FOLLOWUP: Date set for Alki Elementary zoning-exception appeal hearing

(Rendering by Mahlum Architects – north side of school)

After a pre-hearing conference today, the city Hearing Examiner’s Office has set the date for the hearing on the latest appeal of a zoning exception for the Alki Elementary rebuild: May 22. Today’s conference was presided over by the same deputy hearing examiner who ordered Seattle Public Schools last year to reconsider its “no on-site parking” plan, Susan Drummond, after different appellants challenged it. As we reported in December, SPS subsequently came up with a plan for 15 spaces; in February, the city Department of Construction and Inspections approved it (as they originally had done for the no-parking plan); then this month, a new group of appellants calling themselves Friends for a Safe Alki Community filed a challenge. Their lawyer was at today’s conference as were two lawyers for the school district as well as the SDCI land-use planner assigned to the project. The levy-funded rebuild and expansion of Alki Elementary is on hold until this is resolved, because the building permit can’t be granted until the zoning exception for parking is either finalized, or rendered unnecessary by a plan allowing for the 48 spaces the current zoning rules require. Meantime, all sides have a series of deadlines to prepare for the May 22 hearing (for which a second day is set aside May 23 if needed), per the order resulting from today’s conference.

ADDED APRIL 14: A routine check of the case file reveals the hearing date has changed to May 28.

36 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Date set for Alki Elementary zoning-exception appeal hearing"

  • Ray March 26, 2024 (1:25 am)

    I’m in favor of approving as soon as possible so these kids can go to school in a proper building. Take the 15 parking spot compromise. It’s called public parking for a reason: it doesn’t belong to anyone in particular!

    • Kyle March 26, 2024 (6:30 am)


    • EC March 26, 2024 (8:27 am)

      Yes, please! Let’s be a neighborhood that warmly welcomes families and kids!

    • Parking March 26, 2024 (9:45 am)

      15 parking spots is not a compromise.  Half of the required 48 spots is where a compromise begins.  When SPS comes up with a 24 parking spot plan then both sides can begin talking.  Any construction that adds to parking pressure ought to be responsible for offsetting that parking in some meaningful way. 

      • Brian March 26, 2024 (11:12 am)

        A parking spot wrote this post. 

      • Kyle March 26, 2024 (11:22 am)

        The community benefit of having a public elementary school in your neighborhood definitely offsets the full parking requirement.  Even if you don’t have kids, the public investment in their education and your community is worth more than a fixed number of parking spots.  Thought that was apparent. Compromise and move on.

  • Jim March 26, 2024 (7:01 am)

    No zoning exemption! Stop letting local government skirt the law

    • DC March 26, 2024 (12:12 pm)

      You will be happy to learn that zoning exemption are legal!!! No skirting the law after all. 

  • Derek March 26, 2024 (7:48 am)

    I will be going to this to provide resistance against NIMBYs and that reason only. Cars need to be removed out of any equation for any development going forward.

    • EC March 26, 2024 (11:04 am)

      Thanks, Derek!I hope more people are showing up to support our neighborhood school!

    • Al King March 26, 2024 (4:41 pm)

      Derek. What do you have against cars? Do you own one? Have you ever owned one? Do you rent or use rideshare/taxi? Those are cars. Do you not order anything online as a car would be delivering?

      • Fed Up Ped March 26, 2024 (7:12 pm)

        I’m not Derek, but am one of many folks around here that don’t use a car for transportation or delivery. I exclusively use bus, walking, or my own person vehicle: an e-scooter. The interactions I’ve had with cars in the past years have been either being or almost being hit by them because of inattentiveness or entitlement. The argument that “everyone uses a car!” is quickly becoming less relevant as more folks chose and experience car free lifestyles.

  • sps parent March 26, 2024 (8:18 am)

    This challenge is going to yet again cost the school district money in legal fees, a strain on an already severely underfunded system. Leads me to believe these folks organizing the challenge have disposable time and $ to burn, at the expense of kids waiting to return to their neighborhood school. 

    • G March 26, 2024 (10:20 am)

      These folks certainly don’t have kids going to Alki. And yes, they do have the time and money keep kids out of a beautiful school. Shame on them. 

    • D-Ridge March 26, 2024 (12:55 pm)

      Yet another example of older generations gatekeeping and removing resources and opportunities for the next gen.

    • Another SPS parent March 26, 2024 (2:10 pm)

      This! I can’t believe we are going to lose more money from an already woefully depleted  public school budget on this absolute NIMBY nonsense.

  • Pinto March 26, 2024 (11:51 am)

    There is plenty of parking where students are going temporarily, Schmitz Park Elementary. How about installing a gondola from the Schmitz Park lot down the slope to Alki Elmentary? 

    • Jethro Marx March 26, 2024 (2:21 pm)

      Love this gondola suggestion and I hope somehow it gets considerable time dedicated to it at this ridiculous meeting.  I’ll be there with my group, Frenemies For A Dangerous And Difficult-To-Park-At Alki. 

      Seriously, by and by, folks.

      • r March 26, 2024 (4:05 pm)

        How does one join Frenemies For A Dangerous And Difficult-To-Park-At Alki and do we get a t-shirt?

        • Jethro Marx March 26, 2024 (7:02 pm)

           You’ll know us when you see us: our dogs are off leash, harass seals and have perpetual loose stool on the beach. We’re loud and have some special hint of out-of-townness about us. We ride on all kinds of strange wheeled devices, make unpredictable turns in travel direction and demeanor, and always park like we love drama.

          As for t-shirts, we applied for a street closure permit to distribute them. We’re probably going to need a block or two, every other weekend in the summer to set up our coal-powered screenprinting operation.

  • Jon Wright March 26, 2024 (12:34 pm)

    This exercise is bringing out the best of all worlds! We’ve got NIMBYs plus the folks who think they have a Divine Right to store their private property in the public right-of-way in front of their house for free.

    • John March 26, 2024 (1:20 pm)

      Exactly! Street parking does not belong to local residents. It belongs just as much to school children, parents, and teachers. These NIMBYs are so selfish that they’re willing to waste taxpayer money in a prolonged legal battle AND compromise the education of hundreds of children. Shame on them!

  • Admiral-2009 March 26, 2024 (12:54 pm)

    The site has limited transit service.  Route 56 currently is too limited and provides minimal transit benefit to the project, maybe if the School District could get Metro to operate the 56 all day in both directions could help mitigate site parking.

  • Fairmount March 26, 2024 (7:24 pm)

    What happens when teachers don’t want to work at a school with no parking? Sounds like there’s no bus service either. Where do you think Alki staff live? You want a nice school in the neighborhood for your kids so your property value goes up, but don’t you want good teachers that don’t have to stress about parking every day? It’s counterintuitive thinking. You live on Alki, not a suburban center with decent transit.

    • Reed March 26, 2024 (8:42 pm)

      Teachers can park within a few blocks and walk, simple.

    • Bbron March 27, 2024 (6:42 am)

      So what you’re saying is that it won’t personally impact you, and that you have to come up with imagined scenarios of other people to try and legitimize your opinion?

  • EC March 26, 2024 (9:06 pm)

    There may be limited transit service, but the results from the 2 parking studies, surveying the area on several dates and at different times of the day, indicate that there is parking available near the school. Based on the surveys, there will be about 140-150 free parking spots in the mornings.Link to the full study (Thanks for WSB for reporting in such great detail): 

  • Lk March 26, 2024 (9:23 pm)

    With all of the back-and-forth opinions, options and ideas The best solution would be to do a door-to-door Signed petition from the people who actually live in this schools jurisdiction that would be the best way for the people who are impacted by this school to get exactly what they want instead of guessing what they want and or what they need let’s stop being lazy and get out there and ask the people of the Alki beach neighborhood what they want and need!!!

  • Old man yells at cloud March 26, 2024 (10:22 pm)

    Oh yeah, because Alki Elementary parents are so car free or otherwise well behaved in their cars that they’re no trouble at all. Of course the neighborhood can easily bear the loss of parking in a parking overlay area. *eyeroll* As a neighbor on 60th, I’ve almost been hit repeatedly in mornings going to work as parents accelerate down our one car width streets to try to get as close as possible to the school. Because how dare their child walk to school. I’ve lived near multiple elementary schools, and Alki Elementary parents are by far the worst behaved drivers I’ve lived with. The neighborhood was a dangerous sh*tshow at morning drop off with parking as it was – less parking will not make it better.I’ll happily accept less onsite parking if we can have a traffic cop on Stevens ticketing all the traffic law violating parents who swore they didn’t need their cars to get their kids to school.Not dealing with that insanity this past year has been a delight. It’s not like SPS needs more schools – they’re going to have to close some anyway. Leave the kids at Schmitz, avoid the construction costs, and sell one of the most valuable pieces of land in the SPS portfolio to help close that budget gap.

    • Thank You Old Man March 27, 2024 (1:38 am)

      Indeed. Leave the kids at Schmitz. That’s the real solution.  Period.

      • EC March 27, 2024 (8:15 am)

        Have you ever been at Schmitz in person, Old Men? Schmitz is a terrible solution for everyone. The school district, the Alki neighborhood and the kids. I hope you both enjoyed your K-5 time in decent rooms and not in short-term, container-like portables.

    • Bbron March 27, 2024 (6:51 am)

      That’s a whole lotta text to say “I’m a NIMBY”. How would on-site parking prevent any of the dangerous scenarios you listed? Those are about ingress/egress of vehicles in the area, so I’m guessing you were always on the side of “remove the school” which, as a reminder, was there before you (unless you’re more than 100 years old). You scapegoat the parents driving, so I have a feeling you only really walk around where you live because what you described is a typical experience of any pedestrian in this or any other city. What you were experiencing is run-of-the-mill having to be a pedestrian using car centric infrastructure which is exacerbated by :drumroll: more parking!

      • EC March 27, 2024 (8:16 am)

        Thanks Bbron.

      • Al King March 27, 2024 (9:11 am)

        Bbron. I encourage you to hang out at Jefferson or Genesee Hill (or any other) elementary before or after school-especially if it’s raining. You’ll see s steady stream of GASP! CAR’S driven by young parents dropping off or picking up their kids. Please explain why that’s happening and what you’ve said to those parents. And, SPD did an emphasis patrol around schools several years ago. 75% of the tickets were given to PARENTS coming to pick up or drop off.

        • Bbron March 27, 2024 (9:40 pm)

          Go to any street during the morning or evening commutes and you’ll see the exact same thing? Walk around Westwood Village, or any other commerce heavy area. There is nothing unique about your experience w/ cars. Are you telling me that when cops go looking for things to ticket, that they end up ticketing things? I’m shocked! I see drivers violating traffic laws everyday, but I guess since there wasn’t someone there to hand out a ticket it actually wasn’t wrong by your measure. What you’re upset about is being a pedestrian and having to interact with cars; it doesn’t matter who the driver is (parent, widower, clergymen, etc.) it’s the infrastructure. But you’ve chosen to scapegoat a group of folks you don’t want being near you instead of reckoning with the fact the status quo is what’s the issue.

    • John March 27, 2024 (5:12 pm)

      What a joke! “Old Man” proposes we cancel construction of a school so that his morning commute can be a bit more pleasant. Talk about SELFISH.

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