A new skirmish in the ongoing fight over the future of the West Seattle Junction Association‘s free-to-shoppers parking lots. We’ve reported on the WSJA’s donation-seeking efforts to help cover the cost of dramatically increased rent. Now the lots’ owners, the consortium known as West Seattle Trusteed Properties, have served WSJA with a notice saying the donation boxes put up at the lots in October violate the lease, and giving the merchants’ organization 10 days to remove them or “vacate” (as in, give up the lots).
The paperwork headed “10-Day Notice to Cure Lease Defaults or Vacate” was shown to WSB by Junction Association executive director Lora Radford. It alleges three violations – that soliciting donations equals charging for parking, and that the donation boxes and signage were put up without “prior written consent” of Trusteed Properties. Radford said WSJA consulted its attorney and does not believe the donation campaign is a lease violation. The association was planning to send a response letter to Trusteed Properties, whose secretary Tyler M. Johnson signed the notice, dated January 4th but received Monday. Radford says they will stress that they don’t believe the donation boxes are a violation, but will request retroactive permission anyway.
WSJA says its rent this year – due largely to a property-tax increase that’s passed through under lease terms – will be more than $245,000, almost triple what it was in 2016. Ten separate parcels owned by Trusteed Properties comprise the four lots (three on 44th SW, one on 42nd SW). For more backstory on the rent situation, see our coverage from last March.