After two series of meetings with a citizens’ advisory group, the city planners working on the future of the West Seattle Triangle have gone public with two draft plans, opened a public-comment period, and announced a public open house.
THE PLANS: The draft “urban design framework” can be seen here; the draft “land use code and zoning amendments” can be seen here. The proposed zoning changes include a recommendation to increase maximum height to 85 feet in the bluish-purple area you see in the graphic above**; that suggestion had drawn concern in previous community-group reviews. The changes also would rezone what is now “commercial” land throughout The Triangle to “neighborhood commercial.”
COMMENT PERIOD AND OPEN HOUSE: The open house is scheduled for 6-8 pm June 29th at the Senior Center of West Seattle; public comment is being accepted on the two draft plans through July 1st – email@example.com – note that these plans are supposed to be voted on by the City Council later this summer, so if you want a say in what might eventually turn up in this area, this is your chance. Read on for an excerpt from the zoning/land-use document summarizing the proposed zoning changes, and more:
Summary of Draft Land Use and Zoning Recommendations
The following amendments to Land Use Code regulations are recommended to apply in the West Seattle Triangle planning area. A more detailed accounting of the recommended code amendments begins on page 14 of this report.
Rezone from general commercial 1 (C 1 zoning) to neighborhood commercial 3 (NC3) throughout the Triangle Planning area.
The primary effect of this proposal would encourage new development that would be neighborhood-oriented and pedestrian-friendly in design, while allowing existing businesses to operate and expand.
Establish a pedestrian-designation (P) along SW Alaska Street between the Junction business district and SW 36th Street.
The “P” designation would require a higher-intensity of pedestrian-oriented design and retail uses along the designated street front. This action is consistent with neighborhood plan recommendations to encourage a strong pedestrian connection between the Junction and Triangle business districts.
Retain existing height and density in most of the Triangle business district east of 38th Avenue SW.
Many very small businesses are located in the Triangle. Retention of existing heights and densities is consistent with a strategy to preserve the overall scale of the business district.
West of 38th Avenue SW and Near the Intersection of Fauntleroy/Alaska (area in blue on the map on the previous page)
Several acres of land in the West Seattle Triangle planning area remain vacant or under-used since the Huling auto dealership closed in 2007. Additionally, as other parcels redevelop in the coming years, they are likely to have a defining effect on neighborhood character and functions due to their highly-visible location. These areas were the subject of more focused study regarding possible future development scenarios and streetscape. The following recommended code amendments would apply in the area west of 38th Avenue SW near the intersection of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Alaska Streets.
In a two-block area, increase allowable height to 85 feet through incentive zoning.
The 85’ zoning would be located in such a way as to avoid direct proximity to low density residential areas (lowrise and single family residential zones). In combination with the amended development standards and density limits, the 85’ zone would provide an incentive to integrate elements of the West Seattle Triangle Street Concept Plan, a component of the urban design framework.
Within the 85’ zone, the proposal would allow an increase in maximum density, expressed as a floor area ratio (see page 21). Density above the existing limit of 4.75 FAR would be achieved through participation in the City of Seattle’s affordable workforce housing program …
In the 85’ zone, apply development standards to mitigate the potential bulk of structures on very long lots and to complement the Triangle Street Concept Plan for Neighborhood Green Streets. The recommended development standards include:
a. An upper level 10’ setback along SW Alaska Street beginning at 45’ in height
b. 80% lot coverage limit for structures on lots over 40,000 square feet in size
c. A maximum wall length of 275’
d. Separation of 30’ between structures that meet the maximum wall length dimension
e. A required building setback abutting a neighborhood green street: an average of 10’ from the lot line along 25% of the property frontage or 100 feet, whichever is less
The 27-page document outlining the proposed zoning changes goes into even greater detail.
The “urban design framework” document is much more sweeping, and includes proposals on which we have reported from multiple previous meetings and reviews – what the streetscapes might look like, the storefronts, the character of the area as it continues to evolve, not something that would be implemented right away, but as parcels in The Triangle “redevelop.” Again, you can see that all in this 53-page document.
Even more document links, and a summary of intent, plus the formal June 29th meeting announcement, is all on the main page of the city’s Triangle planning website – find that here. DPD also says it’s planning a presence at this Thursday’s mayoral town hall at Hiawatha Community Center, where you can find out more.
**For reference, the area proposed for 85-foot zoning includes the ex-Huling lot that now holds West Seattle Produce, both Triangle gas stations (including the one that abruptly closed in the middle of a switchover to Arco), the ex-Huling lot that now holds Cycle U, and other parcels. The west-east street you see through the area, on its north border except for the Arco/Cycle U parcels, is SW Alaska.