West Seattle, Washington
The council met Monday morning as the Select Committee on Citywide MHA. They got a briefing on the ruling, plus this potential timeline for what happens next:
Council staff cautioned that the timeline is a “best-case scenario.” (Among other potential complications, the coalition hasn’t yet announced whether it will pursue a court challenge to the city Hearing Examiner’s ruling. Its leader said during the meeting’s public-comment period that the coalition remained open to talking with the city.)
West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold noted that she had asked for urban-village-specific resolutions regarding planning, and didn’t see that reflected in the timeline. Committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson said he intends for that to happen and it was an “oversight” that it wasn’t shown on the timeline. Herbold said that she felt specific resolutions would address some of the concerns that led to the appeal. Later in the meeting, she repeatedly stressed concerns about displacement that could result from the upzoning, including that city staff has underestimated how much of it could happen.
Two months after we last checked on Upton Flats – the mixed-use development at 35th SW/SW Graham in High Point – its management has announced a “grand opening” event for this weekend. They’re inviting people to stop by for a look at the ~100-apartment complex Saturday or Sunday, 10 am-5 pm, and they’re promising beer and snacks. No confirmed tenants yet for the retail space, though; as we’ve reported previously, Seattle Housing Authority offices will occupy about 80 percent of the complex’s commercial space.
6:44 PM: One year after a coalition of neighborhood groups, including five from West Seattle, challenged the Final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, city Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil issued his ruling late today.
Short version: He says the city’s FEIS stands, with the exception of one section.
That’s Vancil’s decision, toward the end of the 38-page ruling:
The neighborhood groups had argued that the EIS was inadequate in a variety of ways, including contentions that it was “one size fits all” rather than addressing unique potential impacts on neighborhoods. They argued their case in hearings over a two-plus-month period this summer; documents and audio recordings are all linked on this page of the Hearing Examiner’s website.
HALA MHA would implement upzoning in urban villages, as well as on commercial/multifamily property throughout the city, in exchange for developer/builders either including a certain percentage of “affordable” units, or paying the city a fee to finance construction of such units elsewhere. The plan now needs City Council approval; the council has had months of hearings (including this one in June in West Seattle) but its vote has been awaiting the appeal decision. (You can use this interactive map to see how any specific property would or wouldn’t be affected.”
So what happens now?
The Hearing Examiner’s decision is the final word from the city but not necessarily the final say in the matter – the appellants could choose to pursue a court case. We’re awaiting their reaction to the ruling.
On the city’s side, Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued a statement calling the ruling “a step forward for more affordable housing in Seattle.”
We’ll be updating this story as the evening goes on.
7:26 PM: First appellant reaction is from the Junction Neighborhood Organization, which filed its own appeal as well as being a member of the citywide coalition:
“On behalf of our neighbors and friends along the West Seattle peninsula, we are deeply disappointed with this ruling,” said Carl Guess, a member of the Junction Neighborhood Organization’s land-use committee. “It’s a big setback for neighborhood-level planning, and represents a new low in the relationship between the City and its urban villages.”
Indeed, hearing examiner Ryan Vancil chided the City for its lack of neighborhood-level analysis even as he largely affirmed its final environmental impact statement.
“[T]he choice not to tell a more detailed story of the City’s neighborhoods contributed to why the City faced a very protracted appeal and hearing process from representatives in many of its neighborhoods,” he wrote.
JuNO made those details the centerpiece of its appeal, pointing to what it called deficiencies in everything from traffic-flow analysis to conflicts between the HALA/MHA legislation and the neighborhood plan of the West Seattle Junction Urban Village.
Guess said those deficiencies remain, despite today’s ruling.
“When we wake up Monday morning, the City will continue to tell us that it takes only eight and a half minutes to cross the West Seattle Bridge during peak traffic flows, which is absurd. It will tell us there is enough infrastructure to support development, when we showed that 90% Seattle’s sewer lines are at or above capacity. It will tell us there are no conflicts with our neighborhood plan when we cited those conflicts specifically and repeatedly.”
Guess said JuNO will study the examiner’s ruling more deeply, then meet with its neighborhood to talk through possible next steps.
“Our neighborhood has been incredibly supportive throughout this process and we can’t thank them enough,” he said.
As for next steps beyond that meeting, one possibility for JuNO is to lobby the City Council in the ritual horse trading expected to take place as the HALA/MHA legislation moves toward approval. Another is to join a nascent effort to create an organization representing neighborhood groups within City Council District 1, now represented by Lisa Herbold.
“The City has destroyed a lot of goodwill in this process, and voters have very long memories,” said Guess.
ADDED 11:25 PM: We also asked Deb Barker, president of the Morgan Community Association – which joined the SCALE appeal as well as filing its own – for comment. Her reply:
MoCA is proud to have joined with the communities of SCALE. We took a stand against the city that acted without properly taking into account the voice of its residents and the impacts of its plan. SCALE made a tremendous effort to identify MHA FEIS deficiencies, and we are saddened how easily that effort was dismissed. MoCA is committed to ensuring that affordable housing remains in our community. To that end, MoCA will be evaluating options to achieve that goal as well as those of SCALE.
The MoCA and JuNO appeal documents were part of this 2017 WSB report.
Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor, Brio at Greenbridge, which opens tomorrow at 9888 7th SW. Here’s the announcement:
11 am-6 pm Tuesday, November 13th, we’re opening a delightful new neighborhood, 22 modern townhomes close to West Seattle, Burien, and White Center!
Greenbridge is a planned community at the center of the recent Southwest Seattle revival. We just made it more exciting with the debut of BDR Urban’s newest collection of modern, thoughtfully designed townhomes. These stunning homes are modern in style, packed with features and designed for both family life and entertaining. Imagine an in-city, brand new home, in an area with a quick commute to both Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. And at a price you’ll find quite attainable!
The Greenbridge planned community offers a variety of neighborhood and pocket parks, walking trails, playgrounds, and its own community center with shops, a recreation center, and brand-new library.
SURPRISING SIDE OF SEATTLE
More and more families are discovering the fun and style of Southwest Seattle’s many vintage neighborhoods, spacious parks, and walkable beaches. They are also discovering a unique blend of culture and style.
Rich in history, Southwest Seattle is a group of neighborhoods welcoming new families, trend-setters, and cultural creatives who are all uncovering its many charms and are happy to call it home.
We invite you to come visit and discover for yourself The Surprising Side of Seattle. Visit BDR Urban on the web at bdrhomesllc.com.
We thank BDR Urban 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.
(Design packet provided for tonight’s meeting, downloaded from city website)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Eight months after getting thumbs-down on its first Early Design Guidance try, the 15-apartment Alki proposal for 3015 63rd SW (map) got thumbs-up tonight.
The proposal went through some major revisions before returning to the Southwest Design Review Board.
Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections‘ assigned planner Tami Garrett noted that since the project’s first turn at Early Design Guidance, the project team has said it will seek a contract rezone that would allow an extra floor plus incorporate Mandatory Housing Affordability. That will be considered in a separate process after this one.
Board members present: chair Don Caffrey along with Crystal Loya, John Cheng, and Scott Rosenstock.
ARCHITECT/PROJECT TEAM PRESENTATION: Oly Wise, representing the family that owns the site (see our original report here), opened by saying they’d learned a lot had changed since the project was initiated. They were pleased to learn about MHA and thought it would turn their project from good to great. He then made way for architect James Raptis.
12:24 AM: Five houses were originally on the site that will be redeveloped into a ~40-condominium project by Vibrant Cities (formerly SolTerra, which originally planned an apartment project). One was moved off the site last January; another is being moved right now; the remaining three will be demolished. We’re here to cover the move, with the renowned house rescuers of Nickel Bros set to pull this house off 1254 Alki and truck it almost half a mile southeast to a barge at Don Armeni Boat Ramp, as was done with the 1262 Alki house nine months ago. Its new owner says it’s headed for Anderson Island.
The crews prepped the site days earlier but just rolled out of Don Armeni after midnight to start setting up for the move.
12:57 AM: The house’s new owner says it’s one of two that he’s buying and moving via Nickel Bros. The other one, taken from a site in Poulsbo, is already on the barge, which he says is scheduled to dock on the island Tuesday. Also here, Vibrant Cities’ co-owners James Wong – who has West Seattle roots – and Ming Fung. They tell us the condo project will likely start construction early next year and will be called Infinity.
1:59 AM: The move is expected to start shortly. Alki Ave will be blocked for a while east of here.
2:30 AM: The house is off the lot and headed down the street, with the help of not only the Nickel Bros crews but also pilot vehicles. We’re headed back to HQ and will add video and a few more photos from there.
3:59 AM: Here are two angles of video as the house left the site:
Local videographer Mark Jaroslaw, who has been recording the operation, reports that it hit a temporary snag: “The house slowly rounded the corner onto Harbor Ave, but was forced to halt in the 1200 block because someone failed to anticipate a low-hanging utility line. The crew tried lowering the load to no avail. So, they improvised. They laid a path of plywood sheets across the park grass, allowing the truck to detour off the street into the Armeni lot. The house was secured at 3:30.” We’ll be checking its status in daylight.
12:24 PM: Thanks to Mark for sharing his video including the house being loaded onto the barge, followed by the sailaway:
Anderson Island, the house’s destination, is Puget Sound’s southernmost island.
As we reported here in August, another Alki house is set to be moved. This one is at 1254 Alki SW, part of the future ~40-condo project at 1250 Alki, next to the site where a house was removed and moved back in January. And now the date is set. A project spokesperson tells us the move is scheduled for one week from tonight, Friday night/Saturday morning (technically the window opens at 12:01 am Saturday, October 27th). Like the last one, this house will be trucked to nearby Don Armeni Boat Ramp and placed on a barge for the rest of the move.
From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin:
4722 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: A week ago, we mentioned that construction was likely starting here soon since the Goodwill truck had to move. We’re still awaiting official comment from developers Legacy Partners, but in the meantime, today’s LUIB includes the land-use decision (PDF) for the larger of two buildings in this project – described as a “7-story, 239-unit apartment building (25 small efficiency dwelling units and 214 apartment units) with 16 Live-Work units and Retail Sales and Service. Parking for 230 vehicles proposed.” The approval opens a two-week window for appeals; the notice (PDF) explains that process.
5616 CALIFORNIA SW: We reported three weeks ago on the “early design community outreach” meeting for this 8-townhouse, 5-offstreet-parking-space project. Now it’s officially open for two weeks of public comment in Administrative Design Review – see the packet here; the notice with how-to-comment info is linked here.
8823 9TH SW: A land-use-permit application has been filed to build two 3-story buildings totaling 7 townhouses. This opens a two-week period for comments on the application; the official notice (PDF) explains how to comment.
If you have questions about the recent east-side cleanup along Myers Way, it’s one of the topics to be addressed at tomorrow’s meeting of the Community Advisory Committee for the city-sanctioned encampment on the west side of the road, Camp Second Chance. Here’s the full announcement:
The next meeting of the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee will be Sunday, October 7 at 2:00 pm, Arrowhead Gardens Community Room, 9200 2nd Ave SW.
This month, in addition to our usual updates and stats from the camp, we will have guests joining us from the City of Seattle for a Q & A on housing and to help answer the question: What is the City doing to build new affordable housing quickly?
Dan Foley, Office of Housing
Jesseca Brand, Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA)
Lisa Gustaveson, Human Services Department
We will also be receiving an update on the recent cleanup activities and future plans for the area on the east side of Myers Way.
All are welcome. The housing-related discussion is in response to questions asked by attendees at a previous meeting. (Our September coverage of the C2CCAC is here.)
An early-stage proposal has appeared in city files for a 30-townhouse development in the upper Luna Park area, at 3101 SW Bradford [map]. Documents describe the site as “vacant”; a collection of what’s listed on the city website as “site photos” shows a greenbelt at the end of SW Bradford, downslope from the approach to the West Seattle Bridge. Also in the file: A city letter to the site owner saying the project will have to go through Design Review, so they need to arrange for Early Community Outreach to neighbors. The information available online so far suggests the townhouses would have 34 parking spaces in an underground garage.
“Name that street corner.” If you can’t without referring to the address in the headline – then you’ve underscored the point made before tonight’s second Southwest Design Review Board meeting wrapped up.
Board chair Don Caffrey and members Scott Rosenstock, Matt Hutchins, and John Cheng decided unanimously to send the mixed-use proposal for 7617 35th SW – the Complete Auto Repair site (whose future has been in play for 5+ years) – back to the drawing board for a second try at Early Design Guidance. Here’s what preceded that decision:
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):
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:
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.)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
Two notes from today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin:
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.
Two development-related notes:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), the city planner assigned to the project.
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.