March 18, 2001
Attention: Michael Jenkins, Planner
Seattle Department of Land Use and Construction
710 2nd Ave. Ste 200
Seattle WA 98104-1703
RE: Project #2100171
Dear Design Review Board:
This letter provides public comment on the proposed development of 1818 East Madison Street. It represents the interests of residents and property owners living on the block abutting the property to the north.
The block immediately north (Howell Street between 18th and 19th) is an ethnically diverse community with multi-generation single-family homes, an apartment building, and main office of the Union Gospel Mission. There are three properties directly abutting the proposed development site, to the north. These residents are a senior couple, a family with three teenagers, and a family expecting a newborn. We are promoting a site that integrates well with these direct stakeholders and nearby residents.
What we like
Through presentations from the developer, we are pleased about the following plans:
The developer appears to have shown a sincere interest in learning the priorities of neighbors and has listened at neighborhood meetings and in private meetings with homeowners.
However, we want to express concern about the impact of a 65-foot building and the large quantity of retail and apartments on neighbors, many who have lived in their homes for more than 30 years. We ask you to consider the following items when approving the design of the property:
Light - In Seattle natural sunlight is already a limited, precious natural resource. For the homes immediately adjoining the property, we are very concerned that our exposure to natural light will be eliminated once a six-story building is constructed. Please require the developer to implement a design that preserves direct sunlight on our homes and backyards.
Some proposed strategies are: 1) not covering the entire site and 2) locating a courtyard or lower-level parking garage that eliminates a looming wall next to existing homes. This will help ensure that air and light will be preserved.
Parking - We are still concerned--even with a garage in the plans--that the impact of retail and 140 residential units will further stretch the availability of street parking on Howell Street. We already experience overflow on our block when events occur at the Polish House one block away (corner of Madison and 18th, also with its own parking lot) and on Sundays around Zion Baptist Church. Please require a design that does not exacerbate traffic woes for residents.
Monolithic design - Finally, please make recommendations for a design that is human-scale and resident- and pedestrian-friendly. Some examples include 1) minimizing the view of parking from north and using screening and landscaping to integrate the building; 2) avoiding monolithic walls facing north that do not have windows--balconies and bay windows are more friendly, 3) creating retail facades that reflect the smaller commercial buildings in the vicinity.
In this letter we have described the priority issues that are concerning the neighbors of Howell Street. Please add our names as parties of record. We look forward to having these items addressed as priority concerns with the owners and developer.
Rhenda Meiser and Tomas Rezanka
1817 E. Howell Street
Seattle, WA 98122
Also signed by the following neighbors on the block:
Jerry E. Randall
Mary E. Rainwater
Therese Littleton and Jennifer Buchendorn