A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Design Review Board will make recommendation on micro-housing at 1008 N. 109th St. on Aug. 3

July 20th, 2015 by Doree

The Northwest Design Review Board will make its recommendation on the proposed 93-unit micro-housing development at 1008 N. 109th St. at a public meeting at 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, at the Ballard Community Center, 6020 28th Ave. NW, in the Sunset/Captain/Ballard Room.

The proposal is for 93 small efficiency dwelling units centered around common kitchens, with retail on ground level and 13 surface parking spots. Comments on site planning and design issues will be accepted through Aug. 3. Comments can be emailed to PRC@seattle.gov, referring to DPD permit 3017565.

At the Aug. 3 meeting:

1. The applicant will present information about the proposed design and how it responds to the Design Review Guideline priorities established at the previous Early Design Guidance meeting(s).
2. The public may offer comments regarding the proposed design.*
3. The Design Review Board will offer their recommendations regarding the design to DPD.
4. Following the meeting, DPD will issue a written Recommendation report summarizing the meeting. This report will be sent to those who signed in at the meeting or otherwise requested a copy.

*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.

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UPDATED: INTERVIEW WITH DEVELOPER — Building housing Ed’s Kort Haus and Stumbling Goat sold, to be replaced by 60-unit apartment building with commercial at ground level

July 16th, 2015 by Doree

Update: We interviewed one of the developers on July 20. Please see the second half of this post for that.

Earlier: The building currently housing Ed’s Kort Haus and Stumbling Goat Bistro was sold to Phinney Flats LLC on June 23 for $1.8 million. A Seattle Department of Planning and Development permit shows the building will be replaced by a four-story, 26,000-square-foot, multi-use building with 60 units of housing and no parking.

With the ground floor dedicated to commercial use, that means the 60 residential units in the remaining 19,500 square feet would average 325 square feet. (Note: We have a message in to the project’s architect for more information.)

The project requires an environmental review as well as Early Design Guidance, which will allow the public a chance to comment on the design.

According to King County Assessor records, the current 4,000-square-foot building was built in 1927.

I spoke with Ed Warrington, owner of Ed’s Kort Haus for 34 years, and he said it will be several years before he and the Stumbling Goat have to move out. He said the building’s new owners want both businesses to come back to the new building, and are working on an offer to that effect.

“We’re not going anywhere yet,” Warrington said. “And in the future they want us to be here.”

Update July 20:

Today I spoke with Kelten Johnson, one of the owners of Phinney Flats LCC. He said he and his development partners have built several of what he calls “workforce housing” developments in the city, including Capitol Hill, Wallingford, Eastlake, and two new micro-housing buildings in Greenwood.

Footprint Greenwood is at 143 NW 85th St., across from Fred Meyer. It opened last December. Each of the 35 units has its own bath and a kitchenette, with access to common kitchens and laundry room. The average rent is about $700.

Footprint Phinney, at 8727 Phinney Ave. N., north and east of the Greenwood Safeway, has 79 units, each with their own bath and kitchenette, and access to common kitchens and laundry room. The average rent is about $700. Johnson said renters began moving in just last week.

Phinney Flats’ units will be larger than Footprint Phinney and Footprint Greenwood. Phinney Flats will be studio apartments of around 350 square feet, with full kitchens and bathrooms.

I asked Johnson about Phinney Flats not being required to have parking, since that’s the hot-button topic surrounding this kind of development in Seattle.

“It’s not required, so it keeps costs lower for us,” he said, in turn keeping rents lower for residents. “Our car ownership (in our other buildings) is about 20 percent, so it’s pretty low.”

The same architect who designed Footprint Greenwood, Jay Janette of Skidmore Janette, will design Phinney Flats.

“We want something that’s going to fit into the neighborhood and something that will last,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to build workforce housing, and we’re really excited to have the Stumbling Goat and Kort Haus come back into new spaces for them. Both groups are really excited to be part of the new project, so they can help in the design-build process.”

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Reminder: Pedestrian improvements to 3rd Ave NW and NW 56th St starting today

June 15th, 2015 by Doree

Seattle Department of Transportation began making pedestrian improvements at 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place today (Monday), as part of its Neighborhood Street Fund and Safe Routes to Schools program.

Project elements include:

  • Changing NW 55th Place to one-way, southwest-bound
  • Creating an all-way stop at the intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street to improve pedestrian crossing safety, especially for West Woodland Elementary students
  • Separating NW 55th Place from 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street
  • Adding curb extensions on 3rd Avenue NW and at the intersection of NW 55th Place and NW 55th
  • Street to shorten the length of pedestrian crossings
  • Upgrading curb ramps to be compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards
  • Adding minor drainage improvements

Project Benefits:

  • ADA-compliant curb ramps, for smoother and better access
  • Curb bulbs to facilitate safer, shorter crossings for pedestrians and bike riders
  • Adding signage to reduce vehicle speeds and notify drivers of pedestrian crossings

3rd Ave & 56th St improvements June 2015

Work will take about eight weeks, depending on the weather. Construction will result in short-term parking and lane restrictions on NW 56th Street, NW 56th Place and 3rd Avenue NW; temporary road closures on NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place (residential access will be maintained); temporary pedestrian and bicycle detours around the work areas; and tree trimming at intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street. Work will typically be done between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, with some weekend work possible.

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Pedestrian improvements at 3rd Avenue NW at NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place could begin next week

June 8th, 2015 by Doree

Seattle Department of Transportation will begin making pedestrian improvements at 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place as early as next Monday, June 15. It’s part of SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund and Safe Routes to Schools programs, and should make it safer for West Woodland Elementary students to get to school.

Project elements include:

  • Changing NW 55th Place to one-way, southwest-bound
  • Creating an all-way stop at the intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street to improve pedestrian crossing safety
  • Separating NW 55th Place from 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street
  • Adding curb extensions on 3rd Avenue NW and at the intersection of NW 55th Place and NW 55th
  • Street to shorten the length of pedestrian crossings
  • Upgrading curb ramps to be compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards
  • Adding minor drainage improvements

Project Benefits:

  • ADA-compliant curb ramps, for smoother and better access
  • Curb bulbs to facilitate safer, shorter crossings for pedestrians and bike riders
  • Adding signage to reduce vehicle speeds and notify drivers of pedestrian crossings

3rd Ave & 56th St improvements June 2015

Work will take about eight weeks, depending on the weather. Construction will result in short-term parking and lane restrictions on NW 56th Street, NW 56th Place and 3rd Avenue NW; temporary road closures on NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place (residential access will be maintained); temporary pedestrian and bicycle detours around the work areas; and tree trimming at intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street. Work will typically be done between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, with some weekend work possible.

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Lane closures on Hwy. 99 postponed

March 9th, 2015 by Doree

Washington State Department of Transportation had planned 12 weeks of lane closures on Hwy. 99 beginning this Wednesday, but that is now postponed. Here’s WSDOT’s announcement from 11 a.m. today:

The Washington State Department of Transportation is postponing plans for long-term lane closures on State Route 99 originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 11.

These closures were needed to install several large sign foundations for the SR 99 North Access project. While this work must occur, it will be rescheduled to a later date in an effort to minimize impacts to the traveling public. The public will be alerted in advance of any future lane closures.

Full closure of northbound SR 99 tonight — Contractor crews still plan to close northbound SR 99 to straighten the curve in the highway near Mercer Street.

Tonight, SR 99 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. between the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street. All lanes will open at 6 a.m. in time for the morning commute.

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UPDATE: CLOSURES POSTONED — Reminder: 12 weeks of lane closures on SR 99 between Valley Street and Aurora Bridge begin next week

March 6th, 2015 by Doree

Updated Monday 11 a.m.: Washington State Department of Transportation is postponing the lane closures on Highway 99 that were supposed to start Wednesday. Here’s WSDOT’s announcement:

The Washington State Department of Transportation is postponing plans for long-term lane closures on State Route 99 originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 11.

These closures were needed to install several large sign foundations for the SR 99 North Access project. While this work must occur, it will be rescheduled to a later date in an effort to minimize impacts to the traveling public. The public will be alerted in advance of any future lane closures.

Full closure of northbound SR 99 tonight — Contractor crews still plan to close northbound SR 99 to straighten the curve in the highway near Mercer Street.

Tonight, SR 99 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. between the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street. All lanes will open at 6 a.m. in time for the morning commute.

Earlier: Washington Department of Transportation crews will be working on the future north portal of the State Route 99 tunnel and will need to close one lane in both directions of SR 99/Aurora Avenue North between Valley Street and the Aurora Bridge. The closures begin March 7 11 and will last about 12 weeks.

Two lanes will be open in each direction while crews install foundations for four large sign structures in the median and curb areas.

Work is planned in two phases. View a map of the work locations.

  • Phase 1 (approximately 8 weeks): one lane closed in both directions for median work — One lane in the northbound and southbound directions will be closed around-the-clock while crews install four sign foundations in the median
  • Phase 2 (approximately 4 weeks): one lane closed in southbound direction for curb work — One southbound lane will be closed around-the-clock while crews install two sign foundations in the southbound curb area

Because northbound and southbound buses will travel – and stop – in the outside lanes with other vehicle traffic, trips may take longer than normal. During both phases the southbound bus-only lane restriction will be lifted.

In an effort to balance the needs of drivers and residents, some work will occur during nighttime and weekend hours. An additional lane may close at night and during some weekend days.

The long-term lane closures are expected to cause additional backups on SR 99 for vehicles and buses, particularly during peak commute times. WSDOT is encouraging drivers and bus riders to:

Questions? Contact us at viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov or 1-888-AWV-LINE (298-5463) or visit us at www.AlaskanWayViaduct.org.

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12 weeks of SR 99 lane closures begin in March

February 19th, 2015 by Doree

Washington Department of Transportation crews will be working on the future north portal of the State Route 99 tunnel and will need to close one lane in both directions of SR 99/Aurora Avenue North between Valley Street and the Aurora Bridge. The closures begin March 7 and will last about 12 weeks.

Two lanes will be open in each direction while crews install foundations for four large sign structures in the median and curb areas.

Work is planned in two phases. View a map of the work locations.

  • Phase 1 (approximately 8 weeks): one lane closed in both directions for median work — One lane in the northbound and southbound directions will be closed around-the-clock while crews install four sign foundations in the median
  • Phase 2 (approximately 4 weeks): one lane closed in southbound direction for curb work — One southbound lane will be closed around-the-clock while crews install two sign foundations in the southbound curb area

Because northbound and southbound buses will travel – and stop – in the outside lanes with other vehicle traffic, trips may take longer than normal. During both phases the southbound bus-only lane restriction will be lifted.

In an effort to balance the needs of drivers and residents, some work will occur during nighttime and weekend hours. An additional lane may close at night and during some weekend days.

The long-term lane closures are expected to cause additional backups on SR 99 for vehicles and buses, particularly during peak commute times. WSDOT is encouraging drivers and bus riders to:

Questions? Contact us at viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov or 1-888-AWV-LINE (298-5463) or visit us at www.AlaskanWayViaduct.org.

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Greenwood Community Council meets Tuesday to discuss parking requirements for new residential buildings

February 16th, 2015 by Doree

The Greenwood Community Council meets from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N. The main topic on the agenda is a discussion about how much parking the city should require for new residential buildings.

A few years ago Seattle changed its development regulations to eliminate the requirement to provide parking in new multi-family buildings in areas defined as urban villages, or places with accessible and frequent transit service. Almost all of Greenwood fits that definition, and several micro-housing buildings are being built that will take advantage of that change by not including parking as part of the development.

There are advocates and strong feelings on both sides of this issue. Seattle’s previous parking requirements often required developers to include more parking than needed, raising the cost of living in new buildings and requiring residents who don’t own cars to help pay for their storage. Providing no parking at all takes advantage of unused public street space at no cost to the developer or tenant. When parking is scarce though, neighbors and their visitors have a harder time finding a place to park and need to walk farther to get groceries and kids to the car.

So what is the right amount of parking, and what should guide the city in deciding how much developers need to provide as part of their projects? The City Council has requested a review of parking requirement policies, and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is preparing its analysis. Gordon Clowers is leading the team that will respond to the council, and at our February meeting he will discuss some of the factors DPD will consider in forming their analysis.

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Second Early Design Guidance Meeting for North 109th Street project of 100 small efficiency dwelling units

January 27th, 2015 by Doree

The public is invited to comment about site planning and design at the second Early Design Guidance Meeting for a proposed 100-unit building at 1008 N. 109th St. The developer’s preferred option out of three has 93 “small efficiency dwelling units” and seven live/work units.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, at the Ballard Community Center, 6020 28th Ave. NW, in the Sunset Capt. Ballard Room.

The four-story building will have surface parking for either 9 or 12 vehicles (the design proposal uses the numbers inconsistently, and the Land Use Bulletin says 15), basement storage for 100 bicycles, a rooftop deck and solar panels. Each SEDU will have 225 square feet of space. Each live/work unit will be about 320 square feet. Three commercial spaces would be on the ground floor. The proposal requires a lot boundary adjustment.

You can see the full design proposal here (PDF).

The property is on the corner of Aurora Avenue North and North 109th Street, adjacent to the Rose Corner Flower Shop. It currently has a giant pile of dirt and is surrounded by trucks from the nearby Handy Andy Rent-A-Tool.

1008-N-109th-St-resized

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can send written comments about site planning and design issues by Feb. 2 by email to PRC@seattle.gov or mail to: City of Seattle – DPD – PRC, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle, WA 98124-4019. Reference project number 3017565.

If an environmental review is later triggered, the public will have the opportunity to comment on environmental impacts such as traffic, parking, noise, etc.

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