May 6, 1998



Project Number: 9802633

Address: 2023 East Madison Street

Applicant: Deborah Hart for Planned Parenthood

Board members present: Chris Austin

Audrey VanHorne

Merv Gorascht

Andrew Kunz

Board members absent: Joy Jacobson




After visiting the site, considering the analysis of the site and context provided by the proponents, and hearing public comment, the Design Review Board members provided the following siting and design guidance and identified by letter and number those siting and design guidelines found in the City of Seattle’s "Design Review: Guidelines for Multifamily and Commercial Buildings" of highest priority to this project:

A-8 Minimize parking and auto impacts on pedestrians and adjoining property.

C-5 Minimize impact of parking entrances.

D-2 Avoid blank walls.

In order to minimize parking impacts, access to the parking area should be limited to two access points, off of Madison Street and East Olive Street. The Board supported the proposal not to cover the entire site, and they liked the location of the parking area next to the adjoining lot to the east so that there would not be a looming wall next to the existing residential use and air and light would be preserved. However, they said the visibility of parking from Madison Street should be minimized so that to the eye of a motorist or pedestrian on Madison Street there would appear to be a continuous building frontage. Since East Olive Street is a minor street, the parking area should be screened and landscaped to minimize the appearance on Olive.

A-2 Reinforce existing desirable streetscape characteristics

The Board allowed the architects considerable freedom of expression to accomplish the goals of the building for Planned Parenthood with general guidance like maintaining the spirit and intent of a pedestrian friendly commercial environment, taking architectural cues from other buildings in the vicinity, and use of materials which harken back to historical references of existing commercial buildings on Madison Street. The Board did not want to stipulate transparency along the ground floor street facades unless it would be consistent with the programmatic requirements of Planned Parenthood. The Board said the architects should seize this unique opportunity to create a single purpose building which can bring something to the area and set the pace architecturally for future development. They said it would be a challenge for the building to have a friendly, human scale with architectural detail and not look like a fortress. They said be sensitive to the context of the community. The existing smaller commercial buildings in the vicinity set the tone for the commercial character of this part of Madison Street. It was suggested that the architects check with the Miller-Madison Neighborhood Planning Committee to find out if there are any plans for this site.

C-4 Use durable, attractive and well detailed finish materials

D-7 Site and design the building to increase personal security.

Security will be a design challenge. Efforts must be made to balance the transparency requirements, street frontage, and pedestrian environment with the need to provide a space on private property between the public right-of-way and the structure for security purposes. The selection of materials and surface treatments should address security concerns.

The Board supported Planned Parenthood’s intent to construct a high profile building which will project an open and inviting image and complement existing uses and architecture in the neighborhood while also conveying a sense of Planned Parenthood’s long history and place in the community. The Board encouraged the architects to look at potential departures that could help them achieve their safety objectives while still meeting the spirit and intent of a pedestrian friendly environment. The architects were encouraged to create a "terrific building" which would enhance Planned Parenthood’s position in the community. They said they are open to creative ideas, to use departures to their advantage, reflect the vision of the neighborhood plan, and to "surprise us".


The Board looked at six different site plan options and indicated that they preferred option 6 which provided a three story building with setbacks on all sides of the building and vehicle access from both Madison Street and East Olive Street.

Development Standard Departures

The applicant does not propose any development standard departures at this time. If any departures are identified during the Master Use Permit review, the Board’s recommendation on the requested departures will be reserved until the final Board meeting and will be based upon the departure’s potential to help the project better meet these design guideline priorities and achieve a better overall design than could be achieved without the departure.