We told you last week about the first testimony in the hearing about whether the owner of the Satterlee House, aka the “Painted Lady” of Beach Drive, can build three houses on its expansive front lawn. Since the property is a city landmark, the Landmarks Board had to grant a Certificate of Approval – but last December said no, and this hearing is about the property owner’s appeal of that ruling. Last week’s testimony involved the previous owner of the property, David Satterlee. Today, both sides are presenting the bulk of their case, with time scheduled on Thursday for continuation. The major witness so far this morning has been the staffer for the Landmarks Board, who revealed one reason this is significant beyond West Seattle:
Beth Chave said the board gets about 60 applications for Certificates of Approval each year — and last year, this was the only one denied. Main reason: During several meetings with the Architectural Review Committee before the formal consideration by the board, concerns were expressed, she said, about the “size and massing” of the three proposed homes — but, she said, the property owner William Conner and his representatives did not address those concerns, and continued proceeding with their original plan, all the way to the board hearing in December, where they got thumbs down.
It’s clear listening to testimony that the issue is not necessarily whether additional homes can be built on the front lawn at all, but whether they can be a size and design that does not detract from the Satterlee House itself. More to come later (and more of today’s other West Seattle news too); the hearing’s in a break right now. City Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner is presiding and will make the final decision.