On today’s exciting episode of “Teardowns to Townhomes” …

Just south of the booming Cali/Charlestown intersection, on the east side of Cali between Belli Capelli and Moxie, two neighboring houses are both destined to make way for townhouse clumps. Construction and demolition permits have just been issued for 3910 Cali (which is so tree-obscured, we couldn’t get a photo); probably not far behind is neighboring 3906 (shown below), where progress is listed on the DPD site as “reviews completed.”


22 Replies to "On today's exciting episode of "Teardowns to Townhomes" ..."

  • Chet May 16, 2007 (1:36 pm)

    Yeah, these are the 2 I mentioned just south of the Cafe on another thread. This intersection is already a nightmare. It will just get worse with more folks but some who read this think that is a good thing. Progress or greed?

  • Chet May 16, 2007 (2:24 pm)

    Admin – have you thought about changing the tag back to over development?

  • flipjack May 16, 2007 (3:28 pm)

    Greed, what else?

  • Chet May 16, 2007 (4:00 pm)

    I can understand the pro development sides point about density but none of their points are materializing .. in other words, most/all of the condos have no business in the ground floor. Where are our restaurants and other businesses going? It’s getting harder to get a table at family restaurants. This is a neighborhood remember, not Belltown. How is packing people in with no planning/transit etc, a good thing? What happens when you get too many rats in a cage? One can hope people ride the bus or walk etc but remember the reality is we are Amercians and most Americans love their cars and will use them no matter what .. look at the cost of gas and recent studies show there is little effect on driving habits. Plus Seattle has little to no effective mass transit and it’s almost foolish to ride your bike on these streets. As I have said before, I have lived in other cities with mass transit like Boston and I would pick the traffic here any day!

  • Mike May 16, 2007 (4:18 pm)

    FYI – There was a city wide planning process that discussed zoning and other changes, desired or undesired. These meetings and discussions took place in the 90’s. People may not have lived in Seattle when the discussions were going on, or they may have disagreed with them. Or as I would bet is more likely the case, people chose to ignore the meeting notices sent out by the city and found other things to do with their time. Now it seems that everyone is doing some Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

    If you want to read about your neighborhood plan that was approved in 1999 go here:

    If you don’t like what you read, then work to change it, otherwise……..well you get the point.

  • MW May 16, 2007 (6:31 pm)

    Chet –
    What in the world are you doing to change this? How do you expect to affect the outcomes if you don’t participate in the process? Where are your solutions? Posting on the WSB is easy…
    Did you ever stop to think that your next best friend, or your ailing mother, or your sister in need might be the person to move into those new condos?

  • ML May 16, 2007 (6:44 pm)

    Or someone who regularly reads the WSB?
    Take a look at home prices before you castigate those of us who want to leave here but can’t afford a house.
    Yes, land use and transporation are intextricable, but this isn’t the only part of the region where there is a disconnect.
    In the meantime, some of us, who pay rent in equal amounts to many people’s mortgages, need a place to live.

  • Keith May 16, 2007 (7:12 pm)

    Did you ever stop to think that your next best friend, or your ailing mother, or your sister in need might be the person to move into those new condos?

    Not to mention that it could be any of those people who are selling their homes/property for reasons beyond just “greed.”

  • Magic 8 Ball May 16, 2007 (7:24 pm)

    Greed or Need?

  • Chet May 17, 2007 (8:38 am)

    Zoning/planning is just that. For you to say I can work to change it is ridiculous. The deck is stacked against me. I have looked into what I can do for the past couple of years and besides attending a “proposed” land action use meetings to discuss trellis placement, there is nothing I can do to preserve the existing structure(s) so forgive my frustration. It seems all I have left to do is complain on boards. Sorry. Or try to get other points of view as all of you so “kindly” shared. Thanks a million, you are all so open minded!
    I have lived in the city of Seattle since the early 90’s but not West Seattle. If I would have known about the plan, I wouldn’t have moved here. My bad. There is nothing I can do to “participate” in the process except comment on where a trellis is placed etc so I don’t bother. Those who sell their houses to developers could be greedy or what is likely the case is once the developers get a house they go to the neighbor and say, “Gee, you don’t want to live next to this project we are going to be doing. It’s going to be really inconvenient for you, loud, etc.” I know first hand they use these tactics to get others to sell and most cave in… Look at the domino effect on Fauntleroy Way between Morgan and Alaska or along 35th near Roxbury, and all of California Ave. If it’s a need issue, there are plently of places to live without tearing down perfectly good homes, some of them historic. (Or maybe tear down some and build condos but Jesus Christ draw the line somewhere!)Just look at all the homes for sale on windereme dot com etc ..
    The NW, especially W Seattle, has a reputation of being accepting and tolerant of opinions so I am a bit shocked at the response I got form you guys. Guess you are all mean republicans like me? I think there are a lot of things you are not considering like the way developers skirt the law with permits like down near Othello and California. Do you all love to sit in traffic? California cannot be widend you know. Do you realize what is going to happen to W Seattle streets? What about alley ways now used as driveways for 4 plus units or more? I’m no environmentalist but why aren’t typically environmentally concerend democrats raising these issues? What about the environmental impacts of more toilets flushing, cleaning products, etc on the Puget Sound. I am a land/propery owner so I guess I should just sell out too? “Some of my best friends are condo owners.”
    I want to live in Medina but I can’t afford it and I deal with it. For people to say we need to build condos to make it more affordable for people, I just don’t get it.. live where you can afford to live. I’m calling for more affordable housing in Medina, lets build condos there cuz I wanna be able to afford to live there! Sounds ridiculous right? If you can’t afford W Seattle then live somewhere else.
    I’m obviously missing something by the response I get whenever I post an opinion on here and I’ve thought about not posting here anymore and not reading it but it is a very informative blog. I’ll be interested to see if any of my anti development posters will chime in.

  • Chet May 17, 2007 (12:23 pm)

    ML – I have been reading the blog for a year or so .. It’s only 2 years old so I am not a newbie not that there is anything wrong with that. I also keep tabs on the housing market because I own a home and like to see how much more it and my other investments are worth. It seems as if you are implying I am living under a rock. Not true, I just have a different take on the market economy we live in. People pay what the market will bear so in turn, people should live where they can afford to live. Sounds reasonable to me. If one doesn’t want to commute from Puyallup, get a better job or second job or cut down on other luxury items possibly to open the door to ownership. I realize there may be factors beyond your or others control so I definately don’t mean to castigate you or anyone for that matter.
    I don’t see condos as really any cheaper than houses. A lot of condos go for mid 400’s and I have seen houses for that price and cheaper in West Seattle proper. Sure they are not new but affordability seems to be the issue for most people.
    Communication is not just written, it is verbal and body language so I am sure I offended some with my words but didn’t mean to. I probably took your comments other than you intended. I’m sure all of us could sit and have a diet coke and get along just fine.
    My main concern is over crowding and the changing of the character of this community. This area is special because it is the birthplace of Seattle. I wasn’t around for the meetings 10 years ago as I doubt many were but even if I was, it looks like I was in the minority and it wouldn’t have mattered.

  • Chet May 17, 2007 (12:57 pm)

    Chet –
    What in the world are you doing to change this? How do you expect to affect the outcomes if you don’t participate in the process? Where are your solutions? Posting on the WSB is easy…
    Did you ever stop to think that your next best friend, or your ailing mother, or your sister in need might be the person to move into those new condos?

    MW … I knew I would hear from you.. Your critcizing me for not doing anything but what can be done to affect this policy that is already in place and was decided on years ago and is backed up by the mayor and his administration who I have been in contact with over the last couple of years? I think complaining about it is the only option I have left. I’m all ears though if you have any suggesstions. You are pretty involved in these issues so if anyone would know, it would be you but then again you would be there to start up meetings that involve new development (Charlestown St Cafe, 3811 California for example) and any action on my part would be foolish and laughable. Zoning is zoning, there is nothing I can do about it.
    I think that Gandhi comment the other day should be directed toward the owners of 3811 who lied to their tenants about not selling as one tenant described coming home to find a proposed land action use sign in the front yard. Losing a building like that is a shame, no other word for it. Sure there might be a need for condos but Jesus, can they leave one building atleast! In my opinion the claims of earthquake damage and neglect are excuses based on what I have heard tenants say. My going to a proposed land action use meeting will do nothing to save the building so why go if it stands contrary to what I am for?
    Sure my granny might need a place to live and I see your point. My issue is with changing the character of the community, over crowding, streets that can’t be widend, crime, parking, loss of business, traffic problems, environmental affect, etc. I don’t have a problem with a condo or a couple of condos ..what I have a problem with are hundreds of condos in the greater W Seattle area and the loss of historic homes. I just think it is too much all at once. If all this was decided 10 years ago, why the boom in the last 2 years?
    Whether you mean to or not, you come across in your posts as “I’m right and your wrong.. I’m involved with this and that.. I am apart of Megawatt.. you didn’t do your homework, etc ..” I don’t think you should be treating people the way that you are on these boards but maybe I am just misunderstanding your message. You may think I am crazy but I know I am not alone in the way I feel about this topic.

  • Chet May 17, 2007 (1:07 pm)

    Mike – Thanks for the informative post. I had heard about planning like this but hadn’t seen it officially anywhere. I guess all my comments and opinions are a moot point. I totally agree, if you don’t like the plan work to change it or live with it, shut up, move, etc … I just don’t see a reasonable or productive (potentially successful) way to change this. Besides, look at what all cannot be undone. I guess I’ll shut up or move $$$ or both maybe :) Seriously, no sarcasm implied, thank you Mike.

  • Jan May 17, 2007 (4:39 pm)

    Chet….you’re a realtive newcomer in WS…I have lived here since Jan. 1975…an east coast transplant. I unterstand totally what you’re saying. I see house after house, neighborhood anfter neighborhood being changed forever because of condo-mania. It’s not the way I envision West Seattle. I sold my house 10 years ago because of divorce and illness..on popular Genesee Hill, with a view….for under 200,000. It’s now valued somewhere around 500,000. I stayed true to West Seattle, both living and working here, but I live in a modest apartment with modest rent (thank goodness), and I don’t see me as ever being able to afford to buy in this area again. Now the developers are moving off the main drag and going into side streets and neighborhoods that will not be able to handle the traffic, parking, etc.I remember when Charlie Chong wanted to secede from the city…after all, in the beginning we were our own entity. Maybe he wasn’t all wrong…;-)

  • JDP May 17, 2007 (4:41 pm)

    Just remember that all of the zoning on California is L-2, L-3, NC30 and other commercial zones. Property taxes are based on highest and best use of the parcel. There is no provision or exemption for lower property taxes because your house is a “classic” or you will not be developing the property. Mr. Nickels is a little too “pro development” for my taste, just think if Paul Allen had wanted to develop West Seattle, we would all be homeless.

  • MW May 17, 2007 (10:00 pm)

    Chet – You’ve got so much energy behind all of your convictions, but you waste it on this blog. And I’m not saying that in a mean spirited way. The opportunities to change things are literally endless. Yes, I’m involved in all kinds of things, but its not because I want to “one up” somebody. It’s because I’ve recognized how critical it is to “walk the talk”, roll up your sleeves and get into it. I’ve learned a ton about the historic landmark process since I found out about the proposed project at 3811 California. Has anybody else felt compelled to really understand the process? Did anybody know that there is a mandatory review from the preservation board on any building over 50 years old? I was at the Early Design Guidance for that same project last week. I was THE ONLY ONE that made comments from the general public. Sure, its because I know what I’m talking about (mostly), but if you don’t “get it”, just ask me.
    I’m wrong about stuff all the time – but I know if I just get out, show up, learn and speak up that I’m one step closer to right than wrong.

  • Chet May 18, 2007 (8:22 am)

    JDP and Jan – yeah, I hear what you are saying. What I am about to list below I posted yesterday but it did not go through for some reason. Maybe because I included a link to a house on windermere to make a point about how much new construction costs? I’ll leave that out this time. Some of the things you said reminded me of some of the thoughts I had yesterday:

    This is not directed towards anyone but merely an observation.. It seems like those in favor of development are in favor of it because, or partly because, it allows for more affordable housing. Well, does it really? If a developer buys a home in a single family zoned area and tears it down, they are likely putting up a million dollar plus home (see examples on windermere dot com- search on 98116 or 98136 or …) or atleast one that costs more than the one they tore down because hey, people are in business to make money, can’t blame ’em. This doesn’t help make it any affordable for the people trying to own a home.. it makes the average for property go up. The house that once stood here might have been much more affordable, let say closer to 400k..
    And all the multi family units going in lately? A lot of them go for 400k or so, more affordable but don’t forget the land might have cost the developer 900k or a million but now the property is worth 2 million with 4 or 5 condos on it so this ups the average too. So, I don’t think developers/development are/is necessarily the friend of the person, or persons (dual income) as the case is today, trying to buy their first home or a home in general. People will now have to look further away for a house they can afford which is basically sprawl which is it’s own controversy.
    I don’t think we should close the door and say were full but they way the city is going about this in W Seattle just seems ripe for problems in the future.

  • J.R. May 18, 2007 (10:27 am)

    Chet, I don’t know why you need me to explain the concept of private property to you on a blog, but here goes. When you bought your lovely home in West Seattle, you didn’t buy the home next door. You didn’t buy the vacant lot down the street or the old storefront on the corner. When someone who actually does own one of these properties wants to develop their land in accordance with the existing zoning, you saying “I don’t like this” isn’t a valid or legal reason for the city to deny them a permit. Seriously, Chet, other people have rights also–not just you.

    The theory of affordable housing is that when someone moves into the new townhouse up the block, they’re moving out of an older home, and someone else moves out of their older home to move into that home and somewhere down the line the older housing gets affordable. New housing is never especially affordable.

    One last thing, can you please quit bitching about transit? Low-income people everywhere (including many of your West Seattle neighbors) manage to figure out a way to use transit to get where they’re going. You’ve got a car and you prefer to drive around. That’s your decision, not someone else’s fault.

  • Chet May 18, 2007 (11:44 am)

    JR – I don’t need you to explain private property, I don’t disagree with your definition. You are implying because I have an opinion of issues that affect me and where I live that I am bitching or stupid. What does that say about you? I understand zoning but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m not trying to say an owner cannot sell etc .. I will sell one day and I will make a huge profit. There is always the chance that the market will go south in part due to inventory being too high (condos are helping this along nicely in W Seattle). I’ll take my chances though with a house.
    You should walk a mile in my shoes before making such judgements. If knew what I knew and had to deal with what I deal with as a home owner close to the death star trench, you would have some grave concerns too. I am not the only one on this blog bitching as you put it.
    In my opinion lower income people are getting squeezed out of places like W Seattle and that is my concern but I guess I didn’t make that point clear.
    I’m not the only one that has expressed a concern for the lack of good transit in W Seattle. So be sure to call other people out who think it is an issue too. Yeah, I own a car and I drive, I just don’t want to sit in more traffic and I would take transit if it was a little faster and more efficient. I have lived in other cities where I used transit only even though I had a car. It works for you or those you were referring to and that is great. Have a good weekend.

  • Me May 29, 2007 (11:20 pm)

    MW –
    Instead of criticizing everyone else for “not acting” and “only ranting” on these posts, why don’t you offer concrete advice for HOW we can get involved & make changes? It sounds like everything has already been decided. If that’s not true, please enlighten everyone else to how you came about to gaining such knowledge & involvement that we all crave.

  • Me May 29, 2007 (11:34 pm)

    I absolutely HATE seeing these classic, beautiful old homes torn down. This one was actually very nicely rennovated when the Milford family took it over & Jane opened her antique shop inside.
    I honestly don’t mind “some” of the condo/retail development that is happening (like when they tear down an eyesore of a building or a beat up, unkept property). But it breaks my heart when a home with such character is destroyed. West Seattle – we are losing our heart and our identity. We will be nothing more than Federal Way if we keep this up.

  • Tom January 15, 2008 (12:36 pm)

    The townhomes being built in WS. This is not the fault of the builder, yet the city to allow the minimal requirements to build these units. Many of these units are so small that no small car can access the garage, many bedrooms are 8′ x 10′. If the city would require standard practices that would be realistic, instead of the trying to increase density. This can happen, yet when the government is at work, there is a lot of paperwork and poor results. Some (few) builders actually take pride in what they are building, and of course there are the ones who have found the niche of making a lot of money on these poorly laid out townhomes. Yet the bottom line is making money and as a previous thread, what the market bears is what will continue to produce these units. I love hearing that the houses to condo’s or townhouses block my view, well the solution is to buy the property so you restrict the view, then there is nothing to complain about. Rambling

Sorry, comment time is over.