DEVELOPMENT: See the 5252 California design packet, one week pre-review; 1318 Alki project comment time

Two project notes:

5252 CALIFORNIA SW DESIGN PACKET: One week from tonight, the Southwest Design Review Board meets online to look at two West Seattle projects. The second review, at 7 pm, is for the Aegis Living seniors’ complex proposed at 5252 California SW. We’ve been reporting on the plan since last July; now with a week to go until the meeting, the final design packet is available for review – more than 100 pages, twice the size of the draft version we linked previously, It includes the new “concept” rendering shown above, but its main purpose is to explore three “massing” (size and shape) options, since this is the Early Design Guidance part of the process. As previously mentioned, the proposal is for a five-story building – one floor higher than the basic zoning because they’re proposing Living Building Challenge elements – with up to 100 units (70 assisted living, 30 memory care). Public comment is part of the 7 pm Thursday, February 2nd, meeting; attendance/commenting info is here.

1318 ALKI COMMENTS: From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, a Shoreline Substantial Development application has been submitted for a proposal to build two buildings with six townhouses and nine offstreet-parking spaces at 1318 Alki SW. Comments will be accepted through February 24th; this notice explains how to offer yours.

29 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: See the 5252 California design packet, one week pre-review; 1318 Alki project comment time"

  • Flo B January 26, 2023 (4:43 pm)

    WSB. Question for you to ask Aegis. Based on news stories assisted living facilities; nursing homes; rehab facilities all seem to have trouble attracting and retaining enough help. Do they believe they’ll have full staff levels with this facility???

  • HousingFirst January 26, 2023 (6:36 pm)

    Interesting article in Atlantic (  that places the cause of our homeless problems at the feet of our big city Democrats and their support of the ‘protection’ of neighborhoods that in turn has caused the housing shortage.  The academic studies and analysis are compelling.  They specifically note the design review process is an undue hinderance to housing.   Months of time are wasted negotiating colors, building materials, cladding and other spurious elements.  They suggest that the design review process simply churns money, compromises design and stymies creativity, ultimately constraining housing while decreasing affordability. All of this adds up to big Blue cities with massive homelessness that is aside from poverty or crime or climate.  They also disprove the myth of ‘friendly’ liberal cities like Seattle, San Francisco, New York attracting the unhoused.Seattle’s Design Review should be cancelled  (as proof, I suggest you read the replies that will likely show up here, criticizing the ‘missing windows,’ lack of traffic on the street and even the people portrayed in the Massing Sketches!).  Housing First is the way to solve the current homeless crisis. 

    • Rhonda January 26, 2023 (6:57 pm)

      If you’ve ever been to third world countries with no infrastructure, zoning, planning, or permitting you’d understand why the design review process is absolutely vital for our community. It’s the essence of civilization.

      • HousingFirst January 26, 2023 (7:48 pm)

        Yes, I have been to many ‘developing’ countries:
        apples to oranges.

        But what about right here?  
        Seattle was built without Design Review as was every “first world” major city.  

        Virtually all of the loved ‘heritage’ Seattle was developed before Design Review  which was established in 1994!

        Design Review is a failed experiment, an expensive failure that has caused homelessness without achieving its stated goals.
        The notorious issue of size, shape and placement of planters holding up hundreds of housing units in Queen Anne is just one example.

        • Rhonda January 26, 2023 (11:15 pm)

          Design Review caused homelessness? There were no homeless in Seattle before 1994? I suppose the dozens of homeless I saw living in Myrtle Edwards Park when I worked in Lower Queen Anne in 1990 – 1994 were just homeowners out for some air…

          • housingfirst January 27, 2023 (11:01 am)

            Rhonda Seattle has always had homeless.  

            The origin of “skid row”, (and it hobos) was Seattle .  “
            The term “
            Skid Road” or “Skid Row”, a slang term for a run-down or dilapidated urban area, was an actual road in Seattle, Washington during the late 1800’s. The real name of the road was Yesler Way (now better known as Pioneer Square), and it was the main street along which logs were transported.” 
            I beg Rhonda to claim that 1990 -1994 era Seattle had a homeless population any where near that of the current crisis.

          • Rhonda January 27, 2023 (1:46 pm)

            Seattle has FAR more housing now than in 1990 – 1994 yet FAR more homelessness. Obviously, simply building much more housing in the past 3 decades hasn’t fixed homelessness in Seattle, so why do you think it will now?

          • hosusingfirst January 28, 2023 (10:11 am)

            Obviously Rhonda has not and is unwilling to read- t  
            It is much easier to make uninformed remarks.  
            The article explains exactly why  homelessness has changed and increased.  
            Part of it is that although we have  more housing,  there remains a shortage resulting in  housing that is much more unaffordable. 

          • Rhonda January 28, 2023 (7:33 pm)

            The only one making “uninformed remarks” here is you. Many West Seattle residents like me actually provide rental housing and have done so for decades. 

      • yikes January 26, 2023 (7:53 pm)

        There’s a building downtown that causes literal avalanches, forcing them to shut down 5th Avenue whenever it snows.  Design review is a joke.

        • housing first January 27, 2023 (11:07 am)

          Once again.  

          This example, if true, would not have been a subject of Design Review.  

          Kind of like saying Design Review allowed a building constructed that ended up with a leaky roof. 

    • Resident January 27, 2023 (6:42 am)

      I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to calmly explain the problems with design review and providing a source that lays out the details and evidence. It’s clear that many people have strong feelings about development, but there’s also a lot of incorrect information that gets repeated in these comment sections.

      • Ditto January 28, 2023 (1:19 am)


  • Jim January 26, 2023 (6:41 pm)

    What’s the point of the public comment when they don’t listen anyway?! People forever have been saying there’s too much development and urban density is not helping the housing crisis in any way. I recently saw a house just off of California Avenue that was a perfectly nice home where they paid $700,000 for it and tore it down a year later and now they’re throwing up three condos in its place

    • WSB January 26, 2023 (7:22 pm)

      This process, both the board input and the public comment, isn’t about whether there’s too much or too little development. California SW has been zoned for more development for decades. This is about the design of what’s proposed to go in as allowed by the existing zoning. Design Review is explained here:

      If you’re interested in changing zoning, get involved in the Comprehensive Plan process, which is not project-specific

    • HousingFirst January 26, 2023 (8:00 pm)

      Jim is illustrating how little is understood of Design Review.  His example has nothing to do with Design Review, but it is indicative of common  oppostition to housing.  What was once a single family lot, housing maybe one or two will now house at least triple that number.Adding density is the our only viable future.After decades of wrongly constricting development, affordability will not be solved immediately.  

    • Seattle Artist January 26, 2023 (8:07 pm)

      Jim! Developers tore down one dwelling and put 3 in its place?  That’s awesome.  There are 3 opportunities for homeowners right there, instead of just one.  What is wrong with that?  If indeed they were condo’s and priced accordingly, that would be even better.  But I imagine they were zero-lotline townhomes, which usually have a higher price tag.  Nevertheless, we need more home ownership opportunities.   I love old houses myself, but sometimes it’s cheaper to tear down and build than to try to restore an old and rundown house. 

  • HousingFirst January 26, 2023 (7:15 pm)

    Let me add,
    I have attended Design Review meetings in West Seattle.
    I  have/had no financial interest, no association with developer(s) or business connected to any projects in Design Review. 
    End design review now.
    Please support Housing First!

    • WestSeattleBadTakes January 27, 2023 (10:01 am)

      Please don’t co-opt Housing First. Housing First is a policy to provide housing to the unhoused without pre-conditions.

      In general, I would agree that we should try to speed this things up. Simply ending design review without considering and mitigating negative outcomes isn’t a plan though.

      • housingfirst January 27, 2023 (11:14 am)

        Co-opting the phrase “housing first” is my intent.  
        I feel that people really do need to be aware that everything starts with people having a home.  
        Many of us are quite content living our comfortable lives inside our homes without consideration for the less fortunate others.

        Terms or phrases that daylight the tragedy of the lives amongst us is a step in the right direction.

        • WestSeattleBadTakes January 27, 2023 (12:12 pm)

          I hope you can understand and recognize how using the term to focus on the design review process dilutes the aims and importance of the policy.

    • my two cents January 27, 2023 (3:41 pm)

      me thinks housingfirst is a developer who wants fewer regulations so generic boxes can be built.

  • Flo B January 27, 2023 (6:51 am)

    Housingfirst. So, you get your wish. Instead of say 20 single homes in your block there with say, 80 total occupants you tear out 4 of those houses and put up high rise apodments with say, 250 more people. Where are you putting all the cars. Yes, here in the real world there will be cars. Maybe they all take the bus to work. You have transit capacity for all of them?? My BIG concern is that all those demanding more density never talk about infrastructure to accommodate the influx of people; cars, power/water/garbage etc. That HAS to come first. Right????

    • housingfirst January 27, 2023 (12:48 pm)

      The cars are the only challenge and building to house cars rather than people has no future.  
      After all, what to do when those cars attempt to leave their expensive storage facilities?  
      The only infrastructure that is not suitable now and worse with every new car registered,  is the road capacity which we are stuck with.  

      Power/water/garbage are all specious ‘red herring’ arguments dismissed by knowledgeable people as improvements in efficiency has voided those concerns.  For example Seattle’s current  use of water is comparable to that of the 1950s. 

      The old chicken or egg argument is also a design to delay.  
      The Metro Transit system is extremely flexible and can quickly be adjusted to demand.  
      The light rail will alleviate additional need for reliance solely on cars.

      I attended and was shouted down at Morgan Community Meetings a decade ago where locals were outraged at the prospect of ‘apodments’ proposed on California Ave in the Morgan Junction.  
      One decried their “lifestyle” of keeping their sports toys i.e. kayaks in their garage  and expecting “their parking spot” directly in front of their home to be always available.  
      I now live nearby on California Ave. and park (yes I own a vehicle) on the street for convenience. 
      Apodments are an easy target for the uninformed, but they do actually house people that could not afford anything more.
      I have never heard of any proposal for a “high rise” (defined as seven stories or more) apodment,
      but what is wrong with that?

  • Resident January 27, 2023 (7:42 am)

    Do you know the cost to live at Aegis?  Who can afford to live there? It is staggering. The facilities are beautiful all over the city.  Check out how much it would to live there or put a family member in assisted living not to mention memory care.  I would love to know how people manage the cost. 

    • housingfirst January 27, 2023 (10:52 am)

      Few can afford any medical services ‘out of pocket’ now.
      Anecdotally,  it ‘cost me’ nearly $200,000 for my radical prostatectomy.  I could not afford that.  
      My insurance paid for nearly all with my out of pocket less than $500.

      When people mention the cost of Aegis, it depends on the level of service required.  
      Just like a hospital overnight, no one can afford it. 
      And remember that in generations past, many seniors aged within their family’s home, something less often now. 

    • Flo B January 27, 2023 (4:46 pm)

      Resident. As far as managing payment pray you’ve got assets you can access. 6 years ago my uncle went into Park West after a fall and head injury. His shared room was $8,400 a month. A private room was $12,000 a month. They were VERY firm in getting paid and would have IMMEDIATELY sent him away if they weren’t paid by the 1st of the month. Luckily for him he had the money and was able to pay until he passed. I’d be shocked if rates at Aegis aren’t a LOT higher now.

  • Greg January 27, 2023 (10:42 am)

    And yet, King county not only is allowing but also planned/designed the construction of 107 more single family homes in white center.  With what little land is left here for new construction why would this land have not been developed into a substantial multi family project?  Hypocrisy?  Dirty money?  Cognitive dissonance?  Whatever it is, it’s a slap in the face to most of you. 

  • Divergent January 28, 2023 (10:44 am)

    Option 3 looks great and a million times better than the current dilapidated structures. 

Sorry, comment time is over.