West Seattle development update: Comment deadline approaching for Morgan Junction project

First came the scrawled comment on the signboard that wasn’t up yet when we first reported on a south Morgan Junction project that includes a 30-apartment, no-parking-space building:

Now there’s a printed, taped-up sheet with a more eloquent plea to the passerby, and a response to the scrawler, starting, “Sadly, they are not kidding”:

To be specific, as a commenter reminded readers on a separate development story published here last night, the deadline for commenting on the 6917 California SW proposal is five days away – Wednesday, November 13th (unless someone has asked the city for the two-week extension that’s usually available by request).

Since we broke the news of this proposed project in mid-October, most attention has been focused on the apartment building; as we noted then, six additional housing units are planned on the two lots north of the site, all of which have descriptions/preliminary listings online:
*Townhouse A at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse B at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse C at 6911 California SW
*Townhouse D at 6911 California SW
*Single-family home at 6913 California SW
*Single-family home at 6915 California SW

The 36 total units are proposed for three lots on which three old homes currently sit, the second, third, and fourth north of the northwest corner of California and Mills. To comment on the proposal, follow the instructions on the official notice; separate comments would be needed to mention the other parts of the project, including the lot-boundary adjustment proposed to outline the sites of the three components.

(More development updates later.)

38 Replies to "West Seattle development update: Comment deadline approaching for Morgan Junction project"

  • evergreen November 9, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    No parking? Yeah, that will create a huge mess. Guess I’ll avoid shopping or eating over there.

  • NW November 9, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    Just commented against this project with the link provided to do so. Thanks WSB for providing the link and getting the word out to us in the community.

  • HA November 9, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    I just commented too. Super easy via the link. The reckless approval of new housing without acknowledging increasing infrastructure needs is sad and frustrating. Thank you for keeping us informed!

  • mas November 9, 2013 (6:20 pm)

    Left my comment via the provided link as well. Zero proposed parking in this area while adding density and cutting back on public transportation options is irresponsible.

  • Andrew November 9, 2013 (6:26 pm)

    Ya, go comment. It’s super easy, and this sort of thing needs to be stopped. Please go not let them destroy W. Seattle any more than it already is.

  • patt November 9, 2013 (6:46 pm)

    The 5 or 6 blocks from Calif/Faunt RRC hub may be about = to where their cars would be parked.
    Looks like after the proposed change the only buses, besides the C, are peak. Oh, the peak time buses are only 4 blocks down on Fauntleroy.

    The link is super easy. tks

  • anne November 9, 2013 (7:25 pm)

    Are there specific individuals on the city council and/or King County council who we can write to, who have some influence in how the codes are determined that are allowing for this amazing & sudden increase in large density housing developments? By the time it gets to the point of appealing to proposals or design boards, it feels too late. Thanks,

  • Anonymous November 9, 2013 (11:41 pm)

    added my comment. that was super simple. hopefully a lot of people will send their comments.

  • Sean November 10, 2013 (9:28 am)

    comment added, yes it is easy. this is the time!

  • Also November 10, 2013 (9:42 am)

    This comment thread (as well as all comment threads regarding new construction) is an outstanding example of how people love to move to west seattle and think no one else should be able to. If it’s not over the top complaining about parking, it’s over the top complaining about traffic or the fact that transit exists. Guess what, these future people who may or may not want to move to west Seattle aka BFE are not the problem. It’s the people already here who think they’re so exceptional that not only are their actions never the cause of any problems, but that they also seem to know the answer to all these issues as well. The fact of the matter is there isn’t a parking problem anywhere in west seattle and the existing complainers do nothing but contribute to traffic every morning sitting solo in their cars on the bridge day in day out.

  • Beehive November 10, 2013 (10:01 am)

    Big thanks to WSB for sharing the stories with links that make it easy to add my opinion! I used to be so proud and in love with this city that I’ve called my home since 1980. But it has gotten out of control with greedy developers, over building, over populating and super poor planning! Too many new housing developments for thousands of new residents with few transportation options in and out of our neighborhoods! To add insult to injury we give breaks to the money hungry developers by not requiring parking spots, under the guise of: We are so green and causing less of a footprint by forcing people to ride a public transit system that sucks and is super scary to ride and wait for due to all the crime that surrounds all public transit! So, city planners and who ever else is responsible for this mess you are creating: Pull your hands out of your lined pockets and your heads out of your… Because our transportation options not only suck but they are also unsafe and therefor way too scary to ride. The mess of Public transit needs to be fixed BEFORE you can overcrowd our neighborhoods without requiring parking spots. And Rent control needs to be implemented. High rents are forcing all the little people to move north and/or south of the city which is really creating all the overcowding transportation issues! You can’t have a city without all the little people!

  • Think about it November 10, 2013 (11:16 am)

    I think you’re missing the point. Developments like this set a precedent. Asking a developer to be thoughtful about the community isn’t as selfish as the developer who is most likely only in it for the money. Have you been following the updates? How many of these developments get sold before they are even completed, or just after they are completed? They don’t care about the traffic, the residents or the people who will be living in the developments. In fact, I bet they live in neighborhoods where this would never happen. Why can’t we all be concerned about the greater good of the community instead of always blaming? If you dislike West Seattle and it’s residents so much perhaps you should find another place to live?

  • Rob November 10, 2013 (11:29 am)

    @Also….I don’t know that we’re upset about development itself….this project is bringing 30 microumit apartments with no parking to an already congested residential area where street parking is over capacity. Those of us who live adjacent to the project are greatly concerned that the lack of onsite parking will push dozens or more cars onto street parking that’s already hard to get. In addition, the developer has not opted to do a design review with the neighborhood, even thought this project will have huge asthetic impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

    Many of us are organizing to ask DPD and this developer to reconsider the parking and design review aspects of this project. For anyone interested in getting involved, contact morganneighbors@hotmail.com

  • Patt November 10, 2013 (11:32 am)

    As a bus commuter and a long time residents of SW. My husband grew up here.
    We have live in the more densely populated areas of Seattle. We know what crowded is. We have no problem with crowded.
    There have been a lot of changes in SW.
    I don’t know what you have been reading “also” these discussions have been about:

    <New construction without thought
    <The fact that good transit DOES NOT exist any more
    <If one live some place they might be a better insight to problems
    <Parking problems? Buses? Viaduct? Codes?

    An Urban Village is planned. Rapid Ride is put in. Codes are changed to make it easer to build denser and without onsite parking because of the bus system etc.

    Then (no $) other bus lines are decimated, and the Viaduct will be torn down 2 years before the tunnel is finished. Trans funding runs out 2 years before tunnel is finished.

    NO CHANGE IN CODES or funding. All this growth is going on without the infrastructure planned or promised .

    Have you ever tried to find a parking space on any bus route? People drive up and park near the bus lines to catch buses into town. These routes used to be walking distance.

    On a good day traffic stops around Avalon and Charlestown. The other day it was 35th and Alaska. This is WITH the Viaduct. These discussions are needed, your voice too I suppose. Because without it I wouldn't get PO and write this.

  • Mike November 10, 2013 (11:47 am)

    “Also”. Many people, some who have lived in West Seattle a relatively short time as well as others who have lived here for generations believe that projects should conform to the normal standards of this community.

    True there are people who could carpool/public trans/bike/walk/ect. that make the personnel decision to drive, but that has nothing to do with projects that are out of character with the normal standards of this community. Most of us drive cars, that is true now and into the forseeable future. It is not unreasonable to expect that the developer/builder/owner provide ample space to park residents, visitiors, and customers cars.

    • WSB November 10, 2013 (12:25 pm)

      Thank you all for discussing with substance and remaining relatively civil when disagreeing. Just one small correction so it doesn’t distract – Patt mentioned the viaduct-mitigation money that is also expiring for Metro. The viaduct will NOT be torn down before the tunnel is complete. (What remains of it, that is, since remember, a mile of it already has been demolished and replaced.) Metro explains the mitigation situation in detail here:
      The continued impacts will include Viaduct demolition post-tunnel and other waterfront work which Metro estimates will continue until 2019, affecting the corridor that includes West Seattle Bridge to downtown, as well as the “diversion” that is likely because of tunnel tolls.

  • Joe Szilagyi November 10, 2013 (12:30 pm)

    As always, the next West Seattle Transportation Coalition Board meeting is this Tuesday at 630pm at High Point Neighborthood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW. We will be announcing our structure–what groups and committees you can help on. Please come on by:

  • patt November 10, 2013 (12:33 pm)

    Good news, tks. TR
    “The viaduct will NOT be torn down before the tunnel is complete.”

  • cjboffoli November 10, 2013 (2:31 pm)

    I agree with Also. I think that developers including off-street parking spaces in new developments will irresponsibly encourage people to use more cars which is not a smart plan for the future of this city. The whole point of building denser urban villages is to provide more people with living options that do not depend on a car. With the discussion about Metro transit cuts this week there is definitely a valid conversation to be had about how government is failing in its plan to manage the non-car transportation needs of West Seattle. But as much as the criticism of new development seems to be an endless, muddy mix of angst based on the “lost character” of West Seattle, new buildings fitting within some arbitrary existing context of neighborhoods, rising rents, etc. I think the truth is that many of these arguments are a red herring for people simply not wanting to change the very comfortable, easy use of their private cars. I don’t understand what would give me the right to tell anyone they cannot come and live here in West Seattle. Nor do I have any more right than anyone else to park my car on the street. We have lots more space around here for more people. We just don’t have enough space for all of the cars. And I’m not wiling to join the chorus of people choosing cars over people.

  • bajawh November 10, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    I taped the message on the signboard asking the community to give their input. It’s gratifying to see so many thoughtful and deeply-felt comments coming from all sides on this issue.
    I wanted to say that I’m not one of the people who thinks no one can move to West Seattle. I’m not sure anyone here is really saying that. There’s room for many more, they’re going to come regardless, and we should be welcoming of our new neighbors. Nor is the issue really the false choice between people vs. cars.
    The issue is we live here, our kids go to school here, some of us work here, and we should at least have a little input about the large projects that are going change our views, our streets, the way we get around and the many other real and immediate impacts on our quality of life.
    In these situations I believe it’s helpful to be as specific as possible. Here are the comments I submitted regarding this project:
    “The proposal to build such a large structure at 6917 California Ave SE with so many new residents while not including provisions for on-site parking is problematic in many ways. First, we must assume that residents of this new building will be car owners. To assume that none or very few of the proposed residents will own cars is to ignore the prevailing realities of the area:
    • Relative to other parts of the city, West Seattle is isolated. Bus service from this site is not comprehensive. For the sake of commuting or travel to the many parts of the city not serviced conveniently by bus, car ownership will be essential.
    • Morgan Junction is not yet, nor will become in the foreseeable future, a place where it’s possible to live/work/shop. Many of the essential shopping needs (clothing, housing needs, big box retailers, et al.) must currently be satisfied outside of the Morgan Junction area or West Seattle itself. Similarly, the critical mass of jobs in the Morgan Junction area needed to support the live/work/shop model will not be a reality in the near future.
    The residents of this proposed building will own cars. Where will they be parked and what impact will that have on the current housing and business situation? On a typical night there are roughly a dozen parking places total on both sides of California Avenue within two blocks of the proposed site. There are fewer still on the narrow and already congested Mills and Willow side streets. Current street parking near the proposed site is not realistically adequate to meet the expected demand, the more so as six additional housing units/homes will be built next door, which can also be expected to increase street parking needs.
    The lack of street parking will affect businesses near Frontenac Street and near the Junction itself, as residents will take up the spots normally used short term by customers of these businesses. There will no longer be guest parking available on the street for anybody visiting the many residents of the older apartment buildings on the east side of California Avenue. And more cars jammed up on a busy thoroughfare and on already congested side streets will markedly reduce visibility of schoolchildren walking to and from Gatewood Elementary.
    All of the medium and larger apartment complexes in this area have on-site parking. Most of the townhouse constructions do as well. This proposed construction is unique in that it becomes the largest of the new constructions, and the only one, not to have parking on-site. The proposal could charitably be called “forward thinking” instead of the easy budget-cutting move it appears to be, but that would require a serious and sober analysis of what the actual future might be, not the builder’s apparent assumption of an already established urban village.
    I urge you to reconsider the design of this site and the proposed lack of parking. Because community interest in the design of this site is increasing, I am also requesting a two-week extension of the comment period deadline.”

    • WSB November 10, 2013 (4:07 pm)

      Thank you, Bajawh! We live about a mile south and pass by multiple times daily, so the note caught my eye, and we pulled over to check it out. Please let us know if/when you get word of the extension – I will make a note to check with DPD tomorrow, too.
      Along with commenting on specific projects and advocating for city-code improvements, it occurs to me that community advocates might also consider advising the city to clarify the signs itself. Imagine a sign broken down into bits of information like:
      What’s coming here?
      Project type:
      What kind of reviews/permits does it need?
      How can you have a say?
      What’s the deadline?
      For our part, I’ll try for a clearer format of including the comment links when we report on projects. Sometimes we find them (as was the case with this one) BEFORE the official notice, so no comment form was available at that point, but if you have a project #, which is always assigned VERY early on, you can get a comment in somehow. – TR

  • ACH November 10, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    Very easy to post a comment. Thank you for posting the link, WSB.

  • Gatewooder November 10, 2013 (8:33 pm)

    The lack of parking with this project is a huge problem in itself, but I recommend that everybody also take a look at the building plans that have been submitted to DPD. This is basically a Motel 6 – without the parking.

  • Bajawh November 10, 2013 (8:43 pm)

    Thanks, Tracy. These are great points. The project signs are often opaque and lack obvious information (like a Web site). They sit there for a long time and we’ve all gotten used to ignoring them. I’m glad we paid attention to this one.
    As commenter Rob noted above, there is a group currently organized around this issue. I contacted them tonight and they’re moving smartly on different fronts. They’ve got online petitions to sign and other forms of comment and action.
    Contact them to get involved. It’s easy!

  • Michelle November 10, 2013 (8:51 pm)

    Count me in, I will send a letter rejecting this irresponsible building in our neighborhood. Thank-You to everyone getting involved to help fight this destruction of our neighborhood.

  • (required) November 10, 2013 (11:58 pm)

    I for one won’t get in the way. I love it when developers abuse the city’s pro-developer/anti-neighborhood rules to pad their retirement accounts selling cheap cheap cheap townhomes and other awful garbage that wrecks neighborhoods. After all, sure it reminds us that the Dan Duffusses of the world are garbage and filth who would beat up their own grandmother for a buck — but this kind of awful development serves as yet another wake-up call that the rules need to change and that our city is not leading….our city is following the almighty buck while leaving neighborhoods to fend for themselves against deep-pocketed greedhead developers like Duffus. If Seattle cares about development that’s good for neighborhoods and good for Seattle long-term, it would actually make it hard for developers to do this kind of reckless awful stuff to our neighborhoods. Maybe with McGinn gone things might change? My bet is the developer behind this project knows they can get away with murder and laugh all the way to the bank. I think it’s more important for the rules to change than for the people living in this neighborhood to be saved at this point. IMHO, blame the city for allowing this to happen, not the developer, but let’s actually see the rules changed so this kind of thing never happens again.

  • ws_interloper November 11, 2013 (8:18 am)

    Interesting emotions on this one.

    Complaints on capitalism. They’re developers. They build, make money, and leave. That’s the model we have.

    Complaints on parking. Hard to get traction with the rationale of not wanting anyone else to park on a public street that will impair your ability to park on said street.

    Complaints on traffic AND parking. If each unit had two dedicated off-street spaces free with rent, how would that affect what kind of tenants are attracted? What would those cars mean for traffic?

  • evergreen November 11, 2013 (9:30 am)

    I may eventually buy one of those “cheap” condos because housing is becoming unaffordable again (can’t leave WS b/c my child is thriving here). I am not against foot traffic and housing. The lack of parking for these homes is a huge problem, however. Their cars will go somewhere — likely in front of other people’s homes, causing other home owners to lose their current parking. If cars park overnight in front of businesses, eventually these spaces will need to be metered. It will be more difficult to shop the local businesses if there is competition for parking. In Pittsburgh, another neighborhood focused city with increasing urban development, people actually put chairs in front of their homes to “save” their parking spaces. What a mess.

  • Heidi Heidenreich November 11, 2013 (11:13 am)

    The urban village seems to be an accepted notion. While I applaud the city’s attempts to decrease car usage, the Morgan Junction Area does not have the necessities of living so those of us living here must use cars or depend on the bus system. That system may soon experience serious cutbacks in service thus placing more cars on the road. These proposed new developments may further increase the number of cars using the roads and parking spaces near Gatewood Elementary School and complicate the WS bridge rush hour traffic. I’m not at all sure that was
    the vision of the “urban village”, rather it has become “urban congestion”.

  • cowpie November 11, 2013 (12:06 pm)

    People have to live somewhere. One child per couple for the next two generations. Drop the population to 1/4 of what it is today. That’ll take care of your development problem.

  • Eric N. November 11, 2013 (1:41 pm)

    I think it might be easier to pass legislation that forces new construction to account for the cars of its tenants than to force population control.

  • Moose November 11, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    I think population growth is a given, so for me, the key question is: Where should that growth go?

    For a number of reasons, I feel that growth should be funneled to existing urban areas like West Seattle. This of course means change, some of which we will like, some of which we will not. But I don’t think we can just pretend that we can keep growth out.

    I find it perplexing that commenters express concern over the lack of affordable housing, but then also insist that new developments include parking. Structured parking drives up the cost of development substantially — often as much $10,000 to $15,000 per parking space. Those costs are passed onto residents by upping the price of each unit.

    In addition, commenters also point to traffic as a primary concern. I think that this is fair — but if traffic is a concern, wouldn’t it be better if new developments didn’t include parking, so as to not add dozens of additional cars to our streets? Developments that do not include parking are obviously catering to a certain type of resident — those for whom parking/driving is not a primary concern, so I don’t believe it is accurate to assume that a 30 unit building with no parking translates to 30 or more cars parked on the street.

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  • LStephens November 11, 2013 (6:39 pm)

    Soon we’ll have “No Pets, No Car, No Rent the Apartment” rules???

    You claim that you don’t believe it is accurate to assume that a 30-unit building with no parking translates to 30 or more cars parked on the street. And just how do you believe that 30-units, no parking will bring NO cars? These buildings will be filled with people looking simply for rents they can afford, whether they own a car or not. It seems naive to assume there will be no cars just because these folks rented apartments with no parking. NO, they will park all over an already crowded neighborhood. It’s just a reality. Or do we have landlords who won’t rent to car-owners? (Yeah, right! LOL) Wouldn’t that be the most reasonable and fair plan for an already crowded neighborhood?

    There seems to be a huge disconnect between the reality of already difficult traffic issues in our area with no real plans for improvement (really?? – DECREASED capacity for the viaduct?? There’s some long-range population enhancement planning!), Metro planning cuts to already inadequate transit methods and permits for buildings being issued for wishful-thinking “nobody will have a car” projects.

    Additionally West Seattle has no aim or capacity to be any kind of “employment center” development for people to live and work in our area that would enable people or larger businesses to live and work in our neighborhoods.

    There seems to be no recognition between all of the competing factors.

  • Moose November 11, 2013 (7:49 pm)

    I didn’t say that a 30 unit building would bring no additional cars, just that it is inaccurate to assume that a 30 unit building with no parking means 30 additional cars on the street.

    My overall point is that if congestion is a concern, it doesn’t make sense to encourage more parking — as it will just result in more cars clogging the West Seattle Bridge, etc.

    I do agree that if we’re going to have more new apartments with no parking, we need to have more/better transit service. What we have now is inadequate.

  • Evergreen November 11, 2013 (10:23 pm)

    Big assumption, Moose. Also, some units will likely have 2 cars if there is a roommate situation.

  • Rick November 12, 2013 (6:13 am)

    If I wanted to live in a dorm room I’d go back to college.

  • Rick November 12, 2013 (6:15 am)

    Oh yeah, I had a car then too.

  • Betty November 12, 2013 (8:55 am)

    This is insane that they’re not including parking with this development. It would be a much better sell for them to get people in if they included their own parking. Even now if I want to park on the street just for a minute to run in for something its not always possible to get a decent spot. Adding so many more cars to the street would be so detrimental to the neighborhood in general especially those who already live in it and the new residents. They’re already destroying Alaska junction with the new development there, we don’t want them to do the same to Morgan junction.

Sorry, comment time is over.