City tells 2 in-the-works West Seattle microhousing projects that they need Design Review because of court decision

September 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

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:
Click to read the rest of City tells 2 in-the-works West Seattle microhousing projects that they need Design Review because of court decision…

Out: ‘Microhousing.’ In: ‘SEDU.’ And it’s your turn to comment

September 22, 2014 at 8:59 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

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.

West Seattle demolition watch: Next ‘microhousing’; school rebuilds

September 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 8 Comments

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.

West Seattle development: Key approvals for 18-house subdivision proposed at 2646 SW Holden

September 18, 2014 at 9:43 am | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

(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).

Followup: New court action in West Seattle foreclosure fight

September 18, 2014 at 3:20 am | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Today marks one month since the last public event related to the foreclosure/eviction fight involving Jean and Byron Barton and the Morgan Junction home his family owned for decades. August 18th was the day Jean Barton joined in a protest against King County Sheriff John Urquhart, days after its detectives removed her and her family from the house, saying they were being arrested for trespassing. That was four weeks after they had been formally evicted amid a crowd of demonstrators, with Byron Barton carried away on a stretcher.

While the protests and press conferences have faded away, the Bartons’ lawsuit continues, and we have a followup. Making a periodic check of the online files in the case Wednesday, we noticed the Bartons’ lawyer had filed a motion for default judgment against the entities they’re suing, JP Morgan Chase, Quality Loan Service of Washington, and First American Title:

At the heart of the motion: The Bartons’ lawyer Jill Smith pointed out that while the lawsuit was filed in early May, four months had passed and none of the respondents had filed a response. Chase and QLS acknowledged being served, but hadn’t filed responses; FAT hadn’t even acknowledged being served. A deadline was set, and Chase finally filed this response:

The other two respondents did not. We checked with Smith via e-mail on Wednesday, and she replied that they “are awaiting the judge’s signature on the Order for Default Judgment against Quality Loan Service Corp. of Washington and First American Title. JP Morgan Chase filed a woefully inadequate Answer to the Complaint last week, but nevertheless, we will not likely be able to obtain default against Chase.” (This court action does not involve the company that bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April; its “unlawful detainer” eviction action against the Bartons, however, remains under appeal.)

We asked Smith about the Bartons’ housing status, and she replied, “Mr. Barton is still in the facility in Columbia City and Mrs. Barton and her sons made other arrangements after the eviction for their well-being. They are all still seeking long-term housing that will allow them to all live together again.”

Video: Seattle City Council committee OK’s rules for ‘microhousing’ apartments

September 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

(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.

West Seattle real estate: Price drops and other notes

September 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Watching the ever-busier commercial/multifamily real-estate listings, a few things of recent note:

HOMESTEAD PRICE DROP: When the fire-ravaged Alki Homestead went back on the market last December, it was listed for $1,850,000. At some point, it went off the market, but is back again, categorized as a “new” listing, now at $1.4 million. Here’s the marketing flyer.

ADMIRAL PRICE DROP: Also listed for less, the former Brickyard BBQ site at 2310 California SW in The Admiral District. Seven months ago, we mentioned its initial $1,050,000 listing; now it’s down to $900,000.

3039 AVALON WAY: At least two projects remain in the works on the north side of Avalon (the 3268 microhousing and 3078 apartments), and now there’s a property for sale on the south side – 3039 Avalon Way SW, currently home to a duplex but, the listing says, “allows for 65` height and no parking requirements – ideal apartment location.” Listed at $1,650,000.

4140 CALIFORNIA SW: $1,575,000 is the asking price for this newly listed business-occupied building on the north edge of The Junction.

4857 FAUNTLEROY WAY: Just a block south of starting-soon The Whittaker, this apartment building known as The Dorchester is now up for sale, $1,695,000.

Eviction-fight followup: Jean Barton says, ‘As far as I am concerned, it is still our home’

August 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 100 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Jean Barton never did speak at the downtown rally called by housing-justice activists as a followup to the Friday arrests that removed her, her disabled husband, and one of their sons from the Morgan Junction house they long owned, as their foreclosure/eviction fight continues.

The activists, led by the group SAFE (Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction), gathered this afternoon in Courthouse Park, to which they’d summoned the media; we were there along with regional-TV crews. While they engaged in chants denouncing King County Sheriff John Urquhart for the Friday arrests, Jean Barton arrived on the sidelines, and reporters/photographers converged.

She basically had a news conference steps away from where the advocates continued to shout and chant. She said that husband Byron Barton remains at the Seattle VA Hospital, but she wasn’t sure where she would be staying tonight, as she had been put up in a hotel for a few days but that was ending.

She also said, “As far as I am concerned, it is still our home.” Her lawyer explained that their lawsuit alleging illegal foreclosure (90-page PDF) continues to go through the courts, as does their appeal of the “unlawful detainer” complaint that resulted in their original official eviction exactly one month ago.

It was then announced via bullhorn that the protest would move over to the courthouse next door, where the KCSO is headquartered. Demonstrators marched back and forth in front of its 3rd Avenue entrances, while Jean Barton went inside to request a one-on-one meeting with the sheriff, who, as you can hear in our video, wasn’t there, she was told:

KCSO is charged with carrying out eviction orders regardless of whether they are in the jurisdiction of an agency such as the Seattle Police Department. After they evicted the Bartons on July 18th, the couple went back inside the house. SPD arrived on the scene and could have arrested them for alleged trespassing but did not; the following Monday, Mayor Murray announced he had asked SPD to “stand by” while the case played out in court.

After that, the company that bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, Triangle Property Development, went to court to seek a “writ of mandamus” which would have ordered the city to take action. Last week, King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman denied that request, saying it would have been an extraordinary action to order the city to do something in which it had discretion, while, she said, Triangle had other avenues available for getting possession of the house.

Then last Friday, KCSO showed up at the Morgan Junction house and carried out a search warrant it had obtained, signed by Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert, citing grounds that it had evidence a crime – trespassing – was happening in the house, and swept in around 8 am, arresting and removing the Bartons. Representatives of Triangle promptly occupied the house, saying they were readying it for a renter who would move in quickly. Byron Barton was reported to have been shuttled between the VA Hospital and Harborview before winding up at the former, and that brings us to what unfolded today. What’s next? We’ll continue watching court files, among other sources, to see.

ONGOING COVERAGE: In West Seattle eviction fight, sheriff’s deputies remove Bartons again, arresting them for ‘criminal trespass’

August 15, 2014 at 8:23 am | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 193 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWEST UPDATE – 9:27 pm)

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:23 AM: Jean and Byron Barton have been evicted from their former home in Morgan Junction again, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates. We found her there after getting a telephone tip. This comes four days after a judge declined to order the city to enforce trespassing laws against them (WSB coverage here). They were already gone from the house when we got there; Sgt. Gates says people working for the company that bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, Triangle Property Development, are in it now.

ADDED 8:37 AM: More information from Sgt. Gates: KCSO went in under auspices of a search warrant, not a new court order for eviction.

She says they “detained three adults for the crime of criminal trespassing,” including one of the Bartons’ grown sons, and that while Byron Barton was taken to the VA Hospital, Jean Barton and their son were taken to KCSO’s Southwest Precinct “for processing.” She did not expect they would be jailed. She said the search-warrant action happened “quickly” and that there were “no issues”; the three were the only people in the house, she said. No protesters (or other media) were there. Advocacy-group signage that had been outside the house for weeks has been removed, and the “no trespassing/video surveillance” sign shown in our photo above is in place. (added) This morning’s action comes one week after the court hearing on Triangle’s petition to force the city to take action, and four weeks after deputies first removed the Bartons from the house, which they re-occupied hours later. Triangle is not a party to the Bartons’ still-pending lawsuit (90-page PDF) against Chase Bank and two other entities, alleging the house was illegally foreclosed on.

ADDED 9:35 AM: The official KCSO news release has just arrived. In it, Sheriff John Urquhart alleges “politics (were) allowed to ride roughshod over the rule of law” prior to this morning’s action. Full text:
Click to read the rest of ONGOING COVERAGE: In West Seattle eviction fight, sheriff’s deputies remove Bartons again, arresting them for ‘criminal trespass’…

Bartons’ eviction fight: Judge denies new owner’s request to order SPD to arrest them

August 13, 2014 at 11:36 am | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 89 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:36 AM: Just in: King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman has rejected Triangle Property Development‘s petition for a “writ of mandamus” which would basically have forced Seattle Police to arrest Jean and Byron Barton for trespassing, as they continue to occupy the Morgan Junction home from which they were evicted last month, three months after Triangle bought it at a foreclosure auction. The judge’s ruling comes five days after a hearing on the issue (WSB coverage here). Judge Spearman wrote that SPD has discretion on whether to make an arrest in a situation like this, and that an “extraordinary” move such as a writ of mandamus is not appropriate for compelling an action in which there is discretion. See the ruling in PDF, or embedded below:

We’re also contacting Triangle Development’s lawyer for comment; the company announced July 29th that it would take the city to court. That was 11 days after sheriff’s deputies – who enforce evictions in King County, whether within city limits or not – removed the Bartons from the house; later that day (July 18th), the couple re-entered it. SPD arrived at the house late in the day, but did not arrest them, and Mayor Murray issued a statement the following Monday saying he had told SPD to “stand by while the latest court proceedings unwind.”

ADDED 12:42 PM: A few other notes – The Bartons themselves were not a direct party in this particular legal action. It was taken by Triangle Development against Mayor Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, and is unrelated to the Bartons’ ongoing lawsuit (read it here) alleging that the foreclosure was illegal. If you haven’t read today’s ruling yet, another reason cited by the judge was that Triangle has other options for getting control of the property – including getting the King County Sheriff’s Office to serve another order. Meantime, the mayor has posted a statement about the ruling, saying, among other things, “… the judge decided that SPD acted properly in exercising its discretion over the past three weeks.”

ADDED 4:46 PM: The advocacy group SAFE has sent a statement, which includes Jean Barton’s reaction to the city’s contention that she and her husband are ignoring/spurning housing-related services:
Click to read the rest of Bartons’ eviction fight: Judge denies new owner’s request to order SPD to arrest them…

Barton eviction fight: No immediate ruling at hearing; city offers help, cites ‘alarming conditions’

August 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 58 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:36 PM: Two developments this afternoon in the case of Jean and Byron Barton, whose Morgan Junction home was foreclosed on, then auctioned off. Three weeks after King County Sheriff’s Office deputies carried out an order to evict them – followed hours later by the Bartons re-occupying the house – the property’s new owners had a court hearing today. Triangle Property Development sought an order to require the city to enforce trespassing law and get the Bartons out of the house; you’ll recall that Mayor Murray had told Seattle Police to “stand by” while legal matters played out. King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman listed to arguments but did not rule immediately. This motion, by the way, did not involve the Bartons’ separate case alleging that the foreclosure was illegal. We had a crew at the hearing, as well as in the hallway outside the courtroom, where Jean Barton joined the SAFE advocacy group in a pre-hearing news conference (added: video of her brief comments):

We will add more details from both parts of the event later.

Meantime, Mayor Ed Murray‘s office forwarded a letter from the city Office of Housing, detailing its efforts to offer the Bartons help with housing, mentioning they have not taken advantage of that help so far. The letter also, toward the end, mentions that city staff visiting the Bartons’ home “observed alarming conditions inside the residence that required them to submit mandatory reports to Adult Protective Services.” Here’s the letter as a PDF – or read it, embedded, below:

They did not elaborate on the “alarming conditions.”

ADDED: In case you’re interested in the legal documents – here’s the Triangle petition:

And the city’s reply:

10 PM NOTE: Still more to add; check back in the early morning.

EARLY AM ADD: After the jump (if you are reading from the main page), co-publisher Patrick Sand‘s notes from the hearing:

Click to read the rest of Barton eviction fight: No immediate ruling at hearing; city offers help, cites ‘alarming conditions’…

Barton eviction fight: Court hearing tomorrow afternoon

August 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 37 Comments

(July 18th WSB photo: Jean and Byron Barton, center, in the house’s basement, with police and supporters)
Tomorrow afternoon, a King County Superior Court judge will preside over a hearing related to Triangle Property Development‘s attempt to take physical possession of the Morgan Junction house where Byron and Jean Barton are still living, three weeks after deputies evicted them. We know this because the advocacy group that has been campaigning to keep the Bartons in the house has sent word of a protest outside the courtroom before the hearing. Triangle’s court filing – reported here on July 29th – is the latest development in the case; the Bartons also have legal action pending, contending that the house was illegally foreclosed on before being auctioned off last April, which is when Triangle bought it. The Bartons re-entered the house near 41st and Holly shortly after deputies removed them on July 18th, including carrying Byron Barton, who uses a wheelchair; that means Seattle Police could arrest them for trespassing, but a week and a half ago, Mayor Murray told them on July 21st to “stand by” while the case went through the courts.

Charlestown Court not worthy of landmark status, says Landmarks Preservation Board, again

August 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm | In Development, West Seattle history, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

(County archives photo of the building now known as Charlestown Court)
We’re at the Municipal Tower downtown, where the city Landmarks Preservation Board voted this afternoon to reject landmark status for Charlestown Court. The building is proposed for demolition to make way for an 8-unit townhouse project.

This was the second time the Tudor-style 1920s-era brick fourplex at 3811 California SW had been nominated; the last time, in a process that played out 2007-2008, the board said “no,” but development proposals then stalled until the current one, and the city said too much time had elapsed for them simply to refer to that previous vote, so the process needed to start again.

Before today’s presentation about the building, Paul Cesmat said he has owned it since 2007 and declared it has structural issues – “the brick’s not structurally sound, the chimney has issues, this has been pointed out to us … and we have insurability issues … I feel that this building does not meet historical criteria … and it’s not structurally worth saving.” It is wood-framed without concrete backing the brick, he explained in response to a question later.

The presentation focused on changes made to the building, including its windows, contending the changes made over the years affected the fourplex’s “physical integrity.” The photo you see at the top of the story was shown, with the comment “It’s a shame that’s not there any more.” (The nomination document from the June meeting, including photos and history, can be seen as a PDF here.)

In pre-vote discussion, board members said basically that while you could consider it “handsome” or “charming,” it just didn’t “rise” to landmark status.

Click to read the rest of Charlestown Court not worthy of landmark status, says Landmarks Preservation Board, again…

Followup: New owners of eviction-fight house say they’re taking the city to court

July 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 75 Comments

(UPDATE EARLY THURSDAY: Advocacy group suggests city continue the hearing; its statement is added to end of story)

(July 18 WSB photo)
A new development late today in the fight over a Morgan Junction house that’s been the subject of a showdown over foreclosure and eviction. Eight days ago, Mayor Ed Murray announced he was telling police to stand by until the circumstances Byron and Jean Barton‘s legal fight over the house was clearer; this afternoon, we received the following announcement from a law firm representing the company that bought the house at foreclosure auction in April:

Triangle Property Development has taken legal action to force Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle Police Department to uphold the law by removing the illegal trespassers from a West Seattle house.

The company filed the document, formally called a writ of mandamus, in King County Superior Court more than a week after Murray ordered police officers to stand down rather than remove Byron and Jean Barton from the house, which they had broken into after being legally evicted by King County Sheriff’s deputies. Triangle Property Development bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, more than two years after the Bartons stopped making mortgage payments.

“Mayor Murray’s refusal to uphold the law is undermining the legal process by preventing a property owner from lawfully using and possessing its property,’’ said Synthia Melton, legal counsel for Triangle Property Development. “The legal issues the mayor refers to in this case have already been determined by the courts. The Mayor’s inaction is supporting criminal trespass, and can set dangerous precedent for how court-ordered evictions will be executed, making it more difficult for law enforcement to perform its job.”

Click to read the rest of Followup: New owners of eviction-fight house say they’re taking the city to court…

West Seattle development: Demolition at 4745 40th SW; 3 new teardown/rebuild plans

July 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Demolition-for-redevelopment notes today:

4745 40TH SW TEARDOWN UNDERWAY: Thanks to Maris for the heads-up on Monday that backhoes had taken up position at the 40th/Edmunds project site. They hadn’t started work by day’s end but this afternoon, they’re taking down the office building on site, former home to businesses including what might be West Seattle’s biggest tech firm, Tango Card. (You’ll recall our story last August about its search for a new WS location, which it found not far away, in Jefferson Square.) 4745 40th SW won final Design Review approval in December (WSB coverage here), and applied for the demolition permit in March. is slated for 150 units and 115 parking spaces, with some live-work units and a relatively small commercial space on the ground floor, adjacent to the future city-park site to its north. (That site in turn will soon be the temporary home of Fire Station 32 while that station is rebuilt on its site in The Triangle at 37th/38th/Alaska.)

THREE DEMOLITION-PERMIT NOTES: From the city files today, all in single-family-house projects:

*1 DOWN, 2 UP AT 4316 SW THISTLE: A demolition-permit application is in for the site of this 106-year-old Gatewood house across from the top of the fabled Thistle stairway, as well as early word of two houses to replace it, pending a lot-boundary adjustment which has a case number but no documents on file so far; county data for the 7,500-sf site does show two lot numbers.

*1 DOWN, 1 UP AT 3426 38TH SW: The permit has just been granted for demolition of this 106-year-old bungalow, with a new house slated to replace it.

1 DOWN, 1 UP AT 4707 14TH SW: A demolition permit is sought for this 85-year-old house on 15,000 sf of land, where records show one new house is planned.

Landmarks Board votes to formally consider Charlestown Court for landmark status

June 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

Quick update from the city Municipal Tower downtown: The city Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted to approve the nomination of Charlestown Court, the brick fourplex at 3811 California SW, as a potential city landmark. A consultant hired by its owners – who want to demolish it and replace it with eight townhouses - said they don’t think it merits landmark status, a decision reached by the board six years ago when another demolition/redevelopment proposal was pending. (Since more than five years have passed, city reps explained, a new review was warranted.) Today’s vote sets the stage for a final vote on August 6th.

West Seattle real estate: 3060 Avalon up for sale again

May 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Nine months after a real-estate/development group bought the 12-unit apartment building at 3060 Avalon Way for just under $1 million, they’ve put it up for sale for more than twice that. The 9,500-square-foot site is listed for $2,552,000, with the listing mentioning renovations since last year’s sale, and also: “With the ability to build up to 65 feet in height on the property. The land value today is approximately the same as the asking price for the apartment building, giving the buyer an opportunity to earn income while processing permits at the City of Seattle.” The building is sandwiched between two sites that have had development proposals in the past few years – apartments at 3062 Avalon (which the DPD site notes were canceled last year) and 104 units of microhousing at 3050, and a few lots east of a project that just won a key approval last week, 100+ apartments at 3078 Avalon.

P.S. If you like stats and numbers, they abound in this background brochure about the 3060 Avalon property, which takes a broader look at the West Seattle and citywide apartment market, too.

New microhousing rules: Tell City Councilmembers what you think on Monday

May 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments

If you feel strongly about microhousing – the new wave of mini-apartments that cluster around shared kitchens, usually one per floor – Monday’s your chance to speak to the City Council’s Planning/Land Use/Sustainability Committee about the proposed new city rules/definitions. The meeting agenda circulated today reminds us of the date, which, as reported here, was first announced last month. Here again is the council memo about the proposal; here’s the agenda. The public hearing is at 5:30 pm Monday (May 19th) in council chambers at City Hall downtown. (WSB photo: First West Seattle microhousing project to open, Footprint Delridge)

Video: ‘Three-minute teardown’ today in Seaview

March 28, 2014 at 10:59 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 33 Comments

Dan Engel shares that video he recorded today as a house in his Seaview neighborhood was torn down – 6008 44th SW, one of the demolition permits mentioned in our roundup last Saturday. Dan says the 96-year-old, 1230-square-foot house took less than 20 minutes to take down; his video is at six times real time, so the entire demolition (minus cleanup) is shown in about 3 minutes. The house’s planned replacement is shown here.

West Seattle development: 1606 California SW penciled in for design review

January 8, 2014 at 11:56 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Add another project to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule for the first few months of 2014: A North Admiral apartment project first reported here last October, 16 units replacing a fourplex and house at 1606 California SW (map), is tentatively set to debut before the board on March 6th. The project site is zoned L(owrise)-3 and is proposed as three stories, with 21 offstreet parking spaces. (It’s not in a frequent-transit zone, so parking is required.) This is the eighth West Seattle project scheduled for design review in the next eight weeks.

West Seattle history: Long-shuttered ex-market to make way for new house

December 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

frakerthen.jpg

Almost exactly six years ago – on New Year’s Day, 2008 – we took a quick “past/present” look at 4808 SW Alaska, thanks to neighbor Bill pointing out its past identity as Fraker’s Grocery. Today, the building is pretty much what it was at the time of that WSB story – vacant and rundown:

But its days are finally numbered. We’re mentioning it today because our latest routine check of city Department of Planning and Development files turned up new applications for demolition and construction permits. A new single-family house is proposed for the site, which was separated from an adjacent lot in a land-use action three years ago. But it’s noteworthy given its history, still hinted at by this shadow of a Coca-Cola sign on the south-facing window:

County records show the market’s former proprietor, Dean Fraker, owned the site until 2001; he died in 2009. It was sold again two weeks ago to a real-estate-investment LLC.

Happening now: North Delridge prefab townhouses flying into place

December 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Across from the 13th hole of the West Seattle Golf Course, in the 2800 block of SW Genesee (map), a crane is lifting three prefab townhouses into place, module by module. We reported on the modules’ arrival back on Saturday; now, the installation is a hot ticket on the cold, shady side of the street:

Of course, we, our fellow newspeople, and the spectators could leave at any time. Not an option for the crew working to make sure it’s all done correctly and safely – no mean feat given the size of the lot:

As noted in our previous story, the dozen or so modules comprising Method Homes‘ 3-unit, 2-building townhouse project were trucked in from the factory in Ferndale and parked along 26th SW west of Delridge Community Center/Park, a temporary staging zone:

The work is scheduled to continue tomorrow, with intermittent lane closures on Genesee while it’s under way.

P.S. For three quick video clips from the midmorning module lift, check out the WSB Instagram feed.

West Seattle’s fabled Walker Rock Garden up for sale again

December 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(2011 photo by Ellen Cedergreen)
Nearly three years ago, the family of the creators of West Seattle’s Walker Rock Garden – a hidden but world-famous backyard labor of love – announced they planned to sell it and the little house on its grounds. At one point, it had a buyer … but the sale wasn’t completed, and it went off the market. Public tours – previously offered at least a few times a year – never resumed. We get questions from time to time about its fate, and all we could say was that public records showed it was still owned by the family. Now, we discover via a tip from Deb that the property, at 5407 37th SW, is listed for sale again, this time for $549,000, up from the $392,000 asking price in early 2011. As the listing notes, it’s a double lot, more than 12,000 square feet. (See more galleries here and here.)

Video: Inside DESC’s almost-finished Cottage Grove Commons

November 22, 2013 at 10:35 am | In Delridge, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Next month, the DESC housing complex now known as Cottage Grove Commons is scheduled to open at 5444 Delridge Way SW, after about a year of construction. Its 66 units will be home to 66 people who are currently homeless and dealing with challenges including mental illness and/or addiction. The advisory committee that has been meeting for more than a year and a half toured the building earlier this week; committee member Dorsol Plants recorded cell-phone video, with some narration, and published it via YouTube. After he mentioned it on the North Delridge Neighborhood Council e-mail list, we asked him if we could feature it here, in case you are interested. It’s broken into seven separate clips that are viewable as a “playlist,” or can be selected from an index, via this YT page. The clip above is one of those seven, showing the front desk area and its view of the street and courtyard.

WSB coverage of the project, dating back to first word of it in 2011, is archived here, in reverse-chronological order.

2nd ‘West Seattle: We Have That!’ report: We have change; what about its effects?

November 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, WSB started a series of stories about independent local businesses and why they matter more to a community like ours than you might realize. Then, the West Seattle: We Have That” campaign launched at midsummer. Now, we’re continuing to publish stories as part of the series – and inviting you into the conversation. Many of the reports, including this one and the one we published four weeks ago, are being underwritten by the West Seattle Junction Association, but not as ads – it’s their contribution to an issue of importance from Alki to Westwood, Fauntleroy to Highland Park, and all over WS.

By Keith Creighton
Special to West Seattle Blog

This past month, my wife and I moved from a hill atop Morgan to that same hill a mile south in Gatewood. One of the biggest considerations we faced was trading more space for less view and giving up the easy walk to the Morgan and Alaska Junctions.

We’re not the only family facing big changes in West Seattle.

How will the surge of demolition and construction (California/Alaska, above), store closures/moves (Sweetie, Coffee to a Tea, Alki Arts) and chain introductions (including Fatburger on Alki and plans for Whole Foods Market, LA Fitness) affect the values of your home and the quality of your life? I asked several Junction-area residents and real estate pros to share their expertise:

Dawn Leverett of Windermere Real Estate
Katie Hildebrand and Kirsten Donovan of The Usonia Group/Keller Williams Realty
Jill Campbell of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate

Can you put a price tag on the concept of walkability? What will happen if the big chains push mom and pop shops out of West Seattle? Is White Center becoming the new West Seattle? Read what the pros have to say and weigh in with your comments.

Click to read the rest of 2nd ‘West Seattle: We Have That!’ report: We have change; what about its effects?…

West Seattle development updates: Special meeting for no-parking Junction project; Design Reviews confirmed; more

October 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

Six West Seattle development updates today – starting with a special public meeting for one of the projects proposed without parking spaces:

SPECIAL MEETING FOR 4535 44TH SW: This five-story, 36-apartment building on the west side of The Junction (map) currently includes no parking. Neighbors concerned about that and other aspects of the “Lofts at The Junction” project circulated a petition last summer seeking a special public meeting to address that and other State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-related concerns, and that meeting has just been officially scheduled and announced. The meeting is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, November 19th, at Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon); here’s the formal notice. This is separate from the Design Review process, in which this project passed Early Design Guidance in May (WSB coverage here), with an early-stage proposal including the sketch you see above; it still has to go through at least one more Design Review meeting, and there’s no date for that yet.

Meantime, today’s edition of the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin also included confirmation of the next two Southwest Design Review Board sessions, both on November 21st, as reported here earlier this month:

3210 CALIFORNIA: As first reported here more than two weeks ago, this 5-story, 143-apartment, 168-parking-space mixed-use building (map) is scheduled for its next review at 6:30 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). See the official notice here.

3078 AVALON WAY: As first reported here 11 days ago, this 8-story, 108-apartment, 61-parking-space residential building (map) is scheduled for its second and possibly final review at 8 pm during that same November 21st meeting; its first review was more than a year ago. Here’s the official notice.

Also in today’s bulletin:

6917 CALIFORNIA SW: This is the official published notice regarding the 30-apartment, no-parking building in Morgan Junction (map) that we’ve mentioned twice, first on October 16th; the clock is now ticking on its official comment period, through November 13th.

4522 DELRIDGE WAY SW: This four-house proposal (map) also was mentioned here back on Monday; the official notice of its land-use-permit application is in today’s bulletin, with a comment period through November 13th.

3947 SW KENYON: The city is taking comments through November 13th on an application to split one lot into two at this Gatewood location (map). Separate from this application, the city website shows applications to build two new homes on the site.

DESC Delridge project 3/4 complete, advisory committee told

September 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm | In DESC Delridge project, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

(WSB photo, added Wednesday morning)
The DESC homeless-housing building at 5444 Delridge Way is three-fourths complete, DESC executive director Bill Hobson told its Advisory Committee tonight when they met at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Hobson says it’s expected to be complete in November, with residents starting to move in near year’s end, two and a half years after the $14 million plan was first disclosed to neighborhood advocates.

Asked by committee member Dorsol Plants how the residents will be chosen, Hobson said they will use DESC’s standard procedure (described in part in the project FAQ). He also announced that they’ve hired a building manager from within DESC, Levi Dineson. He and his to-be-hired staff will handle the process of choosing residents, who will be moved in groups of 15 to 20 until the 66-studio-apartment building is full. Hobson said the manager’s job also will include neighborhood outreach and participation in the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. One decision yet to be made – a permanent name for the building, currently dubbed Delridge Supportive Housing. The committee discussed the possibility of using a relevant local geographic term as part of the name – such as Longfellow, Findlay (the nearest east-west street), or Cottage Grove. The name will be chosen at the next DESC Board of Directors’ meeting.

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