FOLLOWUP: Why fire-gutted 9029 16th SW is still semi-standing

(WSB photo, taken this morning)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Today was the original deadline for the owner of 9029 16th SW to either demolish the charred remains of a house that had caught fire at least three times in five years, most recently February 25th, or to show it is “not unsafe.” We reported the March 28th deadline in this followup on March 2nd, five days after the latest fire.

(WSB photo from February 25th fire)

Since then, we have been going by to check on its status, and after still not seeing signs of demolition by late last week, checked the Department of Construction and Inspections page for the case, and discovered the property’s owners had been given an extension, to April 21st.

What the online-file notations don’t show is why. So we contacted SDCI spokesperson Bryan Stevens, who replied:

The owner is trying to find a way of bringing both structures down, so we’ve offered an extension of the violation case to allow for the necessary steps to make that happen and conduct the demolition all at once.

While the fire-damaged property can be removed with an over-the-counter permit, the second building cannot. The Land Use Code requires vacant residential structures to be maintained unless there is a complete application under review to allow redevelopment and a completed plan for waste diversion. The owner made an application last week to comply with this provision. This effort demonstrates progress towards resolving the violation and allowed us to grant an extension while the final details are sorted out.

The “second building” is on the alley behind the main house, and was not involved in the February fire. The city had ordered the owner to “secure” it, and as shown in a photo in our previous followup, it had been boarded up.

The city files, meantime, show the application for the redevelopment project, described as “mixed-use,” was officially accepted today. And SDCI spokesperson Stevens reminds us of something that we noted (with extensive backstory) in that March 2nd followup – the city is looking to change the rules to make it easier for owners to demolish vacant/derelict properties. We’re checking to see if there’s a current estimate of when the proposals are expected to go before City Council.

13 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Why fire-gutted 9029 16th SW is still semi-standing"

  • AmandaK(H) March 28, 2017 (11:16 am)

    I feel really bad for the neighbors who have to look at that every day.  Shame on that owner for letting it go this long.

  • North of Admiral March 28, 2017 (12:58 pm)

    The property has changed hands several times in the last 5 years and the last re deed was only a couple months ago. It appears there was a foreclosure involved. At any rate, it’s a great investment property for the current owner (who I won’t name). They just need to make it safe for the time being while they permit for the next phase. Likely multi-family housing. 

    • WSB March 28, 2017 (1:05 pm)

      The most recent transfer was between two entities with the same owner of record involved (per the LLC membership), as noted in the March 2nd followup.

    • AmandaK(H) March 28, 2017 (1:11 pm)

      Letting a burned out building sit until permitting happens is a gift to the developer and a blight on the neighborhood.  Luckily!  I hear the City Council are working to amend that.

  • Archie March 28, 2017 (1:10 pm)

    The owner is trying to find a way of bringing both structures down

    Has he considered blowing gently on them?

  • Swede. March 28, 2017 (1:59 pm)

    It’s pretty interesting that he will get fined if he doesn’t demolish it, but have to apply, pay and wait for a permit to do so… 

  • AMD March 28, 2017 (2:01 pm)

    That building is such a hazard.  It should have come down long ago, and it can’t come down soon enough.  I understand there’s a process to redevelop properties, but it’s hard not to be frustrated when it seems like every other developer is getting it done so much faster than the one that’s arguably the worst in the area. 

  • Joan March 28, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    An easy and cheap way to bring down the structures, or what’s left: give some sledge hammers to teens and let them have at it.

  • TM March 28, 2017 (9:28 pm)

    This city is so inept.  If I lived next door I would be camping out on someone’s lawn to get this eye sore removed.  Obviously, a multifamily unit is in the works because it meets the mayor’s and city council’s desire to address affordable housing in West Seattle.  Speaking of inept, anyone have any updates on the city’s lawsuit for the tree clearing fiasco off of 35 Ave SW?

  • Dave March 29, 2017 (12:09 am)

    Anyone remember the burned out Shucks on California and Charlestown? It was left there for about 4 years.

  • Nett March 29, 2017 (7:18 pm)

    I am in very close proximity to this property. Not only an eyesore, its dangerous for childeren in our neighborhood, riddled with squatters that use drugs and prostitute. The property behind the burned down house has been broken into several times just since the fire. We are all ready for this to be a lot that is developed, I was ready 7 years ago when I moved here. It needs to be done soon, so myself and all of surrounding properties can finally have relief from all the many problems this property brings.

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