West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Some neighborhoods have pushed back against the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda rezoning plans by pointing out that they conflict with longstanding community-crafted neighborhood plans.
Groups in Morgan Junction and the West Seattle Junction are pursuing amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan to try to ensure that HALA rezoning doesn’t overwrite parts of their neighborhood plan.
And this week, they learned that the city has launched a pre-emptive strike with its own amendment to do exactly that. Language in the Morgan, WS Junction, and Westwood-Highland Park plans, and six others citywide, would have specific zoning references struck by this part of what the city’s pursuing:
Make amendments to specific neighborhood plan policies.
Individual policies or goals in the Neighborhood Plan element of the Comprehensive Plan are proposed for amendment where they explicitly call for maintaining single-family zoning within an urban village or center. Certain policies that call for maintaining aspects of single-family areas (such as scale, character, or integrity) are proposed for amendment if they would clearly and directly conflict with the draft MHA implementation proposal. However, in cases where neighborhood plan policies call for maintaining aspects of a single-family areas (i.e. character) that are possible to achieve while implementing MHA, the neighborhood plan policy is not proposed for amendment.
Amendments would remove explicit references to preservation of zoning, in favor of statements to preserve physical scale or character where appropriate. For goal or policy statements that could be construed to directly conflict with MHA implementation short of direct references to zoning, policy language would be added to recognize the potential for addition of a variety of housing types, while preserving aspects of single family areas that are desired for preservation by the neighborhood plan policy. The following Neighborhood Plan policies would be amended.
• Fremont F-P13
• Morgan Junction MJ-P13, MJ-P14
• Northgate NG-P8
• Roosevelt R-LUG1
• Westwood/Highland Park W/HP-P3
• Aurora-Licton Springs AL-P2
• North Rainier NR-P9
• Wallingford W-P1
• West Seattle Junction WSJ-P13
You can read the entire city amendment document here. The next step in potential comprehensive-plan changes is a City Council committee hearing on July 24th – the proposed amendments, including those proposed by Morgan Junction and West Seattle Junction groups, are all linked here.
While those proposed changes are not part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning, the city’s counterproposal did come up at Tuesday night’s Junction Neighborhood Organization Land Use Committee (JLUC) workshop on DEIS commenting, which is open until August 7th. Here’s what happened during that workshop, including what committee leaders say they have found so far in their review of the document’s hundreds of pages: Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Southwest Design Review Board has taken its first look at 9049 20th SW [map] – a South Delridge project that will “alter” a building rather than raze/replace it – in the second half of this week’s doubleheader meeting.
Three board members were present for Thursday night’s review – chair Matt Zinski, Don Caffrey, and new appointee Crystal Loya – as was the project’s designated city planner, Sean Conrad. (Here’s our report on the first review of the night, the post-appeal return of 3078 SW Avalon Way.)
Since this was an Early Design Guidance review, it focused on the project’s “massing” – size, shape, placement on site – and the board was satisfied enough to forward it to the next phase. Here’s what happened first:
As reported here on Thursday, the city is giving you two extra weeks to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA)’s Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposals. The deadline is now August 7th. And another community group has announced a meeting about it. From the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council:
You’re invited to join WWRHAH on July 19th, from 6-7:30 pm at the Southwest Library, upstairs meeting room, 9010 35th Ave SW, to discuss in broad terms and as a community, the DEIS and how the neighborhood groups could respond as a coalition of voices in on behalf of the Westwood-Highland Park Residential Urban Village.
Westwood-Highland Park (map on page 2 of this document) is one of four urban villages in West Seattle. The HALA MHA rezoning proposals cover all multifamily and commercial property, whether in an urban village or not, and also single-family properties inside UV boundaries, which in some cases are proposed for expansion. The city has an online map you can use to see what the DEIS’s two rezoning options propose in your neighborhood (or any other part of the city that interests you).
(WSB video of the entire June 29th hearing, unedited)
Many people asked for a comment-period extension at last week’s public hearing on the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability Draft Environmental Impact Statement (our complete video of the hearing – apparently a rare commodity since the Seattle Channel wasn’t there – is above). Now, the city just announced it’s granting that request, extending the comment period by two weeks:
Today the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) extended the public comment period until August 7 on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that studies three alternatives for zoning changes needed to implement Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) in Seattle’s urban villages and other commercial and multifamily residential zones across the city.
“Due to a high volume of requests, both online and at a recent public hearing, we are extending the written comment period on this environmental study an additional 15 days,” said OPCD Director Sam Assefa. “While there is broad agreement on the need for more affordable housing across Seattle, these documents are lengthy and complex, and we want to honor these requests for more time for public review.”
The public can provide feedback on the environmental study using this online form or by e-mailing MHA.EIS@Seattle.gov.
The original deadline had been July 23rd.
Two and a half weeks left to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the rezoning proposals in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) component. If you’re in the Junction area and still sorting it out, a local community group invites you to a workshop next Tuesday:
Mark Your Calendar – HALA DEIS Workshop on July 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m at the West Seattle Senior Center
The Junction Land Use Committee (JLUC) will present a summary of key portions of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement related to the proposed upzones on the Junction Urban Village. The workshop will also include a description of the impact of the upzones, actions you can take, and ways to help you identify additional areas on which you might wish to comment. Location: 4217 SW Oregon.
A milestone for the first project of its kind in our area – Quail Park Memory Care of West Seattle (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Here’s the announcement:
On June 29, a group of investors gathered at the site of Quail Park Memory Care of West Seattle for the ‘topping out’ ceremony. (The tree honors any that were cut in the creation of the building.) A Japanese Maple was placed on the highest beam of the project, and now the finishing work begins! The project is on track for a late-fall opening.
When complete, Quail Park will become home to 66 predominantly West Seattle residents who are coping with some form of dementia. The Quail Park vision is that the close-knit and welcoming West Seattle community will create the possibility of freedom and fulfillment for these residents — so that they can continue to enjoy everything they’ve come to love about their neighborhood. We’ll be hosting a series of happy hours and workshops to encourage dialogue and build a knowledge base to allow for maximum freedom for our residents.
And: Until the building opens, starting on July 14 (in time for Summer Fest!, we’ll be opening a ‘Discovery Center’ adjacent to the ‘Stop n’ Shop’ Senior Center thrift store at 4504 California Avenue SW.
So stop by and visit executive director Dawn Schaper and community-relations director Elizabeth Shier in July, and ask any questions you may have about dementia on behalf of yourself or a loved one.
Quail Park construction continues in the 4500 block of 41st SW, where it began with a ceremonial groundbreaking last July.
(WSB video of the entire hearing, unedited)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At Wednesday night’s public hearing about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Housing Affordability and Livability Act’s Mandatory Housing Affordability component, the most common comment was “give us more time to read, analyze, and react to it.”
The decision on that would have to be made by Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development director Sam Assefa, his staff said at meeting’s end, by which time he was not in sight, though he had given the introduction. OPCD’s Geoff Wendlandt offered that they weren’t likely to extend the July 23 deadline.
There also were several complaints that the hearing was not being broadcast by Seattle Channel (prompting a few people to ask us afterward where they would find our video).
37 people commented in almost an hour and a half. That was preceded by the classic open-house setup, with summaries on walls and easels around the room, listing points you otherwise would have to pull out of the 462-page DEIS, toplines of the alternatives it looked at, which propose different paces and types of rezoning and growth.
Toplines of what was said: Read More
Semi-quick reminder: While the public-comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s proposed rezoning is only about halfway over, the biggest public event is just three days away: A public hearing and open house at City Hall downtown (600 4th Ave.). As announced when the DEIS went public earlier this month, the event starts at 5:30 pm Thursday (June 29th), with public comment to follow a short briefing at 6:30 pm. The full document is linked from this city webpage, which has information on other ways to comment until the July 23rd deadline. If you haven’t been following the process until now, the rezoning would affect commercial/multifamily property throughout the city, as well as single-family property in urban villages (West Seattle has four – Admiral, Morgan Junction, West Seattle Junction, and Westwood-Highland Park), some of which would see expanded boundaries. The DEIS looks at two options for rezoning – you can use this interactive map to see whether/how each would affect your neighborhood.
Thanks to John for the tip: This Alki house that just went on the market – so new a listing, it didn’t even have a shingle up when we went by tonight – isn’t a landmark, but it has history. 3045 64th SW is listed in King County files as having been built in 1900 but multiple accounts say it dates to the late 1800s – like this one with a historic photo. In 1993, Seattle Times columnist Erik Lacitis declared it Seattle’s “oldest surviving house.” His story says it’s believed to have been built for “Doc” Maynard (yes, the West Seattle Water Taxi vessel’s namesake) on another Alki site, from which it was moved to its current location – and that it was later owned by another legendary West Seattleite, Ivar Haglund. It’s listed at $630,000 and on almost 5,000 square feet of land with single-family zoning.
A century-plus-old house at 6721 California SW is proposed for replacement with seven rowhouse townhouses, according to a proposal that just showed up in city files. The early-stage site plan in city files shows the units fronting onto SW Willow on the south side of the site, with five offstreet parking spaces alongside the units on the north side. This represents continued densification to match what the area is already zoned for; this site is zoned Lowrise 2, as is the rest of the block, part of which has already been redeveloped, as has the entire block to the south.
A July 6th meeting is now scheduled for the Southwest Design Review Board, with these two projects:
3078 SW AVALON WAY, REVIVED: Back in 2014, neighbors won a fight over city planners’ contention that a ~100-apartment building proposed for this site was environmentally non-significant in some areas of consideration. But as noted in our report at the time, that didn’t mean the development was dead; the ruling ultimately said the project had to go back to the SW Design Review Board. And that’s what it’s doing at 6:30 pm Thursday, July 6th, front end of a doubleheader at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon). The project, in the works since 2012, is still described on the city website as 7 stories, ~100 apartments, and ~60 parking spaces; the newest proposed design should be available when the July 6th meeting gets closer.
9049 20TH SW, EXPANDED: The headquarters of STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor) would get two added floors with 22 apartments and 5 microstudios in the project to be reviewed at 8 pm. The newest site plan also says the building footprint would be expanded for added office space at ground level. Any required parking would be provided in the garage of STS-owned Bluestone Apartments next door at 9051 20th SW.
SPEAKING OF DESIGN REVIEW: As reported here last week, some big changes are proposed for the process, and comments are being taken now.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you want to settle into the weekend with a little light reading, consider the 460+ pages of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability component (let’s just call it the HALA MHA DEIS for short).
Since it officially went public on Thursday, we’ve been looking through the HALA MHA DEIS in order to present the first in a series of “what you need to know about it” – or, ways to wade through it – reports, rather than just slapping up a news release and a link and moving on. While the comment period runs a month and a half, its marquee event – a City Hall public hearing – is only three weeks away.
The Draft EIS is the next major step in the process we have been closely covering since last October, when the draft maps showing proposed rezoning appeared online. The point of HALA MHA is to require developers to set aside a certain percentage of their projects as affordable housing, or to pay a fee into a city fund that will pay for affordable housing somewhere else. In exchange, zoning increases to give them more capacity – on average, an extra floor. But other proposed changes are more complex, such as upzoning all single-family areas in urban villages, and expanding urban-village boundaries in some areas (the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village is proposed for some of this). Read More
Two microhousing (aka “small efficiency dwelling units”) notes:
8600 DELRIDGE WAY SW: City files reveal an early-stage proposal to replace a 77-year-old single-family house on a 4,327-square-foot lot at 8600 Delridge Way SW (map) with 10 “small efficiency dwelling units.” The tentative site plan shows them all at street level; the lot is zoned Lowrise 2. Documents in the file indicate the developer is talking with the city to clarify issues including lot coverage and zoning before making a formal application for the project.
SMALLER UNITS? This week’s first Land Use Information Bulletin included a notice about a proposed “director’s rule” change that would allow smaller SEDUs. The summary:
The draft Director’s Rule 9-2017 for Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDU) outlines criteria that allows design flexibility to create living spaces smaller than required by Seattle Building Code (SBC) Section 1208.4 for Efficiency Dwelling Units (EDU), commonly called studio apartments, and provides a method for developers to achieve the 220 SF minimum unit size specified by the Seattle Land Use Code.
If you own property, your new valuation notice(s) will arrive sometime in the next few months. And prepare yourself for possible jumps – the areas of King County where the average valuation has gone up double digits, the county assessor says, include these:
· Boulevard Park / White Center – 18.6%
· High Point / Highland Park – 15.8%
· Eastern West Seattle – 13%
Here’s the full news release (and note the part about appraisers – the county doesn’t want you to be startled if one visits you):
The King County Assessor’s Office has begun the annual process of mailing valuation notices to over 700,000 property owners. Notices will continue arriving to property owners through September.
In most areas of the county, property values are up again this year. Higher valuations, however, do not necessarily translate into higher property taxes, said Assessor John Wilson.
“Most people don’t realize that the fluctuating value of your property has less to do with changes in your tax bill than do measures approved by voters,” said Wilson. “Decisions made by voters, in terms of approving special levies; and by elected officials in terms of adopting budgets, determine the total amount of tax to be collected in your area; the value of your property determines your share of that total amount.”
Wilson continues to encourage property owners to sign up to receive their annual property valuation notice via email instead of through the USPS. This electronic valuation notice program is convenient for property owners, will save money for the Department of Assessments, and is environmentally friendly.
To sign up, go to kingcounty.gov/assessor and click on the Go Paperless window for details. Paperless notifications saves taxpayer dollars in staff time, materials and postage.
Property owners who believe their assessment may be incorrect, can appeal to the Board of Equalization (BOE). This must be done within 60 days of receipt of the 2017 valuation notice. Details are available (here) – the BOE (is here).
State law requires each county assessor to revalue property annually, and to conduct an on-site physical inspection of each property at least once every six years. Property values are determined by certified appraisers who assess property based on comparable sales, various attributes of a particular property, and/or income generated by the property.
You can also check your county-determined property value online via the King County Parcel Viewer.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The next milestone in the process of shaping the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda component known as Mandatory Housing Affordability will come next week.
That’s when the draft Environmental Impact Statement will be made public, the City Council was told this morning.
That announcement came from Office of Planning and Community Development‘s Sara Maxana, a key staffer working on HALA, toward the end of a council briefing on the Community Design Workshops held in the city’s 17 urban villages as part of the HALA MHA feedback process.
Councilmember Rob Johnson‘s office organized the workshops, and this morning’s briefing featured his staff’s point person for them, Spencer Williams, as well as John Howell from Cedar River Group, one of the consulting firms that facilitated them, along with Makers Architects. The slide deck above is the summary of what they say they heard in the workshops (and it’s here in PDF).
We monitored this morning’s briefing and discussion via Seattle Channel; here’s the video – the briefing starts about 43 minutes in:
West Seattle’s design workshops were held for each of the four WS urban villages:Read More
The first Southwest Design Review Board hearing has been set for the newest project proposed at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, where a single-story CVS drugstore was planned for three years until it was unceremoniously scrapped last year. And we know more about the project now, too.
July 20th is the date that just appeared on the schedule for the two-building project we first told you about last December. At the time, details were few. Now, the meeting docket on the city website includes this:
Design Review Early Design Guidance application proposing … a 7-story building containing 233 residential units, 17 live-work units, and 10,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. Parking to be provided for 250 vehicles within the structure. Existing structure to be demolished. (And) a four-story building containing one live-work unit and 49 residential units.
Though the meeting listing doesn’t mention offstreet parking for the smaller building, a document mentions “30 parking stalls” under three residential floors.
This is all set for what’s becoming West Seattle’s most-redeveloped block – across from The Whittaker (WSB sponsor), and north of 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW, which just finished going through Design Review. With the 4722 Fauntleroy hearing almost two months away, no design renderings are in city files yet, but we’re contacting developers Legacy Partners – who you might know for Youngstown Flats (WSB sponsor) in North Delridge – to find out if they have anything to share. (Documents show LP is now working with Encore Architects on this project.)
The July 20th meeting is set to start at 6:30 pm at the SWDRB’s usual meeting spot, the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).
One more reminder before the weekend begins:
If you have questions or comments about the proposed rezoning for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) plan, you’ll want to start your Saturday at Westside School (10404 34th SW; WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights, where various city departments are teaming up for an open house, 10 am-noon. HALA MHA and how it would affect West Seattle and South Park (see the interactive map here) is at centerstage – with something new, as we reported earlier this week – but other city departments will be there too, with information about a variety of projects. It’s an informal meeting, like the one back in December – but much more room this time! – so you can just drop in during that 2-hour window.
P.S. The city has had workshops about the HALA MHA proposals in all five of the West Seattle/South Park Urban Village areas. It’s posted most of the presentations and summaries on this page if you want to review them before the open house; while the Morgan Junction feedback summaries still aren’t there, two months after the final workshop, they were just sent to the Morgan Community Association, whose president Deb Barker forwarded it to us – see the documents here, here, and here.
This Saturday is the city’s next West Seattle “open house” about HALA – the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, which has drawn the most attention in the past six months for its proposed MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) component. MHA seeks to upzone commercial and multifamily property around the city, and single-family property in urban villages, to give developers added capacity in exchange for either locking in a percentage of units as “affordable,” or contributing a set sum to a city fund that will be used to build “affordable” projects somewhere else. If you haven’t already checked to see what’s proposed for your neighborhood, here’s the citywide interactive map. Plus, we’ve learned that a new tool will be offered at Saturday’s open house:
You could say it’s HALA gone “holo.” Morgan Junction community advocate and citizen land-use watchdog Cindi Barker found out about it by going to a version of the open house held in the Northgate area last weekend. She discovered that the city is now offering “before”-to-“after” views of the proposed changes, including what she describes as “a station where you could put on a 3D lens/helmet and you ‘walked’ down the block and watched the older existing buildings go away and buildings built to the new zoning come in.” The technology the city is using is Microsoft HoloLens.
Saturday’s open house is 10 am-noon (May 6th) at Westside School (10404 34th SW; WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights. Besides the opportunity to learn about and comment on the HALA proposals – including West Seattle’s four urban villages and South Park – the city says it’s expecting booths/tables for other initiatives/agencies: Age Friendly Seattle, Design Review (changes), Natural Drainage, Play Streets, Open Space Plan, Democracy Vouchers, Neighborhood Streets and Greenways Projects (SDOT), and Metro Transit.
Until 5 pm, you can visit 4 West Seattle stops on the free Northwest Green Home Tour. Here’s the list, south to north:
9323 31ST PLACE SW: Above, Parie Hines of LD Arch Design (WSB sponsor), architect for two of today’s stops. This one transformed a “typical warbox” with “a family-sized porch & 2-story addition.” The builders were Mighty House Construction, whose Doug Elfline is there talking with visitors, too.
3726 SW AUSTIN: Mighty House also remodeled the kitchen that’s being shown off at this stop.
WEST SEATTLE NURSERY: As noted when it opened, the expansion building here was designed by Hines and built by Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), whose co-proprietor Anne Higuera was leading a tour when we stopped by:
The tour website explains that while this is a commercial building, “it features many strategies that can be used in green homes.”
While the tour continues tomorrow, the West Seattle stops are today only, until 5 pm.
Development notes this morning:
6010 CALIFORNIA WORK UNDER WAY: We first reported almost a year ago that a 95-year-old single-family house at this spot would be replaced with multiple residential buildings totaling seven units. Driving by Wednesday afternoon, we noticed the house is gone and site clearing is under way (photo above). Here’s what city files say the plan is now.
3045 CALIFORNIA: An early-stage plan has just turned up in city files to replace this small commercial building with a new four-story building – the maximum height the site is zoned for – that would have three residential units over ground-floor commercial.
9030 35TH SW: Someone asked us about this long-in-the-works project just a few days ago. Nothing new was in the files then, but today a demolition-permit application has shown up. A mixed-use building with ~40 apartments is proposed to replace two houses here.
And three Design Review notes:
OFFICIAL NOTICE FOR MAY 18 REVIEW OF 4417 42nd SW: We first told you two weeks ago that 4417 42nd SW is scheduled for an Early Design Guidance review before the Southwest Design Review Board on May 18th. Now, the official notice of that meeting is in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin. The project is described as a “4-story apartment building containing 58 units and 4 live-work units,” with 29 offstreet-parking spaces.
STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW FOR 4409 44TH SW: Also in The Junction, there’s early word that Streamlined Design Review will be ahead for a project to replace a 108-year-old single-family house with six townhouses. The notice mentions one offstreet-parking space is planned. Streamlined Design Review means no public meeting, but watch for an official public notice at some point.
STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW FOR 8802 9TH SW: City files have early word of a three-story, 8-unit townhouse project at this Highland Park site, with 8 offstreet parkings. This also is identified as headed for Streamlined Design Review.
After big pushback to proposed regulations last year, the City Council is ready to consider a revised set of rules for people who rent short-term via Airbnb, VRBO, and similar services, as well as potential bed-and-breakfast operators.
Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes official notice of the new proposal, with this description:
The legislation would establish a new definition for “short-term rental” as a type of lodging use and establish standards for short-term rentals, including a limit on the number of dwelling units that an individual may operate as a short-term rental. The legislation would also modify the definition of “bed and breakfast” as a type of lodging use and modify the standards for bed and breakfasts as an accessory use in residential zones, allowing existing “bed and breakfast” uses to continue but regulating new bed and breakfast uses as short-term rentals.
The legislation adds a requirement that all short-term rental uses have a short-term rental operator’s license from the City and that all short-term rental platforms have a short-term rental platform’s license from the City, and establishes a process for the enforcement of licensing requirements. The legislation includes a one-year compliance window for anyone currently offering nightly or weekly rentals of a residence within the City of Seattle.
According to a news release from City Councilmember Tim Burgess, who officially announced the revised rule-change proposal, the aforementioned limit would mean “anyone may provide their primary residence and one additional unit as a short-term rental, without limitation of nights per year.”
Burgess is quoted as saying, “Under my revised proposal, a family can still rent out their home when they go on a weekend vacation, or a homeowner can rent out their second property to help pay the mortgage. All this while preventing a mass turnover of existing rental housing stock into short-term rentals. I think we’ve struck the right balance, and I look forward to more review in the weeks ahead as the Council considers this ordinance.” The news release says the next step is for the council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee to consider the legislation in early June. (Burgess chairs the committee, and its vice chair is West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold.)
You can read the full proposed ordinance by going here. Today’s notice also includes the city’s determination that the proposed rule changes are environmentally non-significant; you have until May 8th to either comment on that contention, or appeal it, and the notice explains how.
Live jazz and treats await you at the grand-opening celebration for the BlueStone Apartments (9051 20th SW). The music continues until 4, the party until 5, including tours.
The 40+-unit complex, built by STS Construction Services (longtime WSB sponsor) and managed by North Pacific Properties, has variety. First-floor units, including a handful of live-works, have high ceilings (16 feet). The building includes 2-bedroom apartments (not always easy to find in new construction) as well as 1-bedrooms – more than a dozen floor plans, even 2 bedroom/2 baths. Each unit has its own laundry room. And there are unexpected touches such as built-in connections for portable air-conditioning units.
The four-story building includes some views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains, and some units have terraces or balconies.
The lighting is all LED.
BlueStone is leasing now – another tenant was moving in while we were visiting – and we’re told one of the live-work units is expected to soon have a small café. If you don’t get to stop by today, you can inquire online.
Just one project was on tonight’s Southwest Design Review Board agenda, but it’s a multi-lot project, so the review was not brief. It’s 3257 Harbor Avenue SW, with 30+ townhouses now proposed for what was previously in line for a now-scrapped apartment project. Here’s the design packet:
As with many review meetings, transportation issues comprised many of the concerns. The 15-plus members of the public in attendance were mostly from 30th SW, on the west side of the site. Their major concern was that the proposed parking entry is on that street instead of from Harbor. They said that a nearby condo building had a similar parking setup but no one uses the ramps in bad weather (icy, snowy, slick) because they’re too steep. The location of the parking entry was also of concern because it’s close to City View, a narrow street down which some drivers speed, neighbors explained. The board asked the project team to bring back more explanation of the 30th vs. Harbor parking-entrance decision.
The project is proposed for one parking space per unit, meantime, and that raised the question of whether it’s really outside the Alki overlay that requires one and a half spaces per unit. The board said that would have to be looked into as well.
Since this was the Early Design Guidance meeting – first of Design Review’s two stages – the team showed three “massing” options; the third, their preferred option, would have an east-west public staircase down the middle of the site, with a large courtyard stretching north to south. Board members and attendees were OK with that option. Board members also wanted to be sure the project won’t show a big blank wall to the 30th SW side.
Also discussed, pedestrian-safety issues, bike storage, bike-path access – board members noted that it’s a very bikeable spot – plus whether there’ll be a homeowners’ association to ensure upkeep of the staircase and to handle issues such as collective solid-waste disposal.
The three board members present all voted in favor of advancing the project to the next stage of Design Review. That means the city will set a date for another meeting, usually at least a few months down the line. If you have comments about the project in the meantime, you can e-mail its designated city planner,
Sean Conrad, at firstname.lastname@example.org.