Almost out of sight, but not out of mind

If you look between the townhomes almost complete on the controversial site across from Seattle International (formerly Gatewood Baptist) Church, you can still — for now — see the old house neighbors know as the “hunting lodge.”


But maybe not for long. The empty space, which was given the address 7204 Cali, is where two more townhouse buildings are supposed to go; those buildings probably would be as close to completion as their bookends, if not for feisty neighborhood pushback. First, neighbors protested the lack of environmental review of the townhouse projects (scroll down for details), which were processed separately rather than as one big new clump of housing. Then they chimed in about concerns that the “hunting lodge” will no longer be visible from Cali; their concerns are noted in this city memo about the project dated earlier this month. The latest ruling went against them and for the project, but an appeal’s been filed, and an “appeal hearing” is set for July 16.

11 Replies to "Almost out of sight, but not out of mind"

  • Doug June 30, 2007 (3:00 pm)

    Keep fighting folks.. the last thing we need is more townhomes.

  • Bill June 30, 2007 (6:56 pm)

    The last thing we need is cheaply built townhomes. This is a city. Relatively high population density. All the anti condo and townhome talk is ridiculous. People that move here pay taxes and support local business. The small town mentality demonstrated by some here is comical. Promote smart growth. And if you’re anti-growth, buy property in Montana.

  • flipjack July 1, 2007 (10:07 am)

    So what is “smart growth” Bill??? packing people into places without any significant improvement in roads and public transportation. I could give a flying **** about taxes and more local businesses, what about liveability? What are you some kinda developer? Explain “smart growth”, because right now we have nothing but moronic over development taking place.

  • jumbo jimbo July 1, 2007 (10:18 am)

    Amen to that Flipjack. And by the way, Montana is growing like a corn stalk in July too. There are very few places that aren’t growing – so why not develop with some better planning.

  • ML July 1, 2007 (10:48 am)

    The attitude that the people who are living in condos in West Seattle are somehow less worthy than those who live in houses is very troubling, regardless of how one feels about current development issues, McMansions included.

  • flipjack July 1, 2007 (10:49 am)

    I do agree, wiht Bill though, in that if they are going to build townhomes and condos, they shouldn’t be aloud to put up cheap cracker jack boxes that fly up in a month after ground breaking, like a lot of the construction that is going on. In ten years ( probably less) they’ll be the new slums.

  • WSB July 1, 2007 (12:59 pm)

    That’s the interesting question, first posed here (months back), that we have pondered. Many of these townhomes advertise “no association fees” since they are not condos, but technically “standalone homes” even though they are attached. So the question is/was — what happens in ten years when they need paint or other maintenance; will everyone really agree to cooperate? Anyone with experience living in such places, would love to hear how it works.

  • Bill July 1, 2007 (5:58 pm)

    Flipjack: LOL! I’m the furthest thing from a developer, I promise. :D I’ll pose your question right back at you, since you obviously have a handle on what exactly constitutes “moronic development”. Surely you can educate us on what constitutes the opposite? I for one would love to see your personal master plan. ;)

    Jimbo: WA’s population change (percentage) nearly doubled MT’s between 1990 and 2000. MT gained less than 10K people from 2004 to 2005. WA gained almost 85K. Comparing MT’s growth to WA is ridiculous.

  • Bill B July 2, 2007 (4:35 pm)

    To answer the question about how maintenance is handled in a townhome scenario… There are rarely covenants for townhomes (even if there are there is no home owners association to enforce them). You are really dependant on everyone at in the development working together and agreeing on painting, roofs, landscaping, etc. The reality of our current “boom” is that not many of the folks that buy the new ones will be there when it’s time for big repairs. Townhomes owners tend to move on once they have enough equity to do so.

  • Vlad Oustimovitch July 12, 2007 (1:55 pm)

    Thank you all for your interest in this project. Yesterday (July 11th), our community reached an agreement with the developer(s) of the project. In return for dropping our upcoming appeal to the Hearing Examiner, the developer has made a number of concessions. These include a large landscaped area at the entrance to Orchard Street consistent with the “Green Crescent” outlined in the MoCA neighborhood plan, lowering rooflines in front of the hunting lodge to maintain views, and lowering fences on Orchard Street in order to allow some diagonal sightlines to the lodge from the street.

    Ideally it would have been great to go back in time and start from the beginning, but that was not an option since 8 of the 13 units are near completion. Ultimately, it was the Seattle Department of Planning and Development that is most culpable for this mess. They were busy designating historic buildings in the downtown, while having a total disregard for West Seattle. SNAFU. I will post the full agreement on the ORCA website in the near future if you would like to see it.

  • WSB July 12, 2007 (2:13 pm)

    thanks for the update, Vlad. We will highlight it on the main page later today; we were tentatively planning to cover the appeal hearing so we appreciate knowing it’s not happening.

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