DEVELOPMENT: New parking pushback in Morgan Junction

We’ve reported before on the plan to replace that old house at California/Willow with a seven-unit rowhouse building, most recently when it was approved last month. We noted then that since we first wrote about the plan last year, the plan had changed to include one offstreet-parking space instead of the original five. The notice says it’s expected to generate demand for seven to 14 spaces, but since what the city considers “frequent transit” is within 1,320 feet, it doesn’t have to include any parking. Neighbors have filed an appeal and have a pre-hearing conference with the city Hearing Examiner tomorrow. It’s not just the downsizing of the parking plan, they say in their appeal, but also they say the change wasn’t communicated. This is a block and a half north of a redevelopment plan that caused a hubbub over lack of offstreet parking four and a half years ago; that appeal was eventually settled and the 30-unit building went up.

51 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: New parking pushback in Morgan Junction"

  • Ajwren May 7, 2018 (10:52 pm)

    Glad the locals are fighting for more than 1 parking space. Keep the neighborhood yours while inviting newbies into it. 

    • Felix Grounds May 8, 2018 (7:29 am)

      Shaking fist in air…

      “You kids get of my lawn so I can park there”

      • watertowersmitty May 8, 2018 (8:59 am)

        People who vote on these things should have them built in their neighborhoods so that people take all the parking spots in front of their homes. 

        Might change the outcome a bit.

        • Jon Wright May 8, 2018 (1:09 pm)

          Perhaps. But plenty of us recognize that streets are public rights-of-way to which adjacent property owners do not have any special entitlement.

  • L May 7, 2018 (11:19 pm)

    Exactly.  Increased density is inevitable but can be welcomed, when planned and done properly.  Involving the community and reaching out,  instead of foisting off yet another boxy unimaginative slapdash construction that makes everyone’s lives a bit harder, rather than richer. 

    • cjboffoli May 8, 2018 (8:36 am)

      Looking around it seems to me that unimaginative, slapdash construction has been a linchpin of the West Seattle architectural vernacular for the past 100 years or so.  There are so few important structures here. Yet what’s old gets elevated in importance as a vehicle to impede growth and change. And what’s new gets disproportionately assailed despite the presence of so many unkempt, decrepit structures.  Sure, I’ll admit that there is plenty of bad taste on display with some of the larger commercial projects that are built.  – If the Inuit have 50 words for snow, Seattleites have 62 words for beige. –  But many new Modernist structures are a vast improvement over what they replaced, and obviously reflect the way people want to live in 2018 versus the tiny Crasftman style houses of 95 years ago.  Lastly, some people really need to have their expectations managed if they think that  every resident in Seattle should be entitled to park two cars on the street.

      • Swede. May 8, 2018 (8:55 am)

        I don’t think it’s so much ‘reflect the way people want to live in 2018′ as its the only option…

        • John May 8, 2018 (9:21 am)

          Thank you Christopher.

          What you say is true.  

          And in response to SWEDE, if there were such demand for small hundred year old houses, there  would not be any reason to tear them down to be replaced by new larger construction. 

          Supply vs demand always prevails.  There are multiple old houses sold for every new box constructed so  they are clearly not the only option.  People are making the expensive choice to buy new modern homes.

          • KM May 8, 2018 (1:29 pm)

            In this case, and in the case of several others, one home is being torn down for more homes. So yes, supply and demand does prevail. A SF home in an area zoned otherwise is not a highest and best use for space or profit in a market with a housing shortage. I’m sure there are people who would think the best use is a parking lot for people born here before 1963 and their offspring or what not, though I could be swayed with a park…

          • Natinstl May 8, 2018 (11:18 pm)

            Developers are buying them and building multiple boxes on one property to profit more, old houses sell just as well.

        • hj May 8, 2018 (10:52 am)

          Believe it or not, not everyone wants to live in a standalone home. I don’t need a lot of space, I like not having my packages stolen.

      • AJP May 8, 2018 (3:53 pm)

        Amen! I live in a “Boeing Box.” There’s hundreds of them, if not thousands in the whole area. They aren’t special in any way. 

  • Elroy May 8, 2018 (8:08 am)

    Neighborhood planning needs to be included with all development decisions. In this example, 1 parking spot for demand of 7-14 parking spots creates additional parking issues. “Frequent Transit” is a meaningless phase created by the city. If the row houses are for families, how many vehicles doe families typically have? 0,1,2,3,???? Transit is an outliers some can use it, some cannot. Many transit users still have vehicles. Time to stop all these idiotic decisions from the city which have a negative impact to our neighborhoods.

  • chemist May 8, 2018 (8:19 am)

    I have no first-hand knowledge of how over-stressed street parking is in the area, but I supported Herbold’s SEPA-parking amendment (which failed).  Unfortunately, I doubt this hearing will result in more than “oops, we’ll try harder next time”.

    State SEPA policies require consideration of parking impacts. However,
    the City has entirely removed the authority to use SEPA to mitigate the
    parking impacts of projects that have impacts when those projects are in
    areas where the City has removed parking requirements, areas referred
    to as “Frequent Transit Areas.” In other words, SEPA requires
    developers to do parking studies as part of the permitting process, but
    even when those studies show that a development without parking is
    going to create a problem, SDCI can’t require mitigation.

  • carole May 8, 2018 (8:36 am)

    Anyone see House Hunters last night? Couple from SF, in sales at local tech company. Moved here 9 months ago and ready to buy with a 900K budget. And they ended up in an ugly box on Capitol Hill. It was the only one of 3 they looked at to have parking, which they needed.  So much for carless newcomers.

    • John May 8, 2018 (9:27 am)


      House Hunters is certainly not representative of the housing demand.  And  one couple from SF on a scripted reality show does not represent Seattle as a whole.  No one is claiming newcomers to be carless although some choose such an option.

  • Gene May 8, 2018 (9:03 am)

    I’m not sure folks prefer/want the beige boxes over craftsman style homes- I think folks just want to live – in something- & wouldn’t object if it was actually nice looking. 

    Born here in the 40’s & absolutely agree some pretty crappy building went on in the 60’s & 70’s- doesn’t mean we need to continue that trend.

    • Felix Grounds May 8, 2018 (10:25 am)

      There were crappy houses built in every era, in every neighborhood…..I’ve worked on them, 

      You may not like the esthetics of the modern box, but it is more efficient in terms of material usage, energy consumption, and structural integrity.

      • sw May 8, 2018 (12:53 pm)

        I’m curious as to the longevity of all these homes with flat roofs, especially with their being used for decks, entertaining and the like.  Roofing materials are certainly better than the past, but how will they last compared to a traditional pitched roof?  I would wager that in 7-10 years being a roofer that specializes in flat roofs might be a good business to be in.

  • airwolf May 8, 2018 (9:21 am)

    Is there a street parking  time limit in that area?

    • John May 8, 2018 (9:53 am)

      Street parking is limited to 72 hours but is simply not enforced.  The requirements to post a warning then wait another 72 hours makes enforcement problematic at best.

      • airwolf May 8, 2018 (11:28 am)

        Seen cars on my street that seem to have been parked there since the great depression.  Is it up to us to report it? 

        • KM May 8, 2018 (1:31 pm)

          Yeah, you can submit a form online, call the provided number or use the Find It, Fix It app. They’ll send someone out in a month or two from  your initial report and give the person another month or so to move the car before anything is done. However, you might have better luck if the car is junk.

  • anonyme May 8, 2018 (9:49 am)

    Some options:

    Eliminate the “frequent transit area” loophole for developers and require mitigation (parking).   Our local government seems completely incapable of creating a single enforceable ordinance, especially when it comes to development.

    Require that all street parking within FTA’s is metered or by permit only.  Or just everywhere, for that matter, otherwise the bordering areas will be inundated like an infected wound that just keeps spreading.

    I actually like modern architecture, as well as Craftsman cottages.  One problem with the new homes is the scale.  Many have rooftop decks that look like prison guard towers, destroying any sense of privacy for neighbors, with setbacks that have been pared down to nothing.   The other problem is quality; the structures behind the house pictured above will be disintegrating within five years, guaranteed.  This is not a sustainable model.

    • Steven Lorenza May 9, 2018 (7:33 am)

      A rule, recently subject of vigorous debate at City Council, is not a “loophole.” 

  • Alex May 8, 2018 (10:28 am)

    Eh, I agree the “frequent transit” exemption is nonsense in general, but on the other hand, this is California Avenue. It’s a major arterial. Anyone choosing to live there should know they will be dealing with crowds, noise, and poor parking. That’s how arterials work. 

  • Azazel May 8, 2018 (10:29 am)

    Presumably, 90% of single family homeowners having fits about parking in the neighborhood have a driveway and perhaps a garage, as I do. Park there. You have no special right to store your personal property on public property.

    • L May 8, 2018 (11:49 am)

      Not what this is about.  This is about communication and transparency in the design/review/permit process.

      • Jon Wright May 8, 2018 (1:13 pm)

        You’re deluding yourself if you think this is anything but people who don’t want to have to share “their” street parking.

  • Jort May 8, 2018 (10:50 am)

    So, the neighbors want the city and the developer to continue to subsidize their free street parking? Is there a residency longevity requirement in order to use public streets for parking?

    I’m wondering why the developer isn’t responding with a request to force all of the private homeowners to build private parking garages on their own property, as well? What’s good for the goose?

    • L May 8, 2018 (11:50 am)

      Again, not what this is about.  This is about the developer taking advantage of “transit areas” to increase density without mindfulness.   This is also about communication and transparency of the entire permit/design/review process. 

      • John May 8, 2018 (12:36 pm)


        The developer and those who choose to live in the new density units are not taking advantage of anything.

        They are directed by the City of Seattle’s leaders under regulations administered by DCI.

        The permit/design/review process which is open and its transparency is witness to the DCI’s whole process being available on line at their website and the numerous design review community meetings open to all.

        I believe our elected leaders were practicing “mindfulness” when they enacted the density rules.

  • John May 8, 2018 (11:01 am)


    I like modern architecture as do those willing to pay a premium for new modern dwellings.  

    It is also obvious that the parking issues could be easily solved by monetizing on-street parking.  Requiring everyone who uses the street for storing their vehicles would level the the paying field.  Many people currently fill the garages with anything but a vehicle and simply move their cars to the street where they demand parking in front of their home. 

    ANONYME’s guarantee that the new houses will be disintegrating within five years is without merit as new homes are built to much higher standards than those old homes built before building codes.  

    Also, the claim that setbacks have been pared down to nothing is false.  Setbacks have been the same for decades.  If you want to see lack of setbacks, just check out old neighborhoods like Madrona where some Craftsman homes are less than five feet from their old neighboring house.

  • SaraB May 8, 2018 (11:25 am)

    I agree about monetizing on-street parking.  We could move to a zoned permit system like other parts of the City.  And as for setbacks, come over and see my 106 year-old house in Gatewood with a 2′ setback.  The 2017 house next door has a 5′ setback.  

    • Jon Wright May 8, 2018 (1:17 pm)

      Restricted parking zones (RPZs) that require parking permits do not monetize on-street parking because the price of the permit is negligible RPZs are basically a giveaway to residents within the RPZ boundary. 

  • Marla May 8, 2018 (12:05 pm)

    Parking is a good for which anyone can choose to pay. Demanding that anyone moving into the neighborhood pay the costs of a parking spot, which is exactly what adding parking requirements does, is patently unfair. 

  • anonyme May 8, 2018 (1:54 pm)

    You would still have choices, Marla.  You could either forego having a car, or move to a different neighborhood without such restrictions.  The very fact that you own a car would give you that option – one that is not available to everyone.  It’s no more unfair than a two-bedroom apartment costing more than a one-bedroom.   Pay for what you use.

    • JOHN May 8, 2018 (3:16 pm)

      ANONYME is confused.

      Pay what you use?  The argument would be if builders were required to build two-bedroom apartments and you only can afford or need a single.   

  • Joe Szilagyi May 8, 2018 (2:10 pm)

    Remind us all, which character is the one that needs preserving, which new style homes with less parking are ‘destroying’? I’ve asked before on here, and in meetings, but no one can ever say! Is it the pre-Denny Party Salish/Duwamish character of West Seattle? Lice-ridden cabin era from when ol’ Art and the white settlers arrived? Pre-Sears and pre-Craftsman? When Sears was doing mail-order pre-fabricated houses (our beloved Craftsmen homes)? 40s style post-WW2 bungalows? 50s/60s style ranches, splits? 80s and 90s style (my favorite!)? The boxes? Come 2030, are we going to have people upset that the “Boxes of 2018” are getting torn down for the Next Big Thing?  Cities change. We don’t own them. We don’t own our neighborhoods or the streets the are on or “our curbs”. We are in command of the land we outright lawfully own and that’s it. All of these appeals like this actively hurt the city, society, and commonweal.

    • KM May 8, 2018 (8:21 pm)

      Just the ones that fit my narrative! The other ones are objectively bad.

  • wscommuter May 8, 2018 (4:03 pm)

    John, I think you miss the point about the houses that will go downhill – I think the author is referring to the properties behind those new boxes on California.  Can’t stop progress and I understand that urban density is a necessary goal for all sorts of good reasons.  

    But, for example, the inevitable “cause and effect” is going to be that many houses on the west side of 42nd Ave that are now becoming blocked by the big boxes and losing a sense of privacy means they go down in value … many will become rentals … and many will begin to be less well-taken care of.  Then the people who own on the east side of 42nd will have less desirable houses across the street, and the decline spreads.   Not saying this is the end of civilization … just that it will happen.  Is happening already in a few places.  

    Again – can’t stop this progress, but not all progress is good.  Tough problem.  

    • Jon Wright May 8, 2018 (5:13 pm)

      Yep, at the rate we’re going, West Seattle is going to be one enormous ghetto.

    • John May 8, 2018 (5:49 pm)


      Great theory with nothing to back it up, although I sense  a bit of anti-renter rant underlying it.

      To test your theory, just look at King County Assessors info on the property finder IMap for the ’cause and effect’ houses described.

      This will show you precisely how your theory is not valid, as these SFRs continue to be desirable with sale prices rising similar to other blocks of the neighborhood.

  • gh May 8, 2018 (6:44 pm)

    Just because there is public transit within a certain number of feet doesn’t mean people don’t have cars.  Residents need to fight this.  I moved out of Gatewood because of stuff like this…

    • Steven Lorenza May 9, 2018 (7:37 am)

      They might have cars.  They will definitely have laundry.  And we don’t require buildings have an individual washer and dryer for each unit.  Would you be worried about available space at nearby laundromats?

      Parking is not different, except that city gives it away for free and some feel more entitled to that freebie than others. 

      • gh May 9, 2018 (5:56 pm)

        I might actually laugh at this except I think you’re serious.  Run for city council…you’ll fit right in.

  • wscommuter May 8, 2018 (8:49 pm)


    Anti-renter?  Seriously?  Did you even read my post carefully?  I acknowledged the benefits of density.  Which part confused you?  

    Go drive along 42nd Ave on the blocks from Admiral to Fauntleroy … if you take the time to see, you will find homes beginning to be let go.  Not all – by any means.  But look at the homes which have lost western views or are now in the shadows of those 4-5 story buildings.  

    In our hot real estate market where currently prices have gone up your tax records data presents an illusory picture … but it doesn’t take an economist to understand that the diminished relative value of those properties will inevitably occur.  If you owned a home with a water view that was blocked by a new apartment building, are you seriously suggesting that the value of your home wouldn’t be adversely affected?  

    We have to build apartments – we clearly need the housing, given the surging population the city is experiencing.  But please don’t pretend that adjacent property owners won’t get hurt.  They will – they are.  

    • CAM May 8, 2018 (11:17 pm)

      wscommuter, I typically agree with a lot of your comments but I don’t see any evidence for the conclusion that you are drawing. The price of homes is going up substantially, particularly in that dense area you are describing. That property is valuable, water view or not, solely because of it’s relative proximity to other things. If somebody let’s that property go downhill it is still going to be sold at a premium price just because of the plot of land. People are paying over $500,000 for properties that have condemned houses on them. 

      As to the remainder of the discussion, I’m glad to see so many people speaking out against residents trying to force increased parking costs on future residents. We live in a city, with living in a city come traffic and parking issues. Trying to screw your future neighbors will not resolve those problems. 

      • CAM May 8, 2018 (11:22 pm)

        Oh, and just to make it known, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the property market were to decline a bit. Sure, it would be unpleasant for those of us who bought at the top of the market but it would also be achieving the purported goal of all this construction which is to make affordable housing more available. If I can’t sell my property at a 100% profit in 5 to 10 I think that’s a hardship I can deal with. Rules are made for the benefit of society as a whole, not solely property owners. 

        • Mike May 9, 2018 (7:00 am)

          Rules are made for the benefit of society as a whole, not solely renters.  There, fixed it for you.

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