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Neighbor of proposed hotel files appeal

Posted by Geeky Swedes on April 28th, 2011

The proposed hotel on Ballard Avenue has hit a speed bump. The Department of Planning and Development decision regarding the Olympic Athletic Club expansion and hotel has been appealed by a neighboring business owner.

The plans call for a four-story building to replace the parking garage used by Olympic Athletic Club at 5214 Ballard Ave NW. According to the plans there will be 29 hotel rooms, an expanded athletic club and 63 parking spots below grade. In the appeal filed with the Office of Hearing Examiner last week, attorney Michael Kahrs who lives and works in the area says that traffic is a “nightmare” and “Ballard Avenue is now a destination neighborhood.”

“Traffic: 20th Ave. NW between Ballard Ave. NW and Leary Ave NW is not an arterial and is not used as such. I am concerned about what street will be used for access to the parking lot,” Kahrs writes. One of the questions on the appeal form is, “What relief do you want?” Kahrs responds with: “Reexamine transportation including egress and exit to the parking lot. Examine parking issue from actual facts and consider mitigating through permitting zone parking on side streets for residents of the area.”

There will be an appeal hearing on Thursday, June 2 at 9 a.m. at the City Hearing Examiner office. During the hearing, the parties will be able to present witnesses and evidence supporting their case. “The hearing is open to the public, but only persons qualifying as parties or called by the parties as witnesses will have the opportunity to testify,” the notice of appeal hearing states.

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31 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 gasjet2000 // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Can’t argue with Kahrs complaint. Traffic and parking in the neighborhood has become a total nightmare.

  • 2 Bernie // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I agree, parking is a nightmare on a busy evening, but they’re building a parking lot so I don’t see the problem

  • 3 poseur // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I agree with Bernie. Even if you allot one spot per hotel room, there is still a net gain of 34 spots. That means 34 fewer OAC members parked on the street.

  • 4 Tracy Mehlin // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Traffic and parking challenges are the signs of a healthy business district. If we went back to being sleepy “old” Ballard a lot of small businesses would have to close.
    We need a little hotel in Ballard. The Olympic Athletic people are obviously successful at running a business, let them open a hotel too.

  • 5 Mr. Haney // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Maybe if the economy goes into further demise this guy will be happy? I mean, that would fix the traffic mess, right? And just what HAS been done about said traffic in Ballard? Besides cameras and bike lanes? Why not make the next condo a “car-free-condo” in where they sign something and have no cars. As in walking the talk. Just a thought. Had this thought for awhile now. Sounds simple. Thoughts?

  • 6 Kim Jong-il // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    This is a major city, not Mayberry … Your going to have to learn to live with traffic and parking.
    Here is an idea for you Aunt Bea, instead of driving your “living outside your means car” down to the Ave … Walk!

  • 7 DH // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Fighting growth isn’t the way to go, planning for it is. And this does with including it’s own parking. It’s amazing that one cranky guy can hold everything up. I’ve never understood why the gravel parking along both sides of Shilshole Ave weren’t more organized. It would be pretty cheap to cement over the gravel on the West side and paint stalls on both sides to maximize the parking there. That would funnel a lot of traffic searching for parking away from Ballard Ave by having tons of less ghetto parking (than the current set up) available one street over.

  • 8 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Who said anything about stopping the project? Can’t anyone read? This is how the planning process is supposed to work.

    What he was asking was that the hearing examiner take into account residents who live in the area. It’s not just parking spaces that are affected but increased traffic as more people come into the area then drive around looking for parking. Even the size of the stalls may affect on-street parking, people with SUVs may decide not to park in the garage if the stalls are too small or the garage too cramped.

    The placement of the garage entrance/exit can also affect traffic patterns in the area. One way of mitigating this may be to force the garage entrance/exit to be on Leary or just south on 20th where the current gravel lot is, but without a study this may have unintended consequences. People might drive up Ballard Ave then 20th to get into the garage rather than coming up Leary and waiting to take a left into the garage.

    As for the number of hotel rooms, don’t forget that the health club also owns the newly renovated Starlight Hotel.

  • 9 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

    But it’s a nightmare, A NIGHTMARE I TELL YOU!!! AAAAAGH! Run awaaaaaay!!!!

  • 10 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Totally. A totally total nightmare. It takes like a total of five seconds before you can jaywalk across that street.

  • 11 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

    How are the dreams of those 34 OAC members? All pleasant? Or are they having….
    .
    .
    .
    ….NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

  • 12 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Mayberry is a nightmare.

  • 13 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Ballard without a little hotel is a nightmare.

  • 14 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 12:25 am

    The economy is a nightmare.

  • 15 chris // Apr 29, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Tourists staying in the hotel are going to use the lot. They are not going to look for overnight street parking in an unfamiliar city, where they don’t know the parking regs, and where they’d have to drag their luggage for blocks.

    I agree, this kind of problem means you have a thriving business district. It’s a good problem to have. And they seemed to have planned for it just fine.

  • 16 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Some of the clientele the Starlight hopes to capture (as mentioned in a previous post somewhere here on MB) is people (couples) who are out for a night on the town and realize they are too drunk to drive home. No luggage, nor porters will be needed.

    As for planning, if there was an adequate plan, then there would be no appeal asking what the plan was.

  • 17 gasjet2000 // Apr 29, 2011 at 3:58 am

    The overall mood of this thread is that “growth” is an accepted positive. I am not against a hotel in Ballard, I guess I’m just a little wary of some unintended consequences of ALL the growth going on. Two more, at least, condo buildings are now in the works (one at the former Denny’s and one at the former Sunset Bowl). How much is enough? As far as traffic is concerned, it is a realistic argument for residents who live here who might have some objections to all the people, and then all the cars. I really don’t want to be against anything, I just look at all the development and get overwhelmed. This isn’t Belltown. And of course there are good arguments either for or against making it Belltown. My personal opinion is that going out on a Friday night in the neighborhood really sucks now. Only a few years ago the weekend nights were pleasant. It all depends on what you want, of course. I applaud a neighbor who sticks up for the opinion that not all growth is necessarily good.

  • 18 Snoopy // Apr 29, 2011 at 5:24 am

    The sunset bowl property and the denny’s property are both going to be apartments.

  • 19 Punkateer // Apr 29, 2011 at 5:50 am

    You can’t get financing from banks without adequate parking. It’s too big a risk in the event the bank has to take the property back and the improvements likely wouldn’t equal the amount paid. Accordingly the bank would be upside-down from day one. Besides, the soil is likely dirty so it needs to be dug up and incinerated down in Oregon. As part of the entitlement process, there was (or will be) a traffic study showing grades of service which will end this attempt to stop a legitimate project.

  • 20 Kim Il-sung // Apr 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    How many spots would be good?

  • 21 Kim Il-sung // Apr 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    “people with SUVs ”

    Won’t they get stoned for just driving in Seattle?

  • 22 MomCares // Apr 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Unless I’m mistaken, what this appeal is requesting is “permitting zone parking on side streets for residents of the area.” If they switch to permitted zone parking I don’t think that will make your downtown Ballard parking any easier… unless you are a resident of the downtown neighborhood. It will make parking much harder.

  • 23 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I agree that the parking along the west side of Shilshole should have been paved over years ago. But, for the last few years, there’s been this science fiction idea that some day there’s going to be a bike trail there. If the B-G actually came in there and there was existing pavement, it’d have to be ripped up.

  • 24 poseur // Apr 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    AAAHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m moving to Burien – a sleepy little village that is reminiscent of Ballard (minus the better locale) from a few years ago.

    Then, when people start building up the empty lots and under-utilized land, I’m going to bitch and complain and lament the loss of character and integrity.

    So, yeah, build the f*cking hot and parking lot.

  • 25 poseur // Apr 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    heheh lot, not hot. Whew, I got all worked up.

  • 26 bruce // Apr 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Yes, zoned parking really hurts the businesses in the local area. Nothing worse than driving around looking for a parking spot so that you can go to your favorite restaurant and finding out that all the street parking is now zoned, mostly because the apartment buildings in the area don’t have enough parking for their tenants. The Burbs and malls look better all the time.

  • 27 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Financing is a nightmare.

  • 28 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2011 at 1:23 am

    The Sunset Bowl and Denny’s properties are nightmares.

  • 29 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2011 at 1:24 am

    The ‘burbs and the malls are nightmares. This time I’m not being snarky. They really are nightmares.

  • 30 Shagged // May 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    ‘egress and exit’? So I guess this will be an exit only structure?

    It’s nice that they will be adding the additional parking spots, but the expansion of the OAC will increase their membership capacity as well. It’s probably safe to assume that OAC expects membership to increase quite a bit after the expansion.

  • 31 SeaSpider // May 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    “Nightmare” ?!?! Are you f***ing kidding me? Only a provincial Seattle native who has clearly never spent time in a major city would say something so over the top. If you think parking in Ballard is a nightmare what does that make SF or NYC or Boston? The apocalypse?? Heaven forbid it takes you more than a minute to find parking and that you actually have to waddle more than a block to get to where you’re going.

    When you have to drive around for 20-30 minutes to find a spot 10 blocks from your destination (as is the case in other cities) then you can call it a nightmare you sniveling baby. Until then trying turning down the hyperbole a tad.

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