Arbor Heights appeal ruling #3: Hearing Examiner upholds approvals – with a few tweaks

City Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner has made her ruling on the third appeal filed against decisions relating to the Arbor Heights Elementary School rebuild. The appeal was filed by the Committee to Save Seattle Schools and three area residents; we covered the hearing downtown on February 2nd. Tanner promised a written ruling within two weeks; we found it in the city files today, dated February 9th. Read it in its entirety below (or here, as a PDF):

Toplines: While the appellants had argued that aspects of the decisions allowing the project, including four zoning exceptions, were “clearly erroneous,” Tanner found that was not the case. Her decision notes that two points of contention in the appeal, filed last November, had already been remedied by the district before the case was argued – the matter of two large Douglas firs on the northeast side of the site, which at one point were to be moved, will be left in place, and the issue of contacting the Duwamish Tribe before excavation work starts at the site; district testimony indicated that the Duwamish and four other tribes will be advised and invited to observe the work, in case of “inadvertent discovery” of cultural relics. But Tanner did decide to modify the conditions of the zoning exceptions’ approval, including the possibility of a four-way stop sign at 35th/104th – an intersection which will by fall of 2016 lie between the rebuilt AHES and the new home of Westside School (WSB sponsor) – provided SDOT approves. She also ordered a provision requiring any mitigation ordered for the project’s removal of what was considered an “exceptional” madrone tree.

BACKSTORY: We also covered the previous two appeals, both of which were argued and decided last year – May 2014 WSB coverage here; August 2014 WSB coverage here. The new AHES is being built in two phases, with the first – demolition and site clearing – now complete, and the second to start this spring; it’s still scheduled to open in fall 2016.

3 Replies to "Arbor Heights appeal ruling #3: Hearing Examiner upholds approvals - with a few tweaks"

  • Jason February 16, 2015 (5:31 pm)

    Oh Seattle. Let’s keep hindering progress for our kids’ schools so childless, privileged narcissists can get their name in the paper. Over and over again.

  • Joe Szilagyi February 16, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    So all this sturm and drang and possible delay of our kids getting their new school to mandate mitigation for the deceased tree and to install a new four-way stop sign (hooray on that) but only if SDOT decides it’s needed. This seems like it was all an exercise, in the end, in getting Seattle Public Schools to spend budget money on the appeals.

  • Dianna Lynn King February 16, 2015 (8:31 pm)

    I teach Science and tech in a school in North Ballard. The school has a leaky roof, jerry-rigged plumbing to go around the toxic old plumbing, asbestos in the cracked floor tiles, floor to ceiling cracks in brick walls, inadequate wiring for the current technology used there, and a host of other problems. I look at the plans for the new Arbor Heights school and feel excited for my colleagues who will have such a nice facility to work with the children. I am happy for the children who will have such a welcoming and thoroughly thought out place to learn. I realize the tech part is likely to be obsolete in a decade the way tech goes – but for now, it would be a dream facility for the students I work with. I am looking forward to having this great place for our children in our neighborhood.

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