Mixed-use miscellany

-Another one of our looming megaprojects gets its Design Review Board closeup this Thursday: 4729 42nd SW, aka Soon-To-Be-Ex-Parking-Lot Behind Soon-To-Be-Ex-Petco, aka Ex-Monorail Land.

-Make sure your calendar’s marked for the big meeting a week from Wednesday at Charlestown Cafe, which folks are trying to save from the fate of becoming future home to Soon-To-Be-Ex-Petco.

-Jumping back down to The Junction, we heard concerns a while back from the neighbors of 4515 41st SW, more “mixed use” creeping into a residential neighborhood. Its next Design Review Board spotlight comes up April 12.

-Now hopscotching back up toward Admiral, we got a note recently from a neighbor who wonders if anyone else cares about the phenomenon of creeping commercialism spilling further inland from Cali. This neighbor lives near the beauty salon across from the far corner of PCC’s lot, west of McDonald’s, and contends zoning only allows a home-based business, not a business-focused house with big signs. The neighbor says a zoning inspector ruled the signs could stay because they don’t have text — they’re considered “art.” They’re campaigning to get the businessperson to tone down the signs.

-Finally, another reader points out that the ex-Christian Science church north of the Hiawatha playground, east of Safeway Parking Smackdown Ground Zero, has relatively recently transitioned into something called Sanctuary At Admiral, giving The Hall At Fauntleroy (among other venues) a run for its money.

29 Replies to "Mixed-use miscellany"

  • Jan March 20, 2007 (1:03 pm)

    Interesting about the “Sanctuary at Admiral. Up until now it’s been a “private residence” I live just down the street from this place, and there isn’t a parking lot in sight. I wonder where they plan to put the cars for the 120 people it can accomodate for private sit down dinners…or for weddings, or for anything else for that matter. There is precious little street parking in this area as it is. Funny that the neighbors were never informed about this business. Think we might have objected?
    ( maybe they’ll all get a parking ticket from Safeway…I’m sure their back lot will look like enticing parking)

  • Chet Desmond March 20, 2007 (2:03 pm)

    Yeah, my thoughts exactly Jan. I live a few blocks south but am familiar with this building, the park, and Safeway, etc.. I had noticed it was a private residence too and wondered what it used to be until I clicked the link provided by the blogger. Weird how it can just morph into a hall w/no questions asked basically. Good times!

  • Jan March 20, 2007 (6:48 pm)

    well, Chet, I decided to write them and ask about parking. Let’s see if they answer. :)

  • Deliboy March 20, 2007 (9:01 pm)

    Personally, I don’t get this weird NIMBY fear of “mixed use”. I guess I have to be a cranky old mortgage payer. To me, it’s the sign of a vibrant and growing city, and resistance to it seems little better than the stuff I hear from suburbanites.

  • Gina March 21, 2007 (4:26 am)

    Sanctuary at Admiral was a church for sixty years without a parking lot. That will be the reasoning. Of course 42nd was single family housing, without apartments, and residential parking didn’t overflow around Hiawatha.

    I get a kick out of how the website says that four of the finest caterers were hand selected, and then five caterers are listed. Which caterer is the loser?

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (7:25 am)

    Thanks Jan

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (7:36 am)

    Deliboy, I have a thousand reasons why I am against overpopulating West Seattle. I am sure you have a thousand reasons why you see no problem with it. I am neither cranky nor old but yeah, I am a mortgage payer/property owner. Your comment uses words that tend to incite and offend. I would be more likely to respect your comments if they weren’t presented in an offensive way. By reading this blog over the past year or so, I have learned a lot from both sides. I would just ask that you respect my opinion and I’ll respect yours. I imagine we are both reasonable people entitled to our own opinions.

  • Eric March 21, 2007 (7:56 am)

    Here’s my take (because I know you are all dying to know….)

    Population increase in inevitable. As there is no real undeveloped land anywhere in the greater Seattle area, increase in population means an increase in DENSITY – condos and townhomes.

    Also, as land and housing becomes more scarce, the demand is such that values (read: prices) increase. If we are to keep this area affordable for families (especially young families), we need to have an inventory of living spaces that stays somewhat in line with demand.

    I think most people would agree that density should be targeted around transportation centers (think Vancouver BC and the development around SkyTrain stations). West Seattle most certainly can handle the increase in density – Unfortunately, our transportation system has not kept up.

    We can’t just push all of the people out to the burbs because we can’t handle the increases – the infrastructure out there can’t either. We are in a position to accomidate the growth and address the transportation issues much easier than, say Sumner or Bonney Lake.

    I also agree that with the development comes vibrancy that keeps West Seattle as a desirable place to live, work and play. I think it would be nice if there were more work options – reducing the amount of commuting that needs to take place.

    It is obviously a trade-off – people who already own homes may not realize how difficult it is to own a home with the costs now. What should those people who can’t afford a home do? If we don’t build condos, townhomes, etc., they may not have an entry into the market. Do we tell them “tough – guess you’ll have to buy in the burbs!”?

    The problems we are seeing are a direct result of the Seattle process – years upon years of planning and community meetings and re planning and debating and little to no ACTION.

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (8:58 am)

    Thanks Eric. Your comments are some of the most reasonable I have read on this blog. I have learned a lot from you. I see your point here and agree in principle with all of them. I would just like to say that no one gave a rip about me and my wife when we looked for a home to buy 5 or 6 years ago. We had to save and live where we could afford to live. For me it was Gatewood, now it’s Admiral. For some it might be Burien or Renton and I think that’s fine. We have small kids, we both work hard to pay for daycare, car loans, and a hefty mortgage. I guess I am just really unsympathetic for those who cannot afford a house and look to condos and think they have to live in WS and how it’s not fair that they cannot afford anything. I’m not crying and stomping because I cannot afford a house on Queen Anne or Medina. I just don’t think it’s anyones fault or problem but their own. Like I said, I agree with your points, especially the vibrancy and, ofcourse, I love that my property is valued at 200k more than I paid 2 years ago. The “overdevelopment” has to be a factor in that increase. Cheers and I hope to make it BPP for a pint or 3!

  • Administrator March 21, 2007 (9:33 am)

    Data point to this … we were seriously cheesed more than a decade ago when a little old lady sold us our little old house for 50 percent more than she had paid for it two years earlier, how can she profiteer off us struggling young people, etc etc etc. After stagnant home values in the early years of our (the bank’s) ownership, now it’s worth 200 percent more than we paid for it and we would have to admit we wouldn’t hesitate a moment to sell it for the going rate if we ever decided to. (Oh wait, is that a townhouse developer coming up the street now, waving cash at us? Oops, it’s still SF zoning. For now.)

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (9:42 am)

    I’m in single family zoning too. Thank the Lord above!

  • Eric March 21, 2007 (9:57 am)

    As a former condo dweller, I think condos are a great way for folks to gain entry into the housing market. For some, it is all that is needed – not everyone needs a detached single family home. Condos give you the benefit of appreciation and investment that renting does not, while also allowing you to “own” a home without having to worry about a yard or handling major maintenance projects. They are not for everyone, but they are a great alternative to renting.

    Our condo increased about 25% in the two years we had it – and that was before this latest boom. That increase allowed us to get the money we needed to “upgrade” to a house. As spring approaches and I get to deal with the moss that has infested my lawn, I think about the days of not having to do any yard work..

    My point is that we need diverse housing options because not everyone wants to live in a single family detached home.

  • Jan March 21, 2007 (11:34 am)

    this started as a discussion of the above mentioned business. I have no problem with new businesses coming into West Seattle. I think it’s great that we have such a vibrant and liveable area. I’ve lived in West Seattle since 1975 ( a transplant from the east coast). I was married, bought a house in ’77 for…gulp…$39,000 on desirable Genessee Hill, with a peek view of the sound. Now divorced and a single income earner – self-employed – , I can’t afford even the cheapest condo in this area. I don’t want your sympathy. Life changes, circumstances change…and we deal with it. The aforementioned business will have a direct impact on where I live now….in an apartment in the Admiral. Why should I tell my weekend guests that they have no place to park because a business down the street has everything taken up? I only think it’s fair that the said business tell us what they have planned for that. We have a parade in July that starts right here…ground zero. Imagine a noon wedding with 120 people attending, and a reception that day, in addition to the parking for parade participants. Now imagine that 1/2 block from your home. Daunting…

    As an aside….I’m a massage therapist, and I inquired when I wrote about providing them with cards, brochures, etc..for referrals – lol..hey, might as well make some money if they’re gonna be there..:)

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (12:04 pm)

    True Eric, true. Some folks like the flow of a newer home or condo and I can appreciate that reason too. I feel like we are all just bursting at the seams but more and more people keep coming because of the condos which leads to more traffic and an increased demand for resources which drives up utilities, for example. I just think we are full enough.

    Jan, I share your concern about parking at that business, didn’t mean to offend you (if I did). I think we share the same concern about the business/parking resources and not being given a heads up on the deal. I’ve thought about giving you some business to support local business owners. Lord knows I need massages because of all of the stressors in life. Maybe I’ll find you one day. I hope you are able to get some new customers out of this thing.

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (12:07 pm)

    I should add that if the city planned proactively vs reactively 10 years late, I would be for more density.

  • Jan March 21, 2007 (12:44 pm)

    and Chet? add to that the annual Hiawatha Mediterranean Fest that takes place about that time in July, and all the moms taking kids to the wading pool to beat the heat in mid-July…we are definitely going to be a busy neighborhood…

    hmmm…maybe Admin will provide an area for all us locals to promote ourselves – lol..I know…dream on :) (but imagine how we’d all get along if we all got massage on a regular basis :)

  • Chet Desmond March 21, 2007 (1:32 pm)

    Yeah, I know, some of these events are great but parking is just one of the reasons I am so concerned with over development. Sounds like you understand by the parking comments you have made. You want customers to be able to park near you business or have guests park reasonably close to your house. I have the same concerns where I live and packing more people into WS “aint helpin.”

  • MW March 22, 2007 (9:14 pm)

    Seriously, Chet. Your comments about being “unsympathetic” are completely out of whack. Are you saying that you never needed another type of housing other than owning a single family home? Are you saying that people that need those options shouldn’t be part of our community? Do they bring less to the West Seattle community than homeowners do? And you even ripped Deliboy a new one about being “respectful”?
    You’re missing the fact that your remarks that disregard renters or condo owners or anyone else who doesn’t own a single family home contribute to an unfortunate lack of understanding in our community.
    People want to live here. That is a good thing. If people didn’t want to live here, it would be miserable. We can’t put up signs that say “sorry, we’re full”, so we should all do our best to accomodate different people with different needs that make our community richer.
    Sure, its your opinion, but the opinions I highly regard are from those who have done their homework.
    And don’t get me started about parking…

  • Chet March 23, 2007 (8:29 am)

    Of course I have needed to rent in the past and I do think all people and dwellings are welcome in W Seattle. Did you read other comments I made on this topic? I just am fed up with the traffic and parking problems. Where one house used to sit now sits a condo with 4 – 8 units or worse and apartment building with many more units. This results in more cars. A single family dwelling might have had 2 cars before now has an exponential amount. But like you say, people wanting to live in W Seattle is a good thing. I agree.
    What do you mean when you say “don’t get me started on parking.” Do you think it is a problem too? It ‘s seems like you do think it is aproblem so not sure why you do not buy into the points I have made. I think parking is a problem. There are a lot more cars because of the condo apartment craze that block my drive way or park so close I can’t get out. Wouldn’t you be pissed if several times a day you could not go to work or take your kids to school or you were constantly late or had to call the cops over and over again? I have someone tickets or towed or risk an accident because I back out with no visibility then I have to worry about the owner of the car getting my name or address and seeking revenge on me because they broke the law and left me no choice. I am pissed and I think it is reasonable. Sure, not all apt dwellers are driveway blockers but some are. I have pictures I wish I could show you.
    I didn’t rip Deliboy a new one, it would be a stretch to say that and I don’t see how you could come away from what I said as ripping a new one. Come on! I thought my comments were quite restrained especially after he or she insulted ME. But maybe my post above was hypocritical and I am sorry.
    I have done my homework we all just have different viewpoints. It seems like you are saying yours is more right than mine though. I think I have even given a shout out to you or an amen in the past on this very blog. So, I seem to have really upset you and probably others and I am sorry. It was not my intention.
    So, in closing thanks for your comments. I appreciate and learn from all comments, positive or negative toward me.

  • MW March 23, 2007 (10:00 am)

    I don’t drive to work. I take the bus. Some people don’t have that option, but many do. And they choose to drive. I specifically found a job that fit my career goals AND my transportation and lifestyle values.
    About parking – I’m all for less parking. If I was in a situation where I had parking conflicts at my house, I’d be a little tweaked too, but overall, I’m for less parking. Bottom line is that we need to prioritize people over cars.
    It’s going to have to hurt a bit for more change to occur. That’s the hard part.
    The thing is, Chet, that your viewpoints don’t offer up any solutions. Is limiting growth a solution to a city that is growing? Can we ever build enough roads and parking lots for all the cars out there? Is paying more attention to cars than to people the best way through this?
    Did I miss the “insult” from Deliboy?
    You didn’t upset me – and no apologies necessary. Everybody’s entitled…

  • Chet March 23, 2007 (11:06 am)

    MW … that wouldn’t stand for Mark Wainright would it? You posted what you described as a rant a few months ago on this blog about starting out 10 years ago in Seattle, looking for a place, how there is a housing shortage, etc .. I was going to reply at that time saying how we come from similar backgrounds but funny how we have different opinions today. I felt like you read into a lot of things I had said and now it makes sense. You are an architect so it makes sense why you would not agree with anything that remotely could jepordize your livelihood. I can respect that. Just wonderin’.. You also have said on this blog that you lamented the Charlestown St Cafe situation and that you were not against mixed use but for good mixed use. So maybe you do really want to save the Charlestown or have a voice in it’s future by starting the yahoo group but I always thought it was curious. Your an architect and the Charelstown is slated to be town down and you are involved with it prior to demolition? But you’ve already hinted that I am ignorant and don’t do my homework so you have no regard for my opinion.

  • MW March 23, 2007 (11:56 am)

    You’re right about the name, but I’m not an architect. I’ve got no personal vested interests in the future of the Charlestown Cafe other than where I might get Mickey Mouse pancakes for the kids…
    I’ve been clear about my involvement from the start. We (the community) can and should be involved in whatever happens there, whether it’s keeping the Charlestown as-is, or being actively engaged in the development of a good mixed-use project. You are welcome to show up at the meeting at the Cafe on March 28th to learn more.

  • Chet March 23, 2007 (12:27 pm)

    Hey man, my kids love the Mickey Mouse pancakes too.. Truce? Sorry.

  • Chet March 23, 2007 (12:38 pm)

    Just as an fyi, when I my posted my second response, it was before yours appeared (the one starting I don’t drive to work ..). There is some lag between when a post is submitted and published (which makes sense). I totally agree on putting people first and less parking/less cars. Your values are admirable, that you take the bus for example. I can tell you care. You raise a good point about my opinions not including solutions. Reality check for me. I guess I felt like deliboy called me crank and old and I am neither but I am a property own and proud of my accomplishment, especially given the current market. Thanks, have a great weekend.

  • Administrator March 23, 2007 (12:40 pm)

    FYI for anyone who wonders – most of the posts held for moderation (which can be sporadic, as we are not continuously online, much as we would like to be … so sometimes we moderate almost immediately, sometimes we won’t be able to get to it for hours) are because they’re from an ip address that hasn’t had a post approved before, so even “frequent commenters” may find a post “held” if they are working from a variable IP address situation, or perhaps posting from work whereas before they only posted from home, etc. etc. etc. otherwise most of our comment policies are mentioned in our relatively new FAQ (see the tab at page-top).

  • Chet March 23, 2007 (1:51 pm)

    MW, I googled you .. we live very close to each other .. and have lived in some of the same cities.. Maybe I’ll show up on 3/28.

  • Jan March 23, 2007 (5:59 pm)

    Chet…FYI…I e-mailed the Sanctuary at Admiral on 3/20/07. As of 6pm today 3/23/07 I have not received an answer. I certainly hope the respond to their future clients faster than this. Just thought I’d let you know.

  • Keith March 25, 2007 (10:33 pm)

    I hope to someday attend an event at the Admiral Sanctuary, just because I’ve *always* wanted to check that place out. Maybe they’ll have an open house to introduce themselves (and address any concerns).

  • brian March 29, 2007 (4:28 pm)

    Hey I’m planning to move to a townhouse around west seattle and I was wondering what the veterans of West Seattle think? Is this a good investment or should I buy into a suburb in Kent or up north let say Lynnwood where its safe but far away from Seattle. West Seattle does have its ghetto appeal but at the sametime Seattle as a whole is growing. I’m getting some mixed reviews from friends and family, my realtor thought it might have some crime issues but I like West Seattle because my job is in Downtown and the commute would be great, which means I’ll be close to the action. Are there any future projects taht would raise the value of the west seattle community, and how is the crime rate in this area. Do you normally hear of cars being broken into or people being shot. I just want to make a good investment for myself. Any opinions would help.

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