West Seattle, Washington
From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, three West Seattle notes:
REVISED PLAN FOR 2626 ALKI SW: For those wondering what’s up with this mixed-use development, long slated for the corner of 59th SW and Alki Avenue SW:
(WSB file photo of future development site)
first announced at an Alki Community Council meeting three years ago – here’s an update. It went through two Design Review meetings in 2014 with at least one more required, yet, to date, not scheduled. In 2015, its official land-use application was submitted. Now, one year later, the prospective developer has turned in a revised application, according to this notice in today’s bulletin. It’s now summarized as “a 3-story structure containing restaurant, 12 apartment units and parking for 23 vehicles”; at the time of the last Design Review meeting almost two years ago (WSB coverage here), the description was “14 residential units, 5 live-work units, commercial space, and 23 parking spaces.” This opens a new comment period for the project – send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 6th.
3601 FAUNTLEROY APPEAL: The recent approvals (reported here in May) for this proposed 14-house development in East Admiral have been appealed. Here’s the notice. A hearing is set August 23rd in the city Hearing Examiner‘s chambers downtown.
3838 59TH SW ROWHOUSE: The bulletin includes the “environmentally non-significant” decision allowing a 3-story, two-unit rowhouse building on a sloped site (“environmentally critical area”) uphill from Beach Drive. The decision is appealable, and the notice explains how, with a deadline of July 7th.
(King County Assessor photo)
The new owners of a former church in Highland Park have officially filed to replace it with a residential rowhouse. Until a few months ago, as 1200 SW Holden, it was The Potter’s House, on the northwest corner of 12th SW and SW Holden, across from the Highland Park Improvement Club. Now, with an address change to 7551 12th SW – the site plan on file shows the five units facing 12th – it’s proposed for a five-townhouse rowhouse building. (The church, by the way, has moved to White Center.)
Five development/construction updates:
COMMENT TIME FOR 3856 21ST SW: Another West Seattle project going through “streamlined design review” has just opened for comment. According to the notice in today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin, you can comment through June 15th on a three-story, 2-unit townhouse building proposed for 3856 21st SW on Pigeon Point. The notice explains how to comment.
COMMENT TIME FOR 4505 23RD SW: This is another three-story, 2-unit townhouse building. This one, however, is not going through design review; it’s being built behind 4506 Delridge Way SW, where the existing structure will NOT be torn down, the city website says, but it’s open for comments on potential environmental effects, as the notice explains.
FORMAL APPLICATION FOR 5908 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: We first reported last September that a six-townhouse “rowhouse” building is planned for this once-commercial site northeast of Morgan Junction:
The formal application has just been filed, so watch for an official notice soon.
BLOCKS AWAY, AT 6311 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: Another “rowhouse” project, four units this time, is in the early stages for this site that currently holds a 72-year-old single-family house (but is zoned Lowrise 1).
4505 42ND SW UPDATE: NLB, who sent the original tip yesterday about site-clearing work for this Junction project, tweeted this video of the house coming down this morning:
— NLB (@g7on) June 2, 2016
As noted again in our update last night, this is a mixed-use project with residential units, commercial space, and lodging.
A new move today in the city’s attempts to address the affordable-housing crisis: New rules proposed to crack down on alleged abuse of the new technology-enabled short-term-rental market. Here’s the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess today announced a proposal to prevent long-term rental units from being converted to short-term rentals, while still providing residents the flexibility to earn additional income by renting out their homes.
The measure focuses on commercial operators who use platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, to rent multiple properties year-round. Approximately 80 percent of existing short-term rentals in Seattle will see no new regulations.
“Property owners are shifting hundreds of homes from the long-term residential market to short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, and in doing so dangerously reduce our housing supply,” said Councilmember Burgess, chair of the Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee. “At the same time, Seattle homeowners offering short-term rentals in their own homes earn valuable supplemental income. These proposed regulations focus narrowly on the commercial operators that take advantage of home-sharing platforms to exacerbate our housing crisis.”
Under the proposed rules, any property may be provided as a short-term rental for up to 90 nights in a 12 month period. Only properties that are the primary residence of the short-term rental operator will be allowed to rent past the 90-night threshold. The primary residency requirement will curtail the growing year-round commercial operation of these platforms.
“We must protect our existing rental housing supply at a time when it is becoming harder for residents to find an affordable home in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This proposal ensures that apartments and houses are not being used exclusively as short-term rentals, while still providing a means for homeowners to earn some extra money by occasionally renting out their property.”
Consistent with current City rules, all short-term rental operators must secure a City business license tax certificate and pay all applicable taxes.
“Our communities are facing steep rent increases and having difficulty staying in their homes, and the fast growing short-term rental industry is making it worse,” said Rebecca Saldaña, Executive Director at Puget Sound Sage. “The Mayor and Councilmember Burgess have started an important conversation about how short-term rentals should help, and not hurt, people who want to stay in Seattle.”
The small percentage of operators renting their primary residence for more than 90 nights will be required to also obtain a City regulatory license. This license will require proof that the unit being rented is the operator’s primary residence, proof of liability insurance that covers the short-term rental use, a local contact number for guests, a signed declaration that the unit meets building and life safety codes, and basic safety information posted for guests in the unit.
Under the proposed regulations, all short-term rental platform companies will also need to obtain a new regulatory license with the City. The platforms will be required to give the City limited data on a quarterly basis necessary for enforcement of the proposed law.
More information on the proposals can be found in these documents:
The proposal is due to get its first council review before the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee two weeks from today, 9:30 am Wednesday, June 15th.
Three West Seattle properties are among 23 citywide that are accused of having shown “evidence of housing discrimination” in testing conducted for the city. We asked for the list of accused properties after receiving this news release from the city Office for Civil Rights:
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) has filed 23 director’s charges of illegal discrimination against 23 different property owners after a new round of fair housing testing showed evidence of housing discrimination.
“Housing discrimination is real in Seattle – not something that just happens in other places,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “These test results tell us that we still have work to do to achieve fair housing in Seattle.”
The testing revealed that prospective renters experienced different treatment from Seattle landlords across all three categories that were tested: familial status, disability, and use of a federal Section 8 voucher.
To address housing discrimination citywide, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) will reach out to landlords and renters, including working with community partners to hold workshops for both landlords and the public.
Testing discovered evidence of different treatment
SOCR conducted a total of 97 tests, focusing on three different groups protected under fair housing laws.
Test findings revealed:
· Familial status (32 tests): 2 charges / 31% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.
· Disability (33 tests): 6 charges / 64% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.
· Section 8 voucher (32 tests): 13 charges / 63% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.
SOCR also filed 2 additional charges (national origin and marital status) based on information that emerged from two of the tests.
SOCR contracted with the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane to coordinate the testing, which was conducted by telephone and e-mail. To test for hearing disability, testers used Washington State’s free Telecommunication Relay Service. Testers posed as prospective renters, so the different treatment they experienced depended on the information they received from landlords and the questions they were asked.
For familial status, some landlords provided less information about rental units to testers who said they had children then they did to testers who indicated they did not have children. One manager advertised for “professional tenants only.” Testers found that some landlords’ occupancy standards (the number of people legally allowed to occupy units of specific sizes) were too restrictive: for example, requiring a maximum of two people for a 2-bedroom apartment.
In the disability tests, some landlords refused to allow a service animal, refused to waive pet fees, or hung up repeatedly when they received a call from the Washington State relay service.
Some landlords refused to respond to applicants who mentioned using a Section 8 voucher or simply turned away Section 8 applicants. Other landlords refused to consider adjusting their leasing policies to consider Section 8 applicants.
“We have filed 23 charges where the differences in treatment were undeniable,” said Patricia Lally, Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. “These test results are not isolated incidents – they demonstrate patterns of behavior that have profound impacts on people’s lives.”
SOCR sent letters to all tested property owners and management companies informing them of their individual test results, and has offered to meet with managers whose test results showed some evidence of discrimination to evaluate their rental process and to help them improve their policies and procedures.
Fair housing outreach to address housing discrimination
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will launch a new round of outreach and public engagement to address housing discrimination in Seattle, including free training to property management staff on request, and working with community partners to provide fair housing workshops for organizations and the general public.
“It is unfortunate that SOCR testing revealed that some renters face additional barriers to housing, but this also illustrates an opportunity for the City and rental housing industry to partner in offering fair housing education for landlords,” said Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) Executive Director, Melany Brown. “We believe that organizations such as RHAWA can be an asset to the city, and raise the standards for the entire industry.”
How fair housing testing works
Fair housing testing uses paired testers posing as prospective renters to measure differences in the services they received from leasing agents, as well as information about vacancies, rental rates, and other conditions. The matched pairs of testers have similar rental profiles in every respect except for the protected class being tested – that is, family status, disability and use of a Section 8 voucher. Test sites were selected at random from all geographic areas of the city, and were conducted from September to December, 2015.
The Office for Civil Rights receives $50,000 in City funding to conduct testing on an annual basis. In-person paired testing in 2014 revealed discriminatory housing practices based on race, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The three West Seattle properties on the list of 23 are Willow Court at 6901 Delridge Way SW, City Watch Apartments at 4744 41st SW, and a house at 5018 35th SW. We don’t yet have details of specific allegations against those properties; if you have something to report about them or any other properties, please get that information directly to the Office for Civil Rights, 206-684-4507.
P.S. The “director’s charges” process is explained starting on page 11 of this document.
Buying and/or selling real estate? This morning we’re welcoming a new sponsor, Kathy Crotts Real Estate; new sponsors are offered the chance to introduce themselves, and here’s what they’d like you to know:
The Kathy Crotts Real Estate team is excited to be a new sponsor on the West Seattle Blog. Our team is the dynamic duo of Kathy Crotts and Tatum Spalding, bringing together more than 25 years of real estate sales and marketing experience in the greater Seattle area.
From Arbor Heights to Admiral, Kathy Crotts Real Estate has been guiding clients through the ins-and-outs of today’s real-estate market. We’ve weathered the ups and the downs of real estate and set clear strategies for our buyers and sellers alike. Our clients become more like family, and that’s who matters most to us.
Kathy Crotts is a lifelong Seattle-area resident who is looking to make West Seattle her permanent home. Tatum Spalding enjoyed 2 years on Beach Drive before purchasing in the Fairmount neighborhood, where she’s been for nearly 10 years now. Both love the quality and pace of life West Seattle provides, and look forward to helping you navigate the West Seattle real-estate market.
Read more about Kathy and Tatum at www.kathycrotts.com.
We thank Kathy Crotts Real Estate for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
If the City Council goes along with Mayor Murray‘s request, you’ll vote on the renewed/increased Housing Levy in August – until now, there hadn’t been a decision about whether it would be on the primary or general ballot. From the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Building on over 30 years of success, today Mayor Ed Murray delivered his proposal to City Council to replace and expand the Seattle Housing Levy in 2016. His $290 million proposal follows three months of stakeholder and community engagement to discuss the levy and hear what the community’s priorities are for this affordable housing resource.
“Expanding the Housing Levy is the most important thing we will do this year to support affordability in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “The levy is a powerful resource to build more affordable homes for low-income families and help people at risk for falling into homelessness. We value an equitable and diverse city and we will renew our commitment to affordable housing.”
The Mayor is recommending the Housing Levy be placed on the August ballot.
The City Council has created a select committee, chaired by Councilmember Tim Burgess, to consider the Mayor’s proposal. A public hearing on the proposal will take place at City Hall on April 4, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. …
Read the rest of this morning’s announcement here.
Two West Seattle meetings with briefings about and discussion of the levy have already been held. We covered both. Here are our reports:
As you’ll hear the city Office of Housing director Steve Walker explain toward the start of our video, last night’s second West Seattle briefing on the proposed Housing Levy expansion/renewal was scheduled for a variety of reasons – because it was requested, because the first one was in a small room, and because on that previous night the slide projector didn’t work. So if you couldn’t be there last night, but have questions about the levy, which is expected to go to a vote this August or November – watch and/or listen. Many of the questions/concerns focused on whether this is doing enough to help, given the cost, and also on how increasing property taxes are affecting payers. You’ll find lots of info about the levy here.
(1st & last photos, by WSB: This one’s from SW Yancy; look closely and you’ll see ‘Bethlehem,’ the plant’s 1930-1985 owner)
We called the plant to find out why; here’s what environmental manager Pat Jablonski told us:
The water tower hadn’t been used in decades. It’s being decommissioned and removed as part of construction/renovation work for a two-story office building at the plant. They’re not sure exactly how old it was but believe it dates back to the 1920s-1930s (the plant itself is more than a century old), built to hold an emergency water supply “before this part of Seattle had a reliable water system,” Jablonski explained.
Perhaps the tower’s most noticeable feature, catching eyes in the holiday season, has been its illuminated star (featured here in 2007). Jablonski says they’re keeping it, “upgrading it to LEDs,” and relocating it somewhere else at the plant, though they haven’t decided where yet.
As for the steel that comprises most of the tower – yes, it’ll be recycled at Nucor.
The next step for how HALA – the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda – happens in our city might include you, if you’re interested in being part of a Community Focus Group. City planners asked us to help get the word out that they’re accepting applications for two more weeks, and are looking for people from all over the city. Full details are on the FAQ page that’s attached to the application form – find it here. It explains what the groups will do, how much time they’ll take, what kind of commitment you’d need to make, and it stresses that they’re looking for people across the spectrum of Seattleites, including renters as well as homeowners. That page also notes, “A key focus of the Community Focus Groups will be land use and zoning changes that could affect neighborhoods.” Apply by February 26th if you’re interested.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Last Wednesday night’s Southwest District Council meeting included the only scheduled West Seattle discussion of the proposed $290 million, 7-year housing-levy renewal/expansion – though levy details had only been announced hours earlier. As reported here, city reps at the meeting were asked for a second West Seattle meeting, with more lead time – and it’s just been announced by Department of Neighborhoods district coordinator Kerry Wade:
The meeting will be hosted by the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon Street) and will take place on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 (6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.). A flyer will be created next week announcing the meeting details.
Bring your questions and comments. As explained Wednesday night, the city hasn’t finalized the levy details yet, nor has it decided whether to put the levy before voters in August or November.
ADDED: Here’s the official flyer for the meeting.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Hours after Mayor Murray officially unveiled the $290 million, 7-year Housing Levy renewal/expansion, it was the centerpiece of this month’s Southwest District Council meeting.
First – here’s the overview flyer:
The briefing was led by Office of Housing director Steve Walker, with colleague Maureen Kostyack. He first tried to explain where HALA (the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) and the levy overlap, and where they don’t.
Voters have elected “to tax themselves for affordability” since 1981, he said, segueing into the levy-specific discussion.
This will cost you about $10/month if you have a home around $480,000 in value – double the $5/month for the housing levy that’s expiring, according to Walker, who added: “In the end, the levy’s about people … How can we create an opportunity for our children to be able to live in Seattle? … At the pace we’re going, that’s not possible. How can we be sure people aren’t displaced by the community and the community connection they have?”
Kostyack summarized the three areas the levy is intended to address (the city team was supposed to have a slide deck but couldn’t get the setup to work, so they improvised without it):
5:20 PM: If your phone rings at 6 pm, tonight or Thursday – here’s what it might be about:
Join us for the Mayor’s telephone town hall to talk about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, or HALA for short. We will be calling over 50,000 people in their homes today and Thursday, but if you want to make sure you are on the call, just call the number below. You will have a chance to ask questions and learn more about the HALA recommendations.
Tuesday, February 2nd: (855) 756-7520 Ext. 31029# at 6 p.m.
Thursday, February 4th: (855) 756-7520 Ext. 31028# at 6 p.m.
5:35 PM: In related news, the mayor’s office just announced that details of the Housing Levy renewal will be out at a noon event tomorrow. Considering that the first official community discussion of the levy is at 6:30 pm tomorrow here in West Seattle, seemed the announcement was going to have to be made by Wednesday afternoon.
If you weren’t able to get to last night’s presentations about the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) – organized by the Morgan Community Association with a West Seattle-wide focus – here’s the video we recorded so you can watch/listen. Both presentations were by city staffers – above, Jesseca Brand presented an overview of HALA (57 minutes); below, Nick Welch talked about backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments (49 minutes), aka Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).
The presentations were preceded by a short MoCA business meeting, with some updates on neighborhood projects/issues – separate story about that later.
The recently renovated apartment complex over Jefferson Square, now known as Elan 41, has just gone on the market. The listing price: $24.5 million. Property records show the 78-unit complex last changed hands for a higher price, $27 million, in 2005. In 2009, we reported on an agreement for Seattle Public Schools – which owns the land on which Jefferson Square, and everything above it, is built – to sell the apartments’ “air rights” – we’re checking to see if that deal was ever completed. (WSB file photo)
P.S. One of the flyers accompanying the Elan 41 listing reveals a recent sale along Avalon – which in turn explains the building’s name change; we’d noticed recently that Vue at 3261 Avalon Way had become Marq. County records don’t show a sale yet, but the flyer from Elan 41 listing agent McQuaid Real Estate says the 111-unit building completed in 2014 sold last month for $38.5 million.
It was one of the biggest Seattle-city-government stories of 2015 and it’s going to be even bigger in 2016: How will the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda – aka HALA – affect you, your neighbors, your future neighbors? What do you need to know? How can you be part of the discussions and decision-making? The Morgan Community Association is hosting a briefing geared for all interested West Seattleites, right after an abbreviated version of their group’s quarterly meeting on January 20th, and they’ve sent early word so you can get it on your calendar:
Our first meeting of 2016 starts off with a bang! We will have a short regular MoCA meeting from 6:00 to 6:45 pm to do normal business and officer elections. At 7:00 pm we will transition to a West Seattle-wide presentation on two topics which will affect all neighborhoods; the implementation of the HALA “Grand Bargain” and upcoming code changes governing Mother-in-Law apartments and back yard cottages. All West Seattle community people are invited to attend and learn more about these and how to stay informed and get engaged. It is expected that the Mother-in-Law/Backyard Cottages code changes will go before City Council in late February, so now is the time to learn more.
Here’s the agenda for the HALA briefing/discussion:
Special West Seattle-wide Meeting: “HALA” – What’s It All About ??
HALA: An Overview, The Grand Bargain, Focused Outreach and Next Steps
Jesseca Brand, City of Seattle Planning
Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADU’s or Backyard Cottages) and Attached Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs or Mother-in-law Apartments)
Nick Welch, City of Seattle Planning
The meeting will be in the lower level meeting rooms at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW.
A development note from South Delridge: The second Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed apartment building at 9021 17th SW now has a date – January 7th. That will be less than three months after the Southwest Design Review Board took its first look at the building on October 15th (WSB coverage here), sending it back for a second round of EDG after saying it seemed too much like a “fortress” . The building is still proposed for four stories and 31 units, according to the city website, which shows that a revised design “packet” for the next meeting is not yet available. The review meeting is set for 6:30 pm January 7th at the Sisson Building (California/Oregon) in The Junction.
You’ve heard about it, read about it, and might still not be entirely sure what’s proposed in HALA – the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, announced by Mayor Murray in July after months of work by an advisory committee. The City Council will be considering its recommendations, and changes to them, in the months and years ahead. Get a closer look at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm Wednesday at the Sisson Building (home to the Senior Center of West Seattle), with city rep Jesseca Brand. Also on Wednesday’s agenda, the Seattle Nature Alliance, officer elections, and a holiday potluck – all welcome.
Ncompass is offering a free workshop about planning, designing and building backyard cottages for rental income on Thursday, November 12th, from 7-9 PM, at West Seattle Office Junction, 6040 California Ave SW, Suite B.
Learn about the history of backyard cottages in Seattle, current City codes and regulations, financing options, planning and design considerations, return on investment, and how to select an architect and builder.
RSVP at email@example.com
For the first time in a few years, a new apartment building is proposed for the south/east side of the heart of SW Avalon Way: An early-stage application has just appeared in city files for 3039 SW Avalon Way (map), to replace the duplex in the photo above. The north/west side of the street has seen far more action in recent years, with three projects in various pre-construction stages (30, a fourth under construction, and a fifth complete, but on the south/east side, nothing’s been proposed since the completion of Vue at 3261.
The documents on file so far for the new proposal say “approximately 60” units are envisioned for 3039 Avalon, with 20 underground parking spaces. Prolific multifamily-specialist firm NK Architects is attached to the project, which will, according to notations, go through Design Review. The site is zoned MR (midrise) like most of this stretch of Avalon. Since this is in the early stages, no formal application is in yet, so there’s no official comment period, but if you have an early comment, you can e-mail PRC@seattle.gov and refer to project #3022717.
To see what other new projects and updates we’ve reported on lately, scroll through the WSB development-coverage archive here.
(WSB photo from August)
New developments in a neighborhood group’s challenge to what would be West Seattle’s biggest microhousing building, 104 “bedrooms” at 3050 SW Avalon Way: The city and developer Columbia Builders are both asking the Hearing Examiner to dismiss the latest appeal filed by Seattle Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development (NERD), which was founded in the neighborhood just north of Avalon. The group’s fight, now in its third year, continues to center on the city’s definition of microhousing and the reviews that are required, or not required, because of it. In this case, while the 3050 Avalon project will include 104 “bedrooms,” each a unit with a private bathroom, they’re clustered around shared kitchens, allowing the city to consider it 14 “dwelling units.” That means it falls beneath thresholds for environmental and design review, because in both categories, that threshold is 20 “dwelling units” in the midrise zone where the property is located.
This latest appeal relates to an announcement in early August, as reported here – an “interpretation” which Seattle NERD had requested, regarding whether the development really could be viewed as “14 dwelling units” and therefore exempt from those reviews. The city said yes:
The question raised for interpretation was whether the 104 bedrooms in the proposed building should be regulated as separate dwelling units. Each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. Early versions of the plans showed counters with sinks in each bedroom, outside the bathroom, but those features were eliminated before the plans were approved. The interpretation concludes that the individual bedrooms are not designed and arranged as separate dwelling units, and that the proposed building is appropriately regulated as a 14-unit apartment building based on the plans as modified.
On the environmental front, the site does include what the city considers a “steep slope,” which triggered a limited environmental review, but otherwise, the city issued a “determination of (environmental) non-significance.” A full environmental review would include issues such as traffic effects; this building, like most microhousing buildings, was designed with no offstreet parking.
The appeal currently is set for a November 5th hearing before the examiner, if the dismissal motions aren’t granted. The points on which they are argued are complicated but basically contend that the examiner doesn’t have jurisdiction, and that SeattleNERD made a procedural error by not appealing the “underlying decision” on the issue. You can read all the documents in the case here.
The project has now been in the pipeline for almost three years; we first noticed and mentioned it in November 2012. It’s been almost exactly a year since the city told its developers – among others – that, as the result of a court ruling, they would have to undergo Design Review if they didn’t change their plans. This project, and the microhousing building under construction at 3268 Avalon, did that, and continued on through the system.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“It is not shared housing, a treatment facility, or a halfway house. It is simply an apartment building where all tenants commit to a sober lifestyle and all drug and alcohol use, possession, or consumption is prohibited.”
That’s how the new owners of the waterfront Beachwood Apartments at 4027 Beach Drive SW (map), a company called Seattle Sober Living, explain what they’re doing with the 10-unit building. After we received questions from readers who were curious and/or concerned after rumors started circulating in the community, we contacted SSL to request an interview, and got a quick, affirmative reply. The company bought the building earlier this year and stresses that it will be operated as an apartment building – albeit one whose tenants must meet a particular condition.
“Founded by local families, Seattle Sober Living is a local company focused on providing housing options that support individual tenants’ sobriety,” SSL’s David Gould told WSB in an interview conducted via e-mail. “This effort is deeply personal for the organization’s founders, as each have been touched in a profound way by loved ones struggling with addiction. As such, Seattle Sober Living’s focus is on helping everyday people – our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors – to successfully live drug and alcohol free.”
Gould says this type of housing is “almost impossible to find in Washington State.” (The website says that was a problem for the company’s five founding families, who “had to send their loved ones away to find a safe and sober environment.”) But, he emphasized repeatedly in our exchange, this remains an apartment building, with units being leased to tenants – not a halfway house or transitional housing: