Patrick Robinson
The Benchview neighborhood (so named for the bench at 55th SW and SW Manning) has been the scene of neighborhood protests over lot boundaries of existing properties. The Benchview Neighborhood Association has filed suit against the developers seeking to make them build in a manner that is in keeping with the existing character of the neighborhood. The Lot Boundary Adjustment the developers sought was approved by the City, which led to the suit.

Benchview vs. Developers facing off in hearing on July 19

City approved lot boundary adjustment which led to lawsuit

The protests that arose around efforts to build three houses in the "Benchview" neighborhood in the Admiral area, at the corner of 55th S.W. and S.W. Manning Streets, led to a lawsuit filed by neighbors attempting to stop the project, or at least modify it. A hearing on the matter will happen this Friday in King County Superior Court. The Benchview Neighborhood Association (BNA) state in their opening brief that they don't oppose redevelopment of the property, they just want to "ensure that the development is consistent with the existing pattern."

The lawsuit followed the City of Seattle's decision to allow the Lot Boundary Adjustment that the developers sought.

Benchview Blockwatch Captain Dave Allen said, "This has been an extensive, months-long, costly effort for our neighborhood. If we prevail, it will have taken many resources to simply get the developer to follow the same basic zoning rules everyone else in the neighborhood must follow.

"If we win the court case, we hope the City will not appeal. It would be very disappointing to have our Seattle tax dollars used to try to overturn a King Co. Superior Court decision which protects Seattle residents, property and neighborhood integrity."

Essentially the developers are using existing zoning laws to put a larger house on a lot than has been traditionally done. They seek to have three homes on a lot previously holding two. David Allen provided clarification, " This (double) lot only had 1 house for 60 yrs. The developer is trying to squeeze 3 houses where the basic zoning rules say you can only fit 2. (Thats where the loopholes and manipulation of the code comes in)
The 2nd of the 3 houses started construction in 2013; the 3rd house has not started."

Using what might be called creative license they sought to adjust the conventional boundaries for home construction to squeeze more dollars out of the same amount of land.

The issues and facts around the case are somewhat convoluted and go back to the 1952 code when the original home on the lot was built.

Please see the actual court documents for a complete explanation:

Benchview Neighborhood Association Opening Brief

City of Seattle's Response

Developers response

Benchview Neighborhood Association's Reply

Hearing Details:

WHEN: Fri. Jul 19, 1:30; arrive about 10 mins early. It might last 60-120 mins.

WHERE: King County Superior Court, in the King County courthouse
516 3rd Ave, Seattle, 98104
(corner of 3rd and James, downtown Seattle)
Judge Mariane Spearman's Courtroom.

The judge could make a decision on Fri. 7/19 or the decision may take longer.

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