Seacrest switch: City says Marination will be ‘delayed’

Now we know why the city postponed the open house that had been scheduled next week for community members to meet the proprietors of Marination, which won the concession contract for Seacrest Boathouse. The city Department of Planning and Development says the plan needs an additional type of permit. The Parks announcement, headlined “Marination opening at Seacrest Boathouse delayed,” explains:

Since early March, Marination has been working with Parks to prepare and submit architectural and design plans for remodeling and tenant improvements of the boathouse. Most of these proposed improvements are for the interior of the building. As Marination was preparing to submit its building permit application to the City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on March 8, DPD staff informed Marination that additional review would be necessary for a conditional use permit needed for the restaurant use.

The space in question is the kitchen area that was formerly a boat repair space. The need for a restaurant permit was not anticipated, since the boathouse has been used primarily as a restaurant/food service facility since the late 1990s. A conditional use permit typically takes two to four months for review and approval. This timeline will likely delay Marination’s anticipated opening of June 2012.

Seattle Parks and DPD are working closely with Marination to complete this process and continue to work toward an early summer 2012 Opening. There will still be an Open House at the Boathouse in late spring to introduce Marination to the public and to provide the public with an update.

Marination co-owner Kamala Saxton had actually told WSB last month that they hoped to be open by July, fearing a June estimate might be too optimistic – but that was before this twist in the process.

8:14 PM UPDATE: We just talked with Greg Whittaker of Alki Kayak Tours. Last month, he and Marination’s Kamala both told WSB that they had agreed (though it wasn’t 100 percent finalized) that AKT would stay on as subconcessionaire for watercraft, skate/bike rentals, and all the things AKT had been doing. Tonight, Greg says his business is the official “interim concessionaire,” to cover the longer-than-expected gap till Marination can take over. We asked if that means anything different from what AKT has been doing and he mentioned one thing – they’ve agreed to sell beverages! Exactly how that’s going to work, they haven’t figured it out yet, since his interim deal with the city is brand-new. Meantime, we also have asked Marination for comment; stay tuned.

46 Replies to "Seacrest switch: City says Marination will be 'delayed'"

  • Tuesday March 22, 2012 (5:55 pm)

    How sad is it that there is so much time consuming red tape for small businesses to go through? What a terrible disservice to people trying to make a living. Two to four months? Ridiculous.

  • W Sea Neighbor March 22, 2012 (6:33 pm)

    “The space in question is the kitchen area that was formerly a boat repair space.”

    Really? So, this was being used as a kitchen by the previous tenant without this permit, but now it is suddenly necessary in order to move forward? Something about this smells ‘fishy’, DPD.

    You should be aware that you are directly imposing extra costs to not only the proprietors, but also the community, who will now have to wait until perhaps the end of the summer to enjoy this great space on the water.

  • jayjayb March 22, 2012 (6:33 pm)

    Hey Seattle city gov….quit being so penny wise and pound foolish. More people down there is better for your tax base as well as for the water taxi….get it done!.

  • M March 22, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    Leave it to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development to create a complete debacle of everything they get involved with. I know of at least 3 current projects within the city where the beauracracy of this department is stunting, if not completely obliterating, any potential for economic progress. WTF???

  • John March 22, 2012 (6:55 pm)

    An example of how inept government not working with a business in getting things set up properly. What kind of project oversight is the city providing? Are these people with no experience being allowed to hold a business hostage at its whim?

  • WSB March 22, 2012 (6:59 pm)

    This is actually the second notable recent project in which Parks seems to have been surprised by a requirement from another city department. The Westcrest/West Seattle Reservoir Park project suddenly ran into a roadblock when SDOT told Parks it had to do a lot of right-of-way work to proceed, and ultimately that meant another chunk of money needed to be secured from a different fund … TR

  • Tbone March 22, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    Yep! That’s DPD (hard at work) for you. As an architect, I can attest that it is a place that only gets a bit more cumbersome with every passing day, week, and month… Best of luck to the new tenants that there isn’t some other approval required after another round of reviews, especially something with the king county health department. That’d take a really long time…

  • Tbone March 22, 2012 (7:13 pm)

    @WSB, the agencies don’t communicate. A few years ago I did a project (single family home) on Bigelow Ave on Queen Anne. I got the building permit, then a street use permit from SDOT for the dumpster and staging materials, and then got tagged by the parks department for not getting one from them as it used to Queen Anne Boulevard (boulevards are generally maintained by parks, not streets… ). When it became an avenue, parks never ceded their authority, which set off a big inernal turf war…

  • What? AGAIN?!? March 22, 2012 (7:19 pm)

    Ha! TR you just took the words right out of my mouth. But the stakes here are a privately held small business! They are being held hostage to incredible, inept bureaucratic buffoonery. Wow. I wish Marination luck in getting through this mess. Inexcusable Parks!

  • Walnut March 22, 2012 (7:25 pm)

    This is actually quite common. You would be surprised to see what the city actually has on file and been permitted properly.
    And yes, you as the homeowner are responsible for paying retroactive permit fees (based on project valuation) on anything not legally permitted. Go check your official assessed square footage and get back to me (ever see “buyer to verify” on a real estate listing?).

    A renovation under newer codes will often bring to light parts or uses of a structure that are not legally permitted.

    And no, the city has no budget or responsibility to police this (unless you file a formal complaint). Inspectors routinely do 10-20 visits daily to legally permitted projects requiring inspection.

  • sam-c March 22, 2012 (7:37 pm)

    just this evening, my husband was asking if the new Marination was open yet- he was going to lobby to go there for dinner. hate to have to tell him the bad news. 4 months? and that is what, just the land use permit, and the building permit would follow? just in time for them to open at the … end of summer

  • Ryan W March 22, 2012 (7:42 pm)

    Its no wonder restaurants fail in their first year. DPD shuffles paper and high 5’ing for months while calculating permit fees. Meanwhile, small business owners are jumping through hoops, paying rent & losing badly needed revenue because they’re not selling food.

  • Dan March 22, 2012 (7:45 pm)

    Meanwhile, no food or drink at Seacrest through high season most likely. Money could have been made for workers, owners and us poor citizens through royalty payments. The Mayor should be so proud.

    • WSB March 22, 2012 (8:11 pm)

      Dan – we just talked to Greg Whittaker of Alki Kayak Tours, who is officially the “interim concessionaire” for the site. He says that as part of that responsibility, his business will be providing beverages – though he doesn’t have the details worked out quite yet. – TR

  • dsa March 22, 2012 (7:54 pm)

    It reads as if the city is delaying the new business for a mistake it had nothing to do with.

  • old timer March 22, 2012 (8:17 pm)

    Hey, these civil servants have to justify their paychecks somehow.
    Each department no doubt has it’s own set of parameters against which the employee is measured, and I’m sure there is no mention of overall City Service and treatment of the tax/permit payer as a customer in those parameters.

    I’ll bet that customer satisfaction is nowhere in the bureaucratic lexicon, as that is not why the bureaucracy exists.
    They are there to create and then enforce rules.
    No product or service involved at all.

  • Dan March 22, 2012 (8:20 pm)

    Thanks TR. It’s not about me wanting concessions, it’s about the thousands of others who do and would pay for them, providing income for everyone connected to it as well as providing an active, fun please down there. Good for Greg. Now open that Tiki bar again! Rum for Everyone :)

  • Penny March 22, 2012 (8:22 pm)

    No wonder the food at alki crab and fish was so awful! They didn’t have to be held to restaurant cleanliness standards.

  • Mike March 22, 2012 (8:43 pm)

    not the fist time the city springs a ‘surprise, you need a permit to have a food service in a spot that previously had food service running for over a decade’… Meanwhile some paper pushers will shuffle files around and pass a signature here and there, eventually it’ll either get lost, end up in more paperwork to be completed or … if everyone is lucky, a restaurant can start business. Pathetic.
    Godspeed Marination! Guess I need to go buy some ‘beverages’ from Whittaker to say thank you.

  • DiverLaura March 22, 2012 (9:35 pm)

    In light of this delay, it would have made sense to leave ACF in place over the summer and do the hand off in the fall…

    Everyone is out revenue with the way things are ending up.

  • coffee March 22, 2012 (9:45 pm)

    DPD has to be the worst ever department. When we did a small business venture we did 8 trips down and had 7 different stories for our permitting. The last trip I said to the agent “get all supervisors together and I am not leaving till we all agree”. It took 5 hours and 4 people not agreeing on 1 small item before I got my plans passed. Oh, and there was no physical construction, only a use change….and the arguement, was over the counter location which was a 6 inch difference.

  • William March 22, 2012 (9:59 pm)

    Hahahaha way to go city of politically correct duplicate red tape privateers of anti business !!! Hey let’s get a permit to live and it would still take 4 months !!!! Yeah good job

  • orca March 22, 2012 (10:34 pm)

    It is a shame tht this small group of overpaid and incompetent public employees can continue to act like morons and upset the lives of the people they are suppose to serve.
    The problem is that the supervisors and managers are also uncivil servants and can see nothing wrong with the process.
    I had to deal with these people for 40 years. It gets worse each year. There is no oversight except in their own peer group. It is really sad.

  • Chrisd March 22, 2012 (10:35 pm)

    This is a story I’d like to see WSB cover, why it takes up to 4 months for permits. Get it done, everything else moves at a quick pace, what’s wrong with the system?

  • Ken March 22, 2012 (10:56 pm)

    Unfortunately, this is all too common in city and county government. Especially Seattle and King. Really shouldn’t be of a surprise to anyone. Apparently they have this mentality where they actually enjoy creating needless and endless suffering for small businesses. Boggles the mind of reasonable/intelligent people who are capable of actual thought processes. It’s no wonder local government agencies function in this way though – they are all made up of people who could not hold jobs in the real/private world of business. Especially the people responsible for permitting & licensing. So pathetic.

  • LookForward March 22, 2012 (11:07 pm)

    Anyone care to post the names and addresses of the DPD employees responsible for this? This problem can be traced directly back to an individual or individuals who should be held responsible for this theft.

    • WSB March 22, 2012 (11:43 pm)

      Chrisd, yes, we have a followup planned first thing. This news release/announcement came in at 5:35 pm tonight. We don’t go off duty, but the city folks we need to talk to are generally unreachable by then, though we sent a message to Marination first thing, and hope to speak with them in the morning. The DPD line for the land-use permit is here:
      Sorry, LF, it doesn’t include names. It does say the purpose is “Shoreline conditional use permit to expand a snack bar as a restaurant.”

  • Tracey March 23, 2012 (12:11 am)

    Why did Alki Crab & Fish close in the first place? I must have missed that story.

  • Johnycat March 23, 2012 (5:56 am)

    Quit whining people.

    All of the rules are laid out, in writing. A little RESEARCH and DUE DILIGENCE before jumping in to owning a seasonal business could have avoided this.

    I deal with DPD daily. Follow their rules (OK, I admit many seem senseless) and they are easy to get along with.

    This isn’t a case of the city coming down on someone. They are doing their JOB. The permitting rules are probably in place due to previous outrage about the city running wild with no oversight.

    Can everybody grow up, act like adults, and stop with the BLAME GAME?

  • Jack Loblaw March 23, 2012 (6:17 am)

    Marination should park their food truck outside of the building they are paying rent on and start business while the city gets it’s paperwork together.

  • Jasperblu March 23, 2012 (6:48 am)

    @LookForward called it for what it truly is… Theft.
    Trying to start a business in this economy is hard enough, without the city holding out their dirty palms for every dime and nickel they can get, then thwarting the process even further by asking for more permits, more inspections, and ultimately more time/money wasted. No wonder small businesses have such a hard time staying afloat. Trying to figure out how to navigate all these ridiculous hoops & miles of red tape is exhausting – and I’m not the person trying to open a little eatery at the beach.
    I wish Marination a speedy journey through this latest round of Gov’t imposed obstacles. We love your food, and we look forward to the opening @ Seacrest.
    TR – there is definitely a story here. At lesst one I’d be interested in hearing more on. How many other businesses in WS (&/or city wide) are struggling to just get their permits signed off on, before they can even open their doors, let alone start making a living? So frustrating!
    What a sad (and yet not surprising) commentary on government waste, and IMO, flat out greed. If only Occupy protesters would turn their focus to things like this. Gov’t is just as wasteful & careless, if not more so, than Corporate America. Why aren’t we holding *them* accountable first and foremost?

  • Four Months Is Nothing March 23, 2012 (7:32 am)

    Four months is not actually that long for a discretionary land use permit. Note that shoreline permits are controlled by state law and regulations in addition to local codes. For many projects establishing a commercial use, you’ve got local land use approvals, environmental review and public comment periods, Dept. of Ecology approval (for some shoreline uses), local (City-level) appeals, appeals to state-level review boards (Growth Management Hearings Board or Shoreline Hearings Board), then possible appeals to Superior Court and beyond. This process–especially where appeals are involved–can take years while the owner pays rent, taxes, etc. This happens every day, and it certainly is not unique to Seattle.

  • denise March 23, 2012 (7:42 am)

    The Parks department!!! It is their BS holding this up? Makes my blood boil. Let’s not forget the Myrtle Resevoir.
    I loved that little fish and chips place…of course it is gone. Everything you come to love and is a little different always goes away. The food was bad? Guess we went on a good day.

  • M March 23, 2012 (7:51 am)

    Maybe our valiant mayor can lend a hand, what’s his name again?

    At the DPD, the individuals you’ll be dealing with for a shoreline conditional use permit are John Shaw, Bill Mills, and Ben Perkowski. (As I mentioned earlier, i’ve been dealing with this racket for a while)

  • Jtk March 23, 2012 (8:05 am)

    Five dollars says they will park their truck down there and serve food anyway… the lines will be long but at least they will get some revenue…. It’s worth the wait in line!! :) YAY Marination! your food is AWESOME!… :)

  • Jack March 23, 2012 (8:12 am)

    Is it possible that Marination wanted to extend the existing kitchen into a space that was not
    previously a kitchen and this is causing the permit delay?

  • Kayleigh March 23, 2012 (10:05 am)

    I’m not a fan of I’m-a-victim-of-government thinking, but it seems like local government could support, encourage, and even assist small businesses who are playing by the rules and appear to be inflicting no harm to the environment, neighbors, etc. Successful small businesses benefit us all.
    Is there an ombudsman that can guide people through the maze of permits, regulations, paperwork, etc.?

  • james March 23, 2012 (10:23 am)

    Whining? The city should WANT to know what it’s constituents think so that it can either improve a perceived inefficient system or communicate the reasons the permitting process is setup the way it is.

  • NotMe March 23, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    Wow, there is some really strong sentiment out there. I hope some of you don’t actually live in West Seattle. Anyway, I am glad DPD exists, and I like that they are careful not to allow a business to just open without inspection, cleanliness, and safe to cook in. I don’t think they are able to go any faster due to so many cutbacks on staff – and it isn’t their choice to make some of you so angry over a restaurant trying to open where cars were fixed.

  • M March 23, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    Where cars were fixed?

  • Tracey March 23, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    Thanks for the December link, WSB. I had no idea there were problems. Everytime I’ve been around there it seemed pretty busy and popular.

    M – I think the other person meant to say “boat repairs”. Or, at least that is what DPD says this area had been used for in the past according to the statement in WSB’s article.

  • NotMe March 23, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    Boats…. sorry. I got a little excited. At any rate, I am just glad someone wants to make sure we don’t get poisoned. I agree that the time to get another inspection seems long, but it isn’t like DPD or the Dept of Public Health like having this backlog and they certainly don’t intend to hurt people trying to open a business.

  • M March 23, 2012 (7:40 pm)

    Since I’m a lifetime resident I remember when the original Seacrest Boathouse existed, they used to rent boats and maybe repaired them too. They went out of business in the late 1970’s. Glad DPD is finally catching up….

  • 35th March 23, 2012 (9:13 pm)

    I’m an engineer at a contracting company that frequently does business with city, state and the federal govt. if a problem comes up that requires a permit that wasn’t previously realized, we just explain that they will be charged the day rate weather we are working or not. After all, they are holding us up when we are ready to work. They usually push permits through within a matter of hours… When it comes to tax payers..well, you understand..our local govt is under manned and trying to be efficient by thinning out staff, etc.. we just cant do anything for you mr/ms taxpayer…. We usually get the same excuse when it comes time to get paid as well…
    If anybody wants to throw a beach bar-b-Q /slash/ sign holding protest at the old boathouse; Sign me up! I have absolutely no connection with marination but I get sick of the bureaucratic runaround too. If anybody is up for it email me at

    • WSB March 23, 2012 (9:31 pm)

      For those checking back, DPD was not able to find someone to talk to me until Monday. So that major part of the story is on hold till then. I did speak with Roz, co-owner of Marination, today and expect to publish that over the weekend as an update to what Parks announced late Thursday – TR

Sorry, comment time is over.