day : 25/07/2013 13 results

Followup: Benchview neighborhood wins key ruling in lot-split fight

(UPDATED FRIDAY MORNING with comment from City Attorney’s Office – scroll down)

(WSB photo taken tonight: Original house at right, under-construction house at left)
8:52 PM: King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman‘s ruling is in, following last Friday’s hearing (WSB coverage here) on the Benchview neighborhood’s fight over boundaries for three potential home sites where one house had stood for decades. We’ve just downloaded the court documents, after getting e-mail with this link to the neighbors’ report on the ruling. While Judge Spearman ruled for the city on two technical points, she ruled against the big point the neighborhood had challenged – the configuration the city had approved for the “lot boundary adjustment” to create three building lots on the site at 55th and Manning, shown in this graphic enhanced by neighbor David Allen:

We’re going back through the court document for more details and will add to this followup.

ADDED 9:31 PM: Here’s the 13-page ruling (PDF); embedded, below:

Judge's ruling in Benchview neighborhood challenge to city-approved lot split

Do note, this case was NOT a lawsuit – it was a challenge brought under the Land Use Petition Act.

From the ruling – the two points on which Judge Spearman sided with the city: One, that it was proper for the city to say the “historic lot exception” applied here; though only one home sat on the corner for 60 years, the land technically was four lots, platted at 2500 square feet. The city had already ruled that one of those lots could not be considered separate because part of it “is needed to satisfy the current rear yard requirement for the existing house.” Two, that it was OK for the owner/developers’ application to have been treated as a Lot Boundary Adjustment case that did not require more public involvement.

The point on which the neighborhood won involves a deck whose presence, as the judge sees it, consolidates three of the four “lots” into one because it juts over the line, and therefore requires the city to change its calculations for the minimum allowable lot size. As a result, one of the three newly boundary-adjusted lots is too small, the judge ruled.

The question now is whether the city will challenge the judge’s ruling. We’ll be seeking comment tomorrow. We originally reported in January on the neighborhood’s concerns.

ADDED 1:23 AM: We asked Benchview’s Dave Allen for comment:

We are thrilled that Judge Spearman made a key ruling in favor of the Benchview neighborhood. By reversing the City’s approval of part of the lot boundary adjustment, the rest of the LBA falls apart and is nullified.

We trust the City will comply with the judge’s decision. The developer can submit a fresh LBA application. But according to City law, the house he is building on the property now disqualifies him from claiming three total lots. Now he only has two.

Two houses on these two lots has always been the fair and reasonable solution. Now it’s the law.

ADDED 10:03 AM FRIDAY: As promised, we contacted the City Attorney’s Office. From spokesperson Kimberly Mills: “We are considering the judge’s ruling. As always, the options include doing nothing (accepting the ruling), seeking reconsideration from the judge, or appealing to the Division One of the Court of Appeals. We have not yet resolved which option to pursue.”

Happening now: Swingin’ night on the lawn as Summer Concerts at Hiawatha begin

It’s the first night of this year’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series, and swing/jazz seems perfect for this warm summer night on the east lawn of Hiawatha Community Center, where Glenn Crytzer and His Syncopators are playing for a crowd we estimate to be at least 300 so far, with people still drifting in:

And some are already dancing, both near the stage and on the edges of the crowd:

The concerts are presented by the Admiral Neighborhood Association, led by president David Whiting:

He introduced tonight’s emcee, Victoria Ferrulli, who is representing ANA in the Seafair Scholarship Program for Women (one of two West Seattle representatives in this year’s competition, along with Hi-Yu‘s Kayli Schulz):

We’ll find out Saturday night, before the Torchlight Parade, who gets crowned as Seafair royalty. Meantime – concert sponsors are here at Hiawatha, including us, and some have special freebies – next to our table, Merrill Gardens (WSB sponsor) has coloring books, and over under the canopy, Metropolitan Market (also a WSB sponsor) has mini-brownie bites with coupons for a discount on more:

The music continues until about 8 pm, and it’s a big lawn, so bring your chair/blanket if you’re not here already, bring a picnic if you want – it’s a really casual environment and a great place to be outside on a midsummer night. Next week (Thursday, August 1st, 6:30 pm) it’ll be The Dusty 45s – and if you want a dinner option, there’ll be a barbecue benefiting Hiawatha.

7:49 PM UPDATE: ANA’s estimate of tonight’s peak crowd (starting to dwindle now), 400 people.

4755 Fauntleroy alley spat: Development team defends its ‘public benefit’ plan; Whole Foods says, ‘We’re a good employer’

In the second week since the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project – 370 apartments, a Whole Foods Market, and other TBA retailers – was catapulted into the citywide spotlight by a mayoral letter, we heard yesterday from the advocacy group rallying concerns, and now, today, we hear again from the development team and WF. Reps for Lennar Homes and Weingarten Realty tell WSB they are still hoping to engage the mayor directly in dialogue, but for now, here’s their defense of the “public benefit” they are proposing as a prerequisite for City Council approval of an “alley vacation” for the site, which would lead to the city selling the alley land in question to the developers, which the mayor says the city shouldn’t do:

… This is the first project implemented under the West Seattle Triangle Plan and is an exciting opportunity for the community to have the environmental issues on this site remediated, abandoned buildings removed, and vacant parking lots replaced with new businesses, housing and, most of all, jobs.

Early in this process, the development team reviewed the planning and zoning documents for these parcels and we were impressed with the grass-roots effort that created and implemented the West Seattle Triangle Plan.

Accordingly, this re-development fully supports the recommendations of the community as expressed in the West Seattle Triangle Plan. This vision, passed by Council and signed by Mayor McGinn less than two years ago, includes vacating the public alleyway and creating a midblock connector.

The proposal to vacate an on-site alley went through extensive vetting by DPD, SDOT, the Design Commission and the West Seattle Design Review Board. Under the City’s established process, the Design Commission unanimously recommended approval of the alley vacation and the West Seattle Design Review Board also recommended approval of the project. Strong public support in favor of the re-development was seen at all meetings and is also seen in comments posted on media websites.

The total width of the midblock connector is 51 feet on 40th Avenue and 41 feet on Fauntleroy Way. This is the normal width of a typical city street in Seattle and exceeds the minimum required standards for an alley, which are just 20 feet.

Along with providing a new midblock connector that is more than twice as wide as the requirements of an alley, this redevelopment will also create a functioning north/south alley. Currently, the existing alley that runs north and south, dead ends into a 6’-0” high retaining wall and is impassable for vehicles or pedestrians.

Although we are replacing approximately 6,600 square feet of vacated alley with a 11,000-square-foot midblock connector, which includes a public easement, the city requires us to purchase the vacated portion of the alley from the city. This transaction will occur after a post-construction appraisal is completed.

In addition to purchasing the vacated alley from the city at full-market value, we are required to provide a “public benefit” package. For this project, more than $2 million will be invested into the community by providing:

• Activation of a city-designated Green Street on 40th Ave. SW
• Creation of 5,000+ s.f. of public plazas and open space on site
• Widening of 40th Ave. SW on the north end of the block
• Creation of 6- to 10-foot-wide bands of landscaping around the project
• Addition of a 5-foot-wide bike lane on Fauntleroy Way
• Curation and installation of public art
• Funding for design of a new city park on 40th Ave SW

Another positive outcome of the re-development will be a new source of sales and property tax revenues for the city.

Through all of this and more, we are demonstrating a strong commitment to the community, and West Seattle will benefit from a blighted area being re-developed into a thriving, pedestrian-friendly business and residential district.

Meantime, Whole Foods – which is not part of the “development team” but rather a signed tenant for the project – has sent us its latest rebuttal. From regional president Joe Rogoff, from whom we first heard July 16th (in a statement toward the end of our story the day the controversy erupted):
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West Seattle road work: Delridge-area changes next week

Though the current phase of the Delridge Repaving Project has not required detours, because the road is wide enough for one lane each way, there will be changes in the area next week, SDOT just announced – read on:

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Home broken into; gas siphoned

Two quick West Seattle Crime Watch notes to share. First, from Sue in Gatewood:

My house was (burglarized) in broad daylight (Wednesday) between 9:30-11 AM. I live on SW Elmgrove between California and 41st. They entered through a side window using a screwdriver and left through the front door. I have 2 large dogs who bark a lot but aren’t vicious who were unharmed. They took mostly jewelry, 2 cameras, iPod, small amount of cash.

And from Erika:

Last week, my boyfriend and myself had someone siphon gas and take our gas caps some time during the night on Alki Avenue. We live next to Anchor Park.

SIDE NOTE: We’re pitching it again – hurry up and register your Night Out block party for August 6th – and if it’s OK for us to possibly stop by for a photo, send the location (and who to ask for) to – thanks!

West Seattle summer: 3rd annual Luna Park Block Party set

Just noticed this on the Luna Park marquee while passing through that business district – its third annual Block Party is now set for three weeks from today. And now we have the official announcement, featuring some new partners this year:

Ola Salon in the Luna Park neighborhood of West Seattle will be participating in the 3rd annual Luna Park Block Party, which they are leading along with Luna Park Café, on Thursday, August 15, 2013 from 6:00 pm-9:00 pm. This year’s party has more fun activities than ever, and will support two neighborhood nonprofits: Transitional Resources, a neighborhood mental health center, and Kitty Harbor, a cat rescue, rehabilitation and adoption center. Participants will also have a chance to get a preview of the new West Seattle Brewing Company’s offerings.

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New way to try to find out what that helicopter’s doing overhead: King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support on Twitter

(Photo tweeted today by @KCSOAirSupport)
Sometimes when a helicopter’s hovering, it’s TV – three of the four major regional TV stations have helicopters, and staff them into the early evening hours on weekdays. But sometimes, especially if it’s after dark, it’s Guardian One, the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that assists other law-enforcement agencies too (including Seattle PD, which does not have its own helicopter). And now there’s a new way to try to find out what Guardian One is up to if you suspect it’s what you are seeing or hearing: A new Twitter feed, @KCSOAirSupport. Even if you are not a Twitter member, you can still access that via the Web, or better yet, we’re adding it to the mix in the Twitter box on the WSB West Seattle Crime Watch page, so that you can check there.

Admiralty House Antiques’ closing sale: Owner Fred Dau recalls ‘wonderful, wonderful people’

Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Admiralty House Antiques, the North Admiral shop that’s been open a day here, a day there, for many of its 40-plus years, opens for three final – and consecutive! – days starting tomorrow.

It’s the liquidation sale we first told you about three weeks ago.

Owner Fred Dau (above) says that at 97 years old, “I’ve worked long enough, I thought I didn’t need to go do more work.”

But what really forced the decision was the death of his wife Marjorie, the day after Christmas last year. “That stopped it all, anyhow.”

Admiralty House’s classic brick storefront is still full of what truly qualifies for some of those classic terms – knickknacks, bric-a-brac, trinkets, memorabilia.

Some of it, says Chris Foss, whose Foss Estate Sales is handling the liquidation sale, has likely never been out as inventory before.

Fred told us during a recent interview in the shop that a few special things are not for sale, though.

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Love soccer? Try futsal! 4-week kids’ clinic in West Seattle

July 25, 2013 11:05 am
|    Comments Off on Love soccer? Try futsal! 4-week kids’ clinic in West Seattle
 |   West Seattle news | WS & Sports

From West Seattle Soccer Club board member Stefan Persson:

We have partnered with Seattle Futsal to bring an August Futsal Clinic session to West Seattle.

Futsal is a fast paced and fun indoor version of soccer that places an emphasis on skill development and decision-making. It is a great complement to outdoor soccer.

The session will be held at the Madison Middle School Gym on each of the 4 Tuesday evenings in August. Registration is open to kids between U8-U13 (7 to 12 years old). The fee, which includes a Seattle Futsal T-shirt, is $65 and covers an hour-long clinic with professional training/instruction, followed by a short scrimmage. The clinic is open to individuals, so no need to register as a team. Capacity is limited and we recommend registering right away!

The registration link is on the Seattle Futsal web page.

Big day of fun August 17th – including Lucha Libre in South Park

(WSB/The South Park News photo from 2012 Lucha Libre)
August 17th will be another one of those HUGE days. Here in West Seattle, the Delridge Day festival (presented by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council with co-sponsors including WSB) is happening 11 am-4 pm at Delridge Community Center/Park, with this year’s Picnic at the Precinct co-locating there the same day. Meantime, our neighbors in South Park host the Duwamish River Festival noon-4 pm that day, with THIS big just-confirmed fun – a third year of Lucha Libre, Mexican-style masked wrestling following at 6 pm – read on for the official announcement:
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West Seattle Thursday: Summer Concerts at Hiawatha kickoff; more

2013-07-23 Awesome fog

Another view of the shadows the downtown skyline can cast on West Seattle at sunrise this time of year – though we featured a semi-similar photo here recently, we couldn’t resist this view with the setting moon and one of the fog banks that shrouded our peninsula a few mornings recently. Thanks to Flickr member Zargoman for sharing the photo via the West Seattle Blog group on Flickr. No fog today! Actually, we do have fog on the water today – at least on the west side, and we’re adding Greg‘s photo as proof (maybe you’ve heard the ferry horns!):

(added) And from the northeast-facing shore, this photo from Brian Presser:

NOW to the calendar highlights:

‘DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE’ PUPPET SHOW: 11 am, for ages 2 and up, at Southwest Branch Library. Details here. (35th/Henderson)

WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 11 am meeting at the West Seattle Golf Course with local legislators scheduled to brief them on the sessions just past. Plus, a silent auction of costume jewelry with bidding 11:15-11:45. General info in the calendar listing, and watch the WSDW website for upcoming meetings, since lunch/dinner RSVPs are needed several days in advance. (4470 35th SW)

LOG HOUSE MUSEUM: The home of West Seattle history is open noon-4 pm, Thursdays-Sundays, just a block inland from the heart of Alki. (61st/Stevens)

(added) BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS SOCIAL: Summer Social for the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network replaces their July meeting – join them tonight at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), for complimentary appetizers, no-host bar, and a chance to pick up materials for your Night Out block party. 6-9 pm. (1936 Harbor Ave. SW)

SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA BEGIN: The Admiral Neighborhood Association-presented six-concert summertime series, co-sponsored by WSB, kicks off tonight with classic jazz and swing from Glenn Crytzer and His Syncopators. (See a video clip in our Wednesday preview.) Bring your own chair/blanket to the east lawn (along Walnut Avenue) of Hiawatha Community Center; show starts at 6:30. Free.

‘THE WAY OUT’: Last of three extended weekends for the Acrobatic Conundrum‘s presentation at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; showtime tonight is 7:30 pm. Details in the calendar listing. (4408 Delridge Way SW)


July 25, 2013 7:48 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday updates
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; other cameras are on the WSB Traffic page)
So far, this morning’s commute challenges aren’t on the routes leaving here. But here’s another reminder about the weekend traffic alerts:

*Friday night/early Saturday, midnight to 5 am, I-5 southbound under the Convention Center downtown will be closed for fire-system testing
*Saturday night, the Seafair Torchlight Run will close northbound Highway 99 from approximately 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm. There will also be bus changes downtown because of the run and the Seafair Torchlight Parade that follows.

ADDED 11:51 AM: Details of those bus changes:

Riders should plan ahead and prepare for rerouted bus service and potential delays on Saturday, July 27, from about 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., as Metro Transit shifts 35 bus routes in the Seattle Center, downtown Seattle and Alaskan Way Viaduct areas for the Seafair Torchlight fun runs and parade. Other transit and traffic delays can be expected Saturday as a major event at Key Arena lets out, the Capitol Hill Block Party rocks on and the Mariners are in town.

Ride transit to Torchlight

While most buses that operate on surface streets in the Seattle Center and downtown Seattle areas will be rerouted, riding transit is still the best way to get to these events, as traffic will be congested and parking downtown will be limited. Rerouted buses go to within one or two blocks of the parade route.

Friday-Sunday: Pine Street weekend bus service revisions

Part of the impacts start Friday evening, July 26, when Pine Street bus service is rerouted until midday Sunday due to the grandstand placement at Fourth Avenue.

Saturday evening bus service revisions
While the parade begins at 7:30 p.m., transit service changes begin earlier. From about 6 p.m. Saturday, July 27, until the end of the parade, the entire length of Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle will be closed, and nearly all east/west streets will also be blocked at Fourth Avenue. Many buses will be rerouted and there will likely be schedule delays. Delays in one area can cause delays at other points along a bus’s routing.

Buses with reroutes include RapidRide C and D lines, Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 24, 26, 28, 33, 36, 40, 43, 47, 49, 66, 70, 83, 84, 99, 120, 125, 131, 132, and Sound Transit routes 522, 545 and 554. Refer to the posted information for each route to see what stops might be missed.

During the Seafair Torchlight Run events, starting prior to the parade at about 5:30 p.m., the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed for about one hour until the runners clear that area. Northbound Viaduct buses will operate via I-5 during this time. The southbound Viaduct is not affected and will remain open.

Starting at 6 p.m., while the Seattle Center area is affected by parade activities, Metro will operate a Route 4 shuttle about every 20 minutes to and from Nob Hill Avenue. At Seattle Center board the Route 4 shuttle northbound on First Avenue North, just south of Republican Street. It will serve all regularly posted bus stops along its route.

Also starting at 6 p.m. – and until traffic and crowds clear afterward – Metro bus routes 120, 124, 125, 131 and 132 will serve a temporary bus stop southbound on Third Avenue between Pike and Union streets, instead of their usual stop between Pine and Pike streets. South of Union Street they will serve their regularly posted stops along Third Avenue.

Most transit service will return to its regular routing and stops at 10:30 p.m., except Pine Street service will remain rerouted until about midday Sunday when the parade grandstand is removed.

4:54 PM: Headed outbound? Beware northbound 99, which is down to one lane because of a crash in the Lander vicinity.

Demolition, bike lane, park concerns @ quarterly Morgan meeting

(2012 photo of Lowman Beach Park and CSO project site to its east, by Long Bach Nguyen)
Almost a year after King County fenced off the vacant homes/apartments on the Lowman Beach site of the future Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project storage tank, demolition will begin soon. That’s what the Morgan Community Association heard at its July meeting, in an e-mail from county project rep Doug Marsano, read by MoCA president Deb Barker. Since the meeting, we have asked Marsano for more timetable specifics; his reply:

King County’s contractor Tiger Construction & Excavation is finalizing its safety and traffic control plans, so initial work will begin in early August. The contractor will start with hazardous-material abatement inside the buildings, which will last about two and a half weeks. After that, salvageable materials will be removed from the buildings and then demolition will occur. After the buildings are down, the contractor will fill in the foundations with soil to ensure the site remains stable and safe until facility construction begins later this year. The deconstruction work will be complete by the end of September.

The million-gallon tank is to be built on what were six residential lots in the 7000 block of Beach Drive, bought by the county – which had said it would acquire them via the “eminent domain” law if it had to – for a total of more than $4.3 million, according to public records. It is part of a project meant to reduce sewage/stormwater overflows into Puget Sound from the nearby Murray Pump Station. According to Marsano’s letter to MoCA, the facility contractor is Shimmick Construction of Oakland, California.

Ahead, other notes from MoCA’s meeting – including the city Bicycle Master Plan Update and safety/beautification concerns for Morgan Junction Park:

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