Community Post

Development Update

For the first time in months, we’ve got enough development activity to make it worth writing a story about. It also just happens to be a gorgeous day to get out and take a few pictures.  Here’s what’s building around the ‘hood:

0 thoughts on “Development Update

  1. are totally pro forma and a waste of time and money, besides being confusing because they carry all the ‘comment’ mumbo jumbo. I am sure there are legalities involved to properly register and record the plats, but it’s almost as important as posting a notice for being ready for an electrical inspection. When developers complain about cost, here is one I’d get rid of.

    Nice pictures. You were on my street. I’ll miss that big tree on the corner and looking forward (not) to another summer of construction.

  2. Subdivision applications are useful for a variety of reasons that the average person never thinks of. Correct addressing, for instance, is vitally important to utilities and the fire, police and EMT departments. They give neighborhood groups a chance to comment on the project. They ensure that the legal descriptions are accurately filed for each new plat, they allow the municipality a chance to review it to make sure there will be no conflicts with infrastructure. In an increasingly dense city like this, that can’t be underestimated.

    At about $3k for the average land use permit, I think it’s a pretty good deal.

  3. There is a new cluster of town houses going up in the 800 block of Davis Pl. S. where a single family house once stood.

  4. There were two houses on this land, both were torn down. This development is right behind my house and will totally destroy my territorial Cascade view. I certainly hope the developers planned for parking because frankly, there isn’t much right there. Having said all that, I am happy to see the development and hope these sell well.

  5. Remember that while density has some good points, the destruction of trees and green open space has a negative impact on the carbon footprint of an area.

  6. I work in real estate and I fully realize the need for increasing density as the city grows. After all, it beats tearing down the forests for new subdivisions and sprawl. However, I’d like to see developers either given incentives to re use as much of the origional structure as possible, or possibly be fined if they make no effort to salvage or re-use the lumber from the old homes they tear down. Seattle is loosing too much history to the wrecking ball as we toss tons of old growth lumber in land fills every year.
    I cringe every time I see a 80 to 100 year old house be demolished without any regard to salvaging its windows, doors, millwork or floors.
    If we keep this up, we’ll need a landfill the size of Texas to hold it all.

  7. Increased density definitely lowers the net carbon footprint of the region.

    One or two trees in the middle of a city doesn’t get you anywhere when the trade-off is a quarter acre of trees in the middle-of-nowhere, plus the daily emissions created by the person that is driving from their new middle-of-nowhere home to their job, the grocery, etc.

  8. People need some open space and sky. Density without regard for natural light, trees, some view, a place to be outside, children, fresh air, noise, clean air, etc, leads to undesirable places to live. I have always supported the Growth Management Act and am sure that we can add some density here. Nonetheless, there are many areas outside of the Central District and Seattle with larger lots, larger everything that could be targeted for density (they are areas now wanting more transportation at our expense). People also use water and natural resources and every area may have some realistic limits on how much they can grow.

    I also note vacancies in both residential and commercial buildings with some larger projects possibly on hold. Why? The answer maybe financing or lack of demand or both. With some patience we can observe how this plays out without proposing more. Overbuilding is not the answer

    I support the idea of salvage and incorporating many of original homes into the new designs. Saving trees when possible is always the right thing to do. Define density and livability. The two have to go together. Where are the large park areas?

    The types and amounts of energy and transportation will be as important as density for the future. Some of this is related to density, but large buildings that need to be air conditioned and have no natural ventilation will only contribute to the problems not the solutions.

  9. I’m not debating the permitting. I’m not debating the land use notice going up prior to building. I’m saying the effort of a land use notice and public feedback — ON ALREADY BUILT BUILDINGS is flat out silly. Yes, all the proper things need to be done, but they don’t publish a land use notice for the electrical inspection and to be sure the trees are replanted. Neighbors need to get that established before the thing is built and watch that stuff like hawks if they care.

    Actually — ‘a chance to comment on the project’ when the big board goes up is misleading. You are wasting your time and is utterly useless if the project is per code. The information is also useless as far as understanding what issues we legitimately can comment on. The legal lot coverage is not that.. Noise issues, and the design of the new construction and fit with the neighborhood are more important.

    The city is discussing adding administrative design review to the mutli family code. I think the ‘big board’ should be used to display the 3 schematics of the development that are required to be submitted if administrative design review goes through. Then we would be talking about something that we can affect. It would also be free advertising for the builder.

  10. The city does not enforce the not taking certain trees, nor do they enforce the replanting. I called the city arborist and had pictures of a big cherry tree a developer took out of the parking strip at the very edge of the property — so totally unnecessary. The arborist was infuriated, but has no clout.

    Then a friend of mine documented the inspector passing a house though without the required trees being planted.

    The city comprehensive plan does not have a single consolidated tree preservation section and our laws do not have teeth, but we have lost like 40% of our canopy.

  11. Even in single family zones, some of the homes could be transformed into duplexes but zoning won’t allow…

    I also would like to see much more repurposing as part of development. Some facades of commercial buildings being saved, too.

    Here is an interesting article:
    The Greenest Practice

  12. this is a good pt.

    i live next to one of these redevelopments. they long ago got permission to build the split property. they’ve built it as adjoining townhomes.

    all they are doing is now asking for the permission to sell it that way. i would imagine it should be coupled together…the persmission to build it that way and permission to sell it that way. why would they ever be decoupled?

  13. And Scott, losing 40% of the canopy is not trivial. It raises the temperature. We also do get a air cleaning and oxygenation in our little micro climate.

    If we really want to decrease greenhouse gases, do things that get people who work in Redmond to move to Redmond.

  14. In today’s email update from Seattle City Council Prez Richard Conlin, this bit of news:


    On January 20, the Council unanimously adopted an ordinance to encourage recycling of construction waste – a key element of the Zero Waste Strategy. Construction waste is second only to food waste as a percentage of waste material currently sent to the landfill. Fortunately, construction waste is easily reclaimed and recycled with the right kind of incentives and regulations. This ordinance will ensure that materials will be reused or recycled from buildings that are demolished in order to construct a new building.

    Current law requires a contractor to apply for both a demolition permit and a construction permit at the same time. This is done to prevent the loss of housing units, which could happen if a contractor demolished a house but then did not proceed with new construction.

    Unfortunately, the permits are then issued at the same time, which turns out to be a perverse disincentive to recycling or reusing the materials from the demolished building. The fastest way to do demolition is to scrape the lot bare and throw it all away, and if a contractor has a building permit, the incentive is to get under construction as fast as possible since you don’t make any money until the building is finished.

    So, this legislation changes the parameters. It continues to require that a building permit be applied for, but then allows the demolition permit to be issued while the building permit is still in process, provided that the applicant submits a waste diversion plan that specifies how a required percentage of each material in the demolished structure will be diverted from the landfill. It also allows the applicant to move the house to a new lot as an alternative to demolition – again, this takes time, so it doesn’t happen as often under the current practice. The legislation also includes substantial penalties if the diversion plan is not carried out.

    Everyone benefits from this legislation. Materials – and even whole houses — are reused or recycled, and the contractor has plenty of time to make sure that happens. The contractor gets to move to construction even faster, since he can have the lot completely cleared by the time he gets the building permit. And, the contractor will probably save money by being able to resell the materials, so the cost of the new building will be reduced. It’s the way government should work all the time – and a great demonstration of the practicality of the Zero Waste Strategy in action.