FOLLOWUP: Decision’s in for appeal related to Westcrest Park drainage project

(WSB photo, October)

In December, we reported on a local case that went before the city Hearing Examiner, related to the upcoming Seattle Parks project that will close the Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area for an estimated six months of drainage work. Park neighbor Inge Anderson appealed the Parks decision that an environmental-impact study wasn’t needed, saying that among other impacts, it will affect many users of West Seattle’s only off-leash area because the planned temporary replacement OLA is small. Five weeks after Anderson and Parks manager David Graves argued their respective sides before Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil (WSB coverage here), his decision is in – read it here (PDF).

While Vancil reiterates points he noted during the December 16th hearing – such as, that appellants face a tough challenge because it’s on them to prove a city department made the wrong decision – he sided with Parks. He said Anderson “did not introduce evidence demonstrating any significant impacts that are reasonably likely to result from the proposal.” The key word there is “significant”; Vancil agreed that the plan would have some impacts, just not enough to require a full environmental study. His decision is the city’s final word on the matter, and any further challenges would have to be done in court; when we contacted Anderson to ask if she intends to do that, she said yes.

13 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Decision's in for appeal related to Westcrest Park drainage project"

  • hj January 22, 2020 (3:59 pm)

    So someone is now going to drag this through the courts because they’re not happy that their nearest off-leash area is going to become smaller for six months? I don’t have a lot of sympathy here.

  • Jort January 22, 2020 (4:17 pm)

    This is shaping up to be a wonderful case study for the ongoing “How The Seattle Process Ruins Cities” project. 

  • ACG January 22, 2020 (4:34 pm)

    I’m not familiar with city laws and regulations, but is it stated anywhere that the city must provide a place for dog owners to take their dogs?  Is there a specific amount/square footage of doggie play space that must be provided by the city?  

  • Jon Wright January 22, 2020 (4:38 pm)

    I disagree. I think the poster child for The Seattle Process is the redesign of 35th Ave NE. SDOT does outreach and comes up with a plan. Some locals vehemently complain that parking spots (aka private property storage) would be sacrificed so people don’t get killed riding their bikes. In the face of that opposition from an angry minority, SDOT walks their decision back and sets up “mediation.” Mediation accomplishes nothing. Mayor steps in and kiboshes the whole shebang. THAT is the Seattle process. This is just your typical individual-on-a-crusade-single-handedly-holding-a-project-hostage, likely delaying it and racking up additional costs in the process.

    • Jort January 22, 2020 (4:53 pm)

      I agree, Jon, though I might argue that this is perhaps a decent example of the more isolated “Individualized Seattle Process” rather than the generalized, faceless garbage of larger projects. In any case, I can hardly imagine having the disposable income or time to be this engaged about a six-month doggie-doggie park maintenance project. 

  • Peter January 22, 2020 (6:15 pm)

    I think it’s sad that there’s someone out there who has nothing better to put their effort into than making a big deal about this. 

  • Mj January 22, 2020 (6:40 pm)

    This is why costing in Seattle is so darn expensive and the City’s relentless request for more and more tax dollars!

  • Hope she wins... January 22, 2020 (9:00 pm)

    For those maligning the person making the complaint, read the original story. The city kept moving the goalposts on her and didn’t take the matter seriously at all. The city coming up with subjective terms like “significant” shows that they aren’t taking heir own process seriously and I hope she wins in court. The point isn’t about a dog park, it’s about government overreach. They put the process in place for a hearing and then tried to change the rules. 

    • John Smith January 22, 2020 (10:06 pm)

      Some City employees have this mindset: “We’re the City, no other City employees are going to report us or raise any objections, and we need to do what we want to do,” so I think it is good for Seattle residents to try to keep the City honest (ha! to some degree, anyway).

  • Joe Z January 22, 2020 (11:00 pm)

    One just wishes this citizen passion could be directed at more pressing issues facing the city…

  • Seriously? January 23, 2020 (7:55 am)

    This person chose to get a dog. It follows that it is this person’s responsibility to provide exercise and entertainment for said dog. There is no law on the books that mandates the city or state provide off-leash dpg parks. If this person’s beef is that there is limited space at the residence for the dog, well, maybe that should have been taken into consideration when bringing the dog home in the first place. Personal accountability needs to become a “thing” again.

    • WSB January 23, 2020 (10:23 pm)

      Her dog is a service animal. Not that service animals are entitled to a public park, but it’s not just a pet she has for fun.

  • KBear January 23, 2020 (10:35 am)

    At least when she loses in court she might be made to pay the city’s legal expenses.

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