Appeal challenges Jackson Place DESC land use permit

The Jackson Place Alliance for Equity has filed an appeal to King County Superior Court challenging building permits for the Downtown Emergency Services Center’s planned Crisis Solutions Center at 16th Ave S and S Lane St. The Department of Planning and Development granted the permits earlier this month, concluding that the proposed facility is most similar to a hospital and is, therefore, a permitted use for the proposed location.

However, the JPAE has argued that the facility is more like a jail than a hospital, which would not be permitted at the site without a lengthy public process. The group also alleges that the facility’s wide political support biased the DPD’s decision to issue the permits.

The planned facility, which is unlike any other in King County, is intended as a way to bypass sending people in the midst of a mental crisis to either jail or the emergency room, both of which are extremely expensive to the city and county and do not meet the needs of the person having a crisis. Instead, a person without a violent history could be referred to the Crisis Solutions Center where mental health professionals can help them through the issue. Participation in the Crisis Solutions Center would be voluntary, according to the DESC. However, patients would not simply be let out into the neighborhood without accompaniment by DESC staff.

For more background on the facility, see our previous story.

From the JPAE’s press release:

In Nov 2010, the JPAE submitted a Request for Interpretation with DPD concerning DESC’s proposed development of the crisis solutions center in the Jackson Place community. Since filing the Request for Interpretation, JPAE obtained public records that indicate the crisis facility has been endorsed by several City and County elected officials and agency heads, including the City Executive, Council members, and the City Attorney. Public records also reveal emails sent by City elected officials and the DESC enlisting the DPD in facilitating quick approval and construction without public review.

On April 6th JPAE received a decision from DPD regarding the Request for Interpretation stating the crisis diversion facility is considered a permissible use under the Land Use Code. Permits were issued to DESC the same day.

JPAE maintains that the Request for Interpretation and the process under which permits were issued to DESC was not given a full, transparent, public review process. As a result, JPAE has filed legal action in Superior Court seeking an impartial, unbiased review of the siting of the crisis solutions center on South Lane Street.

0 thoughts on “Appeal challenges Jackson Place DESC land use permit

  1. Good for JPAE for insisting that the city and county operate within the law. This facility is a good thing but there was no public process for placing it where it is proposed. Try again, DESC: locate this jail where jails should be, in nonresidential areas.

  2. It shames me that my fellow Central District residents must go to such great lengths to force the City to follow its own laws!

    I support the intent behind the DESC diversion crisis center, but it it’s siting MUST follow due process! The current project location is a matter of convenience to DESC and not in the best safety interests of the impacted residential neighborhood. Other vacant properties suitable for this project exist in SoDo.

    Mike Kamato-Senzu

  3. Wow, nice to see a neighborhood group pull off a land use petition like this. The JPAE has shown it’s not all talk and reading through the petition, it is really clear that it’s the process that is the problem. It’s time the city learns that it is not too good for its own laws.

  4. The Crisis Diversion Center will serve both mentally ill and drug addicted persons, under arrest, who “volunteer” for treatment at this facility as an alternaive to jail. Although DESC has been successful working with the homeless, it seems that they are overly optimistic if they truly intend to approach this as a medical treatment facility rather than a jail. I question whether this authority should be divested by the county to DESC.

  5. David Brown — you raise a good point — how can these folks who are deemed to be incompetent enough to need a facility like this then be deemed competent enough to sign an agreement to be diverted to this facility? I think this waiver they sign is enough to make any civil rights attorney pull their hair out.

  6. You realize of course that this neighborhood and the CD in general has been the traditional dumping ground for every and any social service that no other neighborhood in the city will accept. We have been uppity of the last decade or so and have improved, people have invested. This must be stopped and reversed. If not other neighborhoods will need to take their fair share, specifically the ones north of the ship canal. As I have said in the past, a law suit is all they understand and respect. We will prevail but it will not be the last attempt to return the CD to it’s role as the city’s dump.

  7. My comment, not nasty or flamming seems to have been censored. I guess if we are too critical of DESC we are not published?

  8. Your comments were queued in the penalty box by the system as possible spam or troll. Good stuff gets caught up all the time in there. Bad stuff, too.

  9. The next Good Neighbor Agreement meeting between community members and DESC will be on Monday, May 2nd from 6:30 – 8:30pm at 1600 S. Lane Street.

    Two Board members from the Jackson Place Community Council have agreed to join the committee and should be in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

    This will be the second GNA meeting.

    The meeting is open to the public for observation so community members interested in finding out what is really going on are invited to come and find out more. This meeting will focus on how the DESC center will operate.

  10. Soo Jackson Place Resident is wrong again. One representitive from Jackson Place the other is a alternative when the other can not make a meetiing, This does not mean the Jackson Place Community Council supports the project. they are there as a reporting function.

    Again you mis-represent the community, as usual.

  11. As mention previously “some suff get caught in a penalty box”. If this is to be a free and real community forum censorship should not exist. Several of my post on the DESC project have been censored. I know several other who have had this happen as well. Has the CD news sold out? I was only a matter of time before pressure was exerted by the powers that be to stiffel this uppity behavior here.
    Prove me wrong! Publish all that are submitted on this and all other issues.Boss man will not be happy with you but you will be doing the right thing!

  12. Yes, let’s turn the comments into ads for discount handbags and fake pharmaceuticals, which is what the “penalty box” does: isolates weird or spammy-sounding stuff for review before publishing.

    Maybe a little less crazy in your postings would make for a little less “censorship”?

    But enough of the paranoia, and back to the project: why don’t they build this at Yesler Terrace, on the northern edge, right across the street from Harborview? The whole project is being demolished and totally reconstructed, it would be the perfect time and place.

  13. commentary on issues is not spam, this is specifically targeted. So, to you the editor, why are you censoring opposition to the DESC jail facility??? You have not answered my previous remarks?

  14. We did answer your concerns. Some of your comments are getting tagged by the system as spam. We are approving them once we notice the issue.

  15. JPAE Community Update Meeting

    Thursday May 5th, 7:00 – 8:00pm
    at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington (JCCCW)
    1414 S. Weller St.

    The Jackson Place Alliance for Equity (JPAE) has filed a land use petition in the King County Superior Court on the permit issued by the city of Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to DESC that would allow a crisis solutions center to be sited on 1600 and 1618 South Lane Street.

    * Plan to attend this meeting to learn about recent legal developments
    * Learn about JPAE’s next steps
    * Community involvement and how you can help