Benchview neighborhood complaints continuing; Association seeking city response

The battle over development in the Benchview neighborhood of West Seattle is still going on. The most recent volley comes again from the neighborhood association who, in a letter to both the Deputy Mayor and DPD Director Diane Sugimura, demand a response to their claim that the permit to convert the existing lot there to accommodate three homes instead of two was issued in error. The Herald last covered this issue in August.

Here's their letter:

Dear Deputy Mayor Smith and Director Sugimura,

The neighborhood has received no response to our email (below) for over two months.

In August the Deputy Mayor promised Benchview that before revising the developer’s permit, DPD would explain why they could not revoke the erroneous permit per city law 23.76.034.

However, as our email below says, DPD’s Aug. 30 response was so vague and incomplete that it did not constitute an explanation of why you could not revoke the permit. Instead, DPD's response created more confusion and frustration.

Please explain on what grounds you say:

- the permit was not issued in error, and

- that 23.76.034 does not apply simply because the judge remanded the issue back to DPD "for modification or further proceedings."

You provided no references to City laws or established practices that would allow you to make these conclusions.

As a result of DPD's response on this issue, Seattle residents continue to ask us bigger, more troubling questions which indicate an erosion of confidence:

- DPD didn't revoke this erroneous permit under this law; has DPD ever used this law to prevent improper/illegal development?
- This law states that if developers in Seattle secure permits w/ false info, or develop properties contrary to their permits, DPD can revoke those permits. Would DPD actually revoke permits in any of the situations listed in the law, or would that not actually happen in practice?

We look forward to your responses to these three questions. Seattlites will continue to ask these questions, so we would like to be able to know the City's answers to them.


David Allen

Secretary, Benchview N’hood Assoc., Benchview Blockwatch Capt.

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