Category Archives: Urban Planning

Findlay Street Christian Church project moving forward

This is a Lego version of the proposed Findlay Street Christian Church development project. Photo courtesy of Findlay Street Christian Church.

The long-delayed Findlay Street Christian Church project at South Bayview Street and 14th Avenue South on North Beacon Hill may be moving forward after all, so they are hosting a benefit concert to celebrate and raise funds for the project.

The church, previously located in Hillman City, sold its property some years ago, planning to move to Beacon Hill and develop what they have described as “an ambitious, forward-looking, mixed-use building that included worship space and multi-unit affordable housing.” But in January of this year, a church statement said “Unfortunately, we have run into a number of unforeseen setbacks and have so far been unable to get the project off the ground.”

Now that things are moving forward, they plan to celebrate (and raise funds) this Friday, November 9, with a concert featuring two a cappella groups, 545 Express and Shot in the Dark. Along with the music, guests will be able to see a large Lego rendering of the planned building, created by one of Findlay Street’s youth members.

The concert is at 7 p.m. this Friday, November 9, at Mt. Baker Park Presbyterian Church, 3201 Hunter Blvd. S. The suggested donation is $10.

Design Review meeting for station block apartment project 11/13

The currently-vacant site on the station block. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Interested in the development of the Beacon Hill Station Block property at 17th Avenue South and South McClellan Street? Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m., when the Design Review Board will meet for the second phase of Design Review for this project, the recommendation meeting.

The proposed project is a six-story structure with 47 residential units and 2,046 square feet of retail space. There will be parking for 17 vehicles in a garage below grade.

Here’s what is on the schedule for the Design Review Board recommendation meeting, according to a notice posted by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD):

  • The applicant will present information about the proposed design and how it responds to the Design Guideline priorities established at the previous Early Design Guidance meeting(s).
  • The public may offer comments regarding the proposed design. Please note that public comment at the Recommendation meeting is limited to design considerations. If environmental review is triggered, comments related to environmental impacts (such as traffic, parking, noise, etc) may be sent to DPD following notice of that review.
  • The Design Review Board will offer their recommendations regarding the design to the Director of the DPD.

The meeting will be held at the Wellspring Services Community Room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. For more information, see the DPD page, or our “station block development” archive of stories about the site.

View New development on Beacon Hill Station block in a larger map

Jefferson Park Clubhouse on agenda for City Council committee meeting Friday

A proposed design for the new Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse, as viewed from the Beacon Avenue side.

Advance notice — this Friday, October 26, at 9 a.m., the Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will meet to discuss (and possibly vote) on the Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse project.

There will be a public comment period at the beginning of the meeting according to an agenda distributed yesterday.

Here is the information from the agenda about the Jefferson Park discussion and vote:

5. C.F. 312119
Council land use action to allow a new 19,800 square foot two-story clubhouse and driving range structure, a new 4,1 00 square foot cart storage structure and 20,000 square feet of paving improvements, including a request to waive development standards to allow field lighting up to 90 feet in height and netting and net poles up to 140 feet in height (Project No s. 3012845and 3013107, Type V).


Presenters: Susanne Rockwell, Department of Parks and Recreation; Dan Miles, Bassetti Architects; Michael Jenkins, Council Central Staff

Supporting Documents:
a. Central Staff Memo
b. Attachment to Staff Memo
c. Jefferson Park Golf Master Plan
d. Jefferson Park Presentation

The new clubhouse has been the subject of some controversy, with some wanting the old clubhouse preserved, and others who want the new clubhouse built. Read more about the clubhouse in our Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse archive here.

Beacon Hill named one of 10 Great Neighborhoods

The APA praised Beacon Hill’s connectivity to light rail via the Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City, and Othello stations. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Guess what, neighbors? You live in a Great Place. The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of “planners, citizens and elected officials — committed to making great communities happen,” named Beacon Hill one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012. This puts Beacon Hill in the company of neighborhoods including the Garden District in Baton Rouge, LA; Fells Point, Baltimore, MD; Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA; Cooper-Young, Memphis, TN; Downtown Walla Walla, WA; and others. The Great Neighborhoods are part of 30 Great Places in America listed by the APA, that also include 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces.

The characteristics of a Great Neighborhood, according to the APA, include:

  • Has a variety of functional attributes that contribute to a resident’s day-to-day living (i.e. residential, commercial, or mixed-uses).
  • Accommodates multi-modal transportation (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers).
  • Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.
  • Encourages human contact and social activities.
  • Promotes community involvement and maintains a secure environment.
  • Promotes sustainability and responds to climatic demands.
  • Has a memorable character.

The APA cited the Hill’s “dynamic and engaged community,” diversity, and light rail connectivity, while also mentioning our “commanding views and scenic vistas,” and landmarks including “the largest Olmsted-planned and designed green space in Seattle — Jefferson Park.”

Great Places are eligible for bronze plaques to mark the achievement, but it’s unknown at this stage whether Beacon Hill will have a plaque installed.

Master Use Permit application filed for station block site

The currently-vacant site on the station block. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

A Master Use Permit Application was filed recently for a six-story structure on the property at 2721 17th Avenue South, the southeast corner of the “Beacon Hill Station Block.” The deadline for comments is this Wednesday, September 19. However, the comment period may be extended if a written request to do so is received by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) before the deadline.

The notice of application from the DPD says:

“Land Use Application to allow six-story structure containing 47 residential units and 2,046 sq. ft. of retail space. Parking for 17 vehicles to be provided below grade.”

The site is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 (NC2), 65′ tall, with pedestrian incentive, and it is in the light rail station area overlay district. NC2 is defined by the city as “A moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood.” Because the project is in the light rail station area overlay, no parking is required.

You can comment at this link, or by mail to:

Department of Planning and Development
ATTN: Public Resource Center or Assigned Planner
700 5th Ave Ste 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

Comments may also be submitted by fax to 205-233-7901, or email to

View New development on Beacon Hill Station block in a larger map

The vanishing history of Jefferson Park Golf, Part I: The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board

The clubhouse at twilight. Photo courtesy of Mark Holland.

This is the first in a series of three articles on the current plans and process to demolish the Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse.

by Mark Holland and Mira Latoszek

This fall, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation (DOPAR) plans to demolish the historic 1936 Jefferson Park Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse on Beacon Hill. DOPAR claims the Clubhouse is of no importance to Seattle history and culture. On February 15, 2012, a landmarks nomination for the Clubhouse was presented before the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.

The author of the nomination is Bassetti Architects, hired by DOPAR to both prepare the landmarks nomination and to design the replacement facility. Bassetti was about 50% of the way through the new clubhouse/driving range design when DOPAR submitted the nomination to the Landmarks Preservation Board. The Historic Preservation Officer, Karen Gordon, head of the Landmarks Preservation Board staff, approved the nomination for submittal to the Board.

During their presentation, Bassetti Architects and the Parks Department diminished the historical and architectural aspects of the Clubhouse on all six standards in SMC 12.45.350, the Seattle Municipal Code which defines the standards for historic designation of buildings and sites in Seattle.

In a cover letter to the Landmarks Preservation Nomination for the clubhouse, DOPAR Superintendent Christopher Williams details how the Clubhouse fails to meet the six standards for historic designation in SMC 12.45.350. After citing Christopher Williams’ cover letter, the Parks Department project coordinator, Susanne Rockwell, addressed the Board. From the meeting minutes:

“She said that this nomination was submitted as part of the MUP process. She said that this building is not part of the Olmsted plan, many alterations have been made, and it does not meet the needs of DOPAR now. She said that DOPAR has been a good steward and has twenty five landmark properties but did not support nomination.”

Four Beacon Hill community members spoke in support of the Clubhouse. One community member noted the nomination was incomplete because it was for the “building only” and did not include the putting greens, forcing the Board to discuss the Clubhouse out of the context of rest of the Golf Course. From the minutes of the meeting:

“She said that the nomination has a hole in it and the putting greens need to be included; all information needs to be included in the review and if the clubhouse and putting greens are not looked at together it doesn’t make sense.”

The Landmarks Preservation Board chair noted that, according to the rules, they could only consider the contents of the nomination. The Board staff then recommended against approval of the nomination. The Board vote ended in a split; four in favor of approval and four against. Without a majority this meant the nomination failed: the history of the Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse officially declared not “important” in the Landmarks Preservation Board archives.

A brief discussion followed the vote. Two Board members noted the absence of the putting greens from the nomination. From the meeting minutes:

“Ms. Strong said this was a difficult one for her; she learned to golf here. She supported nomination and wished the putting greens were included… Mr. Hannum noted the loss of integrity but said the building deserved more analysis; he supported nomination. He said he would be more comfortable if the putting greens were included.”

On August 9, 2012, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) approved the Master Use Permit (MUP) application for concept approval and land use variances. All that DOPAR needs now is City Council “Concept Approval” of the new plan, as described in SMC 23.76.064.

The Seattle City Council will vote either for or against “Concept Approval” for the Bassetti plan in a hearing before the Land Use Subcommittee chaired by Councilmember Richard Conlin on September 12, 2012. If the City Council approves the new design concept, the Golf Clubhouse and the century long history of the Jefferson Park Golf course will be tossed in the trash like yesterday’s newspaper.

Meanwhile, just a few miles away, over at the West Seattle Golf course, it is a different story. DOPAR will fully renovate the Clubhouse, and will not ruin the integrity of the historic golf course with a driving range: a project cancelled last year by Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams due to overwhelming public pressure.

What exactly do DOPAR, Bassetti Architects, the Historic Preservation Officer, and four members of the Landmarks Preservation Board find so uninteresting about Jefferson Park Golf History?

Coming up next: The vanishing history of Jefferson Park Golf, Part II: Dreamers and Builders.

Mark Holland and Mira Latoszek are long time Beacon Hill residents, founding members of the Jefferson Park Alliance (JPA), and both served on the Jefferson Park Planning Committee (JPPC) during the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood planning process from 1998-2000. Mira is a co-author of Seattle’s Beacon Hill.

Presentation on Plaza Roberto Maestas project planned for Saturday

This preliminary design shows a possible plaza in the PRM development project.

After the Beacon Hill Merchants Association annual meeting this Saturday, July 21, there will be a presentation about the Plaza Roberto Maestas – Beloved Community (PRM) development being planned for the south lot at El Centro de la Raza. The presentation will include time to give feedback and ask questions about the project, as well as to discuss the retail spaces and business opportunities that the project will provide. The meeting is at Kusina Filipina (3201 Beacon Ave. S.), and the presentation, which is open to the public, is expected to start about 1 p.m.

El Centro de la Raza and the North Beacon Hill Council co-hosted a public meeting on June 19 to discuss preliminary designs for the project. Over 60 people came out to the meeting to ask questions and give feedback about the early design ideas (see photos of the meeting here). You can read notes from the meeting here (PDF) and see a PowerPoint presentation about the project here.

The images shown on this page give an idea of the type of development that is being considered, but the project is very early in the design process and still subject to much potential change. Community feedback is vital at this stage to shape the future of the development.

This preliminary view is from Beacon Avenue on the southwest side of the project.
This preliminary view is from the corner of 17th and Roberto Maestas Festival Street on the southeast side of the project.

Further community input wanted for El Centro south lot

The community is invited to discuss plans for the future redevelopment of this parking lot. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

El Centro de la Raza and the North Beacon Hill Council have announced another community engagement event about the planned redevelopment in El Centro’s south lot. The event is next Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at El Centro’s room 307.

At the event, El Centro will report on the current status of the project, and present more design ideas for community feedback. There will be round table discussions to examine various aspects of the project such as amenities, housing, sustainability, and more.

All are welcome; childcare, translation, and snacks will be provided. El Centro de la Raza is located at 2524 16th Ave. S.

Public hearing tomorrow on 14th Ave surplus property

Seattle City Light is hosting a public hearing tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 12) from 7-8:30 p.m. to take comment on the future of the property at 2107 14th Ave. S. The former substation site is part of a surplus property disposition pilot project for City Light.

The site is across the street from Beacon Hill International School, and next door to the Debre Medhanit St. Emmanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has expressed interest in buying the property to expand the church facilities.

The hearing on Tuesday night is at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S. If you can’t attend the hearing and still want to let City Light know what you think, you can send your comments to:

Seattle City Light
Real Estate Services
P.O. Box 34023
Seattle, WA 98124

The comment deadline is June 26. Your comments about the 14th Avenue South property will be included in City Light’s report to the Seattle City Council.

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El Centro selects team for south lot development project

El Centro de la Raza has chosen the team of SMR Architects/Glenn and Glenn Architects/DKA Architecture to work on the redevelopment of their south parking lot to mixed-use transit-oriented development with affordable housing.

According to a press release from El Centro, “SMR Architects/Glenn & Glenn Architects/DKA Architecture was selected because of their deep level of experience in multi-family mixed-use affordable housing development, work with non-profit cultural organizations and skill in community-based design and outreach. Their ideas for the site were well received at the community open house attended by more than 50 neighbors on April 28.”

The organization plans to build about 100 units of housing, with childcare, retail, office space, and “flexible multi-cultural performance/community space” on the ground floor. They also promise public open space and pedestrian amenities, as well as underground parking for both residents and light rail commuters to use.

Neighbors look at site possibilities while attending El Centro's open house on April 28. Photo by Ashley Haugen, courtesy of El Centro de la Raza.