City hearing set for homes on “Painted Lady” property

While the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive,” aka the Satterlee House, remains listed for sale after a year and a half, city hearings are now scheduled for a proposal to build three homes on its sprawling front lawn. According to the city Hearing Examiner’s Office website, proceedings are scheduled to start March 5 with what the site describes as “testimony from David Satterlee on the appeal of William Conner from a Denial by the Landmarks Preservation Board for a certificate of approval for construction of 3 homes on property known as 4866 Beach Dr. SW.” (David Satterlee sold the property to William Conner in 2000.) The HEO site says March 10 and March 13 also are set aside for proceedings in the appeal. The short plat for the land was granted in May of last year; last word we had of Landmarks Board involvement was in July of last year. The house is one of a handful of officially designated landmarks in West Seattle (full list here).

9 Replies to "City hearing set for homes on "Painted Lady" property"

  • picklemom February 3, 2008 (12:28 am)

    This kind of bureaucratic legalese makes me cringe: “testimony from David Satterlee on the appeal of William Conner from a Denial by the Landmarks Preservation Board for a certicate of approval for construction of 3 homes on property known as 4866 Beach Dr. SW.” I consider myself an intelligent person, but can someone please translate this gibberish into plain English for me?

  • Katie February 3, 2008 (12:55 am)

    All that is saying is that Landmarks Preservation Board denied Connor’s plan to construct the homes. Connor is appealing this decision and Startlee will be testifying.

  • WSB February 3, 2008 (12:56 am)

    We hesitate to interpret because this is a board we haven’t covered closely in the past. However, we believe it means “The Landmarks Board told William Conner ‘no’ when he asked for its approval for his proposal to build three homes on the property; he’s appealing that denial; David Satterlee will testify about it.” Whether Satterlee will testify for or against the appeal, don’t know; there’s not a lot of public record regarding these types of proceedings, but this hearing will be public, so we intend to cover it. According to the Landmarks Board website, a “certificate of approval” is required to “modify a landmark.” So the dispute here would involve the question of whether building homes on the land in front of the house constitutes “modifying a landmark.” Just found a little more explanation toward the end of this city document from the granting of the plat changes more than a year ago:

  • Meghan February 3, 2008 (8:07 am)

    I have been folling the owner’s meetings w/ the Landmarks Board and the main issue is this: the house is historic and there is a recorded view easement, meaning that nothing can legally obstruct the view from the main house, leaving at least some of the sweeping lawn in tact and allowing the public to see the house from the street. But the owner (who bought the property knowing about the recorded view easement) wants to construct 3 very large homes on the front lawn that would mostly obstruct the view of the house. He has been turned down several times by the landmarks board, but he just keeps going back to them with the same basic proposal (3 large houses). The board keeps asking him to make the houses smaller and more in keeping with the original (e.g. 3 charming “cottages”) that would fit aesthetically with the main house but wouldn’t obliterate the lawn and view (since they could be constructed along the side of the property). But he’s too greedy, doesn’t care about the history or neighborhood, and insists on building huge houses. So now he’s brought a lawsuit. Let’s hope they uphold the easement and don’t let him build huge houses there. It would ruin the entire aesthetic of what is now a unique historic house, as well as be a testament to greed.

  • sassy February 3, 2008 (9:41 am)

    There is not room for 3 LARGE houses on that front lawn.

  • Denny February 3, 2008 (2:07 pm)

    Heck, Sassy, there is not room for 2 LARGE houses on most lots of West Seattle, and that’s not stopping anyone else. Maybe they are townhomes!

  • Herman February 3, 2008 (4:08 pm)

    Meghan is correct. The owner believes he’s entitled to a big payout on this property and that the way to get it is to put three large homes on the front yard. Or get someone to pay a price of $2.2M to give him his gains that way. He has no intention of restoring the existing historic building, which is in need of repair. He sends his legal team to these meetings but I have not seen him myself.

    It’s a showdown, and a real shame. Because he can just wait until the historic house falls down of its own accord and build at that time, since he’s certainly not going to sell the house for what it’s worth. That owner is the worst thing that could happen to that house.

  • snowlion February 4, 2008 (5:57 pm)

    Ugh; this sort of thing will eventually push myself and my husband out of this city. Seattle seems to care nothing for it’s old buildings, or even it’s citizens’ privacy. Who wants to live two feet from someone else’s home? We are fortunate enough to be currently renting a home where we have space in front and on one side that is not obstructed by someone else’s property, but I can give our next door neighbors a jar of Grey Poupon from our bedroom, the homes are so close! :p The condos around us are choking the life and personality out of the Fauntleroy neighborhood, increasing the amount of traffic in front of our home, and overcrowding EVERYthing. This is just one more incident in a string of stupid building decisions that this city continues to make. I love Seattle, but if this keeps up, I may go back to being an Oregonian. :/

  • GenHillOne February 4, 2008 (7:14 pm)

    Just to be fair, I heard from someone very close to the/a previous owner (purposely vague to protect the innocent!)…must have been 15 years ago by now…that the house was in DIRE need of repair at that time, structurally. If no one has taken on that colossal task since then, it can’t be any better. Perhaps why it’s been on the market so long – and hasn’t it been a few times in the last 15 years? It truly needs to be a labor of love because it wouldn’t be a cheap fix. If that “loving” buyer hasn’t surfaced in all these years, I can see why an investor would look to the land. Not saying it’s great (a shame really), just that I can see it.

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