Community Group Decides Against Appeal of Old Seattle Children’s Home Development

Late last month, the community group Future Queen Anne saw the city’s hearing examiner deny it’s appeal of the development proposal for the old Seattle Children’s Home site. Instead of appealing again, the group has decided not to continue its fight due to a lack of necessary resources.

For many months now, Future Queen Anne has raised concerns and fought the proposed development of the old Seattle Children’s Home site. The project is planned for development by Toll Brothers, a Pennsylvania-based real estate company. The Future Queen Anne group has been concerned about the project due to its size, scope, and impact on the community’s infrastructure.

The group still has grounds for appeal, it just doesn’t have the resources to fight the multi-billion dollar corporation on the other side. “When we looked at filing to the next level,” Terri Johnston, a spokesperson for the group, told the Queen Anne News, “basically our resources are just out of scale with where they are.”

Although the fight will not continue, Future Queen Anne has made some successful strides in minimizing the negative effects of the development project. For example, Toll Brothers has committed to preserving a rare row of elm trees along 9th Ave West. The number of units to be built is also lower than the amount listed in the original plans, and there will be a public stairway to connect 9th and 10th Avenues to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

The group is still frustrated with the city’s apparent lack of proper assessment of neighborhoods when it comes to new developments. “Instead of seeing that the city is really guiding development and including public interests in one of the hottest real estate markets in the U.S.,” Johnston said, “it seems that we’re acting like a frontier town without limits.”



Future Queen Anne’s Appeal for Former Seattle Children’s Home Site is Denied

Originally published on QueenAnneNews.com

A group of Queen Anne community members are evaluating potential next steps after the city’s hearing examiner denied their appeal regarding a proposed development in the neighborhood.

[In late July], Future Queen Anne’s appeal of the State Environmental Policy Act/Master Use Permit (SEPA/MUP) approval of a near 60-unit townhouse plan on the former campus of the Seattle Children’s Home (901 W. McGraw St.) by Toll Brothers, a Pennsylvania-based real estate company, was rejected.

Ross Maddalena, a member of Future Queen Anne, said the appeal covered several aspects of the assessment, from traffic impacts, to the affect the new buildings would have on infrastructure and utilities, and issues of height, bulk, and scale. Due to the unusual size of the property — spanning almost two full city blocks and 2.5 acres — the group argued that codes and regulations alone were not enough to assess the potential impacts, and that in some instances the city had accepted incorrect information and omitted key information in its review.

One particular concern was the assumption that just one student would be added for each grade level at Coe Elementary, an estimate that Future Queen Anne argued was flawed because most the units proposed are multi-bedroom and marketed toward families.

“Our point was Coe is at capacity, and the city made a clear error that didn’t even reach out to the school to ask what the impacts would be, or how they could mitigate them, or put a condition on them that could help.”

Another issue was procedural, regarding the change from full design review to streamlined design review more than two years into the process.

“In doing so, they didn’t change the posted noticeboards at the property,” he said. “The ones that are up there right now, even still today, have both improper depiction of where the buildings will be, an improper depiction of the number of spaces on 9th Avenue West and how the buildings will be oriented, and the project description, the actual text on that board, doesn’t match. It states the wrong number of buildings, the wrong number of units, it’s not correct.”

Future Queen Anne also argued that significant traffic impacts were not taken into account.

“That section of McGraw and 10th Avenue West and Crockett is going to be an issue,” he said. “It’s going to be a safety concern when this project goes in, it’s not a question of if, so the real issue that has been heightened is that moving forward, engaging with SDOT, and engaging with neighborhood groups to demand that those intersections and the pedestrian corridors be assessed and improved is going to be paramount.”

Now that the appeal was denied by the hearing examiner, Maddalena said the next step would be to take the appeal to King County Superior Court. In the coming days, the group will determine whether to take that step.

“The plan is that we are going to make sure that we understand what the scope of our appeal would be, and make a strategic determination on what aspects of it should be appealed if any,” he said. “There hasn’t been a final determination on that, but we’re moving forward with the idea that we have to do that within the next week or so, and so that will be the next step if we move this forward.”

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SUV Gets Stuck Halfway Down Queen Anne Staircase

The historic Queen Anne staircases are sometimes traveled by more than just pedestrians and their canine pets, it would seem. Just after midnight on Thursday, August 4th, residents near the intersection of 10th Avenue and West Dravus Street heard tires spinning and engines revving, to find that an SUV had driven down the pedestrian staircase and gotten stuck.

SPD received several 911 calls about the incident, and police arrived on the scene to find the white Chevrolet SUV wedged into the narrow staircase. They arrested the female driver, since she was suspected to have been driving under the influence. A female passenger was also inside the vehicle, and neither of the two women were injured in the incident.

“I heard this squealing noise, and it sounded like two cars getting ready to drag race — where their tires were spinning on pavement,” said nearby resident Shannan Frisbie. “Both my husband and I jumped out of bed, immediately knowing someone had gone down the path because it’s happened so many times.”

According to Frisbie and other neighbors, this is a recurring problem at this particular staircase. They hope that this recent incident will cause the city to consider this and other traffic issues in the area. “People miss the signage, particularly at sunset,” Frisbie said. “They come flying down here and skidding to a halt. Somebody’s going to get hit.”

The city sustains that there aren’t enough collisions in the area for a traffic-calming circle, however, the community can still apply for a grant to implement traffic improvements. At least something in the form of action will happen as a result of the August 4th occurrence: Norm Mah, a spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation told Komo 4 News that a yellow “dead end” sign will be placed at 10th Avenue and West Dravus street, on the north side and facing east. The new sign will be up by the end of this week.

Featured photo source: KomoNews.com

Tour a Selection of Modern Homes in Queen Anne on August 13th


Join the Queen Anne Historical Society on August 13th for their third annual Modern Queen Anne Tour.

While the houses perched on the steeply inclined streets of Queen Anne are largely American Foursquares, Colonial Revivals, bungalows, and Tudor Revivals, the neighborhood does have a small, but growing, inventory of modern homes, many of which are designed by notable Seattle Architects. This year’s tour will showcase three of the best examples of modern domestic architecture in Queen Anne, along with KEXP’s new headquarters at the Seattle Center. Representatives from Jeff Murdock Marvin Anderson Architects, Olson Kundig, and SkB Architects, will be present at their respective commissions to provide insight on each of the projects and to field questions.

There is a Queen Anne Historical Society members-only reception after the tour. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time due to limited availability. This is a driving tour, please be prepared to drive to 3 locations on Queen Anne during the tour. Tour starts at 2500 3rd Ave W, 98119.

For more information, please use the link provided below.