A major ruling late today in the long-running fight over whether William Conner, owner of the landmark Satterlee House – aka Beach Drive’s “Painted Lady” – can build three houses on its expansive lawn. The city Landmarks Board originally declined to approve the specific three-house proposal; Conner challenged the decision before the city Hearing Examiner, who upheld the ruling (here’s our April 2008 report); then he took it to King County Superior Court, where a judge upheld the city decision (here’s our October 2008 report); then he took it to the 1st Division Court of Appeals, which has just upheld the decision. Read their ruling here; our report on the arguments before the state court last June is here. We’ll add more to this report as we seek comment and read the full ruling. (As noted in earlier reports, these decisions have not been rulings against ANY construction on the Satterlee House lawn, but rather against the specific proposal Conner took to the Landmarks Board, which has jurisdiction over changes to landmarked property; here’s our archive of case coverage, newest to oldest.) Summary of the case/decision, from the ruling document:
William and Marilyn Conner purchased a designated historical landmark property in West Seattle known as the Satterlee House. The Landmarks Preservation Board rejected their proposal to develop the site because it did not preserve the protected historic features. The hearing examiner and the superior court upheld the Board’s decision.
The Conners’ principal contention is that the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance is unconstitutionally vague as applied. They also contend the landmark restrictions on the property constitute an unlawful tax, a regulatory taking, and deprived them of due process. We reject their arguments and affirm.