Monthly Archives: September 2013

City Approves 3 houses on 2 Lots; Mayor’s Office Fails on Promise

KIRO DPD revises permit

Benchview story starts at 1:07.

Aug. 30, 2PM, Fri. before Labor Day:

DPD announced it will revise the developer’s permit (which we say was dead), allowing 3 houses on 2 lots.

It would appear Benchview has lost.

The Mayor’s Office promised that before DPD makes its decision it would fully explain why they can’t revoke the erroneous permit per city law 23.34.07.

DPD and the Mayor’s office failed on this promise.

DPD basically said “we have to revise the developer’s permit.”  They said city law 23.34.076 doesn’t count here because the judge told DPD to revise the permit.  This is false; the judge gave DPD a choice of “revision OR OTHER PROCESSING.”

DPD made no reference to any rule or law which required them to ignore their option to revoke the permit.

DPD can not expect residents to just take DPD on their word without any real explanation, especially since DPD made multiple errors issuing this very permit in January.

The neighborhood emailed the Mayor’s Office and DPD to remind them of the commitment to hold on their decision until they can explain it, and to point out  (again) where DPD’s position ignores key facts. This West Seattle Blog article includes DPD’s incomplete explanation and the n’hood’s response.

DPD’S TIMING OF NEWS FITS A CLASSIC MANIPULATION TACTIC

DPD chose to announce the bad news of the n’hood’s defeat on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend when people are on vacation and paying the least attention to the news.  Releasing bad news Friday afternoon is a well-known public relations tactic to minimize your opponent’s ability to get the word out about your bad news.

Whether intentional or not, this comes across that residents and neighborhoods are adversaries of DPD.  While developer fees fund most of DPD’s budget (a structural bias which should be eliminated), DPD is still a city department, and should serve the public, not try to outmaneuver them.  The timing of DPD’s announcement comes across as trying to manipulate the news cycle by minimizing media coverage of DPD actions which hurt residents and n’hoods.

Many n’hood residents were away on vacation when DPD announced their decision.  This included the secretary of the N’hood Association, who sent this email (See 2nd half of articlebefore losing cell reception while on a family camping trip.

Benchview is weighing its options…   It’s not over.

Mayor’s Office Says it Can’t Help, then Promises Explanation Prior to DPD’s Decision

We received very disappointing responses to our requests for help from the Mayor’s office.  The Mayor said elected officials can’t get involved in a land use decision.*

The Deputy Mayor did not even respond to our emails until our fourth try in August.

On Aug. 28 the Deputy Mayor promised that he would have DPD provide the n’hood with a clear explanation why they can’t revoke the permit per city law.

Here’s a follow up email from Benchview.  Here’s a follow up email from Benchview confirming the promise.

* We are bewildered by this statement, since the DPD director regularly meets with elected officials to discuss land use issues, and the Mayor can fire the DPD director.  Also, the Mayor was certainly involved in land use issues around building a basketball arena with a billionaire Chris Hansen. 

City Claims it Can’t Help N’hood; Plans to Revise Dead Permit

Aug. 27:  DPD announced that they have no choice but to revise the developer’s (dead) permit.   This means Benchview would lose: the developer would get to build 3 houses on two parcels.  (For everyone else in the n’hood it’s illegal to build 3 houses on this amount of land.  This sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.)

Specifically, DPD said it must review the developer’s proposal to revise the (dead) permit, and DPD believes it will be approved.

Many residents contacted DPD and the mayor’s office pointing out that DPD can help the n’hood.  DPD’s letter denies this is true, but provided no real explanation.

Note:  Some posts on this blog/website include some lag time.  Residents fight to defend their neighborhoods on their volunteer time (while balancing family time, vacations, etc.)  In contrast, staff of the Dept. of Planning and Development and developers are paid professionals working on this issue.   ‘ Just another example of the inequity between residents and developers in Seattle.