West Seattle development: Hearing set for 6917 California appeal

(At left, California-facing front of project, from plan set filed with city; at right, front of Northeast Seattle project that developer says it’s based on)
A hearing has just been scheduled before the city Hearing Examiner for the neighbors appealing the land-use permit granted for the 6917 California SW project – three stories, 30 apartments, no offstreet parking. The group calling itself Morgan Neighbors filed an appeal after the approval was announced last month, and they are set to take it to the Hearing Examiner at 9 am Tuesday, May 6th. The grounds for appeal are summarized on a document in the appeal file as “inadequacy of review of project by the Department of Planning and Development.” In these types of hearings, city policy says, it’s up to the appellant to prove why the city’s decision was wrong; the public is welcome to attend the hearing, to be held in the examiner’s chambers on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown. The developer owns three lots including and adjacent to the site; two have already been cleared for work to start on smaller units.

19 Replies to "West Seattle development: Hearing set for 6917 California appeal"

  • pam April 10, 2014 (4:56 pm)

    Ya know… (she says, taking a deep breath)… I loves me some urban density. And the Morgan Junction is actually a livable place without a car — the Thriftway is right there, and the Rapid Ride, and on the whole, I can get behind the philosophy of urbanizing our end of West Seattle.

    But I’m frustrated that at the same time these kinds of projects are being approved, we’re looking at continuing to gut our transit offerings. This appeal seems totally legit, and it kind of pains me to say so. I may be in the minority in wanting my neighborhood to have denser offerings (Cap Hill refugee right here, classic, right?) but I’m not so naive that I think we can do it without also developing a neighborhood that’s very well served by transit, too.

    Go get ’em.

  • James Tiberious Kirk April 10, 2014 (6:08 pm)

    Growth, I understand.

    New buildings, I accept.

    But do the ALL – HAVE – to be so UGLY? Is it law or something?

  • KM April 10, 2014 (6:28 pm)

    This comes up every time that, well, someone sees something they don’t like. It’s just a preference, some people may love it.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love density with proper transit solutions. Nothing like it!

  • Gene April 10, 2014 (6:31 pm)

    Some folkps may take Transit to work – maybe walk to the grocery store or Starbucks- but to think that most will not have a car for other activities seems unlikely. Going to watch little Tommy’s ball game- how about a Sunday visit to grandma- Sally’s wedding- or taking in a movie –etc. etc. – no parking attached to buildings will mean more cars being parked in existing neighborhoods.

  • Alphonse April 10, 2014 (7:05 pm)

    I love modern design and actually like most of the boxy houses that people complain about in these comments. That said, the structure in that picture is what I consider an eyesore. Yep, it’s just my opinion, but as someone who is very much NOT in the “can’t we just have 100% Craftsman style housing?” camp, I’m kind of curious as to who this will appeal to.

  • JanS April 10, 2014 (7:07 pm)

    James Kirk. I looked at the pic of the building in the north end, and my first thought was …wow, that’s butt ugly !

  • Blech April 10, 2014 (7:33 pm)

    The 70s called. They’d like their color schemes and hideous boxy architecture back.

  • Ray April 10, 2014 (7:38 pm)

    Guess it is time to enforce RPZs across West Seattle.

  • James T Kirk April 10, 2014 (7:49 pm)

    Yes, SOME people may love it of course (some people like Lima beans too), but really it looks like they were all made by the same person with no regard for the surrounding area.

    Disregard for scale, color, texture, pedestrian appeal, etc. all there. I costs no more to put SOME design aesthetic in the building, you just have to care or be skilled enough. I see neither.

  • Gatewooder April 10, 2014 (10:18 pm)

    Density can indeed be a good thing, but not when it doesn’t pay a traffic impact fee or undergo any kind of design review, uses up all the street parking and gets a big tax exemption. A development has to give something back to the community, it can’t just take from it in order to enrich profit-driven deveoper. That is the problem with this project,

  • Seattlite April 10, 2014 (10:24 pm)

    Those hideous box houses/apts/condos are the cheapest way to build — four walls, throw in a few windows, doors, and a flat roof. Even though flat-roof technology has gotten better over the years, everyone I know w/a flat roof eventually has water leaks in their walls. Rainy Seattle needs pitched roofs.
    Density is totally overrated and magnifies how deficient WS’s infrastructure is…
    WS used to be unique, not anymore…

  • dsa April 11, 2014 (12:36 am)

    I 100% agree with Gatewooder. Thanks for putting it in words.

  • anonyme April 11, 2014 (6:50 am)

    Agree with Alphonse and Gatewooder. Modern is one thing; a piece of crap that looks far, far worse than the houses torn down to build it is another. Newer code requirements may make some aspects of construction safer, but the quality of materials and method just isn’t there. This is one for the scrap heap.

    The WSB has helpfully mapped out for us how many new rental units are currently in construction – nearly 4,000. If even half of these renters have cars (which seems modest) that’s 2,000 more cars on the bridge plus 2,000+ more bus riders. Even if the transpo package passes, that will only maintain service, not increase it.

  • Brian Connolly April 11, 2014 (7:42 am)

    I walked by this site the other day and it looks like the building process has already begun for this development? There are concrete forms laid down like they’re ready to pour the foundation. Am I mistaken?
    I’m 100% behind this appeal. Disregarding the fact that the building is hideous, it’s so irresponsible for the city to allow 30 units to come online with zero parking allotted and no traffic impact fee levied against the developer.

    • WSB April 11, 2014 (9:30 am)

      Brian, I believe I mentioned this above but … that is for houses/townhouses on the northern two-thirds of what was a three-house site. While almost all attention has focused on the apartment-building plan, we noted when we first reported on this back in October that two houses and four townhouses were planned immediately north of the 30-unit building. – Tracy

  • Brian Connolly April 11, 2014 (10:06 am)

    Oh that’s right. I remember about the townhouse buffer now. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Dave April 11, 2014 (6:58 pm)

    If the developer was really serious about building a “transit oriented development” as opposed to just exploiting our flawed zoning, they would be providing ample parking for Flexcars and Cars2Go, as well as loaner bikes. It’s time to rewrite our zoning code (again).

  • walkinggirl April 11, 2014 (10:14 pm)

    I wish them the best of luck, but I can’t hold my breath because it’s become increasingly clear that these developers own the planning departments, and it’s pretty hard to fight against that kind of pocket-lining arrangement. They have all the money, therefore they have all the power; they also don’t have to live in areas like this that are being overdeveloped with no parking requirements, so they can just turn a blind eye and laugh at those of us who do. And when you read their comments, you realize that laughing at us is putting it mildly — their contempt for the people who live here is astounding.

  • highland park resident April 13, 2014 (1:09 pm)

    That design is HIDEOUS. It already looks 40 years out of date and decrepit. I wonder if any architect would willingly admit this in his/her portfolio, and my guess is: NO. Seattle, come ON. Not everything has to look like a flimsy box that will come down in the next earthquake. Not everything has to be soulless, depressing, and devoid of charm.

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