West Seattle housing 531 results

DEVELOPMENT: 150-apartment project for 3201 SW Avalon Way gets OK to move to 2nd stage of Design Review

(The three ‘massing’ options for 3201 Avalon; project team’s preference, #3, at right, won the SWDRB’s favor too)

The once-and-future Golden Tee Apartments site, above the northwest side of the West Seattle Golf Course, was the first of two projects getting their first Southwest Design Review Board look tonight. After the review before a full gallery, the board voted to allow the project to move on from the Early Design Guidance phase of the project, which mostly looks at big-picture issues such as building size, shape, and placement on site.

It wasn’t a slam-dunk vote, though – the board almost deadlocked, but talked through concerns. Biggest one: “I want to know that they’re doing the right thing between the buildings,” said board chair Don Caffrey. He was referring to this 7-story project and the 5-story condominiums next door, where most of those commenting during the meeting said they live (that building is partly visible in the photo below):

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

We first reported last December that redevelopment was proposed for the site, at 3201-3211 SW Avalon Way.

Present tonight from the board along with chair Caffrey were members John Cheng, Matt Hutchins, and Scott Rosenstock, along with the project’s assigned city planner Abby Weber. Here’s how the review unfolded:

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DEVELOPMENT: What happened at West Seattle’s second-ever Early Design Community Outreach meeting

The second West Seattle project to have an early-stage meeting as part of the city’s new Early Design Community Outreach process is 5616 California SW, proposed for eight townhouses to replace a 93-year-old house. As was the case for the first West Seattle project in the process, 1772 Alki SW, the meeting for this one drew a single-digit turnout – three community members. Two representatives of Cone Architecture talked with the three attendees for an hour at the 4 pm Monday meeting in the community room at High Point Library. They said they had sent postcards to nearby residents, as required by the city, including a URL for an online survey about the project, but that had only drawn one response.

One of the attendees, Jim Guenther, suggested it might have been a bigger draw if the project team instead had planned an open house at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), which is next to the project site. (The architects said their firm has been talking with C & P about the project.) The talk was almost as much about the process as the project; one of the other attendees was Deb Barker, president of the Morgan Community Association and retired land-use planner, who suggested that 4 pm on a weekday was not a time many could work with.

The architects did show “massing” renderings for three possible ways the townhouses could be arranged on the site. They also explained that the project is strictly residential, though the site could have had a commercial component too, and that it has five parking spaces because that’s all that’s required given its proximity to “frequent transit” (RapidRide stops nearby). They also said the “exceptional tree” on the site is staying – “we have embraced and want to” protect it. Barker suggested that impervious surface be minimized on the site.

If you’re interested in the project but couldn’t get to the meeting or hadn’t heard about it, you’ll have another chance to comment when the design proposal becomes officially available for Administrative Design Review (no public meetings in that part of the process but the city will announce it in the Land Use Information Bulletin).

(LATE-NIGHT P.S.: Since we published this, a third West Seattle project has been added to the Early Outreach list – 5009 Fauntleroy Way SW, three rowhouse units and three single-family houses. No meeting date yet.)

Preview the projects for next week’s Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader

Next Thursday (September 20th), the Southwest Design Review Board meets for its first look at two West Seattle projects. The design packets for both are now online:

(The three ‘massing’ options for 3201 Avalon)

3201 SW AVALON WAY: See the packet here. This is a 7-story, 150-apartment, 85-offstreet-parking-space project proposed to replace the Golden Tee (map; two buildings, 28 units, 30 spaces). NK Architects is designing the project. It’s first up on the SWDRB’s agenda at 6:30 pm Thursday.

(The three ‘massing’ options for 7617 35th)

7617 35TH SW: See the packet here. This is a 4-story, 42-unit, 28-offstreet-parking-space proposal for the Complete Auto Repair site [map]. LDG Architects is designing the project. It’s scheduled for the 8 pm spot on the agenda.

Both meetings are at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon); both include public-comment periods. Since both are for the Early Design Guidance phase of Design Review, they are focused on size/shape/site placement of the buildings (“massing”), and there will be at least one more meeting for each project.

DEVELOPMENT: Microapartments proposed for Junction 7-11 site

(King County Assessor website photo)

Thanks to Scott for spotting this early-stage proposal in city files: We reported back in late July that the Junction 7-11 site (4800 Erskine Way) was for sale. No sale on record yet, but now there’s a redevelopment proposal, summarized on the city website as “a six-story apartment building with approximately 65 small efficiency dwelling units. No parking provided.” The site plan shows prolific Blueprint Capital, headquartered a few blocks north, as the prospective developer, with Cone Architecture designing the project. Again, this is an early-stage proposal, so there’s no formal application yet, and official comment periods are some ways out.

DEVELOPMENT: Transitional Resources proceeding with SW Yancy project; 3014 SW Charlestown; 5917 California SW

Three (re)development notes:

TRANSITIONAL RESOURCES PROJECT PROCEEDING: We first reported back in February that nonprofit Transitional Resources had an early-stage proposal to replace three houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy with more than 40 microapartments. TR CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker has an update on the project, which has the official address 2821 SW Yancy: “Transitional Resources will soon be submitting funding applications to develop up to 44 studio units in two buildings (three stories each) that closely mirrors surrounding development scale. The buildings will have a single common entry with staffing 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Like our other projects, this housing will serve adults in need of behavioral health treatment and support to live independently in permanent housing.” Currently TR provides housing for 85 people in what Slovek-Walker describes as “a mix of owned and leased properties,” including buildings on SW Avalon Way near this site.

5 UNITS FOR 3014 CHARLESTOWN SW: Also in the Luna Park area, this site is proposed for four townhouses and one live-work unit, with four off-street-parking spaces. It will go through the Streamlined Design Review process; watch here for the comment period and design documents. The century-old house on the site, sold for $825,000 in May, will be demolished.

DEMOLITION SOON FOR 5917 CALIFORNIA: A demolition permit has been issued for the boarded-up Charmann Apartments, with a long history of complaints.

We reported back in February that an early-stage plan was in city files for eight townhouses at the site; that appears to still be the plan, making its way through the system. The property was sold in July for $1.3 million.

Testimony ends in HALA upzoning appeal: Here’s what happens next

After 19 days of testimony before city Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil, the appeal of the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning is now in his hands. Friday was the last scheduled day of testimony – the 19th, in sessions spread across 2 1/2 months – in the appeal challenging the city’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on the plan. We listened to audio from the hearing’s conclusion to find out what happens next: Both sides have deadlines to submit their wrap-up briefs to Vancil, and he indicated he doesn’t expect to announce his decision before November.

HALA MHA would upzone commercial and multifamily property citywide, plus residential property in “urban village” areas, with developers allowed to build higher/denser as a result, while being required to include a certain level of “affordable housing” in their projects or to pay the city a fee to fund construction somewhere else. (Check the interactive map here to see how/whether any particular site would be affected.) The coalition of more than 30 neighborhood groups that filed the appeal last November (plus some individual challenges that were heard concurrently) contends that the FEIS is inadequate for a variety of reasons and wants the city to have to go back to the drawing board and work directly with neighborhoods to address their specific challenges and conditions. Until the appeal is settled, the City Council’s vote on HALA MHA – a proposal initiated before Jenny Durkan was elected mayor – is on hold. They’ve had a multitude of meetings and hearings on it, including in-district hearings that concluded with one June 5th in West Seattle (WSB coverage here). Meantime, documents in the appeal case, as well as minutes (detailing who testified but not the substance of their testimony) and audio, can be found here. The Hearing Examiner (whose role is explained briefly here) has the city’s final say in matters brought before him; a court challenge would be the next step.

4801 Fauntleroy Apartments, now leasing in West Seattle: Welcoming a new WSB sponsor

If you’re apartment-hunting in West Seattle, there’s still room at the new 4801 Fauntleroy Apartments – but they’re going fast. This new mixed-use building is one of our newest WSB sponsors.

The 4801 Fauntleroy Apartments are on the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds, what local builder Joe Paar calls “workforce housing” during our recent tour. Nice, but not “luxury.” Since it’s a corner building, there’s a lot of windows, and a lot of light.

They’re a mix of sizes – including 2-bedroom units – all with their own washer-dryer, so you don’t have to deal with taking turns in a laundry room.

The building has a rooftop deck (more furniture on the way! grill and sink in place too) as well as some units with private decks/patios. It’s pet-friendly, too. No car parking; there’s a room with bicycle parking right off Edmunds, at street level. And RapidRide C Line buses stop barely a block away.

Another amenity: Hard-wired high-speed internet (with Wave). And more businesses opening in the area – the ground floor of 4801 Fauntleroy is the new home to Barre Bohemian, Spa Phoebe, City Nails, Pure Vape – all locally owned – and Joe says he’s planning to moving his business there too.

As of this morning, only 17 apartments remain available for leasing at 4801 Fauntleroy -one is a 2-bedroom for those who qualify in the MFTE program – and a variety of move-in specials are available, including:

$500 of Amazon gift script for any tenant who signs a disclosure and pays a deposit on their first tour/visit to the property.

Free September rent for all leases regardless of length or type.

Developer will pay October rent for any one-year lease.

Studio special at $1,275 plus utilities plus internet – “real studio units, not SEDUs.”

Discounts on remaining one- and two-bedroom units.

Call 971-217-8768, e-mail fauntleroyapartments@gmail.com, or stop in the on-site leasing office at 4801 Fauntleroy.

We thank 4801 Fauntleroy Apartments for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

DEVELOPMENT: Comment time for apartments at 3084 SW Avalon Way, townhouses at 3852 Beach Drive

Two notes from today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin:

(King County Assessor website photos)

NEXT COMMENT PERIOD FOR 3084 AVALON MICROAPARTMENTS: The 7-story, 37-microapartment (“small efficiency dwelling unit”), no-offstreet-parking project at 3084 SW Avalon Way has gone through Administrative Design Review, and now, four months later, there’s a land-use-permit application. You have two weeks to comment – the “notice of application” linked here explains how.

TOWNHOUSES FOR 3852 BEACH DRIVE: That century-old house will be replaced with 3 townhouses and three offstreet-parking spaces under this proposal. Because it’s close to the shoreline, there’s a longer comment period, four weeks – the notice linked here explains how.

DEVELOPMENT: 4508 California SW’s downsized site; 5011 Delridge Way SW comment period opens

Two development-related notes:

(4508 California SW “preferred option” rendering by Caron Architecture)

4508 CALIFORNIA SW DOWNSIZED: One week from tonight, 4508 California SW goes to its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting. The packet is now available online, and we noticed a big change from when we originally reported on this project back in March: It’s proposed for a smaller footprint. The original early-stage filing described the site as stretching from the former West Seattle Cyclery storefront all the way to West Seattle Windermere; now it’s covering three current storefronts – ex-Cyclery, plus two restaurants, Lee’s and Kamei. As is standard in the Early Design Guidance stage of Design Review, the project packet proposes three possible “massing” configurations – they would each include more than 70 apartments plus 19 offstreet-parking spaces (city rules do not require any parking in this area) as well as ~11,000 square feet of retail (ground floor) and lodging. The SWDRB meeting next Thursday (6:30 pm August 2nd, Senior Center/Sisson Building, 4217 SW Oregon) will as usual include a public-comment period; if you can’t be there, you can send comments via e-mail to holly.godard@seattle.gov to get them to assigned city planner Holly Godard.

5011 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Comments open today and continue through August 8th on the streamlined design review for this six-townhouse, six-offstreet-parking-space project replacing a triplex. You can see the design packet here. The notice explains how to comment – this type of design review does NOT include a public meeting.

The Hill Team at Keller Willliams Realty: Welcome, new West Seattle Blog sponsor!

Today we welcome a new sponsor, The Hill Team at Keller Williams Realty, led by Zack & Jodi Hill. Together they bring more than 15 years of experience in buying and selling homes in West Seattle. As they say, “We live here. We work here. We invest in the community here.” Which is why they’ve hosted holiday food drives for the West Seattle Food Bank and been sponsors of both Hope Lutheran School and Lafayette Elementary. Zack and Jodi said that one the of the best parts of living in West Seattle over the years has been to have the opportunity to give back to the community.

Whether it’s your first time in the market or you’ve sold a home before, Zack and Jodi are ready to talk to you about the market value of your home or what’s available in West Seattle. Like this current listing:

Zack describes the home:

We currently have an extraordinary custom home listed in the Admiral neighborhood at 2715 37th Avenue SW. The home features stunning craftsmanship, breathtaking views, and environmentally friendly design.

The green features include solar panels, an electric-car charging station, high-efficiency LED lighting, and sustainably grown bamboo floors.

For more info on this home, or to book an appointment to sell or buy, you can contact Zack and Jodi – 206-412-0149 or zack@zackhill.com.

We thank Zack and Jodi Hill for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

Another West Seattle project gets its first Design Review date: 3201 SW Avalon Way

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

Starting with tonight’s meeting for 4747 California SW, four projects are now on the Southwest Design Review Board calendar for the next two months. A September 20th date has just been added for 3201 SW Avalon Way, proposed for 7 stories, 152 apartments, and 80 offstreet-parking spaces. We first told you about this project last December, when the early-stage proposal surfaced for the site of the 28-unit Golden Tee Apartments at Avalon/Genesee. The September 20th review – which would focus on the size/shape/siting of the building, since it’s the Early Design Guidance phase – is set for 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon); if you have comments before that, you can e-mail Abby Weber (abby.weber@seattle.gov), the city planner assigned to the project.

HALA UPZONING: Neighborhood groups’ appeal hearing starts Monday

(WSB photo, November 2017)

Seven months after representatives from neighborhood groups around the city stood together at City Hall to announce they were appealing the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, the hearing starts tomorrow.

Quick recap, if you’ve lost track: HALA MHA proposes upzoning the city’s urban villages – West Seattle has four (Admiral, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction, Westwood-Highland Park) – and commercial/multifamily property, while requiring developers to either provide a certain percentage of “affordable” housing in each project, or pay a fee into a fund that will pay for it elsewhere. The appeal contends that the FEIS does not adequately address potential impacts of MHA – for example, it argues that neighborhoods’ unique challenges are generally not dealt with in neighborhood-specific ways.

So far, three weeks are set aside on the city Hearing Examiner‘s calendar for the appeal – one this month, one in July, one in August – and there’s a possibility of a fourth. The City Council’s work on the bill to implement MHA has proceeded in parallel, meantime, with the last in-district hearing held almost three weeks ago here in West Seattle (WSB coverage here). The case file for the appeal hearing, meantime, has grown longer (see it here), and there have been some rulings on pre-hearing motions (summarized here [PDF]). Other changes since the appeal was announced include additional community groups joining the coalition – in West Seattle, the Alki Community Council and Fauntleroy Community Association have joined the appeal, whose original parties included the Morgan Community Association, West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Organization, and Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition.

The witness lists are here (coalition) and here (city). First scheduled witness tomorrow in support of the appeal is Peter Steinbrueck, current Seattle Port Commissioner and former Seattle City Councilmember, who is expected to “testify about the inadequacy of the MHA EIS disclosure and analysis of alternatives and impacts relevant to land use impacts and relevant to the Urban Village Study” – referring to a study conducted by his consulting firm three years ago.” The coalition witness list adds that “He will also testify about the history of neighborhood planning and comprehensive planning to the extent that it is relevant to the MHA proposal and the inadequacy of the MHA EIS disclosure and analysis of land use impacts.”

In proceedings before the Hearing Examiner, the city basically gets the benefit of the doubt unless the challenger can prove otherwise. The examiner’s ruling – usually made a few weeks after proceedings end – is the city’s last say in a matter, so after that the next stop would be court.

Proceedings before the Hearing Examiner, by the way, are open to the public; the hearing room is something like a small courtroom, and it’s on the 40th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th Avenue) downtown.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Seattle Housing Authority survey seeking answers

June 19, 2018 3:51 pm
|    Comments Off on WHAT DO YOU THINK? Seattle Housing Authority survey seeking answers
 |   West Seattle housing | West Seattle news | West Seattle online

With a variety of Seattle Housing Authority properties in West Seattle, there’s certainly grounds for interest in how the SHA spends its money and time. It currently has a survey going, and whether or not you have a direct SHA connection such as tenancy, the SHA is interested in your answers. You can find it here.

DEVELOPMENT: It’s all about the rowhouses – including a project inspired by tiny houses

Two rowhouse reports today:

PIGEON POINT PROJECT: The eight-unit rowhouse project on the former City Light substation site at 21st/Andover has taken shape in an eye-catching way. An inquiry into a neighbor’s question led us to look more closely at the project, and we found the site plan noting that each of the eight units would be 600 square feet – far smaller than the average for-sale project, so we sought further details from the designer, Cleave Architecture and Design, whose Justin Kliewer replied:

As you mention, they will be small units, but the slope of the site allows them to be spread over two floors and a mezzanine, each of which looks out over a maple grove and includes a small deck. The developer is planning to integrate some clever built-in storage ideas, spiral stairs, and other ways of making the small space livable. We approached the project with a similar mindset as a tiny house, and are excited to try out these smaller units as a way of providing a lower-cost home ownership option.

The project’s on-the-record address is 3855 21st SW [map]. County records show Greenstream Investments bought the 8,000-sf ex-substation site for $185,000 in October 2016; it was originally listed as seeking “a minimum bid of $400,000” until the broker selling it for the city changed that to a “major price reduction” a few months before the sale.

And from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin:

NORTH DELRIDGE ROWHOUSES: Today’s notice opens a comment period for a 9-unit rowhouse proposed to replace a 113-year-old house 4308 26th SW, in the rapidly redeveloping neighborhood north of the Delridge Community Center Park. 9 offstreet parking spaces are proposed. The notice (PDF) explains how to send a comment; the deadline is June 27th.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: At West Seattle hearing, more than 50 people tell City Councilmembers what they think about HALA MHA upzoning

(WSB photos added post-hearing)

6:03 PM: The first big West Seattle meeting about HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) upzoning was December 2016, “open house” style, centered in a crowded Junction restaurant. Tonight, a year and a half later, as the proposal inches closer to a City Council vote, a public hearing is under way in the relatively cavernous Chief Sealth International High School auditorium. It’s starting with a short refresher on toplines for District 1 (also presented to councilmembers yesterday) – here’s the slide deck:

Tuesday slide deck by WestSeattleBlog on Scribd

We’ll be updating as this unfolds, and we’re recording video, as is Seattle Channel.

6:07 PM: Three councilmembers are here as the hearing begins – West Seattleites Lorena González (who has citywide Position 9) and Lisa Herbold (District 1 rep) and committee chair Rob Johnson. City staffer Sara Maxana is giving the presentation that will be followed by public comment. The slides she’s going through are the ones in the deck – if you haven’t checked yet to see what changes are proposed for your neighborhood, you can use this online map. Even if you have been keeping up with the proposal, you might consider reviewing the deck “At the end of the day, what this program is about is trying to get new income- and rent-restricted housing” for the city, Maxana wraps up.

(From left, Councilmembers Herbold, Mosqueda, González, Johnson, and Johnson staffer Spencer Williams)

6:15 PM: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is here now too. A group from the MLK County Labor Council is speaking first as the public hearing begins; Councilmember Johnson says about 40 people are signed up to speak. The labor group’s members say they are for the proposal because the area needs more affordable housing and their members can’t afford to live in the city. Next is Matt Hutchins, a West Seattleite who says he is “lucky” because he can live here, but he is worried about others who can’t. He’s also worried about whether he will be able to age in place, and whether his daughter will be able to live in the area where she is growing up. “Building more homes for people who need them is a fundamental societal necessity,” he says. “I want to keep West Seattle livable, affordable, vibrant, growing.”

Next, Delridge resident Kirsten Smith is first to speak for a group of architects who support MHA. Another member says they feel “more affordable housing” is needed. Yet another member says the city’s in a crisis and has only a “finite amount of land … we believe density is the answer and change needs to begin now.”

They’re followed by Laura Loe, who identifies herself as a “renter in the U District.” She reads a statement from someone else saying that there need to be apartments in 90 percent of the city.

The next man says that he agrees Seattle needs more affordable housing. He is concerned about parking availability in neighborhoods like Fauntleroy, where people park and catch Rapid Ride C Line. He would like to see more of an investment in infrastructure. He said increased density in Ballard has not resulted in more affordable housing. He gets the first major applause of the night and Councilmember Johnson tries to dissuade it – “if we get 30 seconds of applause after every speaker, we’ll be here all night.” Reply some in the audience, “That’s OK!”

He’s followed by a speaker who said that even “affordable” housing won’t be affordable for many. Next, a man who says he’s a 30-year resident and lives near Jefferson Square. “I don’t believe anyone here is against affordable housing – the concern here is responsible growth.” That draws more applause. “I am not against growth – I would like to see the council take their time,” he says, after a brief riff of complaining about traffic.

Next, Jill Fleming from Alki, who says she has lived in West Seattle most of her adult life. It’s a place where “you don’t have to own a McMansion” to have a view. She is supporting MHA because she thinks that means more will be able to afford to live here. She’s followed by an 11-year-old Junction resident who says there are no kids in the area and families need houses to live in. After her, Christy Tobin-Presser, who is involved with the Junction Neighborhood Organization’s appeal of HALA MHA’s EIS, says she’s concerned that the proposal would not add new residents but would replace those who live there. She tells the council they have a responsibility to those who live here as well as those who want to.

After her, a man who voices concern about displacement of people in current affordable units. He’s worried that building out the affordable units promised by HALA MHA will take too long. He’s followed by a woman who recalls the “crazy meeting” in December 2016 that we mentioned above. “For people who are making the decision … think of how you would feel if you were vilified (as) a NIMBY …I don’t like the way this is coming in and sweeping as if some people count and others don’t.”

Former Junction Neighborhood Organization leader René Commons is at the microphone next, holding a green I LIVE in West Seattle sign that we’ve seen around the auditorium.

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VIDEO: West Seattle/South Park HALA upzoning recap today, before public hearing Tuesday

That’s the Seattle Channel video of this morning’s City Council meeting recapping the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) toplines for District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – before tomorrow’s public hearing. No new info, but if you’ve lost track of where the plan stands, it might be a helpful refresher. Here’s the slide deck they used; here’s the online map that you can use to look up how your neighborhood might change under the proposal.

Basically, the plan would upzone all commercial/multifamily property in the city – and other types, within urban-village boundaries, while also expanding some of those boundaries – while requiring developers to either include a certain percentage of “affordable housing” or pay the city a fee in lieu of that. No date is set for the council’s vote on the plan yet, and the citywide appeal of the Environmental Impact Statement remains scheduled for hearings later this month. Tuesday night’s public hearing in West Seattle is at 6 pm (speaker signups start at 5:30) in the Chief Sealth International High School auditorium, 2600 SW Thistle, as previewed here last night.

HALA upzoning, tunnel tolls, Avalon changes – all at once

We’ve told you about all three of these already – but since they’re happening pretty much simultaneously this Tuesday night (June 5), consider this a sort of two-night warning:

Tuesday slide deck by WestSeattleBlog on Scribd

HALA UPZONING, DISTRICT 1 PUBLIC HEARING: The Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal to upzone all commercial/multifamily-zoned property in the city, as well as parcels in “urban villages” (some of which would expand their boundaries) is moving toward a City Council vote later this year. The process includes public hearings outside City Hall, and Tuesday night is the one for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park), scheduled for 6 pm at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). If you’ve got something to say about the upzoning proposal – for, against, or otherwise – this is the time and place to say it. You can get caught up in advance tomorrow (Monday) when the council, meeting as the Select Committee pondering the upzoning plan, discusses the District 1 proposal at 10:30 am at City Hall (live on Seattle Channel, of course). But for the public hearing, show up at the CSIHS Auditorium on Tuesday – here’s the agenda; the slide deck is above.

HIGHWAY 99 TUNNEL TOLLS, WEST SEATTLE PUBLIC HEARING: The last big decision before the Alaskan Way Viaduct makes way for the Highway 99 tunnel is: How much will the tolls be? The Washington State Transportation Commission gets to make the decision, but would first like to hear what you think. We previewed the proposed options when the West Seattle public hearing was announced. This too is Tuesday night, 5:30-6:30 pm informational “open house”; 6:30-8 pm, meeting for your feedback. It’s at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW).

SW AVALON WAY RECHANNELIZATION/REPAVING: Two weeks ago, we brought you first word of the updated plan for rechannelizing and repaving SW Avalon Way – and a few blocks of 35th SW and SW Alaska just to the south – next year.

As with the early version of the plan a year earlier, it still takes away some parking on SW Avalon, and Luna Park businesses are girding for a fight. Whatever you think of the newest plan, Tuesday night is also when SDOT is coming to West Seattle to take comments and answer questions about it, 5:30-7:30 pm at the American Legion Post 160 hall (3618 SW Alaska).

WEST SEATTLE REAL ESTATE: First homes at WestBridge almost ready

(WSB photos)

If you’ve noticed the STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor) banner on the slope as you head westbound toward the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, that marks the site where the first of 14 new homes at WestBridge are about to go on sale.

We visited recently for a closer look. The houses are clustered but sizable – each with at least 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths (you can see the floor plans here).

Other features include custom fireplace surrounds with gas fireplaces:

Big view decks:

And spacious kitchens:

The listing prices start in the low $1 million. The development’s official website has more info and photos at WestBridgeSeattle.com.

VIDEO: With light rail on the way to West Seattle, it’s time to talk about affordable, transit-oriented development near stations

(WSB photo)

Though the locations for West Seattle’s light-rail stations are nowhere near finalized yet, it’s not too soon to start talking about how transit-oriented development (TOD) can ensure there’s affordable housing near them. That was the point of a panel discussion last night, presented by Welcoming West Seattle, whose Matt Hutchins – a local architect and community advocate – was co-moderator. We recorded the entire hour-long discussion on video:

Panelists included two City Councilmembers, District 1’s Lisa Herbold and citywide Position 8’s Teresa Mosqueda (who chairs the council committee that handles housing-related matters), as well as Sound Transit‘s Edward Butterfield, Mercy Housing‘s Bill Rumpf, and Schemata Workgroup architect Marijana Cvenček, with co-moderator Bryce Yadon of Futurewise.

If you’re interested in and/or curious about the topic, you’ll want to watch the whole hour – but we do have some toplines from the event, held at Southwest Youth and Family Services in North Delridge as part of Affordable Housing Week – after the jump:

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YOU’RE INVITED: Discussion next week about Transit-Oriented Development in West Seattle

May 9, 2018 2:20 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU’RE INVITED: Discussion next week about Transit-Oriented Development in West Seattle
 |   Development | Transportation | West Seattle housing | West Seattle news

With light rail on the way to West Seattle … one local group says it’s time to talk about Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Welcoming West Seattle has just announced “a lively discussion” about TOD and affordable housing, one week from tonight:

WEDNESDAY MAY 16 | 5:30 PM
Southwest Youth and Family Services, 4555 Delridge Way SW

Featuring:

Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda
Bill Rumpf, Mercy Housing
Marijana Cvencek, Schemata Workgroup
Edward Butterfield, Sound Transit

Moderators:

Bryce Yadon, Futurewise
Matt Hutchins, Welcoming West Seattle

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Doors 5:30 pm, discussion 6:00 pm. Panelists will have a robust conversation on the ins and outs of implementing TOD, and what it will mean for further development and housing affordability; diving into the advocacy action necessary to capitalize on TOD, and how neighbors can start efforts now to be well positioned as new stations open over the next two decades. Our moderators will be asking a set of questions collected from community members and coalition partners. Please RSVP and submit any Transit Oriented Development and Affordable Housing Questions, here!

DEVELOPMENT: New parking pushback in Morgan Junction

We’ve reported before on the plan to replace that old house at California/Willow with a seven-unit rowhouse building, most recently when it was approved last month. We noted then that since we first wrote about the plan last year, the plan had changed to include one offstreet-parking space instead of the original five. The notice says it’s expected to generate demand for seven to 14 spaces, but since what the city considers “frequent transit” is within 1,320 feet, it doesn’t have to include any parking. Neighbors have filed an appeal and have a pre-hearing conference with the city Hearing Examiner tomorrow. It’s not just the downsizing of the parking plan, they say in their appeal, but also they say the change wasn’t communicated. This is a block and a half north of a redevelopment plan that caused a hubbub over lack of offstreet parking four and a half years ago; that appeal was eventually settled and the 30-unit building went up.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold asks for investigation into whether landlord ‘loophole’ all but emptied a Highland Park building

(WSB photos)

When older apartment buildings are put up for sale, the accompanying listing often assures prospective buyers that a little work can bring the rents up to market level. That might be good news for the buyers, but not necessarily for the renters. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says the city is investigating what happened after a building in her neighborhood, 900 SW Holden in Highland Park, changed hands. This is republished from her weekly newsletter, published on the city website today:

Last Wednesday, while I was walking from my house to the Highland Park Action Council (HPAC) meeting I noticed one of the large apartment buildings in my neighborhood was boarded up. I didn’t know why that had happened, and because I work hard to keep up on what is going on in my District, and especially my neighborhood, I was feeling disappointed in myself for not being aware that a new major development was apparently occurring just two blocks away from my home. But then, during the meeting with HPAC, one of the attendees mentioned that the very building I had noticed on my walk to the meeting had been recently cleared by the landlord of all its tenants and some of them had become homeless as a result.

This immediately alarmed me because the City of Seattle has, since the 1980s, had a Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance (TRAO) that gives renters at least 90 days’ notice and financial moving assistance whenever a building is going to be renovated, demolished, or if there’s a change of use. It was immediately apparent to me that there was no way that the legal process for the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance could have occurred so quickly and I became worried that people had been improperly displaced. On my way home that evening, I walked around the perimeter of the building and indeed, it was apparent that all but a couple of the units were vacant.

When I got home that evening, I looked up the address on the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) website to see what development activity was planned at the site. But there were no planned development activities associated with TRAO or a demolition, renovation, or change of use associated with the address. This further confirmed my suspicion that renters in the building had been improperly forced to move. The next morning, I contacted SDCI and asked them to send an inspector out to the property.

I am saddened to report that I learned yesterday that SDCI has found that the tenants in the building recently had received a 100% rent increase and that this increase led to 20 of the 23 households being displaced from the building. Again, I’ve been told by my neighbors that several of these households are now homeless. This is, I believe, a shameful result and an abuse of a landlord’s right to increase rent free from any regulation.

The TRAO says that it is unlawful for landlords to use excessive rent increases to circumvent the requirements for 90 days’ notice and access to moving expenses assistance. But, there is no limit to how much a landlord can raise the rent. You see, the TRAO entitles low income renters who must move because of renovations to money to help them pay their moving costs ($3188). But if a tenant moves because of a big rent increase, they won’t get the assistance.

Not only do rent increases in Seattle lead the nation, but some rent increases are actually used to circumvent other tenant protections such as the TRAO. In 2014, Councilmember Nick Licata brought attention to the fact that “each year more and more tenants find out they were deprived of critical relocation assistance following a massive rent hike due to loop holes created by state law” and that some property owners do this as a regular business practice. You may remember the story of the Lockhaven Apartments and the Prince of Wales. In 2014 and again in 2015, State Senators David Frockt (46th District) and then State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (36th District) introduced legislation to disincentive for the practice of using rent increases to circumvent TRAO.

A number of landlords and their lobbyist testified against the bill, and it did not pass the State Legislature, so in response, Councilmember Licata worked to amend Seattle’s Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance (TRAO) to help tenants deprived of relocation assistance and 90 days’ notice to move that they would have otherwise received if their landlord followed TRAO instead of displacing them with a large rent increase. Specifically, the law prohibited rent increases for the purpose of avoiding the required Tenant Relocation Assistance process. If a landlord increases rent by 20 percent or more, which results in a tenant vacating a unit within 90 days, then applies for a permit to substantially rehabilitate the unit within 6 months, the owner can have their building permit denied until the owner pays the penalties. Penalties are $1,000 per day for each day from the date the violation began. The change Councilmember Licata made to the law has helped a lot of people, see this article from March, where under the new TRAO law, SDCI was able to require a landlord to pay $168,268 in relocation payments to 46 households that were living at 104 Pine St.

But somehow, and sadly, people who want to avoid their obligations seem to manage to find new loopholes as soon as you close one set of loopholes. The owner of this property that has displaced 20 Highland Park household with a 100% rent increase found yet another loophole in TRAO. From SDCI’s investigation we have learned that the property was purchased in January 2018 and the new owners, after the rent increase of nearly 100%, and after 20 tenant households vacated as a result of the rent increases, is now doing a rehabilitation that includes painting the exterior, painting interior units, tearing out carpeting and replacing some appliances. None of this work requires that the owner obtain a permit and it does not meet the definition of substantial rehabilitation (which requires work of $6000 or more per unit).

I am thankful that SDCI is continuing to investigate and will be requesting the owner sign a certification that the rent increase was not for the purpose of avoiding application of TRAO. If people are in touch with the displaced renters, please encourage them to contact me so that I can put them in touch with SDCI for purposes of this ongoing investigation.

lisa.herbold@seattle.gov is her e-mail address. Records show the 51-year-old complex was sold for $4.2 million in January to a Renton-based LLC led by a real-estate investor who also leads the corporation that holds an Everett building that the Daily Herald reported was the subject of discrimination accusations in 2015. The listing flyer for 900 SW Holden, meantime, noted that its rents were 30 to 40 percent below market level, and that more than 80 percent of its tenants were month-to-month.

‘Mandatory Housing Affordability upzones are coming soon!’ and other HALA status updates

No “proposed,” no “expected,” just a flat-out statement that HALA upzoning is on the way – that’s how the city Department of Construction and Inspections starts the newest post on its blog-format Building Connections website. The gist of the post is to tell developers that they can start including plan alternatives that include what would be allowed under the upzones. (To summarize quickly – the upzones, as explained here, are meant to be a tradeoff in exchange for requiring developers to include a certain percentage of “affordable” units, or to pay a fee to help fund some being built somewhere else.)

Meantime, the citywide community groups’ appeal continues making its way through the system; the document file gets ever bigger, with the newest document filed just today, a response to a city move for “partial dismissal.” The pre-hearing conference for the appeal of the Mandatory Housing Affordability Environmental Impact Statement is now set for June 11th; the hearing itself is on the schedule as starting two weeks later, on June 25th, with that entire week set aside, plus another week in late July. Then there’s also the prospect of mediation, as noted by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold when she spoke to the Morgan Community Association last month.

As also mentioned by MoCA – which is among the groups that are party to the appeal – the district-by-district open houses/public hearings have almost made their way to District 1, end of the line. The open house for one last look at the West Seattle/South Park upzone maps is one week from tomorrow, Wednesday, May 9th, 6-8 pm at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 (5950 Delridge), and the official City Council public hearing for the proposed District 1 changes is at 6 pm Tuesday, June 5th, in the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). The council’s last scheduled HALA meeting is August 6th.

P.S. If you’re still not caught up on what changes could happen in your neighborhood, the maps and other background are here.