West Seattle development: What’s coming down & going up

Development notes and updates – nothing major, but of interest to several neighborhoods:

40TH/OREGON: Demolition day today (thanks to Eddie for the tip) for a house mentioned here in November – a stucco-and-tile house more the type you’d expect to see in Southern California. Here’s the photo we ran then:

(WSB photo, November 2014)
The crew at the scene told us that salvagers removed the roof tiles before demolition. The house’s 4,600-square-foot lot is slated for construction of two single-family houses and two townhouses.

LAND USE APPLICATION FOR 4515 41ST SW: Not far from there, the memory-care facility proposed at 4515 41st SW has officially applied for a land-use permit, which opens another comment window – the notice from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin explains how. The project still has at least one more Design Review meeting ahead – no date yet; here’s our report on its most-recent review.

3112 SW JUNEAU: Also from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, an application to build a three-story house on a smaller-than-usual parcel – this notice also includes information on how to comment.

4464 23RD SW: This early-stage proposal in the land-use files seeks a permit to “cluster-develop 4 single family homes in an ECA. Due to potential wetlands, steep slope, and potential landslide ECA’S we propose to reduce setbacks equivalent to cottage housing per 25.09.260. A future Unit Lot Subdivision would be submitted.” (ECA = Environmentally Critical Area)

STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW FOR 3215 CALIFORNIA: Across the street from the 3210 California megaproject, the old commercial buildings are vacant now, and one section of the future redevelopment is in line for “streamlined Design Review” – no meeting, but public comments will be accepted. It’s 3215 California SW, four townhouses and two live-work units. While its “design packet” isn’t available on the official DR site yet, you should be able to download the 26 MB PDF here.

4111 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Full details aren’t in the files yet but there’s an early proposal for a lot-boundary adjustment here – the site is on record as three lots – and a site plan showing the 106-year-old house there now is to be demolished, along with garages and driveways.

OTHER NOTES: Demolitions/replacements that recently showed up in city files: 5956 38th SW, 97-year-old house just sold & to be replaced by a new single-family house … a demolition permit is sought at recently sold 8443 12th SW, with “existing structures” to be removed and a permit sought for a new house, as well as a lot-boundary adjustment … 4103 Delridge Way SW (not far from a project mentioned above) has a demolition permit application and a note about two single-family houses to be built.

(P.S. – WSB development coverage is archived here, reverse chronological order.)

24 Replies to "West Seattle development: What's coming down & going up"

  • FreGirl April 20, 2015 (10:59 pm)

    Please everyone that can attend the city rent meeting. It is out of control. They are raising ours by 100 a month and told us they are going to raise by another 100 next year. And no, not everyone can buy a house instead for so many reasons, including the obscene cost of even a tiny condo here, which is basically an airless coffin box. We love WS, we don’t want to leave, but we don’t know how we are going to afford it next year even!

  • Mike upper delridge April 20, 2015 (11:58 pm)

    I’ll be sure to attend. I don’t wish to see the city get into the business of rent control. The market should set the price of rent, just as it sets the price of houses for sale. It is not a “right” to live in a particular area.

  • JanS April 21, 2015 (12:18 am)

    Mike…I mostly agree…but, at what point does it stop? I have lived in West Seattle for 40 years, 16 in my current apartment. My ONLY famiy is here in West Seattle. My rent increased $225 since last September in two different phases. It’s a 27 yo building that is so tacky that when my neighbor upstairs pees, I can hear it. Cracks in the wall, missing railing on my deck that they say cannot now be replaced. What they are doing is called “economical eviction”…you can’t afford to stay, and they don’t have to help with moving. And then they paint, replace stuff, and raise the rent 500 bucks more. They did it to an apartment upstairs. Waiting for the next shoe. My point is…where do I go…do I move so far out of Seattle that I cannot see my verry small family, or my friends? I am 68, disabled, with a kidney transplant that requires me to be around the downtown medical facilities. It HAS to stop somewhere, or only the well to do will be living here.

  • FreGirl April 21, 2015 (2:14 am)

    A compromise is in order. A percentage of rent control for the disabled, elderly, and low income. A portion of laws regulating how much you can raise each year, and on what basis other than just greed! Mike, you prefer that neighborhood after neighborhood become whitebread, wealthy only, with no diversity in race, age, income, etc?

  • Mike upper delridge April 21, 2015 (3:39 am)

    Jan, First let me say that I’m sorry your rent has increased at such a quick rate. Its very hard to plan for these large increases. Also, I understand that rents and prices of homes are again on the rise here in the greater seattle area, and that West Seattle and other formerly less desirable (to many people) neighborhoods are seeing prices rise even quicker that others. Frankly, many people where priced out of the “better” neighborhoods decades ago. To answer your question, when will it stop? It will never stop in a “free market”. Rents (prices) will go up or down depending on the demand (reaching equilibrium for a period…in theory). If you control price by setting an artificial ceiling, you effect the supply. i.e. rent control sets a price lower than the free market value and the result will be less housing for rent. Maybe your building is torn down and becomes condos or office space because the return is better. The best way to “control” (lower) rents is to limit the demand. Take out the west seattle bridge for example and rents will go down. If the local economy tanks people will move (think Detroit).
    I understand and empathize with those people (me included) who are priced out, but rent control will not solve this problem. Infact often times rent control leads to less desirable rentals……smaller, dumps.

  • DarkHawke April 21, 2015 (3:51 am)

    @JanS: I’m sympathetic to your situation, but you’re addressing the wrong end of the equation. If we the electorate don’t stop approving every tax issue that comes down the pike, and electing “leaders” who push extreme economic distortions like a $15/hour minimum wage, you’re absolutely correct: there will only be two types of Seattleites, those wealthy enough to afford the ever-increasing tax burden and rising cost of living, and those indigent enough to qualify for all but universal government assistance. You wanna talk “income inequality?” We’re headed to an extreme none of us have ever seen.

  • Jim April 21, 2015 (5:55 am)

    FreGirl: help your own cause by considering the stream of levies proposed by the city and vote in your own best interest. I know there are other forces at work but this is one we can control. Renters have to start thinking like homeowners before progressives push them out of the city.

  • Joan April 21, 2015 (8:31 am)

    How sad to lose one of the little Spanish houses. I love those!

  • sc April 21, 2015 (8:57 am)

    I’ve always been curious about that row of little Spanish style houses. Does anyone know?

  • Apey April 21, 2015 (9:13 am)

    Two single-family houses AND two townhouses on a 4600 square-foot lot….Yowza, that’s gonna be a tight squeeze!

  • Housing: we need much more April 21, 2015 (9:38 am)

    People can cry “Greed!” all they want, but the primary factor in rent increases is the severe housing shortage in Seattle. As long as more people are vying for the same housing supply, prices will only go up. People are not going to stop moving here, so the only option to moderate housing prices is a massive increase in the supply of housing.

  • G April 21, 2015 (9:50 am)

    LA, where affordable housing is a brutal fight for survival, has rent control but it has been ineffective, leading to substandard run-down buildings or conversion to high-end units. (LA is also dealing with a huge influx of wealthy Chinese who are quite literally buying neighborhoods such as Arcadia, and Alhambra.) Supply and demand knows no political affiliation; it is in affluent liberal cities like Seattle, San Francisco and LA where the housing divide has widened to a gaping chasm.

    This is a real life serious issue for a lot of people and unfortunately with no easy solutions.
    Me, I’m considering retiring in Florida where it’s cheaper and no state income tax. Happiness is a state of mind, not physical surroundings.

  • coffee April 21, 2015 (10:27 am)

    I agree that the housing shortage drives prices insanely high. I have a friend you just came out of recovery and was a homeless vet. The lowest pricing he could find is a poorly constructed POD apartment for 800 a month. And when I say poorly constructed I mean the walls are not properly finished, the building already has drywall separation, they didn’t even install baseboards, and I can go on and on and on. I for one am NOT a supporter of these units as its clear the building owner is only in it for the $$$. Building owner has the hall lights on 6 second timers because she doesn’t want to pay the light bill. Really…..
    G as for Florida, do your research. Its not all it is cut up to be. I used to live there, and my mother lives there. Fortunately for my mother she is not financially challenged in any way at all, however she talks all the time how elderly people that are on fixed incomes really suffer.

  • heather April 21, 2015 (10:30 am)

    40th & Oregon – two single family homes and two townhomes on a 4,600sqft lot. Wow. So all of that will be constructed on 3,680sqft (max 80% footprint coverage)…. again, WOW. I’m an urban density proponent but that’s potentially two 1200sqft homes, and a two story 1200sqft townhome. Very tight fit indeed. I do think it’s good to live in smaller spaces but I’m kinda stuck on the decrease of water runoff land. It would look odd but I’m beginning to think that one four-five story 1200sqft structure, maybe mimicking glass enveloped skyscrapers, surrounded by 3400sqft of gardens may be a better way to house people.

  • G April 21, 2015 (11:50 am)

    Coffee, I’ll check it out. I’m not at retiree age for a while, but it is a financial worry for me and a lot of other people approaching that age. I’m a native Seattleite but I need more sun as I get older so that narrows down the choices.

  • Paul April 21, 2015 (12:18 pm)

    Yeah, I am totally scratching my head as to how you fit 2 houses and 2 townhomes on a 4600 ft lot. That is absurd.

  • Kimmy April 21, 2015 (1:51 pm)

    @Paul, I’m on a 800 sq ft home on 4,000 sq ft, with a carport and shed. I can’t comprehend this either–does anyone know if/how you can see the plans for something like this?

  • Jena April 21, 2015 (3:16 pm)

    Anyone know how and why this plan was approved? Is the city rubber stamping these building permits?
    I live on the same street as this home, on a similar lot size and have no idea how this project can possibly be constructed safely, securely and with limited parking spots. I was told several years ago that my house can’t be torn down because the two condos in my back yard create limited parking.

  • sardines April 21, 2015 (3:18 pm)

    I think this block had a few of those skinny buildings go in behind the houses a few years ago. Maybe that is what they mean by townhomes? But I agree, way to many buildings on one lot. If a homeowner builds a couple of out buildings on their property, they have to demolish them but if it gets permited by DPD then there appears to be no limit to set backs, boundaries, etc. Not liking this “West Seattle” and glad I’m not alone. There are several other stucco houses on this block.. guess they are next? Plenty of parking in this area (yeah, right!). Rasmussen wants to look at historic preservation areas in Seattle. Kinda late, dontcha think? Better hurry up :)

  • JVP April 21, 2015 (8:03 pm)

    It is very interesting reading these comments. Half of them concerned about rising rents and home prices, and the other half worried about a very dense development.
    If we want prices to stabilize, we need WAY more density. If we want less density, then we accept higher rents.
    Rent controls have mixed results. They lower rents for the very few that are lucky enough to get controlled rent, but they constrain growth which drives everyone else’s rents and home prices up. I really don’t think they work as intended. Look at San Francisco for an example of rent control gone wrong.
    If we want to provide affordable housing, I’d be much more in favor of fees to build new affordable apartments. We need incentives for lower rent, not disincentives that cause new construction to stop.

  • m April 21, 2015 (8:25 pm)

    All of this just reminds me that Robin Hood is currently playing at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. Maybe if we all took our kids to see it they would learn important lessons and grow up to better support their neighbors.

  • ChefJoe April 21, 2015 (10:43 pm)

    JVP, the answer isn’t always building new affordable apartments. I have an unfinished basement that’s got a roughed in bath and even an operable fireplace…. unfortunately, there would have to be real, major renovation to bring it up to compliance as a rental due to building codes having shifted since the 1960s.

  • lorebot April 22, 2015 (7:25 am)

    nice segue, m!! haw. actually, it’s a great idea, cuz we all need to learn that lesson (being a kind and bold human) over and over. cuz we haven’t passed the test. again.

  • Seattle Realist April 22, 2015 (9:10 am)

    Yesterday noted Seattle architecture and urban planning critic Mark Hinshaw published a short but comprehensive analysis of Seattle housing.

    Please take the time to read it, then kindly respond.


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