The Benchview Neighborhood Association has submitted a formal letter to Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith requesting a meeting around the issuance of a permit they want to seek revoked regarding the construction of three homes in their area, on a site previously zoned for two.
Benchview neighborhood construction questions prompt a letter to the City of Seattle
Following a decision by the King County Superior Court on July 24, it appeared that the Benchview Neighborhood Association had won a significant battle in its campaign to prevent the construction of three homes on a lot previously zoned for two. Now the Association is requesting a formal meeting with Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith to revoke a permit they contend was issued in error.
I request to meet with you briefly to ask that the Mayor direct DPD to use its clear authority (23.76.034) to revoke a permit that was issued in error. This would prevent developer Dan Duffus from squeezing 3 houses on 2 lots in my community.
In Jan. DPD said its hands were tied because the law required them to approve the LBA permit.
But the King Co. Superior Court decision on July 24 and TODAY, Aug. 22, triggered 23.76.034, requiring
that the City must now make a CHOICE:
- revoke the LBA permit and protect the n'hood, or
- side with the developer and degrade our n'hood.
Choosing to side w developer Duffus requires the City to:
- make an active choice AGAINST revoking the permit, and
- make the legal claim that a permit issued in error is still valid and can be modified. I see no city law or rule that says when King Co. Superior Court REVERSES the approval of a permit, that the permit is anything but dead and DPD can go back and change it retroactively.
Big houses on small lots frustrate residents citywide. People take one look at them and know in their gut that something is wrong in Seattle. These houses breed anger and resentment, and erode community.
This issue - and the benchview story - will continue to receive much media attention.
I hope that in this case, where the City has the power, it will make the developer simply follow the same basic rules as regular folks: one house per lot.
That is all we are asking for: land use rules applied equitably. Darryl, this is very, very important to my neighborhood, as well as many other neighborhoods, who see our situation as a glimmer of hope that Seattle can treat residents and developers equitably.
I can meet at the time and location of your choice.
I've provided background info below.
Thank you for your consideration,
Blockwatch Capt., Benchview N'hood
DPD CAN REVOKE A PERMIT ISSUED IN ERROR
Per SMC 23.76.034, DPD can revoke a Master Use Permit if “the permit was issued in error.” King Co ruled that the Jan. LBA was issued in error, so DPD has the power to CHOOSE to revoke the permit.
NEW PERMIT WOULD LIMIT DEVELOPER TO TWO HOUSES
Because of the way the loopholes work, a new lot boundary adjustment would only allow two houses, not three.
2 HOUSES ARE CONSISTENT W DPD'S PROPOSED NEW RULES
Two houses on this property is the limit under DPD’s proposed changes to small lot development rules. If the City’s 2012 “small lot moratorium” had been thorough, Duffus would have been limited to two houses on this property all along. Instead, the “moratorium” failed our neighborhood, making our n'hood a guinea pig to test the weak interim “moratorium” rules. This was wrong, and DPD can now undo this problem the City created.
PERMIT FAILS ON A SECOND CRITERIA
23.76.034 also gives DPD the power to revoke a permit if “The permittee has developed the site in a manner not authorized by the permit.” Fencing off the fake, gerrymandered front yard from the rest of lot B is not authorized by the permit.