Revised plan for upzoned site, park-project updates, more @ Morgan Community Association

The newest plan for an upzoned development site tops our look at what happened during the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting this past Wednesday:

REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT: Project-team members from StoryBuilt were there to talk about the 41st/Graham project. Brandon Burrowes and Patrick Cobb, both West Seattle residents, explained that their company specializes in “infill.” The project at 6314 41st SW is a 20,000-sf, 3-parcel site upzoned by HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability to Lowrise 3. The project has changed since they had an early community meeting last year. The project will have fewer units (now 36), plus less height – 30 to 40′ in an area zoned up to 50′ – and more parking (15 spaces) than zoning requires (zero). The units will range from 500 sf to 1300 sf, in a mix of townhouses and flats, and though the city files still describe the project as “apartments,” the StoryBuilt reps say these will be units for sale, likely ranging from $300,000 to $700,000.

The “flats” are six units fronting Graham, ground level, with two-story units above. The building fronting 41st SW also will have ground-floor units and units above them. Regarding the MHA requirement – they’re leaning toward paying the city-required fee rather than providing affordable housing on site. In Q&A, one rep mentioned this is “probably the 25th site plan” they’ve worked with, as the project continued to evolve. Timeline? Probably a year and a half from starting construction, which then will take about that same length of time. Meantime, the project is in Administrative Design Review (here’s the newest design packet), with a new comment period under way until February 3rd; here’s the city notice explaining how to comment.

LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL UPDATE: MoCA president Deb Barker read an update from Seattle Parks project leader David Graves. They’re pursuing permits for the project to remove the failing seawall and restore beach and creek habitat in the area. The project will go out to bid soon. As for construction – in-water work needs to wait until August because of fish-related restrictions.

LOWMAN BEACH RACKET COURT UPDATE: Once the tennis court is removed as part of the seawall project, will a new racket court be built at the park? Results of the second survey showed strong support for building the new court in the grassy area, protecting the park’s trees, said Lisa Corbin, who leads the group advocating for a new court. A third community meeting is planned to show a schematic design. Watch here for updates.

MORGAN JUNCTION PARK EXPANSION SITE: Though park development itself is on hold, the plan to clean up the site – which formerly held a dry cleaner and mini-mart – is still active. The city is in the process of seeking permits. No timeline yet; maybe later this year. In addition to hauling away contaminated soil, the work will level and fence the site. Barker said the city has assured them it’s not meant to be an eyesore – which it is now.

BRIDGE DETOUR TRAFFIC MITIGATION: While Morgan Junction hasn’t gotten official attention as a detour route, it’s definitely affected by bridge-closure traffic, Barker noted. So Sara Zora from SDOT came to the meeting to listen to concerns. She talked about the Home Zone program. Right now, they’re not expanding the list of neighborhoods – like Highland Park, Georgetown, South Park – that are targeted for that program. But if you’re noticing traffic-diversion effects elsewhere, let SDOT know via – Zora said additional areas could make it into a 2022 plan. Separate from bridge-related mitigation, she said that a recent speed analysis will result in two radar-powered speed signs being replaced on Fauntleroy – at Brandon and at Thistle – and another one being added, at Fauntleroy/Austin. Attendees suggested outreach to ferry riders, urging them to avoid speeding.

BEVERIDGE PLACE ROAD WOES: This was a community-concern FYI item. Residents of SW Beveridge Place and the owner of the Whisky West and Zeeks Pizza building are concerned about conditiohs on their street – a steep, narrow, dead end. It gets a fair amount of turnaround traffic because of nearby businesses and is plagued by drainage and sewer issues. Their concerns were heightened when a potential 5-unit development surfaced for one parcel. They wanted to ensure the infrastructure issues would be taken into consideration when the development was reviewed, so they met with multiple city departments. A neighborhood rep said the street issues weren’t getting much traction from SDOT though City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s staff helped them navigate the departments. The redevelopment project appears to have been shelved for now, they said, but the area was upzoned and the issues will eventually have to be addressed.

CALIFORNIA/MYRTLE SEWER PROJECT: Barker had some info from the project manager, who was unable to attend because of a family emergency. The pipe, 70 years old, was discovered to be deteriorating in a routine inspection. No other pipe replacements on California expected in the next few years. Two sections are being replaced, and the total project is estimated at up to six weeks. Attendee Jen brought up her wife’s serious injuries from a bicycle crash at the project site’s bumps, which have been regraded since then.

MORGAN JUNCTION COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: Though it’s too soon to say if the festival – canceled last year – will see another pandemic cancellation this year, they’re going to go ahead and start doing some discussions and planning just in case, and they’re interested in potential volunteers being part of the effort.

A few quick notes:

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: Morgan Junction businesses are participating in the second Thursday West Seattle Art Walk.

SCALE DISBANDS: This coalition of citywide neighborhood groups that challenged HALA has disbanded. MoCA was a founding member.

SAVE THE STONE COTTAGE: Not Morgan Junction, but – Barker is involved in this volunteer preservation effort and plugged tomorrow’s “Walking in Eva’s Shoes” event, the third in a series. Prep work is continuing for moving the bungalow off its site, now expected to happen next month.

DIVERSITY CENTER OF WASHINGTON: As reported recently on WSB, this organization is now headquartered in Morgan Junction, after a move from Burien.

NEXT MEETING: April 21, likely still online.

13 Replies to "Revised plan for upzoned site, park-project updates, more @ Morgan Community Association"

  • Chemist January 22, 2021 (11:01 pm)

    The project will have fewer units (now 36), plus less height – 30 to 40′ in an area zoned up to 50′ – and more parking (15 spaces) than zoning requires (zero). The units will range from 500 sf to 1300 sf, in a mix of townhouses and flats

    It’s a shame that nobody wants to build condos anymore.  That’d probably make it more attractive to build up higher.

    • Chemist January 23, 2021 (2:22 pm)

      Also, re: lots of revisions and parking. 

       Jan 9 2020 – The project is made up of 56 homes with a mixture of townhomes, flats, and split-level residences along with 33 surface and below grade parking spaces access(ed) off an alley. (59% of units have parking)
      Nov 18 2020 – three small apartment buildings with a total of 36 units and 15 offstreet-parking units.  (42% of units have parking)

      Dec 29 2020 – three apartment buildings (3, 4, and 5 stories) with 6 Efficiency Dwelling Units and 30 apartment units (36 units total). Parking for 15 vehicles proposed.

      It sounds like one consistent thing in the revisions is less parking. That’s historically something people want when they buy a unit to live in (as opposed to rent) so it’ll be interesting to see how many of these end up as investment properties that are rented out by the owner.  
      The required 36 long-term, sheltered bike parking spaces aren’t really depicted in Scheme B except for a narrow rectangle along the S wall like they’re some sort of wall-mounted thing that wouldn’t accommodate cargo bikes and trikes. It’s admin review, but you have to take the bike parking seriously if you’re going to propose an alternative you’d build.

      • lc January 25, 2021 (9:23 am)

        Less parking == good

        Fewer units == not quite as good

        Not taking advantage of full height afforded by MHA == highly questionable

        No affordable units, dollars for in-lieu == predictable

        Condos for sale versus apartments for rent == debatable

        All of these things plus underlying fact that 3 homes are becoming more than 30 homes less than half a mile from a residential urban center: pragmatic MHA upzoning success story with real-world results

        Do not forget to see the forest through the trees

  • CJ January 23, 2021 (6:03 am)

    This project is another example of how the City’s HALA plan has failed to live up to the promise of providing affordable housing. Who benefits from this other than the developer?

    • Ryan Packer January 23, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      The people who will live in the apartments funded by the in-lieu fee after it gets consolidated with other funds.Which isn’t to say I don’t think this development is a missed opportunity, it should be denser and not have any off-street parking.

      • CMT January 23, 2021 (9:34 pm)

        Lol (but not).  Let us know when and – more importantly where – these in-lieu apartments are built, as HALA/MHA was falsely sold as a program through which affordable units would be in the amenity-rich urban villages, ensuring that individuals that could otherwise not afford this  would benefit and the urban villages would benefit by added diversity.  Those paying attention knew that this was BS and developers – who will almost always choose the extremely low In-lieu option – would be the primary beneficiaries.

        • Ryan Packer January 23, 2021 (11:07 pm)

          You can read about them yourself via the city’s reports. Looks to me like most are being built in what I would characterize as “amenity-rich areas”.

          • CMT January 24, 2021 (10:43 am)

            Yes – Notably, the newsletter contains zero data regarding the portion of the funding for the affordable housing building projects attributable to HALA in lieu fees.   Your optimism is great though. I do hope it works out the way it was billed.

          • CMT January 24, 2021 (8:09 pm)

            Unsurprisingly there is zero information in your link regarding what percentage of the amounts that will be used to build the affordable housing referenced come from MHA in-lieu fees as opposed to the other programs.  Hint:  very little.

          • Ron Swanson January 25, 2021 (10:10 am)

            LOL.  It’s literally in the “investments funded” table.  Pretty substantial amounts, actually.  But who cares about facts when you’ve got an axe to grind?

  • MasonWLS January 23, 2021 (2:38 pm)

    As someone who lives near a development just like this one…….. zero benefit to the surrounding neighbors.   Just massive downside.  Brings everyones quality of life down a few notches.  Bottom line.    This area was and never will be suitable for this great a population.

  • dc January 25, 2021 (9:17 am)

    How does one join these “Morgan Community Association” meetings? Their website doesn’t appear to have received updates since 2018, and who they are and what their associated positions are is opaque. 

    • WSB January 25, 2021 (11:04 am)

      We previewed the meeting twice, including connection information. I’m not sure why their website isn’t maintained but you can email to ask about getting on the meeting-announcement list.

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