West Seattle Blog... » Development http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:43:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle development: New 35th/Graham proposal; comment time for 4849 21st SW http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-new-35thgraham-proposal-comment-time-for-4849-21st-sw/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-new-35thgraham-proposal-comment-time-for-4849-21st-sw/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:55:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287224 Two development notes this afternoon:

REVISED PROPOSAL FOR HIGH-PROFILE HIGH POINT CORNER: The placement of that sign might make you think the big stretch of vacant land at 35th/Graham is the future site of more Polygon-built single-family homes. Not according to the newest proposal, with a “preliminary assessment report” added to city files just a week ago. It is now described as:

Develop the Block 9 High Point site, including utilities and infrastructure, 52 townhomes and a 4 story mixed use building containing approximately 80 apartment units, 8,500 square feet of office space, and 1,500 square feet of retail space located on the ground floor.

The mixed-use building is similar to something a Seattle Housing Authority spokesperson mentioned last October, when we reported on the previous plan. At the time, a mix of houses and townhouses was in the works, with an expectation of a “commercial building” at the corner, SHA said. In this plan, that is now a mixed-use building running along the entire 35th SW frontage of the land, according to a preliminary “site plan” filed this month, with the townhouses to the east. The new plan is in the name of High Point III, LLC, which traces to Polygon Northwest‘s Bellevue address. We’ll be following up on next steps for this plan.

2 WEEKS TO COMMENT ON 4849 21ST SW SUBDIVISION: Last week, we reported on an application to split one big lot at 4849 21st SW (map) into nine parcels for single-family houses. Today, the official notice is in the city’s Monday/Thursday Land Use Information Bulletin, which means you have two weeks to comment. Here’s how.

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What to do and how to do it? West Seattle Land Use Committee continues coalescing at meeting #2 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/what-to-do-and-how-to-do-it-west-seattle-land-use-committee-continues-coalescing-at-meeting-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/what-to-do-and-how-to-do-it-west-seattle-land-use-committee-continues-coalescing-at-meeting-2/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:39:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286854 After two meetings, the West Seattle Land Use Committee is still taking shape – talking about how best to organize, and how best to review neighborhood issues. It’s not truly a formal “committee” so far, no officers, no formal action/agenda items. Nonetheless, those interested in being part of it did meet last night at the Senior Center of West Seattle, and we were there for the toplines:

Topics brought up included the risk of losing buildings of historical/cultural value as redevelopment continues (the Southwest District Council has been working toward an inventory of some of those properties), and concern about how the higher-rent retail spaces in new mixed-use projects will affect the existing business community – will any existing businesses be able to afford moving into them?

An even bigger area of discussion: With so much information about land-use/development issues, and so many people collecting and creating it on so many fronts, how to share it? Maybe by creating zones of representation – maybe three cross-sections, rather than the perceived east-west divide. To tackle this, they’ll look at a neighborhood map next month and talk about what might make sense.

The group also will be taking a big-picture look at all the relevant citywide commissions/committees, to figure out who from West Seattle is currently involved with them.

Remember, this is all still in the early stages, so if you have thoughts about any of these ideas/projects, or what else the nascent committee should take on, you’re welcome to be part of it – next meeting will again be on the fourth Wednesday (October 22nd), 6:30 pm at the WS Senior Center.

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West Seattle development: 9-lot subdivision proposal http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-9-lot-subdivision-proposal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-9-lot-subdivision-proposal/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:00:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286817

An acre and a third of land in eastern West Seattle is proposed to be split into nine single-family-house lots, according to documents accompanying a land-use application filed with the city this week. Its official address is 4849 21st SW (map), but you can barely glimpse the site from 21st – as shown in our photo, it looks like greenbelt behind a fence, but the site stretches westward to 23rd SW. Two lots would front on 21st, three on 23rd, and the other four inbetween; documents in the online file say a private drive would be built for access to the latter seven. An arborist’s report says the site has 99 “significant” trees, 20 of them “exceptional,” but assesses 35 of the trees as unhealthy and in need of removal. If the subdivision is approved, the lots would be mostly 5,000-7,000 square feet, in keeping with the site’s single-family 5,000 zoning, but one of the lots on 21st would be double-sized, at 10,000 square feet. A two-week comment period will open as soon as the proposal officially appears on the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin.

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City tells 2 in-the-works West Seattle microhousing projects that they need Design Review because of court decision http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/city-tells-2-in-the-works-west-seattle-microhousing-projects-that-they-need-design-review-because-of-court-decision/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/city-tells-2-in-the-works-west-seattle-microhousing-projects-that-they-need-design-review-because-of-court-decision/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:30:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286705

(WSB photo: Planned site of 3268 Avalon microhousing, next to recently opened Footprint Avalon I micros)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:30 PM: Two of West Seattle’s three in-the-works microhousing projects face major revisions/reviews because of a recent court decision involving a project on Capitol Hill. PubliCola broke the news that the city sent a letter this week to more than 20 developers of in-the-works projects, explaining that they will now have to go through additional levels of review, including Design Review, if they want to proceed. We found the letter in the online files for two planned West Seattle projects, 3050 SW Avalon Way (here) and 3268 SW Avalon Way (here). Follow either of those links, or read on for the text:

I wanted to let you know about the status of your micro-housing residence project. Approval of another project with a configuration similar to yours was recently challenged in King County Superior Court. Like yours, that project included multiple bedrooms, each with a private bathroom and a counter area, including a sink, which appeared to be suited for food preparation. In a decision issued August 13 and currently under appeal, the judge ruled that each bedroom was configured for use as a separate dwelling unit, and must be regulated accordingly. We have re-examined other similar projects, including your own, in light of that decision. We have concluded that the individual rooms within your proposed development, project no. ——, also must be regulated as separate dwelling units.

If you want us to proceed with review of your project before a decision is reached on the appeal, you must either revise the project to meet code requirements based on the larger number of dwelling units, or else modify the plans so that the bedrooms no longer would be regarded as separate dwelling units.

If you wish to revise the project to reflect a larger number of dwelling units, it will be necessary to add Design Review. Development standards based on the number of units, such as requirements for bicycle parking and trash storage areas, and any applicable density requirements, must be met. Alternatively, you may wait and redesign based on standards for small efficiency dwelling units, currently under consideration by the City Council, once those standards have been adopted.

If you wish to modify the plans so that the rooms are no longer counted as separate dwelling units, you must modify the plans so that bathrooms are shared rather than privately associated with individual bedrooms, or else you must eliminate food preparation areas within each room, including sinks outside of bathrooms, cooking or refrigeration equipment and built-in counters and cabinets.

Additional modifications may be required based on Building Code standards for separate dwelling units. If the project has received bonus floor area for provision of affordable housing under Section 23.58A.014, that approval must be reviewed to ensure continued eligibility based on the change in unit count or any changes to the structure.

Please let us know how you wish to proceed.

The third West Seattle microhousing project in the works, at 5949 California SW, does not have the same letter in its online files. Its permits were granted months ago.

ADDED 4:33 AM WEDNESDAY: The city’s message to these and other projects is also summarized in a Tuesday post we just noticed on the DPD blog-format website.

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Out: ‘Microhousing.’ In: ‘SEDU.’ And it’s your turn to comment http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/out-microhousing-in-sedu-and-its-your-turn-to-comment/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/out-microhousing-in-sedu-and-its-your-turn-to-comment/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:59:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286522 The word “microhousing” does not appear anywhere in the brand-new official city notice announcing that it’s your turn to comment on the revised proposed city rules for it. That notice, published today, and includes the toplines of the latest changes in the rules the City Council is considering, including the new official name “SEDU”:

*Creates a definition for small efficiency dwelling units (SEDU).

*Clarifies the definition of dwelling unit.

*Establishes required components of SEDUs, including a 150-square-foot minimum sleeping room area, a 220 square foot minimum total floor area, a food preparation area (sink, refrigerator, countertop, cooking appliance) and a bathroom (sink, toilet, shower or bathtub).

*Limits the issuance of Restricted Parking Zone permits to no more than one per
SEDU or congregate residence sleeping room.

*Requires Streamlined Design Review to be applied, in all zones, to congregate
residences and residential uses that are more than 50 percent comprised of SEDUs if they contain between 5,000 and 11,999 square feet of gross floor area.

*Limits the construction of congregate residences that do not meet certain ownership or operational requirements to higher density zones that are located within Urban Centers and Urban Villages

*Increases the minimum required area of communal space in a congregate residence
from 10 percent of the total floor area of all sleeping rooms to 15 percent of the total floor area of all sleeping rooms.

*Creates a new vehicle parking requirement of one parking space for every two
SEDUs for areas of the City where vehicle parking is required for multifamily residential uses.

*Increases bicycle parking requirements for SEDUs and congregate residences to 0.75 bicycle spaces per SEDU or congregate residence sleeping room.

*Requires the bicycle parking required for SEDUs and congregate residences to be covered for weather protection.

*Allows required, covered bicycle parking for SEDUs or congregate residence sleeping rooms to be exempt from Floor Area Ratio limits if the required parking is located inside the building that contains the SEDUs or congregate residence sleeping rooms.

*Calls on the Department of Planning and Development to complete an analysis of the City’s vehicle and bicycle parking requirements and present its recommendations for regulatory changes to the City Council by no later than March 31, 2015.

That last point, as mentioned in our coverage last week, goes beyond microhousing.

So if you have something to say about any of this, say it now – in e-mail or postal mail to Councilmember Mike O’Brien, mike.obrien@seattle.gov (the postal address is in today’s notice seeking comment), before October 6th. Again, what’s above is an excerpt from today’s notice, highlighting recent changes in the proposed microhousing (SEDU) rules. You can see the entire Council Bill by going here.

SIDE NOTE: In case you’ve lost track – two microhousing projects have opened in West Seattle, at 4546 Delridge Way SW (file photo above) and 3266 SW Avalon Way, with at least three more planned – 3268 SW Avalon Way, 5949 California SW, and 3050 SW Avalon Way.

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West Seattle demolition watch: Next ‘microhousing’; school rebuilds http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-demolition-watch-next-microhousing-school-rebuilds/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-demolition-watch-next-microhousing-school-rebuilds/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:08:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286468 Three updates from West Seattle’s current demolition/redevelopment/rebuilding boom:

PERMIT APPLICATION FOR NEXT ‘MICROHOUSING’ SITE: On Friday, the demolition-permit application turned up in the city’s online files for 3268 Avalon Way, the microhousing building set to go up between the 35th/Avalon 7-11 and its sibling Footprint Avalon I building. A temporary-power pole has already been up in front of the site for a while. The new microhousing rules, including clarity on number of units, won’t be affecting this project or others already in the pipeline; note the last line of the screengrab from the city webpage:

Each “unit” in current city code stands for up to eight individually rented sleeping rooms.

GENESEE HILL SCHOOL DEMOLITION: Now in even higher gear. Here’s what we were to see from SW Genesee after the end of Friday’s workday:

The current Schmitz Park Elementary program is scheduled to move into a new 650-student campus (not much more capacity than the current SPES enrollment) here in 2016.

ARBOR HEIGHTS SCHOOL DEMOLITION: This is now moving quickly too. Thanks to Mike R. for the end-of-week view:

The new Arbor Heights Elementary‘s capacity won’t be determined by the school board until next year.

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West Seattle development: Key approvals for 18-house subdivision proposed at 2646 SW Holden http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-key-approvals-for-18-house-subdivision-proposed-at-2646-sw-holden/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-key-approvals-for-18-house-subdivision-proposed-at-2646-sw-holden/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:43:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286094

(WSB photo from January 2014)
From today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin: Key approvals are in for the 18-house subdivision proposed for that 73,000-square-foot site at 2646 SW Holden (map), which stretches to a smaller amount of frontage on SW Webster, all just west of the Navos mental-health facility.

We reported on the proposal at the end of last year, when it was reactivated in the city site after being dormant for some time, following “streamlined design review” approval. Today, the land-use-permit decision has been published (read it here). The decision details why the city believes the development would not substantially disturb the “steep slope” area on the site, though it acknowledges the development will result in “increased surface water runoff due to greater site coverage by impervious surfaces” and “loss of plant and animal habitat.” . Each three-story house would have a two-car garage; part of the site is zoned single-family, part is zoned low rise. While the site was up for sale when we last reported on this proposal, county property records show it hasn’t changed hands since becoming the property of Madrona Glen LLC two years ago. More than 30 of the trees on the site would be removed under the 18-house plan, 10 of them classified by the city as “exceptional.” Today’s publication of the approval opens a two-week period for potential appeals (that process is explained here).

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West Seattle development: September 2014, month of the backhoe http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-september-2014-month-of-the-backhoe/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-september-2014-month-of-the-backhoe/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 02:20:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286033

Signs of upcoming demolition at another future West Seattle construction site: Thanks to Eddie for the tip that the telltale fence is up around 4400 SW Alaska, an 8-unit apartment building scheduled to make way for a building with 5 stories, 36 apartments, 2 live/work-units, and 5 offstreet-parking spaces. It received key city approvals back in July, after passing Design Review in February. It’s about a block south of a similar-size building for which construction is starting, with site demolition just last week, 4535 44th SW.

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Video: Seattle City Council committee OK’s rules for ‘microhousing’ apartments http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/seattle-city-council-committee-oks-rules-for-microhousing-apartments/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/seattle-city-council-committee-oks-rules-for-microhousing-apartments/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:21:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285917

(Added Wednesday morning: Seattle Channel video of this meeting in its entirety)
New city rules for “microhousing” apartments (backstory here) have just passed the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. We came in on the meeting broadcast late, but in time to hear the passage of two amendments – one requiring two sinks per unit (food-prep and bathroom areas), one that goes beyond microhousing, requiring a city study of residential-area parking policies, with recommendations to be presented next spring. Seven amendments in all were proposed – they’re all linked from the agenda for the meeting that just concluded. The full council will vote on October 6th. If the new rules pass, they won’t affect projects already in the pipeline, including at least two on the drawing board here in West Seattle, where two “microhousing” buildings are now open – both under the Footprint brand – one on Delridge, one on Avalon.

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West Seattle development: Beach Drive house to make way for 9 apartments http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-beach-drive-house-to-make-way-for-9-apartments/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-development-beach-drive-house-to-make-way-for-9-apartments/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:44:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285795

We noticed that new land-use sign while walking just south of Weather Watch Park over the weekend. It announces that the century-old house behind it, at 4134 Beach Drive, is to be demolished, making way for a 3-story, 9-unit, 9-underground-parking-space apartment building. So far, this hasn’t appeared in the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin, so the official comment period does not appear to have a deadline yet. But it’s the first new multi-family building we’ve seen proposed on Beach Drive for a while; the house already is sandwiched between multi-family buildings, and is on a 5,000-square-foot site zoned Lowrise-2.

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Video & as-it-happened coverage: ‘Impact fees’ for development? City Councilmembers discuss possibly doing what 80 other WA cities already do http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-impact-fees-for-development-city-hall-talk/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-impact-fees-for-development-city-hall-talk/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:05:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285140 (UPDATED WEDNESDAY NIGHT with archived Seattle Channel video of meeting added below, document links added inline, new Rasmussen quote at end)

-Council told that 80 other WA cities have impact fees
-State law doesn’t allow them to be imposed for transit service, though
-Councilmember Rasmussen suggests creating a ‘working group’ to look at it
-Most public commenters say ‘long overdue’

-Above, full video of meeting
-Meeting documents, provided by Rasmussen’s office *adding*
-Added quote at end of story – we asked him “what next?” post-meeting

AHEAD: Our as-it-happened chronicling of what was said during the meeting:

12:05 PM: If you see this before 1:30 pm or so, hit the “play” button in the video window above and you’ll see the live Seattle Channel feed of what just started in the City Council chambers – the Transportation Committee-hosted discussion “Impact Fees 101.” (Once the meeting ends, we’ll take down the video window until the archived video is available later.) We’ll be noting toplines as it goes, in case you can’t watch live or don’t see this until later. As committee chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen (a West Seattle resident) said while opening it, ours is the fastest-growing city in the country, but growth stresses the transportation system and infrastructure among other things, so, how to pay for them? Many citizens have told him, he said, “let the developers pay” – and that would mean “impact fees.” The panel includes council staffers, a consultant, a rep from Bellevue to talk about what they do, and a rep from the Association of Washington Cities, to talk about who does what in other places around the state.

12:15 PM: Though this is a long-running topic, the meeting didn’t come with much advance notice, and a council assistant is mentioning a chart is incorrect because he put it together “hastily.” They’ve moved on to the consultant, Randy Young, who has put together almost 200 studies about “impact fees.” (EXPLANATORY DOCUMENT ADDED) They are one-time fees, in most cases, he explains, and they are only paid by “one sector of the economy” – developers. They are charged for “capital facilities” – building things like sidewalks or streets, but not for, say, machinery like street sweepers or services like pothole-fixing, transit, etc. And they have to be charged for things that the new development require – they can’t be charged for existing problems. The state’s Growth Management Act cites four areas in which impact fees can be charged – transportation (roads – even a sidewalk can’t be added unless there’s nearby road construction), parks/recreation, fire protection (building or expanding stations/equipment), schools.

“You can pay for ‘system improvements’,” he says, explaining that state law describes that as “providing for transportation network, the streets that the community as a whole uses – a neighborhood street would not meet that description.” An internal street in a development can’t be paid for by an “impact fee.” And you can’t pay for “repair, renovation – (whatever you’re charging impact fees for) has to add capacity.” Could an alley improvement be paid for? Maybe, consultant says, since Seattle does count alleys as part of the transportation network. 4 rules for impact fees: #1 – you can’t make new development pay for an existing deficiency; #2 – connection has to be made between development and benefits received (number of trips it generates, for example); #3 – no double-dipping – if another source of revenue is already paying for what you want the impact fee to cover, or part of it, you’d have to figure out what part of the impact fee is offset by the money that’s already being used; #4, state law says you cannot rely solely on impact fees – they can’t cover the entire cost of something.

12:30 PM: So, why would a city want to do this? Young asks rhetorically. He suggests: City’s making a policy approach, developers should pay part of the way. Or, it’s a quality-of-life issue, the city needs to get money for preserving it even as it grows. Otherwise, you could raise local taxes, or settle for a reduced level of service. Next, he addresses myths, such as, the suggestion that growth brings new taxes that cover the costs of new infrastructure; it does bring more money, he said, but generally not in the area that would fund the impacts it causes. He mentions again that the city does have impact fee-type charges in South Lake Union and Northgate, related to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), but they are voluntary. Another myth, he said, is that the developers and builders are the ones paying it and it will stop development. Not true, he said – if it stops growth, then why are 80 cities in Washington charging impact fees? He shows supporting charts (UPDATE: here’s the map he showed). Do impact fees affect the affordability of housing? Generally, no – they’re a very small percent of the total cost, he says. What about the city’s competitiveness? Again, he says, 80 cities are charging them, and the development did NOT go somewhere else. “We’re not picking on developers (with impact fees), we’re asking them to join the party” since others already are paying, he concludes.

(ADDED DOCUMENTS: What types of fees those 80 cities charge, and what the rates are, per city; also, from consultant Young, comparison examples of how the fees shake out in some of those cities)

12:41 PM: Councilmember Rasmussen promises the docs and slides will be available on the committee website soon. Now, on to the Association of Washington Cities rep, Dave Williams, who gives some history about how this all started in 1990. He says the jurisdictions that started adding impact fees in the ensuing years were mostly suburban. Spokane has impact fees; Tacoma does not, he notes – and then consultant Young interrupts Williams to say that Tacoma has just started the process of looking into them. Builders have been politically pressing to change them or get rid of them, the AWC rep notes. The consultant interjects shortly thereafter that developers still want to be in thriving cities, and there’s been more of it even in the cities with impact fees.

On the point of how impact fees might affect affordable housing, Williams said the law was changed so that “up to 80 percent of the costs for low-income housing can be exempted” without raising the fees for other types of development. Could transit costs be included in impact fees? Williams says they’ve been lobbying for that but “haven’t gotten very far.”

12:56 PM: On to Eric Miller, from the city of Bellevue’s Transportation Department, which does charge transportation impact fees, that feed into their capital-improvement plan and the funds that pay for it. (ADDED DOCUMENT HERE) Over the next 12 years, they have 18 “fully funded impact-fee projects,” he says, showing a map. Over that time, they expect to get about $82 million in development impact fees, about a fifth of their overall funding. The Bellevue Council “adopted a stepped impact-fee approach” in 2009, according to Miller, who says they’re now in “step 2.” And he adds, during Q/A, they’ve had some court challenges – not to the sum so much as to, for example, the city’s determination of how many new trips a project will generate. He says affordable-housing developments and child-care facilities are among the categories that are exempt from impact fees in Bellevue.

1:14 PM: Rasmussen says he thinks the information “has potential for Seattle – I think we should discuss this among ourselves, creating a working group to look at the potential for adopting an impact fee in Seattle in some form.” But, he notes, “we have not heard from developers yet … or from the community.” 14 people have signed up to comment, he notes, and it’s public-comment time now.

First to speak, frequent commenter/council critic Alex Zimmerman, who accuses corporations of stealing money from the city. Second, Eden Mack from the local PTSA Council, who points out that school enrollment is back on the upswing, and more schools and safer transportation routes are, and will be, needed. Third, Roger Valdez from the developer-backed group Smart Growth Seattle, who starts with a list of recent council actions regarding development. He says the idea of an impact fee “makes (him) laugh. We already pay numerous fees and charges for infrastructure replacement. There isn’t a development in the city that doesn’t pay fees … for numerous infrastructure improvements.” He says the fees figure into higher rents. Fourth, Selena Carsiotis, who says she has worked for development firms/projects but is “actually here to defend impact fees.” She says the impact fees for projects she was familiar with on the Eastside helped create infrastructure that made it easier for the projects to be sold and inhabited. Fifth, Linda Melvin, identifying herself as a Ballard resident, says the discussion was long overdue and that it “was amazing to me.”

Sixth, John Fox, of the development-limit-supporting Coalition for an Affordable Livable Seattle and Anti-Displacement Coalition, says “the fees that Mr. Valdez was talking about account for only a tiny, tiny fraction of the infrastructure” impacts by developments. He contends that even a fee of a few dollars per square foot of office development could have reduced the burden on the city’s taxpayers. Seventh, Tony Provine of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association says he feels this is “long overdue” and that people in his community “feel they have been unfairly burdened with the cost of” new development. Eighth, a woman whose name we didn’t catch, says it seems a little late for this. “Along with all this growth, and increasing jobs, we seem to have forgotten that … all this growth is cutting a lot of people out of homes, and transportation.” Ninth, Ballard resident William Parsons asks, why did it take the Seattle Council so long to take this up, especially considering 80 other cities have impact fees already – “it boggles my mind.”

1:33 PM: West Seattle resident Deb Barker, a retired land-use planner, speaks 10th, first West Seattleite that we know of. The city where she worked as a planner, Federal Way, had impact fees from the start, and says she saw them work well, from SEPA-based fees to Traffic Impact Fees (TIF), as well as school-impact fees. “In my experience, impact fees create predictability,” she said, urging the council to implement them. Another West Seattleite, arborist Michael Oxman, speaks 11th, and starts by talking about street trees. The city has six crew members maintaining 40,000 trees, he notes, and says that roads are benefited by trees whose branches reach over them, keeping them in shade. Asked by Councilmember Rasmussen how that relates to impact fees, he says the crews are “grossly underfunded” and could benefit from impact-fee-type funding. Final speaker is Sarajane Siegfriedt of Lake City, who says she wants to emphasize the growth in need for school facilities, especially north of the Ship Canal, and the fact the Legislature hasn’t been alloting money to help with this. “Everyone knows what the facts are, the myths will wither away, and we thank you for doing this,” she concludes.

Rasmussen then moves, at 1:39 pm, to wrap up the meeting, declaring it “very, very interesting” and saying he doesn’t think growth is going to stop any time soon, so this kind of fee may be an “important source … particularly for our schools.”

ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Via e-mail after the meeting, we asked Rasmussen about a timetable for next steps. His reply:

As to next steps, I intend to begin working toward a City Council decision on enacting impact fees. This could be part of the work of the Finance Committee or a special committee. I will be meeting with my colleagues to organize our work on this and develop a process and schedule.

I will make sure that they are public meetings in the Council Chambers or other public location where they can be broadcast or recorded if the Chambers are in use and that the public is kept fully involved and informed.

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Ex-restaurant site at 35th/Fauntleroy fenced off after neighbors point out unauthorized parking blamed on nearby microhousing http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ex-restaurant-site-at-35thfauntleroy-fenced-off-after-neighbors-point-out-unauthorized-parking-blamed-on-nearby-microhousing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ex-restaurant-site-at-35thfauntleroy-fenced-off-after-neighbors-point-out-unauthorized-parking-blamed-on-nearby-microhousing/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:31:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285053

(WSB photo)
The new fence around the eight-months-vacant ex-Beni Hoshi Teriyaki site at 35th/Fauntleroy is NOT a sign of imminent change, according to the property owner, Seattle City Light. We noticed the fence last night, checked city development files but found nothing, then inquired with SCL today. Spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB:

The land where the teriyaki restaurant had been located is a former substation site that we still own, but are not using. In addition to recent trouble with graffiti, a neighborhood group contacted the city with concerns about people who were parking on the site. The fencing was put up to deter additional graffiti and respond to the neighbors’ complaints about the parking.

(WSB photo)
We do not have any plans for the property at this time. It is one of the properties that is now considered surplus. As you are aware, we have been reviewing those properties a few at a time for possible sale.

(It’s not included in the current round of surplus properties under review, just to be clear.) Thomsen didn’t name the neighborhood group but unauthorized parking there was mentioned in a recent note to the city by SeattleNERD (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development), which is based in the neighborhood north of upper Avalon Way. We were among the CC’s on a note from SeattleNERD’s Paul Haury that included a photo of vehicles parking in the ex-Beni Hoshi lot and attributed it to residents of nearby apartment buildings such as the recently opened no-offstreet-parking microhousing building at 3266 Avalon. The note focused on concerns about another microhousing building planned next door, 56 units at 3268 Avalon as reported here in March (a temporary power pole is at the site, suggesting work might start soon, though no other permits have been issued).

ADDED 9:44 PM: In a comment, SeattleNERD has published its full letter to the city and elaborates further on the resulting exchange. As noted above, the parking wasn’t the main topic of the group’s note to the city about the second microhousing project in the works nearby.

Side note about microhousing: New rules continue working their way through the City Council (next step is a possible committee vote on September 16th). They would not affect the 3268 Avalon Way project, though, because it’s already in the system.

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West Seattle demolition watch: Genesee Hill school; 4535 44th SW apartment site http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-demolition-watch-genesee-hill-school-4535-44th-sw-apartment-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-demolition-watch-genesee-hill-school-4535-44th-sw-apartment-site/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:37:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285042 Two updates on West Seattle demolition sites:

GENESEE HILL SCHOOL: After a tip last Friday, we noted that some deconstruction was under way at the former Genesee Hill Elementary campus, where the current Schmitz Park Elementary program will move in 2016. Today, building teardown is under way in a big way, starting with the classrooms north/northeast of the main structure. That’s about one day behind the start of a similar phase at Arbor Heights Elementary, where Seattle Public Schools is also tearing down an old school to build a new one.

4535 44TH SW: While in The Junction a short time ago, we noticed the backhoe has arrived at 4535 44th SW, future home of a four-story, 36+-unit, no-offstreet-parking apartment building; we’d noted last week that its demolition permit was granted.

While it was described as “microapartments” when we first reported on the plan early last year, this is NOT microhousing – the units will be full-fledged studios with kitchens. (We’ll check back in a bit to see if the backhoe has started work yet.)

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Impact fees for Seattle developments? City Hall discussion tomorrow – public comment, too http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/impact-fees-for-seattle-developments-city-hall-discussion-tomorrow-public-comment-too/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/impact-fees-for-seattle-developments-city-hall-discussion-tomorrow-public-comment-too/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:52:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285032 The topic comes up at meetings … in online discussions (including here) … mayors past and present have been asked about them: Should/could Seattle charge “impact fees” in connection with development projects? Tomorrow, the City Council Transportation Committee plans a lunchtime discussion:

Impact Fees 101 — An opportunity for discussion related to impact fees in the City of Seattle. An examination of the different types of impact fees that exist, the history of impact fees in Washington State, how they are utilized by other cities in the region, their limitations, and other relevant information relating to impact fees.

It’s scheduled as an hourlong briefing starting at noon Wednesday (September 10th), followed by ~20 minutes of public comment, in the council chambers at City Hall downtown. At least one advocacy group says it’s hoping for a big turnout (while noting it hadn’t heard about this till the other day; we didn’t get an announcement until this morning).

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Tale of two corners: Updates from California/Charlestown http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/tale-of-two-corners-updates-from-californiacharlestown/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/tale-of-two-corners-updates-from-californiacharlestown/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 23:15:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284959 Two notes from California/Charlestown – the northeast and southeast corners, to be specific:

EX-DENTAL BUILDING FOR LEASE: On the northeast corner, the former Implant Dentistry of Washington building is for lease. Dr. R. Michael Keenan has retired “after 37 years in West Seattle,” according to a note on the door. (Thanks to Debbie for the tip!)

APPLICATION IN FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT AT EX-CAFE SITE: On the southeast corner, Intracorp has officially applied for its master-use permit for 3824 California SW, according to today’s Land Use Information Bulletin. The company plans to build 28 residential and live-work units on the site of the former Charlestown Café, which closed three years ago.

(Rendering from Design Review meeting in July)
It passed the first phase of Design Review on its third try two months ago but still has at least one more meeting to go; the city has not yet set a date. The official notice of the permit application includes a link you can use for comments.

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