Concluding an four-hour doubleheader meeting much less contentious than their previous one last month, the Southwest Design Review Board has just given thumbs-up to 4745 40th SW, an eight-story, 150-unit, 116-parking-space building on the southwest corner of 40th and Edmunds, south of land the city has just purchased for a future park.
The previous session was for 4535 44th SW (here’s our report). Four regular board members were the panel for this review – chair Myer Harrell, Daniel Skaggs, Todd Bronk, and Laird Bennion; also at the table, Bruce Rips, the city planner for this project. Like the earlier project, this one drew about 15 members of the public.
Andy Hoyer from Encore Architects led the presentation; see the packet here. Hoyer said he was excited to be presenting one of the first projects developed under guidelines in the relatively new West Seattle Triangle Plan; though this site technically isn’t in The Triangle, the plan’s area extended a bit further west, including this site.
In the first of two reviews tonight, the Southwest Design Review Board has just recommended final approval for the design of 4535 SW Alaska, an apartment building to be known as Lofts at The Junction.
All five regular board members were on hand for this meeting – chair Myer Harrell and members Todd Bronk, Laird Bennion, T. Frick McNamara, and Daniel Skaggs – along with planner Tami Garrett from the city Department of Planning and Development.
Though this project has been a source of controversy, fewer than 20 members of the public were on hand – perhaps because its most controversial point, the lack of parking, is not in the scope of the Design Review Board’s authority. (Dozens more attended a special neighbor-requested meeting about non-design concerns last month – here’s our coverage.)
Tonight’s review began with NK Architects‘ Jin Lee presenting (see the packet here) the latest design for the project, Lofts at The Junction, which as he put it is on “a truncated triangle … one block from the heart of The Junction.” It is proposed for five stories with 36 apartments and two live-work units on a site with significant west-east slope between Glenn Way to the west and 44th SW to the east.
As noted in our previous story, tomorrow night is the next meeting of the Southwest Design Review Board, and it’s another doubleheader. Tonight, the graphics/info packet is out for the second of the two reviews, 4745 40th SW, on the east side of The Junction, west of the Masonic Center, southwest of the proposed 4755 Fauntleroy/Whole Foods site:
The project is described in the 80-page packet as “an eight-story, 169,455 SF building with 134 apartment units, 16 live/work units, 1,000 SF of commercial space, and parking for 116 cars.” Its south side is actually one story lower than its north side. It’ll be reviewed starting at 8 pm tomorrow (Thursday, December 5th) at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon), following the 6:30 pm session, in which the board will look again at 4535 44th SW, 36 apartments, 2 live-work units, no parking – we’ve already reported on its packet. (That’s the same project that was the subject of a special requested-by-petition community meeting two weeks ago.)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Before the Southwest Design Review Board meets again tomorrow, we have one loose end from its last meeting, details of what led to the decision to send 3078 SW Avalon Way back for one more try.)
(Site aerial, from meeting packet)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
That would be two months following the 102-apartment, 60-parking-space project‘s second appearance before the board, which didn’t happen until fourteen months after its first review.
During that gap, the project changed, city codes changed, and the plan for an adjacent site changed.
One thing that did not change: The dedication of neighbors intent on raising big-picture questions while being an integral part of the process, a process that dates back to early word of the proposal 15 months ago, after which they met four times in the few ensuing weeks before the project’s September 2012 Design Review debut.
That process got emotional and contentious as this most recent meeting neared its end – four and a half hours after the board’s night began with another project that, like this one, involves a 100-plus-unit building to be built adjacent to a single-family neighborhood. As we reported right after the meeting, both were sent back for at least one more meeting.
The emotion and frustration, suggested the city planner assigned to 3078 Avalon Way, seemed to be about the zoning, something neither he nor board members could change – the zoning that potentially would allow a building rising seven stories from Avalon on this site.
Wondering about the big white boxes arriving on 26th SW? Staging for prefab modular townhouse installation next weekNovember 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm | In Delridge, Development, West Seattle news | 28 Comments
Almost looks like a circus or carnival coming to town in North Delridge, with semitrucks delivering big white “boxes” to the east side of 26th SW south of SW Genesee, along the west side of Delridge Community Center/Playfield/Park. It’s actually staging for a development project nearby:
What’s being delivered today is scheduled to be craned onto that site at 2816 SW Genesee next week, as part of a project installing three prefab modular townhouses. We received a news release about the impending installation (read it here in its entirety), but it didn’t mention the staging zone, so it was in queue for the next WSB roundup of development updates, accelerated now because of this!
In addition to the dozen or so modules that the trucking crew say they’re bringing from the Ferndale factory to the staging zone along 26th SW, the project also will involve intermittent closures on SW Genesee during installation, which the developers told us is currently expected to happen Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on the weather. (Added: Map with “A” marking the construction site – the staging zone outside the park is on the lower right)
View Larger Map
The company putting in the modular townhouses is called Method Homes. Company spokesperson Courtney Peterson told us via e-mail, “The homes will be installed in 12 pieces over 2 days … The project was built to near-completion in our factory, complete with windows, floors, kitchens, baths, and appliances.”
Once the modules are installed, the official news release says, finishing touches will follow: “On site work will involve joining the modules at the seams, utility connections, and installing remaining siding, which typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.” The townhouses are described as:
Designed by Method’s architect partner Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture, each 1,630 square foot, 4-Star Built Green home is 3 levels with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, an attached garage, and rooftop deck.
Two of the units have a shared wall and the third is a stand-alone unit. All of the townhomes share a parking court. … The townhomes were developed by RITCS Holdings, Inc. and are being listed through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (formerly Prudential Northwest Realty) starting at $450,000.
The city project page for this site is here.
Side note: A different company installed a prefab standalone house in Admiral last July.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The CEO of Aegis Living tells WSB that the new senior-living center his company plans to build at 47th/Admiral will be “something that West Seattle has not seen before.”
We talked with Redmond-headquartered Aegis’s CEO Dwayne Clark on Monday, the first opportunity he’d had for a conversation since we made the request upon discovering earlier this month that Aegis is buying the 1 1/2-acre site vacated by Life Care Centers of America almost a year ago.
Full plans for that “something” are still under development, says Clark. The deal isn’t set to close until year’s end, but they have a size and concept in mind:
Updates tonight on two no-parking apartment projects currently going through the city review system:
4535 44TH SW ‘DESIGN PACKET’: One week from Thursday, 4535 44th SW (map) returns to the Southwest Design Review Board, after having been the subject of another meeting last week (WSB coverage here) in which citizens spoke up about concerns related to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) – primarily the five-story project’s no-on-site-parking plan. It’s proposed for 36 apartments and 2 live-work units. The “design packet” is now available via the city website. Above, Nicholson Kovalchick Architects‘ design of the side that would face 44th SW, across from The Junction’s northernmost parking lot for shoppers; below, the side that would face Glenn Way:
Features outlined in the packet include informal gathering space with a small table and chairs envisioned on each east-facing stair landing overlooking 44th. This is the first project up for the SW Design Review Board’s two-project meeting at 6:30 pm December 5th at the Senior Center of West Seattle; the 8 pm review that night is for 4745 40th SW, 135 units and 116 parking spaces – its packet is not yet online.
2 UPDATES ON 6917 CALIFORNIA SW – MEETING & DEADLINE: Also on December 5th, the Morgan Community Association plans a special meeting about the 30-apartment, no-parking project planned at 6917 California SW (map):
This will be a meeting for community and neighbors to get some preliminary background on this multi-family project, learn about the Urban Village strategy and Morgan Junction Neighborhood Plan, land use zoning and the City’s code changes that have taken place since that strategy was adopted. Plus, discussion about the issues and concerns prior to a future meeting with the developer (which is being scheduled).
This citizen-organized community meeting is set for 7 pm December 5th at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW. This is the project first made public here in mid-October, and it’s drawn much attention since then. The public-comment period for the development was extended to this Wednesday; to comment, follow the link on the official notice. As reported here two weeks ago, neighbors also have gathered petition signatures in hopes of a SEPA-issues public meeting like the one last Tuesday about 4535 44th SW; their online petition has more than 500 signatures showing right now.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Last Thursday night, in a four-and-a-half-hour meeting, the Southwest Design Review Board looked at two projects, and declined to recommend final approval for either one, meaning each needs at least one more review. We published short updates that night, promising full coverage to follow; this is the first of 2 long-form reports.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Following the third Southwest Design Review Board meeting for the mixed-use 3210 California SW project, with at least one more ahead, the site’s neighbors are gathering petition signatures to do what two other West Seattle neighborhoods have done this year – demand a separate city hearing on the project’s potential effects.
The petition at moveon.org was started after Thursday night’s meeting, which drew more than 50 people. (That is also the minimum number of signatures needed to request a hearing outside the Design Review process.)
3210 California SW in its current proposed form would bring ~140 apartments, ~170 parking spaces, and more than 3,000 square feet of retail to much of the east side of the block-plus on California upzoned by City Council approval in 2010, three years after the proposal to change its zoning to NC2-40 was initiated.
The second review of the night for the Southwest Design Review Board has just concluded at 11 pm, after an at-times confrontational, contentious meeting. Bottom line: 3078 SW Avalon Way, with about 100 apartments and 60 parking spaces, will come back for a third review. The second one tonight came more than a year after the first one; city zoning has changed, and the project has, too. It’s about nine feet shorter than it was previously. But the concerns for neighbors in a single-family neighborhood adjacent to the proposed project remain – “the building is just too big.” They cited planning documents that they contend suggests the all-volunteer board has more authority regarding projects’ heights than they and city planners believe they do; the assigned planner suggested their beef is with the zoning, not the project, and that is an issue they need to push politically. Full story to come.
Full story to come later, but a quick bulletin from the Southwest Design Review Board‘s doubleheader meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle – there will be at least one more review meeting for 3210 California SW, the 143-apartment, 168-parking-space building proposed for the site that was upzoned in a contentious process dating back to fall 2007. The board wants the three-part facade of the building to look even more like three different buildings, more detail of how the east side of the building will relate to the single-family neighborhood behind it on 42nd SW, and more retail than live-work on the street side. The review ran two hours, half an hour longer than scheduled, with more than 50 people in attendance, and the next one is also likely to be epic, with dozens of people here for 3078 SW Avalon Way, a 100-plus-apartment project that had its first meeting more than a year ago. We’ll update the results on that when its meeting is over – likely past 10.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Through the city’s half-dozen-plus public meetings related to the design of 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, to be anchored by a Whole Foods Market, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 were a constant presence, voicing concerns, keeping watch on the project, often with a contingent of members/leaders in yellow logo-bearing T-shirts.
After the project’s design won final approvals in that process from the Southwest Design Review Board and the Seattle Design Commission, the union launched a campaign called Getting It Right for West Seattle, focused on the remaining approval needed by the project – the City Council’s blessing for the project’s requested “alley vacation,” in which the developer seeks approval to buy publicly owned alley land. The campaign scored an early victory with Mayor McGinn‘s July announcement that SDOT would be told to recommend the council reject the alley vacation, for concerns including worker wages.
While that part of the process rolls slowly along, UFCW Local 21 has paid for a University of Washington architecture professor to develop two “alternative designs” for the site. Monday night, those designs – one of which would potentially have room for a Whole Foods or other big chain store, one of which was not – were “offered up as food for thought,” as union organizer and West Seattle resident Elena Perez put it. She organized the presentation at Emeritus-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) with about two dozen people in attendance, not including the site’s developers/owners, Weingarten Realty and Lennar, to whom Perez said she’d given notice too late.
However, a member of the Huling family, which previously owned most of the site, was there and spoke up in a somewhat dramatic moment – more on that later.
Perez characterized their ongoing interest in the site – which she clarified is the focus of GIR4WS, not local development in general – as anchored in the “precedent” it would set, and reiterated that the advocates’ goal is what they stated it to be half a year ago – to obtain a Community Benefit Agreement “with local West Seattle stakeholders” as part of a deal with the city for the alley vacation, which would involve selling two sections of alley for fair-market value plus a public-benefit package (this slide deck from June details the public benefits approved by the Design Commission in that stage of the review).
The alternative designs by Dr. Sharon Sutton turned out to involve only the commercial level of the site, leaving the rest of it to imagination/speculation. Though Dr. Sutton herself was not in attendance, the designs were presented and described by West Seattleite Deb Barker, who served four years on the Southwest Design Review Board and is a retired land-use planner.
Barker made it clear she was speaking for herself as a private citizen, unrelated to other community-advocacy roles in which she currently serves. She extended the invitation for us to cover the meeting; GIR4WS had not sent announcements of previous meetings, either for news coverage or public-calendar postings.
After a condensed primer on the process through which the project already has gone, Barker reiterated that UFCW Local 21 had paid for Dr. Sutton’s work, which she compared and contrasted with selections from the design packet for one of the public meetings about the project’s official design by Fuller Sears Architects, the Seattle Design Commission session on June 20th, like this one:
Barker also explained the alley vacation process (here’s the city’s primer) and the “mid-block connector” currently designed into the project as a sort of replacement alley, the target of criticism at many official reviews because it would be used by trucks as well as pedestrians. “You’re going to get to play duck-dodge with a panel truck or semi-truck,” Barker contended. (The union had talked at previous city meetings, like this one in April, about its studies of a North Seattle Whole Foods store, with at least 4 semitrucks daily and up to 31 panel trucks making deliveries.)
Continuing to set the stage before showing the alternatives, she also zeroed in on the “gateway” corner of the development, the southwest corner of Fauntleroy/Alaska (roughly where the former gas station is being dismantled/dug up right now). Here’s what the official design includes:
(See the two alternatives below, one for each envisioned concept.) Barker explained that Dr. Sutton was just asked to deal “with the pedestrian experience” – not the residential floors of the project. The input she was given included a survey circulated online by Getting It Right for West Seattle (in response to a question later, Perez said 357 responses had been received, this past July and August) as well as two charrettes whose participants were described as “community activists and UFCW 21 representatives.”
The two concepts were labeled Alley and Market. Barker said she wasn’t sure which she liked better: “To me, these are breaths of fresh air, just imagining the possibilities.” Here is “Alley”:
The parking access would change, and any “large retail opportunity” would front Fauntleroy. Deliveries for that would be on the Fauntleroy/Edmunds corner. The midblock connector/pass-through “would be for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles only.” There would be second-floor roofs with raingardens.
The gateway area – Fauntleroy/Alaska – concept for the “alley” design was described as an “egg” because of its shape:
Next, the “market concept.” Barker referenced the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, the Reading Market in Philadelphia, Melrose Market on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, saying it was envisioned as including “a big place for small businesses, lots and lots and lots of small businesses, access onto streets,” with live-work units on the southeast side, facing Fauntleroy, “places for hanging out,” and a “huge internal space” on the north side, with doors opening to the streets on the west.
“From inside the market, you pour out into a stage area with outdoor seating and a performance area,” and sunshine from the southwest corner (though it should be noted a development is set for that side, too).
From the back of the room at that point: “Where’s Whole Foods?”
“Maybe not in this project,” Barker replied. She went on to show the imagined “gateway” for this configuration, “a very, very, very large space several stories tall, surrounded by windows,” enabling people to see into the “market space,” and out to the theoretically sun-dappled public park/performance area.”
She declared this to be a design that would be more of a “gateway,” more of a “true entry statement than the 4755 Fauntleroy design currently has.”
Sharonn Meeks, who had served on the Triangle Advisory Group whose work was part of a city zoning overhaul of the area – including this site, technically west of The Triangle – asked at that point: “This is one-sixth of the project; what are you doing with the rest?” She pointed out that this configuration would certainly include fewer residential units.
Barker reiterated that “Dr. Sutton wasn’t asked to get into (that).”
The next question asked again about what kind of supermarket could fit into the envisioned space. Barker thought a “two-story Whole Foods” might work. She also recalled a “three-story Home Depot in the middle of a dense Chicago neighborhood,” and noted that developers have choices.
Though project developers weren’t at this meeting, as noted earlier, this is where a member of the family that sold most of the site to the developers spoke up.
Grant Huling said he wanted to “offer himself as a resource,” including availability to talk with attendees post-meeting (which he did).
He expressed appreciation for people caring about development, but said it appeared to him that “UFCW has picked a fight with this one project” at a time that is “particularly late in the process … I think a lot of community energy is getting steered toward this project, when there are a number of mixed-use things happening and they all should have community fingerprints on them … ”
Another attendee asked, “So who’s going to see these proposals?”
Perez replied: “Well, you are, tonight …”
The questioner asked, “But, in terms of making changes” to the project …
Perez acknowledged, “It’s not that you’re going to vote tonight and say ‘yay’ and it’s magically going to happen.” But, she said, they believe Seattle is “hot,” a place developers want to be, but they don’t “think it’s good enough” for an “urban infill” project.
Then addressing Grant Huling, she defended UFCW 21′s “concern about jobs … we have thousands of members who live in West Seattle like myself who want an enjoyable development. … We’re not saying our vision is the correct one. One of these designs does have space for a large anchor tenant, that could be Whole Foods.”
The next comment from the audience suggested that the “safety issue” might be the “wedge” that could be taken to the city. (It has been – our coverage of the project’s reviews by the Seattle Design Commission includes this report from last April, at which time UFCW reps brought up the truck-traffic concerns.)
Two other attendees asked about coordination of major projects, and about the Junction and Triangle plans on file with the city. Barker explained that they can be found as documents in city files (here’s the 1999 West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Plan; here are documents containing results of the recent round of Triangle planning), noting that the midblock connector for this site was a concept in the Triangle plan, not something the developer pulled “out of mid-air.” Here’s how it’s shown in the plan (before this project was proposed):
Dr. Sutton is meeting with Councilmember Rasmussen and possibly others to discuss “from a professional standpoint why there are major concerns in the (developers’) proposal,” said Perez, adding that other “neighbors” are setting meetings with councilmembers too. “Our position is that this can be a win-win, a developer can have a very profitable development. If it ends up having a Whole Foods in it, so be it.”
At that point, Meeks, president of the nearby Fairmount Community Association – south of SW Alaska, uphill from The Triangle – noted that the Triangle Advisory Group had “worked for 14 months” and “worked on the concept of what we considered a true gateway into West Seattle – It’s not this project (site), it’s what was funded (by City Council earlier this week, as reported here), the (Fauntleroy) Green Boulevard. … My concern here is that this seems to be targeted toward a (certain) project, not a vetting of what the Triangle group came together to work on. I didn’t see you supporting (the Green Boulevard).”
That’s when Perez clarified, “Getting It Right for West Seattle is very specific to this project.”
Questions still persisted about what the alternative designs would be used for, what could still happen at this part of the process. That’s when Shawn Terjeson got up and explained how he got involved, and why he is currently making the rounds to meet with city councilmembers. “I got excited about the alley vacation,” he said. “They’re building a trench from Fauntleroy to California that’s only good for cars unless you’re going to Whole Foods or LA Fitness” (in Spruce, the former “Hole,” across the street) … “My goal is to have these people build us something that is livable, exciting, that will draw us into West Seattle. The Triangle plan is fantastic.”
An attendee asked, “What’s to stop them from building this is there is no alley vacation?” Barker replied that the “existing configuration of the alleyway limits the footprint of the building.”
Asked again at the end if the designs would be taken to the developer, Perez said she sent an invitation to the “community liaison for the developers on Saturday” but “they didn’t have enough time … we’ve been very open about wanting to sit down and work with them on this, but at this point all we can do is work through the public process – democracy isn’t always pretty.”
We asked a development team spokesperson for comment:
We have not met with the union on this topic. We are already more than two years into a design that is wholly consistent with the West Seattle Triangle Plan’s community-led vision for this property. Additionally, the existing design has been approved by the West Seattle Design Review Board and the Seattle Design Commission.
We are moving ahead with the City’s process for an alley vacation, which includes paying fair-market value for the alley, as well as providing more than $2M in additional on-site public benefit. The City process for an alley vacation does not include a community benefit agreement.
When a date is set for the next step in that process – likely going to the City Council’s Transportation Committee after the first of the year – we’ll let you know.
SIDE NOTE: For an example of a “Community Benefit Agreement” precedent, the one negotiated in 2008 for a Central District project is cited. (The project was canceled the following year, after recession hit.)
6:45 PM: We’re in the basement at Hope Lutheran Church along with more than 30 people here for a meeting that wouldn’t have happened if neighbors hadn’t petitioned the city for it. While the 36-unit, no-parking-space apartment building proposed for 4535 44th SW is going through Design Review – with at least one more meeting to come – other components of public comment are routinely dealt with via e-mail, postal-mail, phone comments … unless at least 50 people petition for a meeting to address SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)-related impacts. No decision will be made tonight, but anyone who wants to get up to a microphone and speak is supposed to get a chance to do so. City planner Tami Garrett is presiding. We’ll be publishing notes as it happens. It’s starting with some voicing of confusion over the meeting’s topic – “we thought it was about the lack of parking,” per a few voices from the audience. “Is there anyone here from SDOT?” one man asks. No, just the Department of Planning and Development. Garrett clarifies that Design Review doesn’t include impacts such as parking, traffic, and noise, but this type of meeting does.
6:51 PM: Some confusion continues. Garrett explains that this is not microhousing – the units are proposed as full-fledged, if small, apartments. One man asks her to clarify how best they can express their opinions to decisionmakers about the lack of parking; he says he was “stunned” to find out this building has none. Garrett finally moves into the introduction, explaining that this project is in what’s considered a “frequent transit zone” that is part of an “urban village,” and that’s why no parking is required. She says two planners will review this project – she deals with Design Review and SEPA, while another planner will deal with “how it meets the land-use code.”
Questions arise from around the room, again, regarding why the law doesn’t require parking in this kind of law. Both city law and SEPA have changed, explain Garrett and co-worker Molly Hurley, who says “Tami’s role and my role are limited to review of this project to make sure it meets current codes. Therefore we are not effective conduits for your concerns about … the codes and policy,” which she says need to be expressed to City Councilmembers. A few minutes later, Hurley acknowledges that DPD does “have a hand in writing codes.” This particular change traces to last year, they say. “It was adopted at the City Council level,” explains Garrett, after someone in the back asks, “Did we get a say in (the change)?”
7:04 PM: The first speaker, Ellen, begins.
This Thursday (November 21st), 3210 California SW – the biggest development on the drawing boards for the greater Admiral area – goes back to the Southwest Design Review Board, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). In advance of that meeting, developer Intracorp has gone public with new renderings that are not in the “packet” published online in advance of the meeting. Above, the full length of the project facade; below,
And this is a rendering of the retail courtyard.
The project’s packet is here; it says they’re currently proposing 149 units, 168 parking spaces, with 3,700 square feet of live-work space, 4,200 square feet of retail space. The last review was in June; our details of that meeting are part of this July roundup. Thursday’s meeting will include a public-comment period, and will be followed by the 8 pm review of 3078 Avalon Way SW.
Along with development, we watch real estate – particularly commercial listings – for hints at where future development might turn up. Tonight, there’s a new listing in The Triangle: 4480 Fauntleroy Way SW, offered for sale for $895,000. It’s home to coffee, computer, and car businesses, and the flyer says that all are on month-to-month leases but all want to stay, while also touting the 6,300-square-foot site’s “great future development potential.” It’s zoned NC3-65 (explained here). Two nearby sites remain listed, as first reported here in August:
*The $2.6 million listing for 17,000-sf Fauntleroy Plaza on the northwest corner of Fauntleroy/35th says a sale is “pending.”
*The $2.4 million (down from $2.8 million in August) listing for 16,000-sf 4441 Fauntleroy Way SW describes it as “available.” Like newly listed 4480 Fauntleroy, it is zoned NC3-65.
Online city records show no current development proposals for any of the three aforementioned sites.
The advocacy group Getting It Right for West Seattle is going public Monday with its alternative visions for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project site. As reported here in community-meeting coverage last month, the group that grew from union concerns about the Whole Foods Market-anchored project hired University of Washington architecture/urban design/planning professor Dr. Sharon E. Sutton to come up with alternative “design concept” for the site, based on feedback from an online survey. (She had earlier outlined concerns about the project in her role as urban-design consultant to UFCW Local 21.) Her two designs will be shown at a meeting Monday night. The group says the public is welcome at that meeting – 6:45 pm Monday (November 18th) at Emeritus (formerly Merrill Gardens; WSB sponsor)-West Seattle, 4611 35th SW.
SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering about the project’s official status – the former gas station at the Fauntleroy/Alaska is being demolished/dug up, as reported here earlier this month, but the rest of it continues to await a key city decision, regarding the alley vacation required by the design that was approved by the city’s Southwest Design Review Board and Design Commission. The alley vacation is not expected to go to the City Council before Mayor Mike McGinn, who told SDOT to oppose it, leaves office in early January.
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
A sign has just gone up at 4515 41st SW in The Junction, announcing “Quail Park Memory Care Residences of West Seattle” is on the way – here’s a closer look:
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
This is the same long-vacant site (map) mentioned in a WSB report from October 2012, noting that a city Department of Planning and Development webpage featured an early-stage filing “proposing construction of a new 50-60 unit Alzheimer’s care community …” with the would-be applicant inquiring about any similar projects in West Seattle. The North Seattle address on that filing is the same one listed for Living Care Lifestyles, the company on the new sign; its website does not mention the 41st SW plan, nor does the DPD webpage include any new filings, but we have an inquiry out and will update whenever we hear back. The site (which has had multiple previous proposals that didn’t go through) is adjacent to the 41st/Oregon townhouse plan reported here two months ago; at least one other senior-care project is expected to be on the local drawing boards soon, since as we reported last week, Aegis Living is buying the former Life Care Center site at 47th/Admiral.
(UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: City confirms, comment deadline extended to Nov. 27th)
Last Saturday, we updated the saga of 6917 California SW, the 30-units, no-parking building proposed for part of what’s currently the site of three old houses in south Morgan Junction, with 2 houses and 4 townhouses on the rest of the site. The deadline for comments is Wednesday; formal requests have been filed for a two-week extension, but there’s no official confirmation yet. And neighbors are organizing: They are seeking signatures on an online petition via change.org – see it here – and also circulating a flyer:
The project currently requires no public meetings; that’s part of what neighbors hope to change. We first reported on the project four weeks ago, after discovering it in city files even before the land-use-application sign went up. Official comments on the proposal can be sent by following the instructions on the official notice
ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: We now have multiple confirmations, including one from the city, that the comment deadline for this project has been extended to November 27th.
Yet more updates on West Seattle development plans – this time, focused around the Design Review process:
3078 AVALON WAY ‘PACKET’ FOR NEXT DESIGN REVIEW: As reported here last month, 3078 SW Avalon Way goes back to the Southwest Design Review Board on November 21st, more than a year after its Early Design Guidance meeting (WSB coverage here). Today’s update is that the “packet” containing the newest plan for this ~100-apartment, ~60-parking-space project is now available online. Its text notes that the adjacent, almost identical project (3062 Avalon) has been canceled:
Soon after the September 13  EDG meeting, Caron Architecture was approached to design a second building on the three parcels to the north of this project. That project under DPD # 3014100, was slated to be designed concurrently with this proposal, 3013303. The schedule for this proposed project was slightly delayed so the two project schedules could synchronized. Both MUP sets were submitted within weeks of each other but the buildings were placed on hold by the owners during the MUP review period due to a myriad of factors, and the application for the other project was eventually cancelled. The decision was made late summer to continue the moving forward with this project only. Comments and concerns raised through the design review process for both buildings have been incorporated into this design, although only the EDG report for this project is specifically addressed in this presentation.
The review of 3078 SW Avalon Way is at 8 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Senior Center of West Seattle, right after the 6:30 pm review of 3210 California SW (the meeting “packet” for that project is not yet available).
4535 44TH SW DESIGN REVIEW: Since our report that the city has scheduled a special public-comment meeting November 19th after being petitioned by neighbors concerned about this 36-unit, no-parking project in The Junction, there’s yet another date set: It’s going back before the SW Design Review Boardat 6:30 pm December 5th, also at the Senior Center of WS. The formal notice isn’t out yet but it’s listed on the city schedule. (Here’s our coverage of its previous SWDRB review back in May.)
3400 SW GRAHAM DESIGN REVIEW, BUT NO MEETING: We reported two weeks ago about the new development proposal for part of High Point’s long-in-flux site at 35th/Graham – 36 townhouses, 9 single-family houses. It is now scheduled for Administrative Design Review – which means no public meeting, but public comments will be accepted. The formal notice is scheduled to go out this Thursday, with comments accepted until November 27th. If you want to comment before that, send yours to the city planner assigned to the project, Tami Garrett, at email@example.com.
First came the scrawled comment on the signboard that wasn’t up yet when we first reported on a south Morgan Junction project that includes a 30-apartment, no-parking-space building:
Now there’s a printed, taped-up sheet with a more eloquent plea to the passerby, and a response to the scrawler, starting, “Sadly, they are not kidding”:
To be specific, as a commenter reminded readers on a separate development story published here last night, the deadline for commenting on the 6917 California SW proposal is five days away – Wednesday, November 13th (unless someone has asked the city for the two-week extension that’s usually available by request).
Since we broke the news of this proposed project in mid-October, most attention has been focused on the apartment building; as we noted then, six additional housing units are planned on the two lots north of the site, all of which have descriptions/preliminary listings online:
*Townhouse A at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse B at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse C at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse D at 6911 California SW
*Single-family home at 6913 California SW
*Single-family home at 6915 California SW
The 36 total units are proposed for three lots on which three old homes currently sit, the second, third, and fourth north of the northwest corner of California and Mills. To comment on the proposal, follow the instructions on the official notice; separate comments would be needed to mention the other parts of the project, including the lot-boundary adjustment proposed to outline the sites of the three components.
(More development updates later.)
New microhousing rules: West Seattle groups join citywide challenge to city ‘non-significance’ rulingNovember 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 19 Comments
(Under-construction microhousing at 3266 Avalon Way SW)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ten community groups from around the city, including West Seattle’s Morgan Community Association and SeattleNERD (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development), are pursuing an appeal to a city decision regarding proposed new rules for microhousing.
The verbiage and details are about as bureaucratic as it gets, but here’s what it boils down to: What they’re appealing is the Department of Planning and Development‘s “determination of non-significance” (DNS) regarding effects of the new rules (which were reported here last month, weeks AFTER the DNS was issued).
A DNS generally means no environmental-impact review/report is required. Environment, when it comes to land use, includes factors such as traffic and noise – and the groups argue that microhousing brings plenty of both. The original appeal document lists 53 of what the appellants consider environmental impacts (#39, for example, is “Failure to have a reasonable, reality-based discussion of the impact on availability of affordable housing.” Here’s the full document (PDF), or read it embedded below:
(Other documents in the case are downloadable from links on this page.) Summarizing, the appellants write that they “object to the DPD’s audacious disregard of the requirements of SEPA [the State Environmental Policy Act] … Its conclusion that the 2,842 units created by the existing, under construction, and proposed micro-housing projects will have no significant environmental impacts … would be laughable, did it not have such tragic consequences for Seattle’s natural and built environments.”
The appeal document also includes a “concern that the current definition DPD is suggesting doesn’t accurately encompass all of the microhousing being built.”
The city’s Hearing Examiner will hear the appeal; if she upholds the DPD determination, the challengers would have the option to go to court. This is scheduled for a pre-hearing conference next Wednesday (November 13), and the actual appeal hearing is set for January 7th.
Separate from this, the proposed microhousing rules need City Council approval before taking effect; no hearing/vote dates are scheduled yet.
SIDEBAR: As noted in our October coverage of the proposed rules, here are the four known West Seattle microhousing projects:
*4548 Delridge (3 stories, 16 sleeping rooms, 2 “dwelling units,” close to completion)
*3266 Avalon Way (5 stories, 56 sleeping rooms, 7 “dwelling units,” top photo)
*3050 Avalon Way (5 stories, 110 sleeping rooms, 14 “dwelling units,” not yet under construction)
*5949 California SW (4 stories, 38 sleeping rooms, 5 “dwelling units,” not yet under construction)
For the first time since a proposed standalone drugstore project became public – first reported here in late July – it’s officially listed in public records as a future CVS Pharmacy. The project proposed for 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW has yet to be scheduled for a design-review meeting. It’s been assumed that it would be CVS because of the client list of the company listed as the applicant, and because of similar applications in other areas, but now the name has formally emerged for the first time – on a liquor-license application.
Washington CVS Pharmacy, LLC, has just applied for beer/wine/spirits sales licenses for the Fauntleroy Way SW site as well as for the lower Queen Anne, Wallingford, and Burien locations that were mentioned in our July report. Other than this, no new documents regarding the West Seattle project have emerged since the ones we found in late July, mentioning a one-story, 14,500-square-foot store (the site is zoned for mixed-use development up to 8 stories). But if you’re looking for hints, you might look at the newest design proposal for the lower Queen Anne project, which goes back to Design Review next week – though keep in mind there are site differences, such as size (the smaller Queen Anne site is proposed for an underground garage, while the roughed-out “site plan” for West Seattle showed surface parking).
Almost a year has passed since Life Care Center announced it would close its nursing home at 47th/Admiral, and we finally know a bit about the 1 1/2-acre site’s future, the source of much speculation and more than a few questions. For some weeks, the real-estate listing has had the notation “pending” – as in “sale pending” – but there’s no public information until the sale closes, so we’ve just kept watching public records. Then a WSB reader pointed us to a recent magazine interview in which the CEO of Redmond-headquartered Aegis Living mentioned the company had property in West Seattle. Today, a company spokesperson confirmed that Aegis “has the property under contract.” For further details on their plan – whether renovation or new construction – we’re awaiting an interview with CEO Dwayne Clark later this month; no applications are in city records yet. Aegis Living has 14 locations in the Puget Sound area, in addition to 15 in California and one in Nevada, and describes itself as “a leader in assisted living and memory care.”
You might have noticed that some demolition work started today at 4755 Fauntleroy Way – aka the Whole Foods (and ~370 apartments as well as other retail) site – but that does not mean the project has its final approvals, and it has nothing to do with the results of last night’s mayoral election (you might recall that the “alley vacation” needed for the project became a campaign issue, when Mayor McGinn told SDOT not to approve it). What’s happening here, a project spokesperson told WSB today, is demolition of the former gas station on the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner, so that its tanks can be dug up and the site can be cleaned up.
This work will take about three weeks, according to the project spokesperson. (Even if the site had remained under its previous ownership, the tanks were slated for removal and replacement – we had been watching permits and processes there for a long time.) As for the aforementioned alley vacation, it still has to go before the City Council Transportation Committee, which wouldn’t happen any sooner than next month. As SDOT’s street/alley-vacation specialist Beverly Barnett told the Junction Neighborhood Organization in September, the proposal remains open for public comment.
While much of WSB’s development coverage in the past few years has focused on the largest projects, neighborhoods are taking a keen interest in smaller projects too. We’re watching city files more closely these days too, after hearing from residents’ concerns that the process is hard to follow and often leaves them finding out about a change for their neighborhood when it’s too late to even try to be constructively involved in the process. So we’re expanding our ongoing development coverage. First today, one West Seattle project from today’s edition of the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin (to which you can subscribe via e-mail – follow that link and use the sidebar box):
(3829 California rendering by Caron Architecture, from final design-review meeting)
3829 CALIFORNIA SW APARTMENTS APPROVED, BUT … The land-use approval for this 29-apartment, 29-parking-space project is in. The site, however, remains listed for sale (as first reported here in August, two months after it passed Design Review), price reduced to $1.45 million from the original $1.6m. That doesn’t necessarily affect the city process, so the clock is now ticking on the two-week window for appeals; here’s the official approval notice. (map)
Now, three projects in city files seeking boundary changes related to smaller projects:
2420 WICKSTROM PLACE SW, ALKI: Just east of the “Alki 11″ proposal that is now the subject of an appeal (reported here October 24), there’s a new filing to split one lot into three. The city file for the site shows a plan for a three-unit rowhouse and demolition of a duplex. (map)
7313 BAINBRIDGE: Another application to split one lot into three comes – as is not uncommon, depending on what other approvals are required – after construction has already begun.
The photo above is from this site just north of Lincoln Park, taken on Friday; construction is approved at this site for three single-family houses where one has been demolished. It’s yards away from the southeast border of six new single-family homes at 47th/Othello. (map)
4022 19TH SW, PIGEON POINT: A lot-boundary change has been pending here to create the sites of two new homes for which the developer is seeking construction permits, at 4022 and 4024 19th SW, on the 8,200-sf site of a century-old house at 4022. (map)
Two highly visible sites (on busy streets) where you will likely see teardown activity soon:
4101 SW OREGON, THE JUNCTION: Just east of the close-to-completion 131-unit Oregon 42 apartments, applications were filed last Wednesday to tear down an 86-year-old house and replace it with two 2-unit townhome buildings. The 4,500-square-foot lot is zoned Low-Rise 3. (map)
5457 FAUNTLEROY, FAIRMOUNT SPRINGS: The permit application is in for demolition of the 103-year-old house on this five-unit-rowhouse project with attached garages, which was approved last week, as reported here. (map)
West Seattle development updates: Special meeting for no-parking Junction project; Design Reviews confirmed; moreOctober 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 28 Comments
Six West Seattle development updates today – starting with a special public meeting for one of the projects proposed without parking spaces:
SPECIAL MEETING FOR 4535 44TH SW: This five-story, 36-apartment building on the west side of The Junction (map) currently includes no parking. Neighbors concerned about that and other aspects of the “Lofts at The Junction” project circulated a petition last summer seeking a special public meeting to address that and other State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-related concerns, and that meeting has just been officially scheduled and announced. The meeting is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, November 19th, at Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon); here’s the formal notice. This is separate from the Design Review process, in which this project passed Early Design Guidance in May (WSB coverage here), with an early-stage proposal including the sketch you see above; it still has to go through at least one more Design Review meeting, and there’s no date for that yet.
Meantime, today’s edition of the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin also included confirmation of the next two Southwest Design Review Board sessions, both on November 21st, as reported here earlier this month:
3210 CALIFORNIA: As first reported here more than two weeks ago, this 5-story, 143-apartment, 168-parking-space mixed-use building (map) is scheduled for its next review at 6:30 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). See the official notice here.
3078 AVALON WAY: As first reported here 11 days ago, this 8-story, 108-apartment, 61-parking-space residential building (map) is scheduled for its second and possibly final review at 8 pm during that same November 21st meeting; its first review was more than a year ago. Here’s the official notice.
Also in today’s bulletin:
6917 CALIFORNIA SW: This is the official published notice regarding the 30-apartment, no-parking building in Morgan Junction (map) that we’ve mentioned twice, first on October 16th; the clock is now ticking on its official comment period, through November 13th.
4522 DELRIDGE WAY SW: This four-house proposal (map) also was mentioned here back on Monday; the official notice of its land-use-permit application is in today’s bulletin, with a comment period through November 13th.
3947 SW KENYON: The city is taking comments through November 13th on an application to split one lot into two at this Gatewood location (map). Separate from this application, the city website shows applications to build two new homes on the site.
23 days after teardown work started at the two-building California/Alaska/42nd project site, crews are still clearing debris on the west side of the site, and tackling the underground level left after that building was demolished last week. Along the way, we’ve received a few requests for an aerial view, and local pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen has obliged, with two angles – top and bottom. For a comparison, here is the Seattle Municipal Archives 1957 aerial we’ve featured before – flipped and cropped – that’s SW Alaska at right, though the historic photo didn’t show California:
Back to the current view – here’s the aerial looking from north toward south – the tents on California are from Sunday’s Harvest Festival:
(Both views also show the crane and excavation for the 4730 California project.)
The California/Alaska/42nd demolition is the last major tearing down for at least a few months. The next one could be on the 4745 40th SW site, where a permit is pending and one tenant of the existing small office building has told us they were told to be out by the end of November.
Followup: High Point’s 35th/Graham corner still likely to get some commercial development, says Seattle Housing AuthorityOctober 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm | In Development, High Point, West Seattle news | 15 Comments
We know more tonight about the current plan for part of the highest-profile vacant site in High Point.
(Seen from the east side of 35th in today’s late-afternoon shadows/sun)
We mentioned it in yesterday’s roundup of development notes, after discovering a plan to build 9 houses and 18 duplexes on part of the site at the northeast corner of 35th/Graham. The documents in city files online raised some questions, and today we have some answers, thanks to Seattle Housing Authority spokesperson Laura Gentry.
To a point that is often raised, she says there IS a plan for some commercial development on the site:
As you know, and as was reported by WSB back in January 2011 following a community meeting, we’ve been unable to attract a mixed-use residential/retail developer for the entire parcel. The market just hasn’t supported that type of large-scale residential/retail development. However, we are still looking at options for bringing retail to 35th. SHA intends to continue to own and maintain the corner plot of that parcel (the 35th/Graham corner) and we are in the concept stages of developing a commercial building for that plot which would include retail space, office space and an open street-level plaza. Again, that building is in early concept stages, so there are no site or development plans I can share with you at this time.
Gentry says Lennar has not yet closed on the rest of the property, where the houses/duplexes – which she describes as “all market-rate for-sale housing” – are planned, but “we have a sale agreement with them and they are expected to close sometime in 2014.” And she adds:
We’re also still looking at the remainder of that land on 35th, the piece located between the corner plot I just mentioned and the neighborhood health clinic. SHA is investigating options along with Lennar for residential uses with the potential for small retail uses on the ground floor. Both portions of that strip of land (the plot we will continue to maintain and the remainder that we hope to sell), will go through the city’s Design Review process, so the public will have a say in any plans put forth for any residential or retail development done on 35th.
The 2011 reference involved a previous proposal for the site that fell through – backstory and links here.
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