FOLLOWUP: Councilmembers’ questions delay The Whittaker’s alley-vacation finalization

That’s video of last Wednesday’s City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting, one of the last committee meetings before councilmembers’s decision to change their schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak – for at least the rest of this month, they’ll hold their weekly full-council meetings by phone, and they’re canceling committee meetings. One major West Seattle item was part of the T&UC’s meeting last week – action to finalize the alley vacation originally (and contentiously) approved in 2014 for The Whittaker (the two-building complex at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW). We mentioned last month that the finalization was going to the City Council, after developers LMC paid $2.3 million for the city right-of-way property that now goes through and alongside their site. Committee members were briefed by Beverly Barnett, the longtime SDOT lead on alley and street vacations, and Brad Reisinger from LMC, who went through this slide deck recapping the project and the “public benefit” features they included as part of the deal:

But councilmembers had questions, primarlly District 1’s Lisa Herbold and (corrected) District 2’s Tammy Morales, and they decided to postpone a vote until there were answers. On Wednesday, that meant a delay until the committee’s March 18th meeting, but since all committee meetings were shelved two days later, now there’s no new date. One question Herbold wanted answered was raised during public comment earlier in the meeting by West Seattle community advocate Deb Barker – she noted that left turns onto Fauntleroy from The Whittaker’s center drive were supposed to be prohibited, but there’s no signage or striping indicating that.

5 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Councilmembers' questions delay The Whittaker's alley-vacation finalization"

  • Also John March 9, 2020 (12:02 pm)

    It seems like this should have been approved prior the the construction of the Whittakers.  Sort of late to say no and ask for the alley to be reopened.

  • ACG March 9, 2020 (12:20 pm)

    I’m confused as to why this is still being debated considering the building is done and businesses are operational. Shouldn’t this have been finalized in advance of the completion of the building and the tenants moving in?  What happens if they don’t approve it?  Access to the parking garages gets shut off?

    • Peter March 9, 2020 (1:27 pm)

      The alley being vacated is was not where the current alley is. It was to the north, right about in the middle of the north building, so this has no affect anything built whatever they decide. What is really going on is Herbold wants to impose more fees on the developer to punish them for leasing to non-union tenants.

      • WSB March 9, 2020 (1:28 pm)

        No, there’s no further money involved. The questions are whether conditions are indeed all being met.

  • Peter March 9, 2020 (1:10 pm)

    The discussion makes clear that traffic controls are not related to the alley vacation and are an entirely separate issue. From the discussion, the traffic controls are determined by the city, the developer can only do what the city direct them to, and the city didn’t require a no left turn sign in this location, but contrary to the story above there is appropriate striping. But to Herbold that is somehow justification for holding up the whole thing, even though it’s all after the fact and moot at this point. I think Herbold is acting in the spirit of Mike McGinn: obstruction for the sake of obstruction.

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