The Design Review Board is holding a public meeting on December 13 to discuss the development project proposed for 2715 25th Ave. S. and 2615 25th Ave. S., on the east slope of Beacon Hill just west of the Rite Aid/QFC building. (Meeting announcements are here and here.)
The project proposes the construction of two 7-story apartment buildings with a combined total of 307 units, including parking for 297 vehicles. The lots currently contain five mid-century single family homes.
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.)
Here’s the agenda for this month’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, tonight at 7:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library community room. El Centro de la Raza’s Cinco de Mayo celebration starts earlier, at 5:30 p.m. at El Centro, and neighbors are encouraged to attend both events if possible.
7:00 Hellos and introductions
7:05 Transit Development Area Update – Lyle Bicknell, City of Seattle
7:50 Community Concerns/Announcements
8:30 Regular meeting adjourns; Board meets in Community Service Center. Election of Executive Officers.
El Centro de la Raza is hosting a community meeting on Saturday, February 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss ideas and planning for the development of the El Centro south lot. All are welcome, and food will be provided. Please RSVP to Miguel Maestas at 206-957-4650 or at email@example.com.
The meeting will be held at the Cocina located on the first floor of the north end of the El Centro de la Raza building, 2524 16th Avenue South.
El Centro is also working with a group of business students from the University of Washington to develop recommendations for the future mixed-use, transit-oriented development on the south lot. The students have created an online survey, to gather Beacon Hill residents’ opinions about the small businesses they would like to see in the development. Here’s a link to the survey.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has posted notices of two public meetings of interest to Beaconians.
The Design Review Board is holding a meeting to discuss the proposed development at 2421 14th Avenue South. The Findlay Street Christian Church plans to build a three-story building, including 12 residential low income units, and 4,902 square feet of church space. (We discussed this proposal last year: here, and here.)
At the meeting, Findlay Street will present their current design, and the public may comment. The meeting is on Tuesday, February 8, 6:30 p.m., in the community room at Wellspring Family Services, 1900 Rainier Avenue South.
There is also a hearing scheduled regarding whether the land use code should be changed to allow parking lots to operate as an interim use in some Link Light Rail station areas (Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach).
The Beacon Hill station area would not allow parking lots, however, under this proposal, commuter and business support parking would be allowed on lots outside of the immediate station area that have existing parking and are also accessory to institutions in walking distance of the Link station. (For example, churches or schools with parking lots could allow commuter and business parking on their lots.)
At 6:00pm on April 28th, in the Bertha Knight Landes room at city hall (600 4th Ave.), the Seattle Planning Commission and councilmember Sally Clark are bringing in Helle Søholt from Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects to speak on the topic of creating walkable and bike-able neighborhoods, especially around transit sites.
From the announcement:
How do we transform auto-oriented communities to make pedestrian-friendly communities? Helle Soholt of Gehl Architects will discuss the vibrant mix needed for creating successful communities. Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects is a world leader in urban design.
For more info please contact Barbara Wilson, Executive Director with the Seattle Planning Commision: 206.684.0431 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The North Beacon Hill Council meeting this Thursday will include discussion of the Transit-Oriented Development bill, HB1490, and the changes and density that the light rail station may bring to North Beacon Hill.
The meeting and discussion, as with all NBHC meetings, is open to all residents of Beacon Hill.
Time and location: 7:00 pm, Thursday, March 5, in the basement of the Beacon Hill Lutheran Church, 1730 South Forest (just east of the Library). Ample parking is available.
Here’s the full agenda:
7:00 Hellos and announcements
Jefferson Park Festival, June 27 – volunteers?
Picnic and Piñatas, July 18 – volunteers?
7:10 Light Rail and Neighborhood Changes:
HB1490 Pro and Con, Update
Bill LaBorde, Transp. Choices Coalition
Jenna Walden, Community Activist, Othello Neighborhood Council
7:20 A time for questions and answers
7:40 Lyle Bicknel, Seattle Department of Transportation, and leader of the SDOT and Dept. of Neighborhoods team which is working with the Neighborhood Policy Advisory Committee (NPAC) – an update on what’s happening
7:50 Questions and answers
8:10 Seattle Police Department and/or Shelly Bates
8:20 Comments and concerns
Thanks to Judith Edwards for sending out the agenda!
(We recently asked a few people to write their opinions about House Bill 1490 and how it relates to Beacon Hill. The bill was altered and no longer directly affects the Hill, but Andrew Smith still has a few things to say about density in our area.)
By Andrew Smith
Recently House Bill 1490 has started a discussion in our region over density and transit-oriented-development. Originally the bill required cities to create zoning packages that would have allowed increased density in a half-mile radius around all light rail and commuter rail stations. In a recent revision, that requirement was scaled back to apply to only communities defined by the Puget Sound Regional Council as “growth centers”: Auburn, Downtown Bellevue, Overlake, Everett, Federal Way, Kent, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Puyallup, Redmond, Seatac, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Northgate, the University District, Downtown Tacoma, and Tukwila. I imagine many in Southeast Seattle breathed a sigh of relief when they read that, as many in that area were very concerned about increased density changing their neighborhoods. However, I’d like to make the case for increased density in these areas, focusing my argument on Beacon Hill, and point out that while increased density could change the neighborhood, that change might be a better change than what will happen if density is prohibited. Continue reading Reader Opinion: North Beacon needs higher density→