Tag Archives: design review

Second early design guidance meeting next week for 12th Ave. S. apartment project

The Design Review Board is convening on Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. for a second early design guidance meeting regarding the apartment development at 1814 12th Ave. S. The proposal for the site is to demolish the existing single family residence and construct a four-story, 23-unit apartment building with underground parking for 12 vehicles.

There was a previous early design guidance meeting in December, when this proposal was presented.

This document describes the public commentary and the comments and guidance given by the Design Review Board at the December meeting.

At an early design guidance meeting such as this one and the one in December, applicants present information about the site and the project. Public comment is then allowed, and the members of the Design Review Board will give their comments and suggest guidelines for the continuation of the development project.

The meeting will be held at the WellSpring Family Services Center community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. For further information, contact planner Bruce Rips, at 206-615-1392.

The site of the proposed apartment building. View a larger map at Google Maps.

Neighbors get first look at planned station block development

Clayton Smith shows an example of a courtyard from another Pacific Housing NW project. Photo by Wendi.
A couple dozen community members attended the Early Design Guidance meeting held last night to discuss the proposed development on part of the Beacon Hill Station block. Representatives from Pacific Housing NW (who, previously, were involved in the Beacon Hill Central Park proposal) presented preliminary ideas for the building to the Southeast Design Review Board as well as to the community members in attendance.

It is very early in the process, so all the designs shown were nowhere close to a final form. (The designs are currently not available online, but should appear on the DPD website soon. I’ll post a link then.) Several options were presented, including 40′ buildings and 65′ buildings, depending on whether the rezone currently in process goes through or not. All the options had a few things in common: an entrance to a 14-17 space parking garage via the alley, a courtyard to the north of the building, and some commercial space on the southwest corner of the building. The options varied in height, the presence of live-work space, and the configuration of entrances and setbacks. A 40′ building would probably have 30 units, and a 65′ building would have 45.

Pacific stated that their goal is “sustainable principles”; they hope to include solar cells and possibly even wind power generators on the roof. They intend to plant large trees in the planting strips around the building.

Materials Pacific said they may use for the building include “some lap siding,” masonry, concrete, and some paneling for upper levels. (Several community members expressed a strong dislike for panel-type siding during the public commentary period.) “Green walls” would probably be included as well.

Parking would be below-grade, with a small 14-17 space garage. Parking is not required at all within the station overlay area, so there is no requirement to have spaces for each unit.

The amount of commercial space in the building, as presented by Pacific last night, is very small—one small unit in the southwest corner. This was the most frequent concern mentioned by commenters during the public comment period. Neighbors who spoke up about it were unanimous in wanting more retail/commercial space in the building, preferably along the entire McClellan frontage. The current proposal “is not lively,” said neighbor Judith Edwards.

Some commenters also expressed concern about setbacks. The designs showed setbacks above the fourth floor. Judith Edwards commented that, according to neighborhood design guidelines, setbacks are supposed to start above the second floor. She concluded, “We are going to hold firm on this.” However, this was not a unanimously-held opinion. Another neighbor commented that setbacks are unnecessary for this building because it will have plenty of visual interest already.

Another major concern mentioned by the neighbors in attendance was the alley. In the proposed designs, the alley side of the building contains a driveway into the parking garage, but seemingly nothing else. Commenters wanted to see the alley as an “active alley,” with shops and cafe tables, preserving the view toward El Centro de la Raza. (See this illustration by Joel Lee for the basic idea.)

In general, however, the commenters seemed fairly supportive of the development.

After discussion, the Design Review Board members recommended “significant modulation” and an increase in commercial space. Setbacks will be required if the building is 65′ tall. The designers should draw on existing structures in the neighborhood for materials influence. They must enhance the alley, activating it for pedestrian use.

There will be another meeting in the future, after new designs have been created to address these issues. Stay tuned for the rest of the process.

(Thanks to Melissa Jonas for some additional information.)

Tonight: Early Design Guidance meeting for station block project

As alluded to in this space yesterday, this evening is the Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S.

The property was previously used for staging during the construction of Beacon Hill Station, and before that, contained single-family homes. Since the station opened in July 2009, the lot has been bare and surrounded by chain-link fence.

This proposed building would only cover part of the station block property. The triangular lot at the southwest corner would not be developed, nor would part of the rest of the block, as those properties have different owners. The development firm involved in the project is Pacific Housing NW.

Neighbor Carol Sanders posted to the Beacon Hill mailing list yesterday, encouraging interested Beacon Hill residents to attend the meeting:

“This is the best chance for the public to offer comments about design and the siting of the development. We’re going to have a lot of density coming our way with developers building up housing around the light rail area. It would be really great to have the neighborhood involved in making sure that these buildings will contribute to the look and feel of Beacon Hill and not just become big sterile boxes for folks to live in. We can really impact things like how the sidewalk areas interact with the building, possible public spaces, greenery, etc. if people get involved early in the design process and speak up at these meetings.”

View Larger Map. This is the location of the proposed apartment building at the Beacon Hill Station block.

Apartments may come to Beacon Hill Station block

These lots have been empty for more than two years. The lot proposed for development is in the back of the photo, to the left. Photo by Wendi.
An apartment building may be the future of one of the empty lots around Beacon Hill Station. An early design guidance meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 to discuss a preliminary proposal to build a four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the station block. Several lots on that block have been vacant and surrounded by chain-link fence since shortly after the opening of Beacon Hill Station in the summer of 2009. The lots were previously used for staging during the light rail station construction project.

Pacific Housing Northwest is proposing to build an apartment building with 30 housing units as well as 800 square feet of ground-floor retail. There would be underground parking. The Department of Planning and Development pages about the site and the associate permits are here and here. The site is currently owned by Alphonso Tucci-Grastello.

The early design guidance meeting will be held at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Avenue South, at 6:30 p.m. on October 25.

View Larger Map. This is the location of the proposed apartment building at the Beacon Hill Station block.

March NBHC capsule recap: new church, guidelines, green space

Bev Graff of Findlay Street Church opens a presentation on the new church building to be built at 14th and Bayview. Photo by Wendi.
If you didn’t make it to the NBHC meeting Thursday night, here are a few things you missed:

  • Al Terry and Barb Graff from Findlay Street Church presented the plans for their new sanctuary with affordable housing to be built at 14th and Bayview. You can see the slides on the church’s website. Some concern was expressed about parking impacts, but by and large the proposed development appeared to be welcomed.
  • Cheryl Sizov from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development presented an introduction to the DPD’s process of revising the Seattle Citywide Design Guidelines, originally created in 1993, used in the design review process, and used as the baseline for the various neighborhood design guidelines since. Largely, it’s a simplification and clarification measure, reducing the five original categories to three and the 31 original guidelines to 13, but bringing extra attention to the “sub-issues”, increasing them from 19 to 50. See the proposed revisions on the DPD website. Public comment is accepted until March 31st.
  • A motion was made to provide a vote of support to Glenn Herlihy’s 12-acre multi-focal gardening project on the western edge of Jefferson Park along 15th Ave S (some details in the forum), for use in applying for $250,000 in grants to advance the project. There was hesitance expressed by several attendees about issuing formal support for a project most of the council wasn’t terribly familiar with, and the motion was tabled until the April 1st NBHC meeting. Hopefully, there will be more details about the plan available here or in the forum by then.
  • David Gackenbach and Andrew Abian presented some initial thoughts about submitting for Parks funds for a project that would add to the open green space on Beacon Hill by using grant money to negotiate the purchase of the entire block at 17th and Walker, currently occupied by a single home, and converting it to a park. Expect more details about this project to appear here on the blog soon.
  • A neighbor involved with the 12th and Stevens power pole situation reported having their best meeting yet with Seattle City Light last Thursday, and that they are feeling optimistic. NBHC Chair Judith Edwards said “City Light is actually bending!”

This was another well-attended meeting, with likely more than fifty neighbors turning out. Next month, expect an appearance by City Council member Sally Bagshaw, speaking about parks and open space. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Beacon Bits: Glitter, architecture, and dancing women

Bling like this may await you at Goodwill this weekend. Photo by Rhonda Johnson -- thanks!
Bling like this may await you at Goodwill this weekend. Photo by Rhonda Johnson -- thanks!