Ballardite appeals decision on ‘Greenfire’ development

A Ballardite has filed an appeal with the Hearing Examiner in response to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) decision which he claims green lights the “Greenfire” project with too few parking spaces. Ethan Van Eck lives across the street from the proposed development (more here) and claims the decision by the DPD to require just 32 parking spaces violates city code.

The DPD decision (.pdf) published in January states:

The project’s parking analysis estimated that both the residential and office components of the project likely would have more parking demand at peak times than could be accommodated on the site. The parking spillover from the apartments is expected to be about 4 spaces, and can be accommodated with nearby on-street parking. The office portion of the project is expected to have about a 32-space parking spillover. Additionally, the project would displace approximately 59 vehicles that currently use the surface lots during the afternoon peak parking period. As documented in the parking analysis, this total demand of 91 vehicles could be accommodated in various off-street lots within walking distance of the project site. No significant parking impacts pursuant to SMC 25.05.675 M are anticipated from this project. Therefore, no mitigation is warranted.

Van Eck disagrees that there will be no significant parking impacts. He writes in the Land Use/SEPA Decision Appeal (.pdf):

I would be adversely affected by excess on and off street parking displaced by parking spill over from the project.

In addition the cumulative effect on parking space needed in the affected Ballard central core by new multiple unit housing and businesses coming on line now in the neighborhood’s recovery from the economic downturn would adversely impact parking and negatively affect me, neighboring residents, businesses and their employees and customers in the downtown Ballard core. This would violate Section of SMC 25.05.675.2a and mitigation is warranted to avoid this undesirable outcome.”

Bryan Stevens with DPD explains. “Residential uses in this area are not required to provide parking, and commercial uses can receive a reduction due to proximity to heavy transit,” he tells us. “While a certain amount of parking may spillover onto adjacent streets or paid parking lots, a parking demand study shows that there is capacity to support it.”

Van Eck concludes his three-page appeal with this, “I want the Examiner to reverse the decision to reduce parking space for the Greenfire project and have DPD conduct or have conducted a new analysis of the parking needs of the core downtown Ballard.”

The hearing with the Hearing Examiner is scheduled for March 28th at 9 a.m.

Neighbor of proposed hotel files appeal

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.