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Development Update Jan 28: a subdivision, 66 units and a design review

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on January 28th, 2016

Only three applications make up today’s development update from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin.


1543 NW 61st St


A Land Use Application has been submitted to subdivide one development site into three unit lots. The construction of residential units are under Project #6493664. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

7730 15th Ave NW


A Land Use Application has been submitted to allow a 4-story structure containing 66 residential units above 5,430 sq. ft. of ground level retail space. Parking for 37 vehicles to be provided within the structure. Existing structures to be demolished

Notice of Streamlined Design Review:

7534 15th Ave NW


An application has been received for a 3-story structure containing 3 townhouse units. Surface parking for 3 vehicles. Existing structure to be removed.

The Director will accept written comments to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through February 10, 2016. You are invited to offer comments regarding important site planning and design issues, which you believe, should be addressed in the design for this project. Please note that this is the only opportunity to comment on this proposal.

Comments should be directed to or

City of Seattle, Seattle DCI, PRC
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

Following the public comment period, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections will issue a written design guidance report. This report will consider public comment and the applicable city-wide and neighborhood specific Design Guidelines and will serve as the basis for further review of the building permit.

Once the applicant has incorporated the design guidance into the proposal they may apply for a building permit. No public notice of the building permit application will be provided.

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38 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 kneel Peart // Jan 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I just wanted to beat that Jeff guy to this:

  • 2 resim kursu // Jan 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Temelimizi Görsel açıdan önemli eserler yaratmayı amaçlayan öğrenciler yetiştirmek ve sanatsal açıdan bir çok kolaylığı keşfetmek bireyleri yetiştirmek arkhe sanat atölyesinin temel prensiplerindendir. Resim kursu olarak istanbulun en ideal eğitimini İstanbul geneline yaydığımızı düşünüyoruz. 3 şubemiz ile haftanın 6 günü eğitimlerimizi güzel sanatlara hazırlık ve kişisel gelişim amacıyla sürdürmekteyiz.

  • 3 Whittier Parking Lot // Jan 28, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    So 66 units with 37 parking spaces. figure probably 85 people will live in the building. maybe a handful of children. 60-70 cars but only 37 parking units. All the rest of the parking is going to go in the already super tight parking. How this planning is allowed is crazy.

  • 4 He Hate Me // Jan 28, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    If you need parking for your car, shouldn’t you buy or rent a place that has parking? Isn’t complaining about other people parking on the street so it makes it difficult for you to park on the street the height of hypocrisy? Isn’t that like complaining about all the other drivers on the road creating a traffic jam while you are sitting in the traffic you are creating?

  • 5 Eric // Jan 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    If you bought a house without enough room to store each of your vehicles off the street, you made a mistake. That street parking never belonged to you. You should always have had a contingency plan in place in case your neighbors decided they wanted to use that space as well.

    Going forward it’s not reasonable to expect that street parking will be both free and easily available. That expectation only works so long as the neighborhood is full of small detached houses with plenty of curb space per person.

  • 6 Shilsholer // Jan 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Love the “thought” police scolding neighbors because they want a project to have sufficient parking for the tenants of a new building.

    No – parking isn’t free but a project should incorporate sufficient internal parking to fill the needs of its tenants.

    FWIW – my take is that this is a perfect use for these sites. Goodbye Smokeshop & Love Zone.

  • 7 Eric // Jan 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I have no problem with people who *want* their neighbors to build expensive parking structures. Life is certainly more convenient when your neighbors aren’t trying to use the same public space that you are!

    When you make demands that the city should prioritize parking over housing, we start to have a problem.

  • 8 He Hate Me // Jan 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    LOL Shilsholer! Sure, people are just looking out for the welfare of people that might occupy the building. As if those people can’t make their own choices. Why in the world would you think the neighbors should dictate what the needs are for the tenants of the building?

  • 9 Shilsholer // Jan 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Development/Developers should pay for the costs incurred on a community – whether it be providing infrastructure (ie – parking) or the impact fees for road improvements. It should be part of the development costs.

    The city has completely lost sight of this.

    To build a project that will flush a number of autos on the street is shortsighted.

    I’m also in the minority in thinking the city should charge for parking permits in residential areas. Parking really isn’t free – there should be a cost.

  • 10 Jeff // Jan 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Touché, Kneel Peart!

  • 11 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 28, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Eric, until recently, the City code did require that developers provide on-site or contracted parking for the inhabitants of their new projects.
    Making use of the new parking waivers in the code is effectively appropriating street parking from the City/neighbors without paying for it.

    Shilsholer makes some good points on this. I find it ironic that up until a year or so ago Mike O’Brien was strongly against impact fees on development, but now is a big proponent. I also find it ironic that the biggest “impact fee” is for hookup to the sewer system, tens of thousands of dollars per unit (the “growth pays for growth” charge to pay for the boondoggle Brightwater sewage plant). Mike O’Brien has never opposed that — perhaps because it is paid by the homeowners and not his developer buddies?

  • 12 He Hate Me // Jan 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Shilsholer, we are in agreement that parking should be charged for on all city streets, at market value. Parking is highly undervalued and has huge external costs. Modern city planners realize that encouraging driving through mandating subsidized parking in developments is to be avoided. Many modern cities have actually moved away from parking minimums to parking maximums.
    Mondoman, any existing neighbors don’t own the parking; it can’t be appropriated away from them.

  • 13 The One // Jan 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Bicycles need to be registered if they are on the road with cars. The bicyclists need to pay registration fees and yearly tabs on their bikes. It’s not reasonable to expect that bike parking “will be both free and easily available.” Bicyclists need to foot the bill for all of the ridiculous, useless bike lanes that are being installed around the city with the help of the CBC, which controls SDOT.

    For all new developments, the appropriate amount of parking for CARS in relation to the amount of residents is necessary, no matter what the spandex crowd says. No more of these 60 unit shit hole developments/slums with zero parking stalls. The social engineering reeks all over Seattle.

  • 14 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    3H, I don’t understand what you mean by “mandated subsidized parking in developments” — certainly I’ve never heard of anything like that happening around here.

    Also, the existing neighbors DO own the street parking, as City residents — I wrote “City/neighbors” to indicate just that. The fact remains that the developers are taking that parking for their own use without paying either the City or the neighbors for use of the parking.

    I think what Shilshole and you suggest in paying for all street parking could be a good solution, depending on the details of things like pricing, reservations, length of use, etc. Thanks to you and Shilshole for bringing up the idea!

    One thing to keep in mind is that for shopping districts the easy availability of parking can make a big difference in how much business they do (important for the vitality of the City and also for sales tax revenues). Living in Ballard, I no longer shop in downtown Seattle, because parking is both hard to find and very expensive. Instead, I drive to Shoreline or further north, where parking is easy to find and inexpensive.

  • 15 Mandy // Jan 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    “The fact remains that the developers are taking that parking for their own use without paying either the City or the neighbors for use of the parking.”

    LOL! The concept of a developer paying neighbors for using the street for parking is ludicrous.

    There is no “we were here first” clause that entitles those people to free street parking.

  • 16 Eric // Jan 28, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Mondoman, I don’t speak for “He Hate Me,” but I believe what he meant by “mandated subsidized parking” is that parking requirements lower the market price for parking in the neighborhood, and this passes the true cost of parking on to residents whether they own cars or not.

    Think about it: if you owned an apartment complex, how much extra do you think you could charge your tenants for access to the on-site parking garage when the neighborhood has tons of free street parking available? $50/month? $100? Most people won’t pay all that much extra for a little bit of added convenience in parking.

    Meanwhile, underground parking costs a lot to construct. I’ve seen figures ranging from $30k-$50k (or more!) per parking space. Even if you can manage to charge $100/month for your parking spaces, you’re unlikely to break even on property tax and maintenance costs, much less provide a decent return on the capital you sunk into constructing the parking garage in the first place.

    Builders won’t go ahead with a project if they expect the whole thing to operate at a loss; this much is obvious. If they know they have to build a parking garage, and they know it will operate at a loss, they also know they need to make up for that loss through higher profit from the rest of the building: namely their apartment tenants. In these buildings, part of the rent for apartments goes right back into subsidizing the parking garage, whether the tenant uses the garage or not, whether the tenant owns a car or not.

    If we start charging market price for street spaces, and we keep letting builders construct as much (or as little) parking as they think they can profitably rent out, eventually supply and demand will come back into balance after all these years of required parking surpluses. At that point builders will see as much profit in constructing a parking space as constructing an apartment, so they’ll construct both together. Until that happens, they’ll construct what we need more of: housing.

  • 17 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 29, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Mandy and Eric, the flaw in your logic is that ideally and morally, construction on a lot should not affect the nearby property owners.

    Regarding parking, that means that if the expected parking demand from a given project can’t be fulfilled by the on-street parking frontage of the project lot, the developer needs to provide additional off-street parking to satisfy the excess demand the project creates. This doesn’t increase or decrease the available on-street parking, so it doesn’t change the cost of parking for others in the neighborhood. Indeed, until recently, this was the rule in Seattle.

    Similarly, new projects need to pay for sewage disposal according to the demand the project creates. Since owners of properties more than 5 or 10 years old didn’t create the demand that led to the building of the new Brightwater sewage treatment plant, they currently don’t pay for it — only recent and new hookups pay the multi-ten-thousand dollar hookup cost for that. As Ron Sims famously said, “growth pays for growth”.

    According to your logic, the cost of the new Brightwater plant should be spread evenly among all sewage customers, raising most customers’ cost by hundreds or thousands of dollars, even though they did not contribute to the need for the new plant.

    In addition, your logic implies that the city cannot charge a new development for the cost of a new, larger-diameter street sewer pipe if the new development’s expected discharge would overwhelm the current street pipe.

    There’s a simple principle of equity here, and no reason to waive its application for parking while it continues to be applied for sewage, electricity, and other services.

  • 18 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 29, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Eric, you assume that off-street parking spaces go unused because they are bundled with apartments. In fact, many (most?) large building with off-street parking rent the parking spaces separately from the apartments, at substantially more than $100/month! (I know, I’ve looked for a rentable space in Ballard)

    At least in Ballard’s “urban village”, there is no surplus of parking spaces, either on-street or off-street, and builders are able to fully recover their costs in building new off-street parking as part of their developments. Thus, there is no “mandated subsidized parking” in central Ballard.

  • 19 Facts R Us // Jan 29, 2016 at 8:47 am


    “Bicycles need to be registered if they are on the road with cars. The bicyclists need to pay registration fees and yearly tabs on their bikes.”

    This has been thrown around, mostly by anti-bike people. Problem is, the cost to run the program likely wouldn’t be recuperated by the fees collected.

    “It’s not reasonable to expect that bike parking ‘will be both free and easily available.’”

    No, but since bike racks are much cheaper than car parking and you can fit a lot of bikes in the spot of one car, they tend to get put in by business owners. Plus, you can stash a bike pretty much anywhere; good luck with a car!

    “Bicyclists need to foot the bill for all of the ridiculous, useless bike lanes that are being installed around the city with the help of the CBC, which controls SDOT.”

    They do pay for their bike lanes, it’s called property tax, which is how SDOT is funded. Now if you want to talk about making car drivers fully pay for car infrastructure, I’m all ears!

    But you knew all this already and you just wanted to get a nice, weasily, anti-bike comment in, right?

  • 20 30sballarddad // Jan 29, 2016 at 9:58 am

    # 13

    I bike some of the time, and would happily pay a fee for my bike. However, 1) The fee would be eaten up by managing the program and enforcing it. 2) When I do bike, I am not taking up a spot on the road with my SUV, thus making the commute for everyone else better. 3) The “useless” bike lines you refer to include the 1,033,747 bike trips across the Fremont bridge in 2015.

    I get it though. I even think there are too many bike paths in Seattle that are mixed with traffic. I also think that, just like drivers, 1 in 30 bikers are obnoxious and unsafe.

    I’m just happy that whatever goes in on that corner will be an improvement over what is there now. Maybe next the plasma center will be turned into lofts!

  • 21 Shilsholer // Jan 29, 2016 at 10:42 am

    30sballarddad –

    The proposed apartment will be an improvement over the Smokeshop. No doubt.

    I haven’t heard about any plans for the plasma center but there’s a large redevelopment on the west side of 15th between 75th and Nelson Orthodontist. Most of the buildings are pretty run down but I do miss Westernco Donuts.

  • 22 Shilsholer // Jan 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Opps, Sorry. I meant East side.

  • 23 Mandy // Jan 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I don’t think you can really compare parking in the street to sewage issues.

    One is a health/safety issue while the other is a minor inconvenience.

    Your whole “expected demand” argument is somewhat moot as this is a perpetually changing number. There may be 60% car-owners at first, then 40% in a year or two.

    And as far as “street frontage”, I think it’s OK if people have to park their cars a few blocks from where they live (if they can’t do so on their property)

  • 24 Eric // Jan 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm


    Where were you looking for a parking space to rent? Central Ballard is a very different beast from 15th and 80th NW in terms of on-street parking availability. Perhaps developers are able to rent out underground parking spaces for a profit in the neighborhood center; I very much doubt the same is true at the location of the proposed development.

    In areas where parking rental is profitable, I don’t see any need for parking requirements. We can’t necessarily trust developers to do what’s best for the neighborhood, but we can trust them to seek a profit and generally be pretty good at finding one. Therefore parking will be constructed in these areas in more or less the exact quantity that people are willing to pay for. Why should we mandate any more than that?

    In areas where parking rental is unprofitable, I see parking requirements as actively harmful. As I explained above, the minimums do cause parking to be subsidized by renters who may or may not own cars. Besides being unfair to non-car-owners, this subsidy artificially lowers the cost of owning a car, which leads to more car ownership and therefore more traffic.

    We should all want to stop traffic from increasing, as the streets aren’t growing wider with new development. Allowing the price of parking to increase is one piece of that puzzle.

  • 25 The One // Jan 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Everyone on this blog must be in love with Scott Kubley and Diane Sugimura. Road diets, bus bulbs, traffic calming, and bike lanes do not help traffic…they make traffic much, much worse and are a complete waste of money. Just look at Mercer Mess 2. Bikes should not be on busy arterials with cars. I see bikes on the road on 45th in the U. District and it is a complete disaster. A pedestrian was hit by a bike on the separated bike lane on Roosevelt. How can we ensure pedestrian safety from law breaking bicyclists?

    The DPD should be ashamed to approve these new box developments that have no car parking or not nearly enough parking…terrible city planning! It is offensive to the elderly, the disabled, people with kids, and a bunch of others. Some people need to use their cars and need a place to park them. Deal with it! People will be buying more cars, deal with it.

    And by the way, the Pronto Bike Share program is failing. Those rediculous stalls take away 3 parking spots for cars, when they could easily fit on the sidewalk. Bicycle tabs can be used to fund the failing program, even though it will continue to fail regardless of the funding method.

  • 26 He Hate Me // Jan 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Oh, The One is such a lonely little troll.

  • 27 Urbanist Schurbanist // Jan 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    “When you make demands that the city should prioritize parking over housing, we start to have a problem.”

    The city already does with single family homes. Ever tried to get a permit to convert a driveway or garage into a living space in Seattle? Can’t be done, we have to have a parking spot on our property.

    But the urbanist’s green washing, millionaire developer friends don’t have to follow those rules because “carbon” and nice donations to the pols.

  • 28 Oscar p // Jan 29, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Omg $100 a month for off-street parking! At $30k a spot thats amortized to about $325 a month. So. Even nonparkers pay a couple hundred a month for the parking my selfish neighbors think I should pay for that I don’t need. Hello to you too. I guess I won’t ask to borrow any sugar.

  • 29 Ramona amazon // Jan 30, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Urbanist – that’s not intellectually honest. Its in the same zoning area that new multifamily can forgo parking that single family residential can do so as well. But given that single family units are more likely to have cars, and be complainers, they should probably keep their own parking.

  • 30 Urbanist Schurbanist // Jan 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Gotta be had being an urbanist with a millionaire developer’s hand so far up your ass, making your free market, tricke down lips flap.

  • 31 Ramona amazon // Jan 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    ! It is offensive to the elderly, the disabled, people with kids, and a bunch of others.

    Who ALL have a choice to live somewhere where parking is available. Why are you anti choice?

  • 32 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 30, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Mandy, there’s a ginormous reference book for traffic engineers that lists the expected parking and in/out traffic demand, by time of day and day of week, for pretty much any kind of building/development. Developers, traffic engineers, and the city DPD (or whatever its new name is) all use the book to estimate the number of new parking spaces needed, and whether the nearby roads can handle the expected extra traffic.

    Eric, I should have made clear that I was talking about central Ballard, within a few blocks of Market St. However, 15th Ave NW has more and more multistory development and less and less on-street parking, so I think the parking issues would be similar.

    Without actual data, it’s impossible for us civilians to know whether parking has a greater or lesser return than equivalent living space, just as we don’t know whether devoting space to more drain plumbing or water supply equipment has a greater or lesser return than living space.

    Plenty of people don’t need as much drain plumbing or water supply as the city code requires, so your no-city-requirements argument would seem to apply to that, and all the rest of the building code. Essentially, your argument is an argument against planning and code requirements in general, believing that the free market will come to the best mix.

    The flaw in your argument is of course that builders have only short term interests — once the units are sold, they move on, leaving the new owners and neighbors to deal with any consequences. For buildings that will be around for 50 or 100 years or more, that’s too big a price for the community to pay. Along with the equity issues I mentioned earlier, that’s why building codes and urban planning came into being. It’s fair to argue about details of the rules, but I think it’s silly to argue in effect that there should be no rules.

  • 33 Profile photo of Mondoman Mondoman // Jan 30, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Oscar, underground locked garage parking costs $200 or more per month, if you can find it, and probably costs something like $10k-20k per space to construct in Ballard, assuming medium or larger garages with 30 spaces or more.

    You’re not paying for anyone else’s parking :)
    Of course, it would be nice if granny were able to park less than a block from her house/apt, since she can’t walk much further than that at one go. You’re not against that, right?

  • 34 Jim // Jan 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Where are you getting $10k-$20k?

    I have heard that typical underground parking is a minimum of $35k per spot and more like $50k

    I work a lot with the city and know their regulations add a hefty sum to any project, so I’m curious where you’re finding such low numbers.

  • 35 The One // Jan 31, 2016 at 1:05 am

    As I said before, none of the so called “urbanists” have any respect for the disabled or the elderly. They need places to park their “vehicles” because of mobility issues. Not everyone can take the bus, ride a bike, or walk. So an 85 year old woman should be forced to take the bus to Safeway, and then carry all of her bags back on the bus and then walk another ten minutes back to an Apodment slum that has ZERO parking spaces? Sounds fantastic! Maybe she can ride her bike too! Maybe she can use a Pronto Bike instead?

    I have a great idea…let’s set up a continuous Pronto BikeShare stall with 15 thousand bikes from 15th and market to 15th and 85th, and take up one lane of traffic with all of the stalls. That would really help traffic flow. :)

  • 36 The two // Jan 31, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Easy there, pal.

    Granny can take an Uber or Lyft to Safeway to get her groceries. I suspect she would even save money by not owning/registering/maintaining her own car.

    She probably should not be driving anyway at the age of 85.

  • 37 Ballard Commentator // Jan 31, 2016 at 9:54 am

    More parking is what we need and lots of it. Parking needs to be built everywhere, so I can park my car right in front of wherever I want to go. And it must be free. Someone needs to build a lot of free parking. And we need more roads. With traffic so bad, I just don’t understand why they aren’t building more roads. And busses need to be banned. They are so big they take up the space of four cars! No wonder traffic is so bad! And screw those people on bicycles; they don’t need a place to ride. They need to get back in their cars and drive everywhere. Honestly, what is wrong with people?

  • 38 ballardier // Jan 31, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    There is nothing wrong with people. They’re just like you with opposing argument. Parking isn’t free and neither is transit or uber. They’re all expensive.

    I doubt if granny is on fixed income, she can afford uber for her bi weekly grocery. Same with the disabled on SSI. I can’t afford uber and I work. I walk a lot and take the bus. I save my old beater for the long drive over the mountain to visit my old granny.

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