West Seattle, Washington
A long-awaited set of maps is public this afternoon. They show zoning changes proposed for the city’s Urban Villages to meet one of the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) goals, Mandatory Housing Affordability, in which developers either commit to building a certain percentage of what’s considered “affordable housing,” or pay fees to a city fund that will bankroll some of it. West Seattle has 4 official Urban Village areas – The Junction, Morgan Junction, Admiral, and Westwood-Highland Park. Here are the draft maps:
The draft maps quietly appeared on a HALA feedback website – no formal city announcement yet, but they were due out this week, and that’s why last night’s Morgan Community Association meeting offered a primer on how to read them, once they’re out. MoCA board member Cindi Barker has been on one of the “focus groups” that have been working on the principles to shape the maps. Here’s what she explained to the group last night – these key points:
-Some urban villages were proposed for expanded boundaries – in this area, The (West Seattle/Alaska) Junction is the only one.
-Whichever areas on a map are colored in, that’s where a zoning change is proposed. Single-family zoning inside urban villages is orange on the maps and proposed for changing to “residential small lot.” Also when reading the maps for a change, look for a white zoning label (like SF 5000, single-family 5,000 square feet, followed by a slash, to RSL).
-The solid-color change areas will be getting a “typical” amount of upzoning via Mandatory Housing Affordability, such as one story. If a change area has diagonal lines through it, it’ll be more.
The meetings, Cindi Barker explained, focused on what principles should be applied, in order to make this work around the city. The text boxes on the maps feature some of these principles.
Solid-color change areas will be getting a “typical” amount of upzoning, likely one more story. With diagonal lines, it’ll be more.
-Multi-family-zoned property will see changes, even outside Urban Villages.
-Single-family-zoned property will NOT see changes outside Urban Villages.
Barker says the city will be having open houses and workshops around the city in the months ahead to explain and answer questions about all this. MoCA will also have its own meeting to help Morgan Junction residents. No date for any of this yet;
And the focus groups that have been meeting for several months will also be going over the draft maps at their upcoming sessions, which are all on this page.
THE KENNEY REZONE PROPOSAL: We first reported two weeks ago on retirement-housing complex The Kenney‘s plan to expand via rezoning to add an apartment building with about 40 units on the southwest side of its property, and possibly townhomes on the southeast corner (rendering above). A “contract rezone” will be required, and city online files now show that the process has begun. The official notice isn’t out yet but it’ll be at Land Use Permit #3026106.
20 APARTMENTS @ 9447 35TH SW: This early-stage proposal just appeared in city files today – 9447 35th SW (map). It would replace a small commercial building with a 20-unit apartment building including 1,200 feet of commercial space.
SW HOLDEN SUBDIVISION SITE CLEARING: Thanks to the neighbor who pointed out site-clearing for the 18-house subdivision at 2768 SW Holden (map):
The project has been in the works for at least four years (backstory here) and finally moved toward construction earlier this year after Jabooda Homes bought it for $2.2 million.
COMMENT PERIOD FOR 4754 FAUNTLEROY: Today’s edition of the city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes official word of the land-use-permit application for 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW, the 7-story project with 108 apartments and 10 live-work units proposed for the former Capitol Loans site (and the parking lot north of it) at Fauntleroy/Edmunds. You have until November 2nd to comment; the notice explains how. The project still has at least one more Southwest Design Review Board meeting ahead (no date yet); it passed Early Design Guidance in August.
(June WSB photo of Ponderosa Pine at 3038 39th SW)
Two weeks after the city announced it would grant a “special exception” permit for a house to be built on a 3,166-sf lot at 3038 39th SW [map], taking out a Ponderosa Pine acknowledged as an “exceptional tree,” two appeals have just been filed with the city Hearing Examiner. This one is from a neighbor, making the argument that the lot previously used as a “side yard” had not been established as a buildable lot:
The online file for that one is here.
We first reported in June about the neighborhood’s campaign to save the tree. Since the appeals have just gone into the system, no hearing date is set yet.
SIDE NOTE: While working on this, neighborhood advocates have been talking with Councilmember Lisa Herbold about a larger issue – the city’s requirement of a minimum payment for staff time to work on requests for interpretations, saying the resulting multi-thousand-dollar minimum can be onerous; as discussed briefly in today’s morning session of the Budget Committee, her proposal for a rule to require that requesters are charged only for the time needed:
Accompanying the budget, SDCI has submitted a bill that would adjust fees and charges (see the introduction for more details). This action would amend the bill to reduce the minimum number of hours charged for a code interpretation letter. A code interpretation is a process whereby someone can request a formal decision on the meaning, application, or intent of any development regulation in the Land Use or Environmentally Critical Area code. Examples include questions of how structure height or setback is properly measured, or how a proposed use should be categorized. Failure to request an interpretation can preclude raising the issue on appeal. Today, a request for a code interpretation letter is charged, at minimum, for 10 hours of work; hours worked beyond the minimum are charged the Land Use hourly rate (currently $280/hour; proposed to increase to $315/hour). The average number of hours charged for interpretations is 31.25 hours, however, in the rare case where the number of hours is less than 10, this change would ensure that the requesting party is only charged for time needed to produce the letter.
The proposal is not specific to this case; its fate will be determined when the budget is finalized in November.
Checking the city land-use files to see what’s new, we find an early-stage proposal for a mixed-use building in The Admiral District, in the system as 2715 California SW but with a site-plan document showing 2719 California is also part of it. It’s described as a “four-story mixed-use project with residential apartments over ground floor commercial space and below-grade parking accessed from the alley” and listed as expected to go through the Design Review process. The site, across from Hiawatha, currently holds three small commercial/residential buildings. (Side note: This is the same block of California, between Lander and Stevens, where the PCC site is slated to be redeveloped, a few buildings to the south.)
Thanks to the texter who pointed out that the city has put up a project-application sign for a proposed 12-unit rowhouse development in Alki, replacing three 71-year-old duplexes on the northeast corner of 61st SW and SW Admiral Way. The project for 3050 61st Avenue SW has not yet officially appeared in the Land Use Information Bulletin but the sign’s appearance suggests that’s imminent (next LUIB is tomorrow), and that will open an official comment period. The “site plan” document in the city’s online files, by architects Novion, shows two 3-story buildings, one with eight units facing 61st and the other with four units facing Admiral. The “Alki Parking Overlay” requires 1 1/2 offstreet spaces per unit, and this plan shows 18 spaces off the alley, east of the bigger building, north of the smaller one.
The next Southwest Design Review Board meeting has just been set for the mixed-use project at 9030 35th SW, recently revived after eight years on hold. It’s currently proposed for five stories “containing 40 apartment units and 3,200 square feet of commercial,” with 32 off-street parking spaces. You can see the report on its previous review last May by going here. The next meeting is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, November 3rd, at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction (SW Oregon/California SW) and will include a public-comment period; the revised design proposal isn’t yet available, but you can watch for it here.
11:02 AM: West Seattle’s last tower crane – for now, anyway – is coming down.
The Whittaker – almost 400 apartments @ 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW – at one point had two. The first one was removed some months back. Today and tomorrow, the portable crane in our top photo is bringing down the second one after 15 months, the last one at any West Seattle project.
There’s still plenty of construction activity in West Seattle, but no others, currently, of the size that requires a crane. The Whittaker is seven stories; WS zoning maxes out at 8, for now. It’ll be a while before the next project of that height gets going – there’s one planned right across the street, at the former Capitol Loans pawn-shop site, and a 6-story project at 4532 42nd SW, just north of Capco Plaza.
Our archives of recent tower-crane presence in West Seattle go back to at least 2007, when we chronicled the arrival of the crane for Capco Plaza at 41st/42nd/Alaska, just a block west of The Whittaker; there was a year-long gap when the Capco crane came down in February 2009, until the crane for Link in The Triangle arrived in January 2010.
History aside, while The Whittaker’s crane-removal operation is under way today and tomorrow, 40th SW is closed to traffic between SW Alaska and SW Edmunds. That includes the Seattle Fire units from temporary Station 32 – we saw them staged along Alaska by Bank of America earlier this morning.
The Whittaker has two buildings – the south, at Fauntleroy/Edmunds, will open first. The north is the one that will include a Whole Foods Market; we just checked in with WF a few days ago, and a spokesperson reiterated that they’re on track to open in fall of next year.
(June WSB photo)
Four months ago, we reported on an Admiral neighborhood’s hopes of saving a huge Ponderosa Pine tree that is on a site where its new owner wants to build a house.
Getting a land-use permit for the proposal at 3036 39th SW [map] was dependent on getting a “special exception” from the city, allowing a house on a lot smaller than 3,200 square feet..
Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes this notice of the city’s decision to grant the exception.
You can read the full decision here; it doesn’t address the tree, except to say “The site includes an Exceptional Tree as defined in SMC 25.11. Removal of the tree has been identified in building permit application 6513178. Removal of the tree will be reviewed under the building permit application.” The decision does refer back to a letter the city issued to the owner early this year, with a preliminary version of the decision finalized here, saying “The City has determined that the property qualifies as a
separate legal building site under exceptions to the minimum lot area requirement set forth in SMC 23.44.010.B.1 (opinion letter dated January 5, 2016).”
At the time of our June report, the parcel’s owner Cliff Low told WSB, “We are building an undersized 2-story home. The tree will need to be removed in that a home could not be built there without removing it.” An arborist’s report puts the tree’s trunk diameter at three and a half feet, well past what the city defines as “exceptional.”
Today’s decision is appealable, with a deadline of October 20th. Neighbors anticipating the decision have been crowdfunding to challenge it, saying city rules will require them to spend at least $3,000. They had obtained this opinion from a law firm contending that the city’s interpretation erred and was based on something a prior site owner had done 86 years ago.
Again, this is not the final word on the tree’s fate, pending a potential appeal, and the building-permit decision. Online files (see the “documents” tab) show the case already has drawn almost 100 public comments; it first came to our attention via this post in the WSB Forums.
9 AM: Back in May, we mentioned an early-stage proposal for 48 apartments north of Morgan Junction at 5952 California SW.
Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes the official notice that Administrative Design Review is under way – that’s a no-meeting form of Design Review – for the project.
The project is now described as “37 small efficiency units and 4 efficiency dwelling units (41 units total).” As was the case when we made note of it last spring, 5 offstreet-parking spaces are in the plan, and it’s replacing a single-family house plus “garage spaces” behind that are part of an auto-body business.
One wrinkle with this, as of this writing – while you’re invited to comment on this project through October 12th, as explained in the notice, the design packet is not available on the city website as of the moment we’re publishing this. We noticed this last week, even before the formal notice was issued, and called it to the designated planner’s attention, but it hasn’t appeared yet, and the project’s page on the city website – where the notice says you SHOULD be able to view the design packet – says you have to go downtown to look at it. That’s why we’re showing the map from the notice above, rather than a frame from the design packet.
We’ll update if and when that’s fixed and the design is available for online viewing, as is usually the case with projects assigned to Design Review.
9:56 AM: Available now (here).
We’ve received a couple questions about this site-clearing work underway in southeast Admiral.
It’s the site of the 14-house 3601 Fauntleroy Avenue SW [map] development. As we reported in August of last year, development proposals have been in the works for this site for at least nine years – in 2007, it was proposed for 21 houses, and then the plan resurfaced last year with 14 houses. After it received key approvals this past May, neighbors filed an appeal, then withdrew it following a settlement with the developer last month. The arborist report filed with the city says that the only “exceptional trees” on the site are four madrones in the “east steep slope buffer” that are not expected to be affected by the construction project; the report says the rest of the ~100 trees “in general” are “structurally weak … diseased … smothered in invasive species.” If you’re following the permit on this project, you’ll see here that the 14 houses will have addresses on SW Spokane.
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
About 17 concerned citizens attended tonight’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the proposed apartment complex at 2222 SW Barton.
Architect Justin Kliewer, who is now with Cleave Architecture and Design, presented three different massing (size/shape) options for the complex, which will be situated on what Kliewer called a “tricky” triangular parcel of 15,500 square-feet, on a steep grade, currently home to a small apartment building. The area is a bit of a mix, with Westwood Village within a stone’s throw, and single-family houses to the east and south.
The idea of 70 to 80 units shoe-horned into the space was not warmly received by those present.
“I can hardly believe they can squeeze in 80 units, it’s absurd, massive, way too big for the site,” said a neighbor named Sebastian, who lives directly uphill from the site. He said it would be visible for eight to 10 blocks and become a “monolithic presence.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Madison Development Group‘s mixed-use project at 2749 California SW in Admiral has the go-ahead to move to the second and final phase of Design Review.
That approval came last night from the Southwest Design Review Board after the second Early Design Guidance session for the project, which proposes 112 apartments and a new 25,000-square-foot PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) store at the site that’s been home to the current one for more than a quarter-century.
Two SWDRB members – Matt Zinski, chairing, and T. Frick McNamara – and one substitute, former board member Robin Murphy, were in attendance, along with planner Josh Johnson from the Department of Construction and Inspections, filling in for the project’s assigned planner Crystal Torres. The gallery, including neighbors, observers, and project-team members, peaked at about 20.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded along the way: Read More
(Rendering of ‘preferred alternative’ from new packet prepared by Hewitt Architects)
Five days until the Southwest Design Review Board takes its second Early Design Guidance look at the mixed-use development proposed for 2749 California SW, the current and future site of PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor). The “design packet” for Thursday’s 6:30 pm meeting is now available for review – see it here. The project is still in the first phase of Design Review, which deals with size and shape – “massing” – so most of what you’ll see reflects that, rather than full details of what the project eventually will look like. Here’s the current description, taken from the new “packet”:
• 4 story mixed-use structure
• 2 stories of below grade parking for 40 commercial use stalls and 112 stalls for residential use; access to the parking via the alley.
• Approx 112 residential units over a podium comprised of an approximately 25,000 sf for general sales and services (retail), residential lobby and leasing functions at the ground level.
• Residential outdoor garden terraces and enclosed amenity spaces within the proposal’s three stories above the ground level.
• Existing 11,427 sf surface parking lot to the west of the alley with 31 parking stalls to remain as an accessory use to the proposed general sales and services use (retail).
The meeting, which will include a public-comment period, is at 6:30 pm September 1st at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction (Oregon/California). If you can’t be there, you can send comments to the project’s assigned city planner – firstname.lastname@example.org – who is also the designated recipient for comments involving aspects of the project outside the Design Review scope.
P.S. Here’s our report on the project’s 1st Design Review meeting last month.
Two West Seattle items of interest in today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, both on projects we’ve been covering here for months:
(4801 Fauntleroy Way rendering by David Foster Architects)
4801 FAUNTLEROY WAY APPROVAL: Land Use Permit approval has been granted for this mixed-use building with 52 apartments, including finalization of the Design Review approval reported here last February. It will be built on the southwest corner of Fauntleroy/Edmunds (across from The Whittaker and kitty-corner from the proposal on the ex-pawn shop site). Here’s the full decision; if you are interested in appealing it, a two-week period is now open, and the bulletin notice includes a link explaining how to do that. (The site, it should be noted, remains listed for sale.)
2222 SW BARTON DESIGN REVIEW: We brought you first word back on August 3rd that this 80-unit apartment building near Westwood Village had a September 15th date set for its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting. And indeed, that is what is formally announced in today’s bulletin. The meeting three weeks from tonight is at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction; it is the Early Design Guidance phase, and its scope is explained in today’s notice.
We’ve discovered that both of the former West Seattle City Light substations put up for sale on the open market five months ago, with “major price reductions” less than two months ago, now have sales pending and early-stage development proposals.
2100 SW ANDOVER: This 8,000-square-foot corner site in Pigeon Point was appraised at $350,000 and originally listed at $400,000, then cut in late June to $200,000 asking price. It now has a proposal for 5 rowhouse units, and the Commercial MLS website shows a sale “pending.” The city page for the site lists the “owner” as Greenstream Investments in Bothell. So does the site plan in city files, which shows three units would face onto 21st, one would be on the corner of 21st and Andover, and one west of that would face onto Andover only. The plan shows three units with “garage parking,” two as “no parking.”
8822 9TH AVENUE SW: This 13,000-square-foot site also is shown on the Commercial MLS site as having a “pending” sale.
It was originally offered to King County for its appraised value, $355,000, as a stormwater-retention site, but as explained in our March report, the county decided against it. It then went on the market for $500,000, until a “major price reduction” to $200,000 in June, concurrent with the one for the Pigeon Point site. This site’s city webpage notes a new proposal for 11 townhouses, though it’s filed under a revised address of 8822 9th SW instead of 8820. There is nothing in the files yet showing how the 11 units would be configured; the city files show the “owner” as 9th Avenue Townhomes LLC, whose owners in turn have a Puyallup address.
BACKSTORY: These are two of six ex-substations for which the City Council authorized disposition last fall; three of the other four have potential community-group purchases/projects in various stages.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Twice a week, the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin (LUIB) goes out to subscribers via e-mail, and appears online.
Much of its contents are land-use-related notices – formal applications for projects, decisions, notices of Design Review.
But you’ll also find policy changes announced in the bulletin – which technically qualifies as official public notice, so that could be the only place you’ll hear about them until and unless you happen onto the results.
One of last week’s LUIBs included a single notice that points to 65 proposed changes in the city’s land-use code, aka zoning, saying the city doesn’t think any will have environmental impact. If any of these proposed changes interest you, the notice explains, you have until August 18th to comment, or August 25th to appeal. So we decided to read the “fine print” and found 11 of potential interest – addressing topics including offstreet parking, marijuana growing, tree preservation, and more: Read More
If you’re following the plan for ~112 apartments and a new PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) store at the site of the current store, 2749 California SW, you’ll want to know that the date is set for the Southwest Design Review Board‘s second look at the project: September 1st.
This is a second round of the first phase, known as Early Design Guidance, as requested by the SWDRB at the conclusion of its first look at the project on July 21st (WSB coverage here), so it’s still in the phase focused on “massing” – the building’s size and shape. The revised design “packet” is not available online yet, but keep watching the project page as the review gets closer. It’s set for 6:30 pm Thursday, September 1st, at the board’s usual meeting place, the Senior Center of West Seattle/Sisson Building (California/Oregon).
City files show an early-stage redevelopment proposal for 8854 Delridge Way SW, the South Delridge auto shop that’s been closed since an electrical fire in May of last year. A 4-story mixed-use building is proposed, with 30 apartments. The 8,200-foot corner lot is zoned C1-40. Notations on the city Department of Construction and Inspections website suggest this project will have to go through the Design Review process.
This area too is becoming a redevelopment hotspot; it’s less than three blocks northwest of the 32-unit building at 9021 17th SW that passed Design Review last month, and about the same distance northeast of the ~80-unit 2222 SW Barton project that has its first review on September 15th.
11:36 AM: Demolition has finally begun at the former Life Care Center at 47th/Admiral/Waite, vacant for more than 3 1/2 years. The teardown has begun on the back of the building, which will be replaced by a new Aegis Living memory care and assisted living center.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 9, 2016
12:30 PM: By the way, thanks for all the tips that the teardown work had started. When last we published an update, after tips about the arrival of the construction-office trailer last month, Aegis told us they expected to start this week. The Eastside-based company got Design Review approval last February for a three-story center with 80 units – here’s a rendering by architects GGLO:
The redevelopment pace continues to intensify north of Morgan Junction. City files show two early-stage proposals on adjacent sites in the 6000 block of California Avenue SW, next to a site that already has a project in the works:
30 APARTMENTS PROPOSED FOR 6016 CALIFORNIA SW: This two-story building is currently home to businesses including the legendary Rick’s (Psychic) Barber Shop. The proposal would replace it with a 30-apartment building; the site plan shows 10 units on each of three floors, no offstreet parking (none is required because it’s on the RapidRide C Line route).
County records show this building was built in the early ’50s on a 7,500-square-foot lot currently zoned NC2-30, same as the subject of our next item:
7 UNITS PROPOSED FOR 6022 CALIFORNIA SW: This is currently home to the one-story retail building housing City Nails. The proposal is for what’s become a common mix on lots like this one – three live-work units facing California, two townhouse units behind it, and two single-family houses behind them, on the alley. Five off-street parking spaces are in this plan.
Again, these are early-stage proposals – the businesses remain open, and the permit process has a long way to go. Just to the north of them is 6010 California, which we wrote about in May. It’s proposed for three live-work units and four townhouses, replacing an almost-century-old single-family house.
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
A 6-live/work-unit project for California and Findlay and a 108-apartment building for Edmunds and Fauntleroy have both moved on to the second phase of Design Review.
Architects presented the Early Design Guidance proposals for 5458 California SW and 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW at the Southwest Design Review Board‘s Thursday night doubleheader at the Sisson Building/Senior Center. At this stage of the process, “massing” – size/shape – is the focus, rather than detailed designs.
5458 California SW was first (here’s the design “packet” and more on the city website): Read More
(“Preferred option” configuration from design packet for 2222 SW Barton, by Playhouse Design Group)
The first Design Review date is set for the four-story, 70+-apartment proposal at 2222 SW Barton [map]. It’s been three months since we first reported on this plan for that triangle of land southeast of Westwood Village. According to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule, the project’s Early Design Guidance review – when size/shape (“massing”) is the focus – is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, September 15th, at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction. The first draft of the design “packet” by Playhouse Design Group is downloadable from the city website; you can get it here (16 MB PDF). It says the project could vary from 70 to 80 units, 260 to 515 square feet, depending on the final approved design. No offstreet parking is included, and none is required because of the “frequent transit” (including RapidRide) available nearby. The site currently holds a fourplex built in 1959, according to county records.