West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle housing http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:03:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Thinking about a backyard cottage? Free Ncompass workshop http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/thinking-about-a-backyard-cottage-free-ncompass-workshop/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/thinking-about-a-backyard-cottage-free-ncompass-workshop/#comments Sun, 01 Nov 2015 20:19:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327834 If you’ve been thinking about a backyard cottage – here’s a chance to find out more about the project and the process, courtesy of longtime WSB sponsor Ncompass. From Ncompass’s Stefan Hansmire:

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 stefan@ncompass-llc.com

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West Seattle development: New Avalon Way apartment proposal, on the other side of the street http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-development-new-avalon-way-apartment-proposal-on-the-other-side-of-the-street/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-development-new-avalon-way-apartment-proposal-on-the-other-side-of-the-street/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 17:51:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327280

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.

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West Seattle development: City, builder seek to dismiss challenge to ’14 units, not 104′ microhousing building at 3050 Avalon Way http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-city-builder-seek-to-dismiss-challenge-to-14-units-not-104-microhousing-building-at-3050-avalon-way/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-city-builder-seek-to-dismiss-challenge-to-14-units-not-104-microhousing-building-at-3050-avalon-way/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 04:55:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324345

(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.

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Beach Drive apartment building becomes ‘sober living’ complex: New ownership explains what that means, refutes rumors http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/beach-drive-apartment-building-becomes-sober-living-complex-new-ownership-explains-what-that-means-refutes-rumors/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/beach-drive-apartment-building-becomes-sober-living-complex-new-ownership-explains-what-that-means-refutes-rumors/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2015 03:35:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323925

(WSB photo)

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:

“Under federal and local laws, transitional housing is temporary housing provided to certain vulnerable populations like homeless individuals or families. Transitional housing must provide individualized support services to its clients like alcohol and drug additional treatment, job training, health care, childcare and assistance in locating permanent housing, among other services. Seattle Sober Living is not transitional housing. Consistent with state law, Seattle Sober Living is a private landlord providing a drug and alcohol free environment to help individuals succeed on their personal sobriety journey. Seattle Sober Living does not provide drug and alcohol counseling, treatment or rehabilitation services or other support services. Seattle Sober Living is privately founded and does not accept public subsidies or limit the maximum length of a tenants’ residency. Seattle Sober Living simply leases individual apartment units to tenants – with the key difference being that all units must be drug and alcohol free.” The parameters for this are set under this state law.

Gould added, “Contrary to the rumors, we are not providing housing for people currently using drugs or alcohol, nor are we subsidized transitional housing for vulnerable populations. We would ask our community to recognize that these are people, just like you and me. Simply put, we provide drug- and alcohol-free apartment units. … Each renter will sign a lease and will have their own apartment unit, consistent with any neighborhood apartment building. The only difference is that, as part of each tenant’s housing agreement, and consistent with state law, they must remain drug- and alcohol-free to remain in their apartment. The use or possession of drugs or alcohol will result in expedited eviction as authorized under state law.”

We asked how many people are expected to live there. Gould says, “There are 10 units in the building. One will be a full-time residence for the on-site manager and one will be used for the management office. The eight additional residences includes 6 two-bedrooms and 2 one-bedrooms. The maximum occupancy if all rooms are fully utilized (with roommates) would be 26 people – but realistically, we would have 15-20. This occupancy rate is therefore the same as under the previous ownership. The rumor that there would be 50 or more people in the building is false.” The units, he adds, are fully furnished. The work that’s being done right now is “to add new paint, carpet and minor electrical upgrades.”

So far, he said, they have three tenants and are accepting applications from prospective tenants who will be screened by onsite management. This is Seattle Sober Living’s only property. “We believe a majority of our tenants will be from the Seattle/Puget Sound region – and here’s why…in Seattle and Washington State, demand for these types of services and housing far exceeds supply for in-state after-care for recovering addicts (in fact, it’s almost non-existent). For a majority of those in Washington State who seek treatment, they must do so out-of-state and then once treatment is complete, their after-care is also out-of-state, which translates to months if not years away from families and loved ones. Seattle Sober House provides an in-state option to help keep families and loved ones together during an individual’s path toward living a clean and sober life.”

The Seattle Sober Living home page describes this as “a community for men.” We asked Gould why just one gender. “As of now, our primary potential tenant will be male. In our experience, we find that environment is most productive for individuals focusing on sobriety. This is standard for housing similar to ours nationwide. We adhere to all state and local rental housing laws.” (In a later followup on the gender issue, he said, “After-care independent housing usually focuses on either male or female residents, as it helps each person stay focused solely on sobriety. That said, we would certainly also lease to a female potential tenant if they were interested.”)

Because of the specific drug/alcohol-free-housing law mentioned above, “Under Washington law, we must provide an employee to monitor for compliance with the drug/alcohol free environment. Additionally, there is a code of conduct that each tenant agrees to as part of the lease to be accountable to their sobriety and that of other tenants. The use or possession of drugs or alcohol will result in expedited eviction as authorized under state law.”

For those who follow the rules, “There is no set time limit on residency.”

While they’re not operating anything that requires community notification, Gould says, “We plan to send a letter and Frequently Asked Questions document to close-in neighbors within the week. We will also set up an informational email that neighbors are welcome to use if they have questions. The owners will field these questions and are happy to respond.”

FOOTNOTE: Research reminded us that the sale of this building touched off a citywide discussion last spring, after tenant Janice Harper wrote an open letter published by Seattle Weekly under the headline “Dear Landlord,” about the housing-affordability crisis and a tenant’s suicide. Its future as a “sober living” building was apparently not known at that time; we didn’t hear about this plan until a recent e-mail from a neighbor, pointing us to the website.

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West Seattle development notes: South Delridge, Admiral, Morgan http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-notes-south-delridge-admiral-morgan/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-notes-south-delridge-admiral-morgan/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 00:48:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323194 Three notes, two of which are updates on projects we’ve mentioned before:

(Rendering: S + H Works Architecture & Design)

DESIGN REVIEW FOR APARTMENT BUILDING AT 9021 17TH SW: Back in June, we reported on a plan for a 31-unit, 31-parking-space apartment building at 9021 17th SW in South Delridge. The project is now on the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule, as the second review of the night on Thursday, October 15th, 8 pm at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center) in The Junction.

THREE TOWNHOUSES BEHIND 2336 44TH SW: New project just popped up in the system – a plan to demolish a building described as a “garage/carriage unit” (see the bottom photo here) behind this address, on the alley between 44th and California SW, and replace it with three townhouses.

THREE HOUSES REPLACING 1 AT 6715 CALIFORNIA SW: Back in January, we mentioned this south Morgan Junction plan. This week, work has begun, with the 97-year=old house on the site torn down, and the rest of the site-clearing work under way.

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West Seattle development: 5-home site on Highland Park Way; plus, ‘what’s in a name?’ x 3 http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-5-home-site-on-highland-park-way-plus-whats-in-a-name-x-3/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-development-5-home-site-on-highland-park-way-plus-whats-in-a-name-x-3/#comments Sat, 12 Sep 2015 01:39:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322586 Haven’t had much time this week to report on development/housing, but four quick notes:

FIVE NEW HOMES REPLACING ONE ON HIGHLAND PARK WAY: Brand-new early-stage proposal just turned up for 7717 Highland Park Way (between Holden and Portland), including the vacant parcel to its west, 8,500 sf total, demolishing the 72-year-old house shown above and replacing it with what’s described as “five small 3-story single-family homes with rooftop decks.” Here’s the configuration on the preliminary site plan filed with the city. Watch for a notice at project #3022246.

Now, three projects in varying stages of completion/construction, all of which now have names:

FAUNTLEROY LOFTS: This is the name for the just-complete-and-now-renting microhousing (Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) project to open in West Seattle, 5949 California SW. Thanks to Diane for pointing out to this Craigslist listing announcing the opening, declaring the building on a “quiet street,” and listing rents from $950 (for a 200-sf unit) to $1500. That’s furnished and includes all utilities plus wi-fi, we should note. No off-street parking in the building; the ad declares, “Bike parking is available and street parking is easy to find in the surrounding neighborhood.”

SPEAKING OF PARKING … remember the kerfuffle over the 30-unit, no-offstreet-parking apartment building at 6917 California SW? Neighbors challenged it and eventually settled with the builder. Now, it’s almost done and has a name, according to the sign that went up this week: Viridian.

This is NOT microhousing – it’s self-contained studios, about 300 sf, developer Mark Knoll told neighbors in late 2013. No rental listing yet that we can see (in ’13, Knoll guessed units might go for about $700). Meantime, if you look up the word, it seems to mean either a “bluish-green pigment” – not unlike the building’s color – or a slang definition that could be paraphrased as “good-looking, cold-hearted guy.”

RALLY ROUND: We also noticed earlier this week that the townhouse/live-work development under construction since June on the site of the former Charlestown Café now has a name: Rally. The 27 units will be available for sale this winter, according to the Rally website.

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58-unit microhousing at 4528 44th SW OK’d by Southwest Design Review Board http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/58-unit-microhousing-at-4528-44th-sw-okd-by-southwest-design-review-board/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/58-unit-microhousing-at-4528-44th-sw-okd-by-southwest-design-review-board/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 22:04:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321864

(From the “design packet” by Alloy Design Group)

The 6-story, 58-unit microhousing project planned to replace an 8-unit apartment building at 4528 44th SW in The Junction is the first West Seattle project in a while to make it through Design Review in the minimum amount of meetings. The Southwest Design Review Board has approved it after one Early Design Guidance-phase meeting (in March) plus, last night, one Recommendation-phase meeting. One member of the public offered comments. Patrick Sand was at the meeting for WSB; toplines ahead:

The board asked architects Alloy Design Group to look at reducing the number of different materials and colors on the building’s facade, for a more-consistent look. On the south side of the building, though, the one member of the public to comment, Diane Vincent, suggested a little more color would be welcome, beyond the medium zinc tone currently in the plans. That ultimately stayed, but the board suggested the black north side of the building should be rethought. Meantime, the touches of cedar on the side of the building and the walkway railings drew the most support; the project team described it as related to the cedar tree on the site that will be saved, right at the front entrance. They were urged in turn to have landscaping as lush as possible.

Also discussed while the landscaping was being reviewed, the buffer between this building and the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot immediately to the south, with an observation that potential future development of that lot should be kept in mind.

The project team got kudos for the V-shaped break on the building’s east and west sides, considered an improvement over the “boxy look” that many newer projects tend to have. Pedestrian-friendly features on the south side were well-received too.

One more note about materials – the risk of “oil canning” (explained here); the architects were told to doublecheck their materials to do what they could to keep that from happening.

While this was the last Design Review meeting, you can comment on any issue related to the project by e-mailing the assigned city planner, BreAnne McConkie, up until it gets final DPD approval - breanne.mcconkie@seattle.gov.

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Next affordable-housing proposals advanced by mayor, councilmember: ‘Linkage fee’ and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, with additional height in exchange http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/next-affordable-housing-proposals-advanced-by-mayor-councilmember-linkage-fee-and-mandatory-inclusionary-housing-with-additional-height-in-exchange/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/next-affordable-housing-proposals-advanced-by-mayor-councilmember-linkage-fee-and-mandatory-inclusionary-housing-with-additional-height-in-exchange/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:43:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321534

(One of the city’s graphics for today’s announcements, explaining the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing)
When Mayor Murray announced his housing plan and the report from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda advisory committee in mid-July, it was pointed out that the proposals will roll out over a period of up to two years. Two of the first proposals to be pursued were detailed today by Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, whose announcement says they’re expected to “create 6,000 units of affordable housing” in the city as part of what was called a “grand bargain” involving developers and housing advocates. The announcement (which you can read in full, here) continues:

… “Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth, and our challenge is to build fairly and affordably. We want sustainable, socially inclusive and economically diverse neighborhoods that are walkable, close to transit and job centers. To build these equitable communities, we must ensure that our teachers, nurses, hotel and restaurant workers who work in the city can also afford to live here,” said Mayor Murray. “With this legislation, Seattle – for the first time ever – will require that all new development in the city will pay for affordable housing. This is a bold, progressive proposal where growth itself will support affordable and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods. I am eager to work with the Council as we engage the public on this proposal as it moves through the legislative process.”

“I continually hear from people in our city struggling to keep up with rising rents. The Grand Bargain represents 6,000 desperately needed, new affordable units that we cannot build fast enough—especially not for those in need today,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Select Committee on Housing Affordability. “I will be working with my colleagues on the City Council to act as swiftly as possible on the legislation behind the Grand Bargain.”

There are two major components to the “Grand Bargain.” The first establishes an Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program (AHIMP) – commonly referred to as a commercial linkage fee – that will directly fund the construction of new affordable housing by requiring developers to pay a fee on every square foot of new commercial development. The linkage fee will range from $5 to $17 per square foot, based on the size and location of the commercial development.

The second part of the “Grand Bargain” calls for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) for new multifamily developments, requiring five to eight percent of units be affordable for residents earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for 50 years.

In 2015, 60 percent of AMI is $37,680 for an individual and $53,760 for a family of four. As an alternative to on-site units, developers can pay a fee to construct new affordable housing offsite.

“The Grand Bargain is evidence that people across sectors – public, nonprofit and for-profit – all want this city to be a place of opportunity for people of all income levels and all walks of life,” said Susan Boyd, Director of Real Estate Development for Bellwether Housing. “Development can be both a tool for economic growth and a tool for accomplishing equity and justice.”

In exchange, the City will look to increase development capacity in various ways throughout the city. New developments in downtown and South Lake Union will be allowed an extra 1,000 square feet per floor. Outside of the downtown core, new buildings will be allowed approximately one additional story in height. These changes will be subject to program design and the existing legislative rezoning process. The full chart of proposed changes can be viewed here.

“The legislation being announced today is an important part of a much larger strategy to address housing affordability in Seattle,” said Touchstone President A-P Hurd. “This approach is much more predictable for the City and developers. Downtown and SLU development have contributed fees toward the production of affordable housing in Seattle for years through the City’s Incentive Zoning Program, but this represents both an increased commitment from developers, and an increase in the City’s overall capacity to build more housing, which is a critical part of any successful housing strategy in a growing city.”
The “Grand Bargain” will be phased in over a number of years. When fully implemented, it will create at least 6,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.

Current market rates for a newer one-bedroom unit range from $1,399 to $1,887. The table below shows average monthly rent rates by neighborhood for buildings built since 2010:

Ballard $1,769
Capitol Hill/Eastlake $1,887
Green Lake / Wallingford $1,671
Queen Anne $1,694
Rainier Valley $1,399
West Seattle $1,615

In comparison, the affordable rate (30% of a household’s monthly income) for a one bedroom unit for an individual earning 60 percent AMI is $1,008. Under the proposed “Grand Bargain” framework, rents for new affordable housing units would be set at this price or lower.

“Seattle is where I work, but I can’t afford to raise my family here,” said Brittany Johnson, a homecare worker. “This plan would allow me to have a home in Seattle for what I’m already paying in Renton – giving me back the hours I lose on the bus to have with my toddler. That would be a dream come true.”

Over 45,000 households spend more than half their incomes on housing in Seattle.

In July, the HALA advisory committee delivered to the mayor 65 recommendations after 10 months of work. The consensus-driven proposal was crafted by affordable housing advocates, community voices, developers and housing experts appointed by the mayor and Seattle City Council in September of 2014.

The legislation will be taken up by the City Council’s Select Committee on Housing Affordability. …

The committee’s next meeting is September 9th, one week from tomorrow. You can read the AHIM legislation here.

3:48 PM: As pointed out in comments, the highest zoning in West Seattle – covering part of the heart of The Junction – is currently 85′ and would be “merged” into the 125′ zone, so that area would potentially see far more than an added floor.

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West Seattle development: 1st Design Review meeting set for 1250 Alki SW ‘Perch’ project http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-1st-design-review-meeting-set-for-1250-alki-sw-perch-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-1st-design-review-meeting-set-for-1250-alki-sw-perch-project/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:25:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321108

An Early Design Guidance packet is on file and a date is set for the Southwest Design Review Board’s first look at “Perch,” the mixed-use project proposed for 1250 Alki SW: 6:30 pm October 15th. (Remember as you look at the “packet” above that Early Design Guidance is for size and shape – once those are determined, the details follow.)

We first reported on the proposal three months ago; it’s the first new 100+-residential-unit project proposed in West Seattle in a few years – all the others in the pipeline are under construction or complete. The developer is SODO-based SolTerra, which began as a company focused on sustainability-focused systems such as solar power, and has branched out into housing. Their designs are aimed for LEED Platinum and Perch, SolTerra says, will be designed to that standard “at minimum.”

From the packet, key points of the project:


+/- 125 residential units
Five stories of residential floors over a ground floor of lobby space, support, service and public parking
188 Parking Stalls for residents and visitors, in a below-grade garage
Dedicated space for car-sharing programs
Ample bike storage for residents and exterior bike parking for guests


Extensive vegetated green roof with a variety of seating areas and scenic viewpoints
Solar panel array on the rooftop
Rainwater collection cistern
Potential native marine bird habitat on the rooftop
Public green space along Alki Ave. with multi-purpose programmed uses for the neighborhood
Rear courtyard space at the foot of the hillside with a water feature and lush plantings

Five 2-story residential structures – described in the packet as three multiplexes and two single-family homes – would be demolished to make way for this development. A SolTerra spokesperson tells us that in addition to the Design Review process, they also will be seeking feedback from community members including the Alki Community Council.

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Renew the Multi-Family Tax Exemption? City Council committee briefing this morning http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/renew-the-multi-family-tax-exemption-city-council-committee-briefing-this-morning/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/renew-the-multi-family-tax-exemption-city-council-committee-briefing-this-morning/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 16:09:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320430 It’s a tax-break offer that many developers have long accepted from the city: If your project’s being built in certain areas, and you allot a certain percentage of units to a certain number of tenants at a certain income level, you can get the residential portion of your building (not the land) exempted from property taxes for 12 years. It’s called the Multi-Family Tax Exemption, and the council soon will have to decide whether to renew it for the fourth time since its inception in 1998. That discussion officially starts with a briefing during the end of this morning’s 9:30 am meeting of the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency Committee. It’s a lead-up to a meeting next month at which the committee will consider legislation renewing the program.

Here’s what the committee will be shown and told this morning – first, the slide deck with stats on the program, which it says involves almost 2,000 rental units now, with almost 2,000 more “in the pipeline”:

Here’s the council-staff memo:

Wondering which West Seattle projects got the MFTE? From the newest list on the city website, dated August 14th:

*Element 42
*Footprint Avalon
*Footprint Delridge (microhousing)
*Oregon 42
*Youngstown Flats
(WSB sponsor)

The list does NOT include under-construction projects that will be getting the MFTE – the program’s annual report included an expanded list that does, but only as of last December, so some might be missing. The additional projects on that list are:

*Spruce (open now so we’re not sure why it’s not on the first list)
*Admiral East Apartments (on the list as 3210 California)
*3050 Avalon (microhousing)
*Footprint’s Morgan Junction project (microhousing)
*4730 California
*Junction 47
*Trinsic West Seattle
*Lofts at The Junction
*The Whittaker
*Broadstone Sky
*6917 California
*Junction Flats

Right now, September 20th is the date for the committee to look at renewal legislation. If you’re interested in watching this morning’s discussion, the meeting will be live on Seattle Channel, cable channel 21 or online stream; it’s the last item on the agenda.

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West Seattle development: 10 houses, one duplex for Pigeon Point site http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-10-houses-one-duplex-for-pigeon-point-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-10-houses-one-duplex-for-pigeon-point-site/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 20:14:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320373 New from the city files today: An early-stage proposal for 10 houses and one duplex at 3710-3722 21st SW on Pigeon Point (map). The north side of the site faces a Seattle Parks-owned slope over the West Seattle bridge; the south side, SW Charlestown. The 12 new homes would replace two single-family houses, one more than a century old, the other, 58 years old. Documents in the online files suggest the site’s been under consideration for development for at least two years. Brad Khouri is the architect.

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West Seattle development: Westwood apartments; Alki projects; 36th SW microhousing update http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-westwood-apartments-alki-projects-36th-sw-microhousing-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-westwood-apartments-alki-projects-36th-sw-microhousing-update/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 01:54:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320299 Four projects in this roundup of West Seattle development notes:

WESTWOOD APARTMENTS: A preliminary “site plan” has just been filed for a proposed 32-apartment, no-offstreet-parking building on a vacant triangle of land at 2221 SW Barton Place, southeast of Westwood Village. Notes in the city’s online files say the project would require Design Review.

ALKI TEARDOWNS: Three century-old beach bungalows have just been demolished on a site long planned for redevelopment in the 3000 block of 63rd SW in Alki, just across the south-side alley from the commercial building that is home to Cassis (WSB sponsor), Cactus, and Alki Urban Market.

An earlier proposal for the site passed Administrative Design Review more than six years ago. Six townhouses and one single-family house are to be built.

1307 HARBOR PROJECT FILES APPLICATION: This is the site that includes the former Alki Tavern, now closed for almost 2 1/2 years. The mixed-use proposal went through the first stage of Design Review in spring 2014; though no date is set, its next Design Review is getting closer, as city files show the developers have applied for their master-use permit. The project is now described as including 15 residential units, fewer than the original proposal.

4122 36TH SW MICROHOUSING FOLLOWUP: When we first reported last month on this proposal to replace a triplex with a microhousing building, the proposal didn’t specify a number of units. Now it does – approximately 24.

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West Seattle development: 14-house project, 8 years in the making http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-14-house-project-8-years-in-the-making/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-14-house-project-8-years-in-the-making/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:14:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319813 From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin: A sloped site in East Admiral that was first proposed for a multi-house subdivision almost eight years ago is moving more deeply into the review/approval process. A 14-house proposal is now in the works for 3601 Fauntleroy Avenue SW, which is hard to find on online maps, but documents in the project file show it’s in the vicinity of 33rd SW & SW Spokane, just northwest of where Admiral Way meets the West Seattle Bridge, and you can get a better idea from this map in the plans filed online:

The land, currently undeveloped, is zoned single-family 5000. The LUIB notice says the application would require “administrative conditional-use” approval because of “clustered housing in a steep-slope area,” and an environmental determination. Comments on the revised application will be accepted through August 26th, says the city (unless someone requests and is granted an extension). It proposes 14 houses with offstreet parking for 28 vehicles, to be developed by West Seattle-based Inhabit LLC, which was also the applicant when this site appeared in DPD records as a possible 21-house project in August 2007, and is shown in county records as owning other undeveloped parcels nearby. You can comment via this form linked to the city notice, or via contacting the assigned DPD planner, Michael Dorcy, michael.dorcy@seattle.gov.

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West Seattle development: Madrona Glen back on the market http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-madrona-glen-back-on-the-market/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-development-madrona-glen-back-on-the-market/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 20:31:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319717

(WSB photo from January 2014)
Back on the market: Madrona Glen, the future subdivision site at 2646 SW Holden that now holds one crumbling, vandalized old house and is approved for 18 new ones. It was re-listed for sale a week ago, asking price $2,160,000. The plan for 18 houses (each three stories, with a two-car garage) got key approvals last September, more than a year and a half after going through Streamlined Design Review. The last time the site changed hands was three years ago, with the sale price shown in county records as $470,000.

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FOLLOWUP: Mayor Murray backs off proposal that would potentially densify most single-family-zone neighborhoods http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/followup-mayor-murray-backs-off-proposal-that-would-potentially-densify-most-single-family-zone-neighborhoods/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/followup-mayor-murray-backs-off-proposal-that-would-potentially-densify-most-single-family-zone-neighborhoods/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:01:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318352 3:01 PM: Two weeks after Mayor Murray went public with his housing-affordability recommendations, while also releasing the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee‘s report, he is backing off the most controversial proposal – the plan to change not the zoning, but the rules, for most single-family neighborhoods (as detailed in this WSB report). Here’s the news release:

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement announcing he will not recommend pursuing a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee recommendation that could have changed 94 percent of single-family zones in Seattle. Instead, he is calling for renewed public dialogue on how best to increase affordable housing in denser neighborhoods:

“The Council and I created the HALA process because our city is facing a housing affordability crisis. In the weeks since the HALA recommendations were released, sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets has created a significant distraction and derailed the conversation that we need to have on affordability and equity.

“Fundamentally, this is a conversation about building a Seattle that welcomes people from all walks of life — where working people, low-income families, seniors, young people and the kids of current residents all can live in our city.

“We also must not be afraid to talk about the painful fact that parts of our city are still impacted by the intersection of income, race and housing. Look at a map and take a walk through our neighborhoods. We can move beyond the legacy of the old boundaries of exclusion that have remained largely unchanged since nearly a century ago when neighborhood covenants were used to keep people of color south of Madison Street.

“I have always believed that Seattle can step up and have a difficult conversation about our history of racial discrimination and economic inequality. Our shared vision for Seattle includes affordable housing and diversity in all our neighborhoods.

“To advance the broader conversation about affordable housing and equity, I will no longer pursue changes that could allow more types of housing in 94 percent of single-family zones. Instead, we will refocus the discussion on designing denser Urban Centers, Urban Villages and along transit corridors that include more affordable housing.”

ADDED 6:16 PM: What is still on the table for 6 percent of Seattle’s single-family-zoned area is explained in the second half of this fact sheet issued with the original proposals two weeks ago. But all the discussion remains in the early stages, as no legislation has been sent to the City Council yet – its new Select Committee on Housing Affordability is not scheduled to meet again until August 10th. We reported on its first meeting here.

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