Beach Drive’s Satterlee House to State Supreme Court tomorrow


For more than two years, we’ve covered the fight over whether the owner of the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive,” the city-landmarked Satterlee House (4866 Beach Drive), will be allowed to build 3 houses on its expansive front lawn – subdivided into buildable lots years ago. The longrunning fight began in December 2007, when the city Landmarks Board rejected the specific 3-house proposal that owner William Conner wants to build, saying the houses would overwhelm the Satterlee House itself and aspects of the site that made it a landmark (a designation sought by its previous owner in the ’80s). Conner appealed the decision to the city Hearing Examiner, who ruled against him in April 2008, then to King County Superior Court, where he lost, then to the 1st Division State Court of Appeals, same result last December, and then (as reported here in January) it’s before the state Supreme Court as a Petition for Review. We’re mentioning it tonight because tomorrow is the official date that Supreme Court Department 2 is scheduled to consider it – it’s one of two “motion days” in the court’s current session. The court may, or may not, agree to review the case; that decision is based only on written materials – no oral arguments are scheduled at this stage. The city has maintained all along that it has not prohibited Conner from building on the site – it has only rejected the particular proposal he brought forth and declined to change. We don’t have the actual petition – Supreme Court case documents are not filed online (though decisions are), and our request to get it from Conner’s lawyer went unanswered – but we do have the city’s 21-page answer, which they provided after it was filed in February (see it here).

8 Replies to "Beach Drive's Satterlee House to State Supreme Court tomorrow"

  • Dennis Cheasebro May 31, 2010 (11:39 pm)

    So Conner bought the property knowing that he didn’t have an unrestricted right to develop it, and now wants to change the rules he agreed to. Answer: No.

  • Mike June 1, 2010 (12:15 am)

    I agree with Dennis. Sorry Conner, you knew when you bought it. Personally I’d love to own that entire lot and house on it, talk about an incredible location with a massive yard.

  • Herman June 1, 2010 (1:42 am)

    The for sale sign is just there for the lawyers. He has to make the case that he was harmed financially, e.g. unable to sell it at some outrageous price.

    I mean, he might take the money if someone made an offer, but the price tag on that is way over what’s reasonable.

  • Melissa June 1, 2010 (2:02 pm)

    This seems pointless and a little offensive. You would think that a person who has been told “no” so many times would change something. As we have all probably heard before Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
    Also, does someone who has the money to continue butting his head against the court system for 3 years really need to subdivide his property?

  • sophista-tiki June 1, 2010 (3:16 pm)

    Personally i find it resting to the bain to see a spot that has NOT been consumed by greedy construction. The city has already shoved enough extra people into WS with the rampant condo and townhouse problem. Sure you people in the snooty parts don’t notice it as much because things have already been established. But down south, single family homes and green/open spaces are dissapearing left and right. Shoving more poeple into these neighborhoods is only good for who ever is profiting. Increased noise polution, more traffic, and over crowded grocery stores are the tip of the iceberg. Whats wrong with just leaving some spaces be.

  • BuninessOwner June 2, 2010 (2:24 am)

    Let him do as he will with HIS property! Conner will build very nice homes that fit said community. I hope you win at the state level – down with people dictating what you do with your property! BUY IT if you want to keep it as is – that is your right and he has every right to break that private park up! Silly City of Seattle, allowing crap-boxes built ALL up and down California ave and not allowing this homeowner to develop beautiful custom homes on said RE.

    I do not know all details . . . as there are two sides to each argument, maybe I just don’t like the City of Seattle for allowing all the Cookie-Cutter Town Homes. So now I am skeptical of any decision the city makes. P.S. the homes proposed to build (last I saw, circa 2007ish) were very, very complimentary to Beach Drive!

  • hopey June 2, 2010 (2:11 pm)

    BuninessOwner, the part you are overlooking is that Conner purchased a property which had previously existing development restrictions due to the property’s landmark status. He KNEW those restrictions existed when he purchased the property, but for some reason he doesn’t think the restrictions should apply to him because he is a developer and not an ordinary property owner. Conner has been trying to use his money and his “influence” to write his own rules, because he doesn’t want to abide by the rules which apply to the rest of us.
    I for one am quite happy that his repeated appeals have now finally failed… although I won’t be surprised if he finds some other way to tie up the legal system with his tales of “discrimination” and woe.

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