how to join the conversation about Seattle’s future and provide comments:

1. Attend a community meeting in October or November

2. Read the Draft Plan Summary and check out the Draft Plan.

3. Join the Seattle 2035 Online Community Conversation and discuss the potential pros and cons of proposed policies with other Seattleites

4. Follow Seattle 2035 on Facebook and Twitter

5. Send comments by November 20, 2015:

a. Email comments to 2035@seattle.gov

b. Mail comments to the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Seattle 2035, 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.

Feedback received on the Draft Comprehensive Plan will help inform the Mayor’s Recommended Plan, which will be released in early 2016.

(Five open houses are listed in the full announcement – following is the only one in West Seattle)

November 12, 6 pm to 8 pm (presentation at 6:30 pm)
Senior Center of West Seattle
4217 SW Oregon St.

West Seattle development: City, builder seek to dismiss challenge to ’14 units, not 104′ microhousing building at 3050 Avalon Way

September 28, 2015 at 9:55 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

(WSB photo from August)
New developments in a neighborhood group’s challenge to what would be West Seattle’s biggest microhousing building, 104 “bedrooms” at 3050 SW Avalon Way: The city and developer Columbia Builders are both asking the Hearing Examiner to dismiss the latest appeal filed by Seattle Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development (NERD), which was founded in the neighborhood just north of Avalon. The group’s fight, now in its third year, continues to center on the city’s definition of microhousing and the reviews that are required, or not required, because of it. In this case, while the 3050 Avalon project will include 104 “bedrooms,” each a unit with a private bathroom, they’re clustered around shared kitchens, allowing the city to consider it 14 “dwelling units.” That means it falls beneath thresholds for environmental and design review, because in both categories, that threshold is 20 “dwelling units” in the midrise zone where the property is located.

This latest appeal relates to an announcement in early August, as reported here – an “interpretation” which Seattle NERD had requested, regarding whether the development really could be viewed as “14 dwelling units” and therefore exempt from those reviews. The city said yes:

The question raised for interpretation was whether the 104 bedrooms in the proposed building should be regulated as separate dwelling units. Each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. Early versions of the plans showed counters with sinks in each bedroom, outside the bathroom, but those features were eliminated before the plans were approved. The interpretation concludes that the individual bedrooms are not designed and arranged as separate dwelling units, and that the proposed building is appropriately regulated as a 14-unit apartment building based on the plans as modified.

On the environmental front, the site does include what the city considers a “steep slope,” which triggered a limited environmental review, but otherwise, the city issued a “determination of (environmental) non-significance.” A full environmental review would include issues such as traffic effects; this building, like most microhousing buildings, was designed with no offstreet parking.

The appeal currently is set for a November 5th hearing before the examiner, if the dismissal motions aren’t granted. The points on which they are argued are complicated but basically contend that the examiner doesn’t have jurisdiction, and that SeattleNERD made a procedural error by not appealing the “underlying decision” on the issue. You can read all the documents in the case here.

The project has now been in the pipeline for almost three years; we first noticed and mentioned it in November 2012. It’s been almost exactly a year since the city told its developers – among others – that, as the result of a court ruling, they would have to undergo Design Review if they didn’t change their plans. This project, and the microhousing building under construction at 3268 Avalon, did that, and continued on through the system.

West Seattle development: Plans for old garage site on Fauntleroy Way; update on night work at The Whittaker

September 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

Two West Seattle development notes this afternoon:

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

PLANS FOR OLD GARAGE SITE: A long-vacant, fenced-off old commercial garage-style building on Fauntleroy Way SW northeast of Morgan Junction now has a development plan. The 67-year-old building is on a 7,140-square-foot lot zoned Lowrise 2; the plan proposes a 6-unit rowhouse building (see the preliminary site plan here).

NIGHT WORK AT THE WHITTAKER: Over the past few nights, several people have asked us about nighttime work at 40th SW and SW Alaska. We’ve confirmed with The Whittaker‘s project team that they’re doing nighttime work that’ll continue over the next two weeks. It’s related to sidewalk and utility work along SW Alaska; it started in daytime hours but that caused too much of a traffic crunch, so the project team and the city came up with a night-work plan, allowing the outside eastbound lane to be closed 6 pm to 6 am. The so-called heavy work – the noisiest part of it – is only allowed through 10 pm; that includes tree removal, stump grinding, concrete demolition, and jackhammering. It’s expected to run through October 7th; later in construction, similar work will be done along SW Edmunds on the south side of the project. (If you’re new, The Whittaker is the largest project ever in West Seattle – approximately 400 apartments, 600 underground parking spaces, and retail including Whole Foods.)

West Seattle development notes: South Delridge, Admiral, Morgan

September 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Three notes, two of which are updates on projects we’ve mentioned before:

(Rendering: S + H Works Architecture & Design)

DESIGN REVIEW FOR APARTMENT BUILDING AT 9021 17TH SW: Back in June, we reported on a plan for a 31-unit, 31-parking-space apartment building at 9021 17th SW in South Delridge. The project is now on the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule, as the second review of the night on Thursday, October 15th, 8 pm at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center) in The Junction.

THREE TOWNHOUSES BEHIND 2336 44TH SW: New project just popped up in the system – a plan to demolish a building described as a “garage/carriage unit” (see the bottom photo here) behind this address, on the alley between 44th and California SW, and replace it with three townhouses.

THREE HOUSES REPLACING 1 AT 6715 CALIFORNIA SW: Back in January, we mentioned this south Morgan Junction plan. This week, work has begun, with the 97-year=old house on the site torn down, and the rest of the site-clearing work under way.

West Seattle (and beyond) development: City changes ahead

September 17, 2015 at 9:04 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

In the middle of a building boom, the city is making/considering changes in some of its processes and programs – including the only one that guarantees public meetings about some development projects. Two notes this morning about how you can get involved:

BREAKING UP DPD: As first announced in June, the city plans to separate the current Department of Planning and Development functions into two new divisions. This morning’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes the official notice of an October 20th public hearing at City Hall about the proposed change:

(This would) reorganize the Department of Planning and Development into two separate departments: (1) the Office of Planning and Community Development; (2) and the Department of Construction and Inspections. This Bill clarifies responsibilities for planning, permitting and enforcement activities between the two departments.

Part of the news in that is the name “Department of Construction and Inspections,” which was still TBA when the breakup announcement was made in June. The October 20th hearing is at 5:30 pm, with speaker signups an hour earlier.

DESIGN REVIEW CHANGES: For an even-longer time, the city’s been reviewing the Design Review program, which has for years been the only means by which public community-based meetings have been required for some development projects. The next step before potential changes is a set of open houses, one for the north part of the city and one for the south. The latter is the closest to West Seattle, set for September 29, 6–7:30 pm at Columbia City Library, 4721 Rainier Ave. South. (Thanks to Deb Barker, a former Southwest Design Review Board member, for calling our attention to that so we could make sure you knew.)

West Seattle development: 5-home site on Highland Park Way; plus, ‘what’s in a name?’ x 3

September 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

Haven’t had much time this week to report on development/housing, but four quick notes:

FIVE NEW HOMES REPLACING ONE ON HIGHLAND PARK WAY: Brand-new early-stage proposal just turned up for 7717 Highland Park Way (between Holden and Portland), including the vacant parcel to its west, 8,500 sf total, demolishing the 72-year-old house shown above and replacing it with what’s described as “five small 3-story single-family homes with rooftop decks.” Here’s the configuration on the preliminary site plan filed with the city. Watch for a notice at project #3022246.

Now, three projects in varying stages of completion/construction, all of which now have names:

FAUNTLEROY LOFTS: This is the name for the just-complete-and-now-renting microhousing (Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) project to open in West Seattle, 5949 California SW. Thanks to Diane for pointing out to this Craigslist listing announcing the opening, declaring the building on a “quiet street,” and listing rents from $950 (for a 200-sf unit) to $1500. That’s furnished and includes all utilities plus wi-fi, we should note. No off-street parking in the building; the ad declares, “Bike parking is available and street parking is easy to find in the surrounding neighborhood.”

SPEAKING OF PARKING … remember the kerfuffle over the 30-unit, no-offstreet-parking apartment building at 6917 California SW? Neighbors challenged it and eventually settled with the builder. Now, it’s almost done and has a name, according to the sign that went up this week: Viridian.

This is NOT microhousing – it’s self-contained studios, about 300 sf, developer Mark Knoll told neighbors in late 2013. No rental listing yet that we can see (in ’13, Knoll guessed units might go for about $700). Meantime, if you look up the word, it seems to mean either a “bluish-green pigment” – not unlike the building’s color – or a slang definition that could be paraphrased as “good-looking, cold-hearted guy.”

RALLY ROUND: We also noticed earlier this week that the townhouse/live-work development under construction since June on the site of the former Charlestown Café now has a name: Rally. The 27 units will be available for sale this winter, according to the Rally website.

58-unit microhousing at 4528 44th SW OK’d by Southwest Design Review Board

September 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

(From the “design packet” by Alloy Design Group)

The 6-story, 58-unit microhousing project planned to replace an 8-unit apartment building at 4528 44th SW in The Junction is the first West Seattle project in a while to make it through Design Review in the minimum amount of meetings. The Southwest Design Review Board has approved it after one Early Design Guidance-phase meeting (in March) plus, last night, one Recommendation-phase meeting. One member of the public offered comments. Patrick Sand was at the meeting for WSB; toplines ahead:

Click to read the rest of 58-unit microhousing at 4528 44th SW OK’d by Southwest Design Review Board…

FOLLOWUP: Extra comment time for 14-house proposal

September 3, 2015 at 5:36 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Three weeks after we wrote about that 14-house development proposal at 3601 Fauntleroy Way SW – on an East Admiral slope – the public-comment period has been extended. Thanks to Diane and MJ for the tips on that. September 10th is the new deadline for comments on the project, which was first proposed eight years ago; you can read the comments already sent to the city by going here and entering project #3007882. That’s the same number to use to send your own comments in via PRC@seattle.gov.

TOMORROW: Junction microhousing project 4528 44th SW goes back to Southwest Design Review Board

September 2, 2015 at 3:10 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

The first microhousing (in official city terminology, Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) project in The Junction goes back before the Southwest Design Review Board tomorrow night (Thursday, September 3rd) at 6:30 pm. Embedded above is Alloy Design Group‘s “packet” for the meeting (or see it here as a PDF). Toward the start, it explains the 4528 44th SW project:

The owner proposes the construction of a new 6-story apartment building with approximately 58 small efficiency dwelling units, or SEDU’s. An existing apartment building on site will be demolished. The objective for these apartments in to provide upscale, yet affordable, housing to the West Seattle Junction neighborhood. The demographic that will benefit most from this housing will be wage earners in the neighborhood that can’t afford the $1,000 plus rents of nearby properties – millennials desiring to move out of their parents houses, people opting for minimal consumption as a lifestyle, and people that commute to downtown businesses that will utilize the Rapid Ride bus service steps from the project. In short, the project endeavors to promote urban density and support the thriving pedestrian-oriented businesses and activities in the neighborhood.

Public comments on the proposed design will be taken during Thursday night’s meeting (upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle, southeast corner of California SW and SW Oregon). You can review the official city report on the previous SWDRB review by going here.

SIDE NOTE – THE LAWSUIT: You might recall, the developer sued the city and the current tenants of the 2-story, 8-unit building that this will replace, challenging the city’s notice saying they needed to apply for a “tenant relocation” license under the city law requiring compensation for demolition-displaced tenants. The city filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit – as we reported in July – and that was scheduled to be argued in court this morning; we’re checking on whether a ruling resulted or is pending.

West Seattle development: Next phase of public-comment process for proposed CVS store

August 31, 2015 at 10:13 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

(July ‘cover page’ image from project file on city website. Architect: Schemata Workshop)

After passing the first stage of Design Review on the second try earlier this summer, the project team for the proposed CVS drugstore at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW has applied for a land-use permit – and with the announcement in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, that opens the next phase of the public-comment process.

As reported previously, the store is proposed as a one-story building on the site that now holds West Seattle Produce and Suite Arrangements; it would have 50 offstreet parking spaces (including 32 on an adjacent parcel) and a drive-through window. Here’s the official notice; here’s how to comment. At least one more Design Review meeting will be required, but there’s no date set yet, and this phase of the comment process is open to more than its design – you can offer opinions on environmental issues such as traffic and noise. The comment deadline is September 13th.

The store has been in the works for two years now; we first found an early version of the proposal in city files in July 2013.

West Seattle development: 1st Design Review meeting set for 1250 Alki SW ‘Perch’ project

August 28, 2015 at 2:25 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | Comments Off

An Early Design Guidance packet is on file and a date is set for the Southwest Design Review Board’s first look at “Perch,” the mixed-use project proposed for 1250 Alki SW: 6:30 pm October 15th. (Remember as you look at the “packet” above that Early Design Guidance is for size and shape – once those are determined, the details follow.)

We first reported on the proposal three months ago; it’s the first new 100+-residential-unit project proposed in West Seattle in a few years – all the others in the pipeline are under construction or complete. The developer is SODO-based SolTerra, which began as a company focused on sustainability-focused systems such as solar power, and has branched out into housing. Their designs are aimed for LEED Platinum and Perch, SolTerra says, will be designed to that standard “at minimum.”

From the packet, key points of the project:


+/- 125 residential units
Five stories of residential floors over a ground floor of lobby space, support, service and public parking
188 Parking Stalls for residents and visitors, in a below-grade garage
Dedicated space for car-sharing programs
Ample bike storage for residents and exterior bike parking for guests


Extensive vegetated green roof with a variety of seating areas and scenic viewpoints
Solar panel array on the rooftop
Rainwater collection cistern
Potential native marine bird habitat on the rooftop
Public green space along Alki Ave. with multi-purpose programmed uses for the neighborhood
Rear courtyard space at the foot of the hillside with a water feature and lush plantings

Five 2-story residential structures – described in the packet as three multiplexes and two single-family homes – would be demolished to make way for this development. A SolTerra spokesperson tells us that in addition to the Design Review process, they also will be seeking feedback from community members including the Alki Community Council.

Renew the Multi-Family Tax Exemption? City Council committee briefing this morning

August 20, 2015 at 9:09 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

It’s a tax-break offer that many developers have long accepted from the city: If your project’s being built in certain areas, and you allot a certain percentage of units to a certain number of tenants at a certain income level, you can get the residential portion of your building (not the land) exempted from property taxes for 12 years. It’s called the Multi-Family Tax Exemption, and the council soon will have to decide whether to renew it for the fourth time since its inception in 1998. That discussion officially starts with a briefing during the end of this morning’s 9:30 am meeting of the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency Committee. It’s a lead-up to a meeting next month at which the committee will consider legislation renewing the program.

Here’s what the committee will be shown and told this morning – first, the slide deck with stats on the program, which it says involves almost 2,000 rental units now, with almost 2,000 more “in the pipeline”:

Here’s the council-staff memo:

Wondering which West Seattle projects got the MFTE? From the newest list on the city website, dated August 14th:

*Element 42
*Footprint Avalon
*Footprint Delridge (microhousing)
*Oregon 42
*Youngstown Flats
(WSB sponsor)

The list does NOT include under-construction projects that will be getting the MFTE – the program’s annual report included an expanded list that does, but only as of last December, so some might be missing. The additional projects on that list are:

*Spruce (open now so we’re not sure why it’s not on the first list)
*Admiral East Apartments (on the list as 3210 California)
*3050 Avalon (microhousing)
*Footprint’s Morgan Junction project (microhousing)
*4730 California
*Junction 47
*Trinsic West Seattle
*Lofts at The Junction
*The Whittaker
*Broadstone Sky
*6917 California
*Junction Flats

Right now, September 20th is the date for the committee to look at renewal legislation. If you’re interested in watching this morning’s discussion, the meeting will be live on Seattle Channel, cable channel 21 or online stream; it’s the last item on the agenda.

West Seattle development: 10 houses, one duplex for Pigeon Point site

August 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

New from the city files today: An early-stage proposal for 10 houses and one duplex at 3710-3722 21st SW on Pigeon Point (map). The north side of the site faces a Seattle Parks-owned slope over the West Seattle bridge; the south side, SW Charlestown. The 12 new homes would replace two single-family houses, one more than a century old, the other, 58 years old. Documents in the online files suggest the site’s been under consideration for development for at least two years. Brad Khouri is the architect.

West Seattle development: Westwood apartments; Alki projects; 36th SW microhousing update

August 18, 2015 at 6:54 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

Four projects in this roundup of West Seattle development notes:

WESTWOOD APARTMENTS: A preliminary “site plan” has just been filed for a proposed 32-apartment, no-offstreet-parking building on a vacant triangle of land at 2221 SW Barton Place, southeast of Westwood Village. Notes in the city’s online files say the project would require Design Review.

ALKI TEARDOWNS: Three century-old beach bungalows have just been demolished on a site long planned for redevelopment in the 3000 block of 63rd SW in Alki, just across the south-side alley from the commercial building that is home to Cassis (WSB sponsor), Cactus, and Alki Urban Market.

An earlier proposal for the site passed Administrative Design Review more than six years ago. Six townhouses and one single-family house are to be built.

1307 HARBOR PROJECT FILES APPLICATION: This is the site that includes the former Alki Tavern, now closed for almost 2 1/2 years. The mixed-use proposal went through the first stage of Design Review in spring 2014; though no date is set, its next Design Review is getting closer, as city files show the developers have applied for their master-use permit. The project is now described as including 15 residential units, fewer than the original proposal.

4122 36TH SW MICROHOUSING FOLLOWUP: When we first reported last month on this proposal to replace a triplex with a microhousing building, the proposal didn’t specify a number of units. Now it does – approximately 24.

West Seattle development: 14-house project, 8 years in the making

August 13, 2015 at 10:14 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin: A sloped site in East Admiral that was first proposed for a multi-house subdivision almost eight years ago is moving more deeply into the review/approval process. A 14-house proposal is now in the works for 3601 Fauntleroy Avenue SW, which is hard to find on online maps, but documents in the project file show it’s in the vicinity of 33rd SW & SW Spokane, just northwest of where Admiral Way meets the West Seattle Bridge, and you can get a better idea from this map in the plans filed online:

The land, currently undeveloped, is zoned single-family 5000. The LUIB notice says the application would require “administrative conditional-use” approval because of “clustered housing in a steep-slope area,” and an environmental determination. Comments on the revised application will be accepted through August 26th, says the city (unless someone requests and is granted an extension). It proposes 14 houses with offstreet parking for 28 vehicles, to be developed by West Seattle-based Inhabit LLC, which was also the applicant when this site appeared in DPD records as a possible 21-house project in August 2007, and is shown in county records as owning other undeveloped parcels nearby. You can comment via this form linked to the city notice, or via contacting the assigned DPD planner, Michael Dorcy, michael.dorcy@seattle.gov.

West Seattle development: Along Alki Avenue

August 7, 2015 at 2:02 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Two notes today about Alki Avenue redevelopment:

ALKI AVENUE TEARDOWNS: Thanks to Gary Jones for the photo from 3036 and 3038 Alki Avenue:

3038 was demolished yesterday, and 3036 was next to go (still standing as of a few hours ago). Slated for the site: Three single-family houses with six parking spaces.

FUTURE ALKI AVENUE TEARDOWNS: A land-use application is in to replace the houses at 1706 and 1708 Alki with seven townhouses and 10 parking spaces. The project will go through the Streamlined Design Review process, according to the city’s online files.

West Seattle development: City gives key approval to 3050 Avalon microhousing, with interpretation that it’s 14 apartments, not 104

August 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 54 Comments

(Added: 3050 Avalon site, photographed Friday morning)

Another chapter in the saga of 3050 Avalon Way, a vacant lot proposed for a 104-unit microhousing building. As reported here in September of last year, it was one of two West Seattle microhousing projects told that it would either have to make changes or go through Design Review as a full-fledged apartment buillding. That was the result of a Department of Planning and Development interpretation related to a lawsuit involving a Capitol Hill microhousing building. Less than two months later, we reported that the developer planned to make the changes that would keep the 104 units from being considered as separate apartments.

Subsequently, the nearby neighborhood group Seattle Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development asked the city for an interpretation on whether the city would view the plan as 104 apartments or 14 – and today’s Land Use Information Bulletin brought the notice of that interpretation, summarized this way:

The question raised for interpretation was whether the 104 bedrooms in the proposed building should be regulated as separate dwelling units. Each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. Early versions of the plans showed counters with sinks in each bedroom, outside the bathroom, but those features were eliminated before the plans were approved. The interpretation concludes that the individual bedrooms are not designed and arranged as separate dwelling units, and that the proposed building is appropriately regulated as a 14-unit apartment building based on the plans as modified.

See the full interpretation here.

We first made note of a potential project on this site three years ago, when it appeared on our “West Seattle development in the works” map as a “14-unit boarding house.” Along with the 104 “sleeping rooms,” the newest plan set for the building continues to show it without offstreet parking – not required because it is in a “frequent transit” area (with RapidRide running along Avalon) – and with a basement level plus 6 stories and a “mezzanine” top level.

Accompanying the interpretation today is a key land-use approval for the project, a determination of environmental non-significance (“environmental” in land-use decisions includes factors such as traffic and noise). You can read that decision here. Its publication opens a two-week appeal period; anyone who wants to appeal the “interpretation” can only do that in connection with an appeal of this approval. The process of filing an appeal is explained here.

FOLLOWUP: City goes public with its new development map

July 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Three weeks ago, we noted the city Department of Planning and Development‘s announcement that a development-tracking map was in the works. Today, the map has gone public.

(Screengrab from DPD’s ‘Shaping Seattle’ map)
It’s called “Shaping Seattle,” and you can click any dot on the map to see aspects of a project that’s in or has gone through Design Review, including the most-recent design proposal, a timeline of meetings and decisions, and how to comment on the project. We just spun through what it shows for West Seattle and noted a few glitches – a project you see on the map might be active, or stalled, or even already built, and that won’t be readily obvious unless you follow the development files day in and day out (one example of “stalled,” 2310 California SW), so be sure to read the fine print and check the dates. But take a look for yourself by going here. This comes eight months after a private technologist, Ethan Phelps-Goodman, created something similar, Seattle In Progress; we talked with him recently and he’s continuing to refine and add on to what he’s created.

Design Review: Junction, Admiral projects to be reviewed this Thursday; plus, our report on last week’s reviews of 4532 42nd SW and 5414 Delridge Way SW

July 21, 2015 at 10:48 am | In Development, West Seattle news | Comments Off

This Thursday, the Southwest Design Review Board meets again in West Seattle, just one week after its last meeting – a two-week gap is more common, but the recent schedule’s been tousled. We have toplines from the two reviews at last week’s meeting, but first, a quick look at the projects on the agenda this week:

6:30 PM Thursday – 4801 Fauntleroy Way SW. 21 apartments, 7 live/work units, 950 sf of retail space across from the south side of The Whittaker. Previous WSB coverage here.

8 PM Thursday – 4700 SW Admiral Way, the Aegis Living proposal for an 80-unit assisted-living center on the site of the former Life Care Center. Previous WSB coverage here.

Both meetings on Thursday night (July 23rd) are at the SWDRB’s usual meeting spot, the Senior Center of West Seattle (entrance on Oregon SW just east of California SW); both have public-comment periods. Design packets are not yet posted for the projects (though they are supposed to be by now, this close to the meetings) – check back at the pages we’ve linked to each address above.

Last Thursday (July 16th), we covered the board’s reviews of two projects, in reverse order of how they had been listed on the DPD website, 4532 42nd SW first and then 5414 Delridge Way SW, because of what a DPD rep said was a mix-up involving notices sent by postal mail. Ahead, summaries and results of the two reviews, both of which were for the Early Design Guidance phase, which means the board looked at characteristics such as size and shape, NOT a finished look for either building:

Click to read the rest of Design Review: Junction, Admiral projects to be reviewed this Thursday; plus, our report on last week’s reviews of 4532 42nd SW and 5414 Delridge Way SW…

City seeks dismissal of developer’s lawsuit over assistance for tenants of to-be-demolished West Seattle Junction building

July 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A new development in the lawsuit filed by a West Seattle development firm over the city’s contention that it owes compensation to tenants of a Junction apartment building it plans to demolish: The city has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, saying that since it hasn’t even moved forward to enforce the compensation issue, it’s too soon for the developer to sue – first it would have to challenge the enforcement action, if that ever happens.

SeattlePI.com broke the story of the lawsuit last month; it was filed by an entity of West Seattle-based development firm Blueprint against the city and against the tenants of 4528 44th SW (King County Assessor’s Office photo, above).

As first reported here last November, that 8-unit building is proposed to be torn down and replaced by a building with about 60 apartments. (The microhousing project passed the first phase of Design Review in March.)

The city issued a Notice of Violation on June 5th against Blueprint 4528 LLC, saying that it was violating the city’s Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance by not obtaining a Tenant Relocation License, which could have enabled compensation to the seven tenants as required if demolition is displacing renters; the company replied that the tenants weren’t being displaced by demolition, because they all have leases that expire in December, and the project won’t start until after that. The city’s filing for dismissal says that the company should make that case if and when enforcement is sought, not before that: “Other than being frustrated that the city issued a NOV, Plaintiff is not harmed by the NOV, or for having to wait for the City to take enforcement action,” the filing says.

No response by Blueprint 4528 LLC is on file yet; the dismissal motion was just filed on Wednesday afternoon. A hearing on the motion is set for September 2nd.

Want to follow the process as city pursues more housing via zoning changes? Here’s the next step

July 16, 2015 at 10:43 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

Following up on Monday’s much-discussed mayoral announcement (WSB coverage here) of proposals the city hopes will lead to more housing, particularly more affordable housing: Most if not all of the proposed changes have to go through the City Council. Its members now have a new set of hats to wear while considering those changes: The Select Committee on Housing Affordability. The agenda is now out for its first meeting, next Monday (July 20th) around 2:30 pm (after the regular afternoon council meeting). Linked in the agenda are several documents, most of which went public with Monday’s announcement; one you might want to take a close look at includes this list of proposed multifamily/commercial zoning changes:

While most of this has been widely described as “adding one floor” to current zoning, note what’s proposed for the zone currently known as NC-85 – much of the heart of The Junction is zoned that way, as is part of Avalon, and that generally allows up to 8 floors. If this part of the new proposals is approved, that zone would fold into NC-125 – meaning up to 12 floors, four more floors beyond what’s now allowed. (If you’re not familiar with the term FAR in the table, that is short for floor-to-area ratio, explained here.) This has NOT been written into proposed legislation yet, so public hearings, counterproposals, and votes are still some distance off.

Meantime, we’re working on a separate followup looking at some of the other proposals including (but not limited to!) all the confusion and conflicting statements regarding what’s proposed for single-family zoning.

West Seattle development: Microhousing proposal on 36th SW

July 13, 2015 at 9:27 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 52 Comments

Today you can expect to hear a lot about housing, construction, and zoning, as the long-awaited Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee report is going public at City Hall at 11 am. We’ll have the details when available. In the meantime, new project proposals continue to surface in city files daily, and we have another one to mention today:

MICROHOUSING ON 36TH SW: A brand-new early-stage plan in the files would replace that 95-year-old triplex at 4122 36th SW (map) with what’s described as a “4-story apartment building” featuring “small efficiency dwelling units” (SEDU), the official name for the studios more commonly known as microhousing. The site is zoned Lowrise 3; the potential number of units is not mentioned in what’s been filed so far. No offstreet parking is planned; it’s not required because of its proximity to what’s considered “frequent transit.”

SIDE NOTE: Two SEDU buildings are under construction in West Seattle right now – 5949 California SW (approximately 40 units) and 3268 Avalon Way SW (62 units), which is next to one of the two already-open SEDU buildings, 3266 SW Avalon Way.

West Seattle redevelopment: Harbor project under way; new plans for California, Fauntleroy, Charlestown sites

July 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

Four residential-redevelopment notes this afternoon:

1201 HARBOR SW PROJECT UNDER WAY: Harbor Avenue has had many proposals but not much action for a while. This one at 1201-1205 Harbor Avenue SW is now under way after demolition of two old houses last week (WSB photo above)city files show a 4-unit rowhouse on the way. (UPDATE: After publishing this, we received a rendering from the architects Allied 8:

You can also see a daylight version on the firm’s website.)

REDEVELOPMENT @ 5440 CALIFORNIA SW: From the city files, a new proposal to demolish this 92-year=old single-family house and “accessory unit,” to be replaced by three live-work units, two townhouses, and two single-family homes.

5652 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: Redevelopment also continues along Fauntleroy Way, where a 101-year-old single-family house and “accessory structure” are now planned for demolition and replacement with three single-family houses.

3026 SW CHARLESTOWN: In the Luna Park area, there’s an early-stage proposal on file for a 10-to-12-apartment building on this site that’s just uphill from Avalon.

Development rules @ Seattle Council: ‘Low-rise corrections’ get final OK; ‘lot boundary adjustments’ notice to be discussed this afternoon

July 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

Updates on two development-rules issues @ Seattle City Council:

‘LOW-RISE CODE CORRECTIONS’: That’s the video from Monday afternoon’s shorter-than-usual full City Council meeting, with just one item of note on the agenda: The “low-rise code corrections” bill got final approval, 8 to 1. These are tweaks to the rules for development in “low-rise” zones (the backstory is in our June 1st report). The “no” vote was West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who proposed a long list of amendments before the earlier committee vote but only got three of them through, and expressed disappointment today that no other councilmembers had come forward with potential changes. He later published his full statement online, here. Councilmember Kshama Sawant voiced concern about affordable housing in low-rise zones being torn down and replaced by “luxury units,” but she voted for the bill.

LOT-BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENTS – NOTICE FOR NEIGHBORS? This afternoon at 2 pm, the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee gets briefed on a followup to some rule changes last year regarding “lot-boundary adjustments” – which, as the briefing memo acknowledges, can have this effect: “Development on sites created through LBAs have sometimes surprised neighbors who were unaware that a potential development site existed. To address that concern, Council indicated that it would consider whether notice requirements should be established for LBAs.” The briefing will include a mention of three options to consider for how neighbors are notified, if at all:

Lot Boundary Adjustments notification

This is NOT a formal proposal yet, so no vote will be taken. If you want to watch live, it’ll be on Seattle Channel, cable channel 21 or online, coming up at 2 pm.

Design Review updates: City’s making a map; 3 West Seattle meetings rescheduled; what happened at last week’s doubleheader

July 1, 2015 at 10:21 am | In Development, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Updates today on Design Review, the only city program that regularly allows for public meetings on some development projects:

THE CITY’S MAKING A MAP: Linked from the newest monthly Department of Planning and Development newsletter, this announcement:

In July we will unveil a new online map that provides locations and detailed information of active Seattle Design Review projects. Our Shaping Seattle: Buildings map gives users the ability to click on a project to:

View design specifics
Find the building status
Comment on the project
Find related Design Review meetings

Users will also be able to see what the project will look like and download project documents to their computer. With this information, residents can be well informed on our projects and be involved in the design process.

No mention of whether this is linked to or inspired by the privately created, similarly missioned app Seattle In Progress.

UPCOMING DESIGN REVIEW MEETINGS – ONE NEW, THREE RESCHEDULED: Another one has just been added to the running schedule – at 6:30 pm August 6th, the memory-care facility proposed for 4515 41st SW is scheduled to come back before the board.

While checking the city site, we also noticed three project reviews have been rescheduled, including two that were supposed to go before the board tomorrow (but now there’s NO July 2nd meeting on the schedule):

-4700 Admiral Way SW is now scheduled for its Early Design Guidance review at 8 pm July 23rd – this is the 3-story, 80-unit Aegis Living memory-care/assisted-living project. (The DPD website indicates the notice with the revised date will go out tomorrow.)

4532 42nd SW is now rescheduled for 8 pm July 16th – this is the new 6-story, 89-apartment proposal for the site behind the Capco/Altamira/QFC building, and the revised notice about this should go out tomorrow, too.

5414 Delridge Way SW – This is now set for July 16th at 6:30 pm (one week earlier than previously scheduled). It’s proposed as a 4-story building with 7 residential units and 1,100 square feet of commercial space.

All of the above reviews will be at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California).

LAST THURSDAY’S DOUBLEHEADER: While we weren’t able to have a reporter cover the doubleheader meeting last Thursday (June 25th), we do have some information. First, the CVS drugstore planned for 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW advanced out of the Early Design Guidance phase on its second try. If you’re interested in seeing how the discussion went but couldn’t get to the meeting either, we have it on video:

The second review that night (not on video) was the first Early Design Guidance look at 6058 35th SW, a 4-story building proposed for 89 residential units, 8,500 sf of office space, and 1,500 sf of commercial space at High Point’s most-prominent remaining piece of real estate. According to the city planner assigned to the project, Tami Garrett, the board decided this needs to come back for a second round of EDG. No date yet; we’re watching the calendar.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST … if you’ve read this far, you might be interested in the city’s ongoing review of the Design Review program. Go here for a chance to tell them what you think.

West Seattle development: 2nd tower crane for The Whittaker

June 29, 2015 at 9:05 am | In 4755 Fauntleroy, Development, West Seattle news | Comments Off

9:05 AM: As reported here earlier this month, today is installation day for the second tower crane on the biggest construction project under way in West Seattle, mixed-use The Whittaker at Alaska/Fauntleroy/Edmunds. This one’s going up on the north end of the project, two months after installation of the first one at the site’s south end. The installation staging is happening primarily on 40th SW, so it’s not affecting a major arterial right now, but an engine from temporary Fire Station 32 was parked on the street for quicker access while this is under way.

The Whittaker will include almost 400 apartments and nearly 600 parking spaces, as well as retail including Whole Foods Market (no other tenants have been announced so far). The only other project in West Seattle with a tower crane right now is the mixed-use 4435 35th SW.

1:03 PM: Thanks to Matt for this photo:

That’s the first crane in the foreground at right.

Goodbye, Department of Planning and Development; hello, Office of Planning and Community Development

June 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm | In Development, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 20 Comments

Mayor Murray is breaking up the Department of Planning and Development, and longtime director Diane Sugimura is retiring. Those are the bottom lines from an announcement this morning at City Hall. The mayor is creating a new city department, the Office of Planning and Community Development, that is supposed to have the big picture in terms of planning – not just construction/development but also transportation, among other things – and dismantling DPD, whose other functions such as permitting will be handled by a department to be named later. Read the full announcement ahead:

Click to read the rest of Goodbye, Department of Planning and Development; hello, Office of Planning and Community Development…

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