The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has announced a Determination of Non-Significance decision regarding 1751 18th Ave. S. (the southwest corner of South State Street and 18th Avenue South), where a land use application has been filed to build three 3-story single family residences, demolishing the existing house on the site.
A Determination of Non-Significance indicates that the proposal has been determined not to have a significant adverse impact upon the environment, and so an environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required.
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 proposal is to demolish the existing single-family residence on the site (which is zoned Lowrise 3) and build a four-story, 23-unit apartment building. There would be 12 underground parking spaces provided.
At an early design guidance meeting such as this one, 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 is on Tuesday, December 13 at 8 p.m., at the WellSpring Family Services Center community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. For further information, contact planner Bruce Phillip Rips, at 206-615-1392.
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.)
The El Centro de la Raza parking lot is a step closer to existence. On March 21, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that allows parking lots of up to 100 spaces as interim uses on sites “occupied or owned by established institutions within a quarter mile of a light rail station, including the North Beacon Hill light rail station.” Earlier proposed versions of the ordinance limited all lots to 40 spaces.
“Parking, especially at places like El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill, will serve as a handy resource for game day fans.”
El Centro has expressed an intent to put 80 parking spaces on the lot directly south of their building, which is located across South Lander Street from Beacon Hill Station.
The ordinance also allows parking lots of up to 40 spaces on other properties within Southeast Seattle station areas, however, this part of the ordinance excludes the Beacon Hill station area.
The City Council’s press release on the ordinance quotes Councilmember Sally J. Clark: “We want to see these lifeless, empty parking spaces serve a use, at least until the economy rebounds. Allowing longer-term parking, particularly at places like El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill, will serve as a handy resource for game-day fans hoping to avoid parking around Safeco Field or Qwest Field.”
The ordinance will not allow permanent parking lots; permits for the lots will expire after three years.
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.)
(Melissa attended the design guidance meeting held Tuesday, February 23 at the Wellspring building on 23rd and Rainier. Approximately ten Beacon Hill residents were in attendance, and an additional five people were in the audience from the Findlay Street Christian Church congregation. Findlay Street Christian Church is the property owner and hopes to develop 18 residential units on top of a combination church/community space on the corner of Bayview and 14th.)
Introductions and clarification of process
Michele Wang introduced Board members and Holly Godard (206-615-1524), the DPD staff contact for the project. Godard explained that this was a preliminary design review only and emphasized that this is not the appropriate venue for sharing SEPA concerns—including concerns regarding parking, traffic, etc.
Bev, a congregation member, shared information about the congregation, focusing on their history, philosophy and goals. She opened with a slideshow. The church is interested in developing 18 units of affordable housing—Bev clarified this was not subsidized or low income housing. The location was chosen in large part because of proximity to light rail and the church hopes to attract professionals (teachers, nurses, etc.) who will use mass transit. The congregation also hopes to create a space the community will use. She mentioned the potential of using the sanctuary as a theater or meeting space. Bev noted that the congregation is currently meeting in Mount Baker and has about 80 regular attendees, with a goal of about 125 maximum. They are intentionally a smaller congregation, not a “big project church.” Findlay Street Church was established in 1906 and has a long history in SE Seattle. When they sold their Hillman City property, they sold the parking area below market rate for use as a P-Patch to promote green space in perpetuity. They are currently meeting in Mount Baker while they develop their new, permanent space.
When questioned further about why the congregation had chosen North Beacon Hill, the response was that the site was available, affordable, and met the needs of the church. The congregation is also attracted to the vibrancy of Beacon Hill and is interested in being part of the community. Continue reading 14th and Bayview design guidance meeting notes→