West Seattle, Washington
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.
Six months after the three-alarm fire at the Lam-Bow Apartments complex (6955 Delridge Way SW), the building left “unsalvageable” (as the Seattle Housing Authority deemed it) is being demolished. We just went by for a look, after two reader tips (thank you!). SHA spokesperson Kerry Coughlin had told us in January that they were waiting for permits so they could tear it down, and now the work is under way. The September 27th fire displaced more than 40 residents; no one was hurt, and investigators never determined the cause, just that the fire started on the building’s exterior. Coughlin told us this afternoon: “Rebuilding will not start immediately and we don’t have any plans or details. We had to get the damaged structure down as soon as possible but need due diligence time to make sure we maximize the opportunity to replace.”
12:01 PM: Nickel Bros is getting ready to rescue another West Seattle house. This one is a 1912-built Craftsman in the 7000 block of Beach Drive SW, between Lowman Beach and the north shore of Lincoln Park, on a site where a new house is set to be built.
The house-moving firm was originally scheduled to be barging the house away right about now, but the tides will be more conducive late tonight, so they’ve rescheduled for 11 pm.
The twist here: The house does not have a new owner, yet, but Nickel Bros decided to take a chance on it, and it will be taken to a storage yard. You can see inside the house via its listing on the Nickel Bros site.
P.S. Nickel Bros tells us they’re working with six moving-or-movable West Seattle houses right now. We’ve already told you about this one at California/Findlay. Listings on their site include three from the Alki area – here, here, and here.
ADDED 8:22 PM: If you have a late-night eye on the water – you might see the house go by, as the storage spot it’s going to is on the Duwamish River. We also wanted to say thanks to local journalist Jenny Cunningham (with whom we worked long ago in local TV news) for the original tip on this; she’ll be covering it for KCTS and we’ll let you know when the story is set for broadcast.
The Morgan Junction micro-apartment building Viridian, which generated the first big controversy over construction of apartments with little or no offstreet parking, is up for sale.
(WSB photo, September 2015)
We first reported in October 2013 about the plan for 6917 California SW, at the time on the books as 30 apartments with no offstreet-parking spaces. While that type of development is now semi-common, it wasn’t back then, and community concerns led to special meetings, including this one at which city reps explained what led up to the trend, including the 2012 changes in parking rules, and this one in which developer Mark Knoll explained the plan. He said at that meeting that he intended to hold the building for his own “portfolio.” The building was finished two years (and one settlement) later. Though Knoll estimated at the 2013 meeting that the studios might rent for ~$700, the 198-to-265-square-foot units are going for $990 to $1250, according to the flyer for the listing. The building itself is listed at $5,000,000.
REMINDER – MORGAN JUNCTION COMMUNITY DESIGN WORKSHOP ON MONDAY: 6-9 pm Monday at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), it’s the Morgan Junction Urban Village version of the city-organized meeting that’s already been held in West Seattle’s three other urban villages (most recently Admiral last month – WSB coverage here – and The Junction in January – WSB coverage here). The city’s official description of the meeting – including how to RSVP, though that’s not required – is here.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK – WESTWOOD-HIGHLAND PARK CONVERSATION: This past Wednesday night, a community-led conversation about the proposed HALA rezoning happened at Highland Park Improvement Club:
Organizer Kim Barnes told the dozen or so attendees that she’s hoping to have two more meetings along the path of creating a community response to what’s proposed for the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village. The affected area has three neighborhood groups, but she’s hoping their response can be coordinated. That was underscored by Cindi Barker, one of the West Seattle community advocates who have been helping neighborhoods around the area get up to speed on the proposals; she said that talking points are vital so that neighborhoods “don’t get steamrolled.” Attendee concerns included how to ensure that existing small businesses, especially those owned by people of color, aren’t put at risk by the upzoning. No dates for future meetings yet, but Barnes says she hopes that once the HALA Environmental Impact Statement comes out, that a city rep will come out and present a briefing.
TWO LINKS OF INTEREST: First – if you’ve been to a Community Design Workshop already (Westwood-HP in November, WS Junction in January, Admiral in February) – here’s a survey you might want to answer. Save the link if you’re going to Morgan on Monday, so you can answer afterward.
Second – If you’ve wondered how the city is talking with builders/developers about the proposed upzoning, read the newest SDCI newsletter, published online earlier this week.
… AND IF YOU’RE STILL NOT SURE IF/HOW YOU’RE AFFECTED BY ALL THIS – zoom in to your neighborhood via the interactive citywide map. You can comment via e-mail, at email@example.com, and the city has a feedback website, organized by urban village, at hala.consider.it.
Back when we talked to Councilmember Lisa Herbold to look back at her first year in office and ahead to her second, the proposal for a citywide renters’ commission is one of the “what’s next” items she mentioned. The proposal went before a City Council committee for the first time today, and Herbold sent out this update:
Did you know that 53.8 percent of Seattle’s housing units are occupied by renters, and approximately 48% of residents in the city are renters? Renters are an important part of our city. The Affordable Housing, Neighborhood and Finance Committee held its first discussion on proposed legislation to create a Renters’ Commission this morning, March 3, 2017.
The proposal to create this Commission was first advocated for by Zachary DeWolf of the Capitol Hill Community Council. I am excited to join Councilmembers Burgess and O’Brien in responding to this proposal because we need to ensure that, as our city grows and changes, the renters’ voice will be heard as a part of our decision-making.
Some people have expressed concern that we are creating a special interest group. The City has 45 Boards and Commissions representing special interest groups. With so many people in Seattle being renters, it’s appropriate to have a commission committed to lifting the voice of renters. The formation of this Commission will not minimize the input of property owners; rather it will broaden the opportunity for more inclusive input from a significant portion of Seattle’s population.
The Renters Commission will represent a diverse set of renter voices from across the city. The Commission will be empowered to advise on a variety of issues ranging from transportation, land use and community development, to monitoring the implementation of the city’s new landlord tenant legislation, like Source of Income Discrimination and the Move-In Fees legislation, as well as watchdogging enforcement of older laws like the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance, Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program, the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, and the Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance.
The AHNF Committee plans to vote on this legislation, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 9:30 am.
This was part of the councilmember’s weekly update, which just went out to her mailing list, addresses several other topics, and will eventually appear online at herbold.seattle.gov.
South-end redevelopment continues in The Junction. In the city’s online files, an early-stage plan has just been filed for 24 microstudios in a building that would replace a 70-year-old duplex (county assessor photo at right) at 4807 41st SW, next to townhouses that were built last decade at 41st/Edmunds. They are officially described as SEDUs (small efficiency dwelling units, the city’s name for what used to be more commonly known as microhousing), 320 square feet each. The plan doesn’t mention the height, but the site is zoned Lowrise 2, which maxes out at 35′. This project is expected to go through the city’s Streamlined Design Review process, which means no public meeting, but an opportunity for public comment.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though both were billed as “Community Design Workshops,” there were major differences in the meetings about Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda-related rezoning for Admiral, held this past Saturday, and for The Junction, held last month.
Turnout was different – about 50 people for Admiral, more than 200 for The Junction – though that’s proportionate to both the areas’ population differences and their respective scopes of change proposed by the rezoning for Mandatory Housing Affordability, in which developers/builders will get extra capacity and in exchange will have to include “affordable housing” in their projects or pay a fee into a city fund that will bankroll some. The changes are proposed in the city’s Urban Villages (West Seattle has four) and for all commercial/multifamily property citywide (check this map to see how/if you’re affected).
Also different: The meetings’ format.
At The Junction’s meeting on January 26th (WSB coverage here), the initial explanatory presentation by a city Office of Planning and Community Development staffer was followed by a Q/A period, with slips of paper having circulated at the start of the meeting for participants to write down questions.
That didn’t happen in Admiral; a few questions were addressed when people spoke out during the presentation, but at its end, facilitator John Owen of consulting firm Makers Architecture and Urban Design pushed to get everyone into small-group breakouts, despite one attendee requesting a chance for Q&A so everyone could hear.
At Admiral on Saturday (a morning meeting at West Seattle High School), small groups were not preassigned as they had been for pre-RSVP’d participants in The Junction (an evening meeting at the Senior Center). Their work did conclude with another difference: At Admiral, each group presented a summary to the entire room; in The Junction, that didn’t happen – tables just wrapped up, left their notes, and departed.
We recorded the Admiral summaries on video, and you’ll see those relatively short clips later in this story. But first, toplines from the opening presentation: Read More
One more reminder – tomorrow is the day that people who live and/or work in Admiral are invited to a Community Design Workshop about the rezoning that’s proposed for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) component known as Mandatory Housing Affordability.
This proposal would upzone property within the city’s Urban Villages – plus all multifamily/commercial property, in an UV or not – and require builders/developers to either dedicate part of what they build as “affordable,” or pay into a fund that will go toward affordable housing somewhere in the city. You can click around this interactive map to see what’s proposed where you are. Then, 9:30 am-12:30 pm Saturday at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW), it’s the Admiral version of this big recent meeting in The Junction – first a presentation, then Q/A, then table-by-table conversation to get your feedback. Here’s the official city announcement. Whether or not you’re going, you can get your feedback to the city via hala.consider.it or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two updates and a reminder today in the ongoing discussion of rezoning proposed for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) initiative:
NEW DATE SET FOR MORGAN JUNCTION ‘COMMUNITY DESIGN WORKSHOP’: Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office sends word that the Morgan Junction Residential Urban Village’s rescheduled Community Design Workshop – a meeting like this one held in the West Seattle Junction two weeks ago – is set for Monday, March 6th, 6-9 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW). From the city: “Please bring a neighbor or a friend to join the conversation. RSVP is not required to participate in the workshop but does give priority for facilitated working groups as well as assist our team in planning for staffing, room setup, and resources.” If you choose to RSVP, e-mail email@example.com.
REMINDER – ADMIRAL’S WORKSHOP COMING UP SATURDAY: This gives us the opportunity to remind you again that the Admiral Residential Urban Village’s Community Design Workshop is now three days away, 9:30 am-12:30 pm Saturday, February 11th, at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW).
ANOTHER WESTWOOD-HIGHLAND PARK URBAN VILLAGE MEETING: Announced at last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting (full report later today), the city will come back out for another HALA discussion regarding the WW-Highland Park Urban Village, on March 1st, start time TBA, since the Community Design Workshop back in November had low attendance due to little publicity.
WHEREVER YOU ARE … you can still comment on the proposed rezoning via hala.consider.it or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Not sure whether/how HALA MHA is affecting the neighborhood(s) where you live/work? Check the citywide interactive map here.
COUNCIL BRIEFING MONDAY, WITH DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT: On Monday morning, the City Council‘s weekly briefing meeting at 9:30 am will include a HALA briefing. The documents related to the briefing are already linked to the meeting’s agenda. Two of them announce a date for the end of public comment: June 30th. It’s in this memo, and on the last page of the briefing slide deck – here’s a framegrab:
(The briefing documents note that only 600 people have used the hala.consider.it site, which has drawn complaints about user-unfriendliness.) Earlier this week, we reported that City Councilmember Lisa Herbold had learned the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the MHA rezoning was expected to go public in May rather than March. Some community groups including the Junction Neighborhood Organization and Southwest District Council have asked for an extra six months to comment; the draft rezoning maps went public in October but without a clear citywide announcement of what they were and who they would affect. The city now says its upcoming outreach will include going door-to-door:
The City will be going door to door in our Urban Villages to answer questions and leave
information about ways to comment on the draft proposals. The doorbelling will take place in March
2017 and will focus on the single-family homes that will be changing to multifamily.
That’s an excerpt from the memo for Monday morning’s briefing. Public comment is not taken during council briefing meetings, but you can attend at City Hall, or watch live via seattlechannel.org (online or cable 21).
ADMIRAL MEETING REMINDER: One week from tomorrow is the Community Design Workshop for the Admiral Residential Urban Village, 9:30 am-12:30 pm at West Seattle High School. It’s the Admiral version of the well-attended Junction meeting last week (WSB coverage here). Here’s the official city weblink about the meeting (child care provided, by the way); if you still don’t know whether your neighborhood is proposed for rezoning, explore the citywide interactive map.
One week after the standing-room-only meeting in The Junction, there’s a new development today in the proposed citywide rezoning that’s a big component of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA): The timeline for the Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning has just expanded by two months, so you have more time to get up to speed and get your comments in. The Junction Neighborhood Organization got first word from City Councilmember Lisa Herbold that the Office of Planning and Community Development …
… is amending the schedule for release of the draft EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] and now it is anticipated to come out in May. This will give the community an additional two months to provide feedback. The Department of Neighborhoods plans to door knock all of the single-family homes that are part of the potential upzones. DON and OPCD will conduct another series of conversations in May and June.
The new May timeline for the draft EIS – which will open another comment period – is five months later than the end-of-2016 projection in the “scoping” for that document (see it here) was done. The draft and final EIS will have to be done before a final rezoning proposal can go to the City Council for a vote.
Meantime, the Admiral Residential Urban Village version of last week’s Junction meeting is still to come – 9:30 am Saturday, February 11th, at West Seattle High School. No date/time announced yet for the Morgan Junction version. You can still comment online, via hala.consider.it and/or e-mailing email@example.com.
Whatever area you live in, if you still don’t know whether you are directly affected by the HALA proposal, find your neighborhood on this interactive map. While most of the proposed rezoning is for those within “urban village” boundaries (West Seattle has four – The Junction, Morgan Junction, Admiral, and Westwood-Highland Park), there are some proposals for expanding those boundaries, and all commercial/multifamily property is proposed for rezoning, even outside urban villages.
While out this morning, we spotted that demolition in progress at 5040 Fauntleroy Way SW, an 73-year-old home on a site zoned Lowrise 1, being demolished for replacement by three single-family houses.
This year, the backhoe/excavator is more of the West Seattle development icon than the tower crane – the peninsula does not have a single project with one of the latter right now. This month alone, demolition permits have been sought at these addresses (each one links to the DPD docket for the site, unless it’s a site we’ve already published a story about, in which case it’s asterisked):
3010 Fauntleroy Avenue SW
4103 SW Southern
4810 Delridge Way SW*
5015 Fauntleroy Way SW
2622 SW Nevada
2749 California SW* (apartments/PCC project, due back to Design Review on March 2nd)
6727 39th SW
3046 61st SW*
3050 61st SW*
6016 SW Admiral Way*
8854 Delridge Way SW* (fire-damaged auto-shop site, proposed for apartments)
6530 Delridge Way SW
4532 42nd SW* (mixed-use project)
7337 44th SW
4311 SW Brandon*
3044 38th SW
4748 23rd SW
4744 23rd SW
7531 13th SW (new proposal, 8-unit rowhouse)
1516 SW Henderson (new proposal, 8-unit rowhouse)
3028 63rd SW
We don’t have stats to compare if that’s more or less than usual … just a snapshot of one month in time. (Just to get those addresses, we had to search city data for any one of four terms – demolition, demo, remove, removal.) This also doesn’t necessarily mean the aforementioned demolitions are imminent … permit filings/updates vary widely in terms of timelines, from days to months. (For just one example – 2749 California SW, the apartments/PCC project, still has at least one more Design Review meeting to go, and that’s not until March 2nd, so that demolition is a ways off. And in some cases, permits are granted but the teardown doesn’t happen for quite some time; pending demolitions, with permits granted before this month, aren’t included in the list, just new applications/reviews dated this month.)
Four months ago today, a three-alarm fire gutted one building at the Lam-Bow Apartments complex in Delridge. More than 40 people lost their homes; many stayed in a temporary shelter at Delridge Community Center until the Seattle Housing Authority found new places for them to live. The fire’s cause was never determined.
During her appearance at this week’s “State of Delridge” community-group meeting in Highland Park (WSB coverage here), Councilmember Lisa Herbold was asked about plans for the charred building. That reminded us we had not followed up on it lately, so we took the question to SHA spokesperson Kerry Coughlin, who told us, “The building has been deemed unsalvageable. We will have to take it down completely. That much has been decided. What hasn’t yet been determined is what happens after that and when. We are still looking at options.” As for the demolition timeline, “We have submitted all the paperwork and fees to the City for the permit and are just waiting on that. As soon as we get it we will begin the work.” City files show, in fact, that the demolition-permit application for the building at 6955 Delridge Way SW went in just yesterday.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“How do we grow as a city and create more affordable housing in all of our neighborhoods?”
That’s the question the current proposal for Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning, as part of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, is supposed to address.
But despite hundreds of properties proposed for rezoning, it could result in fewer than 100 affordable units over the next 20 years in the West Seattle Junction Urban Village, according to one part of the presentation seen by ~200 people last night, filling the upstairs hall at the Senior Center for a briefing, Q&A session, and small-group discussions of that area’s part of the plan.
The meeting was officially billed as a Community Design Workshop. We were there for the entire three hours. First – in case you are still catching up on HALA, which includes 60+ components in addition to the MHA rezoning – we recorded the half-hour primer provided by Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development – “the background and how we got here,” regarding what he described as a “housing affordability crisis”:
Other city staffers from OPCD were there, as well as a representative from the office of Councilmember Rob Johnson – who chairs the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee through which the final proposals will go – District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold (observing rather than speaking), and consulting-firm employees who facilitated the small-group discussions.
The Junction area has 3,880 homes today – that includes apartments, townhouses, houses – Staley said. If nothing (zoning, etc.) changes, 2,300 new homes are expected to be added in the next 20 years. If MHA rezoning is approved, that number is expected to bump to 2,800 new homes, with 80 to 130 of them “affordable.” After the four-digit building boom of the past few years, those numbers drew some audible expressions of disbelief from around the room. Staley did offer the caveat that it’s “just an estimate, could be more or less.”
The presentation had a few points of customization for the West Seattle Junction area – including “retain(ing) highest density along the SW Alaska ‘transit spine’,” the “transition from (higher heights) to single-family areas,” and larger density increases near transit, stores, Fairmount Park.
That brought the question that resurfaced at last week’s Junction Neighborhood Organization Land Use Committee meeting – what about waiting for rezoning until the station locations for Sound Transit 3 are known? There was no real answer to that, aside from the acknowledgement that it’s a unique issue for this area.
Another common question was the potential effect of rezoning on property taxes. That’s where the question-and-answer section began – here’s our video of that half-hour:
That didn’t get to all the questions, and it was promised that they all will be answered on a TBA webpage. But that could take a month, the city reps acknowledged, when asked how long that would take, given that no summary of the December 7th open house – 7+ weeks ago – has turned up yet.
If you’re interested, but couldn’t go last night, we highly advise taking the time to listen to the video, but here are a few highlights:
Questions included how “infrastructure” is being addressed, including the need for more schools. The city is “working closely with Seattle Public Schools” as it plans for the BEX 5 ballot measure (followup to BEX 4, which built new schools including Genesee Hill and Arbor Heights Elementaries), reps said.
And then there was the question of whether the “affordable housing” to be generated by MHA will “contribute to solving the homeless problem.” Staley’s response was that it’s “interrelated but not the same issue” – homelessness, he said, is caused partly by the cost of housing, and also by “other issues” (he did not elaborate).
The Junction already has absorbed much more growth than was envisioned to have happened by now, so could some of the proposed growth be shifted to other areas of the city that have not? “That’s why we are out talking to people,” Staley replied.
The perennial issue of vehicle parking came up. “We know (it) is a concern,” Staley said, adding that there is no minimum or maximum for it in urban-village projects, but most projects, he said, include it. (Many attendees shouted, WRONG! at this point.)
And then there was a followup on the small number of affordable units expected to be generated, whether by percentages or fees, from Junction upzoning, and a question about where in this area that the city already had built affordable housing. Staley contended there had been a “lot,” and when asked where, started to mention the High Point redevelopment, but the discussion veered away at that point. (He said the Office of Housing has a map, but did not have a representative at the meeting.)
Around midway through the three-hour meeting, the small-group discussions began. People who had RSVPd were pre-assigned to certain tables, and more were added for those who had not – “there’s so much interest in your community,” the facilitator explained.
The room was abuzz with conversation all the way until the 9 pm conclusion – some left early, but not many. We listened in at multiple tables, where concerns ranged from wanting to exempt single-family areas from rezoning, to wanting more green space, to wanting to be sure that West Seattle’s hilly topography was taken into account when considering how height changes would play out. By the meeting’s end, maps on tables had many comments, from discrepancies to suggestions – here are a few examples:
West Seattle Junction is one of four urban villages in West Seattle – this type of meeting was held, though little-publicized, in Westwood-Highland Park in November; Admiral will have one the morning of Saturday, February 11th; and Morgan Junction will too, with a date TBA. MHA rezoning also affects commercial/multifamily property EVERYWHERE in the city, so you might be affected even if you’re not in an “urban village” area. (Added: Here’s the interactive map you can use to zoom in on any area of West Seattle – or the rest of the city – to see whether any particular spot is affected.)
COMMENT ONLINE: You can comment on any urban-village proposal at hala.consider.it. Or, you can e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City inspectors are checking more apartments today at a Junction building where they ordered one unit vacated for health/safety concerns. Readers asked us Friday night about the posting on the door at the San Juan Apartments at 4840 California SW; we made contact this morning with Department of Construction and Inspections spokesperson Bryan Stevens:
Last week our code compliance inspector responded to a complaint from a tenant related to water damage in their unit. After inspection, it became clear that significant leaks were coming from the flat roof above. That specific unit is no longer habitable or safe to occupy, so our inspector notified the property manager informing them we’ve issued an Emergency Order to Close and Vacate. The tenants had already moved out most of their belongings before inspection, but this formal notice from SDCI now allows the tenant access to financial relocation assistance from the property owner. A low-income household will receive $4133; if not low-income, they will receive the equivalent of two months’ rent for relocation assistance.
Today, we’ve received additional complaints from two other tenants in the top floor and are scheduling inspections. At this point in time, the damage appears to be limited to portions of the top floor. We have not ordered the entire building to be vacated, but could see additional top floor units deemed unsafe to occupy, depending on the scope of the damage. The property owner has scheduled a roofing company to begin making repairs next week.
We asked Stevens for a copy of the full order that’s partly visible on the building’s door; read it here.
P.S. If you have concerns about conditions in any rental unit – here’s what the city says you can do.