Patrick Robinson
Heather Wiker, (center gesturing) whose property is next door to the proposed land use change on 24th S.W. had plenty of questions for Seattle's Department of Planning and Development in a public meeting held March 20.

Public meeting on land use plan for 24th S.W. brings concerns about development and drainage to DPD

Bruce Rips and Jerry Suder of the Seattle DPD were the hosts for a public meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center March 20 to listen to public comments, and answer questions related to the proposed change in land use for a chunk of land on 24th S.W.

Listed with DPD as Project Number 3013981 the proposed subdivision on which owner Nick Antonie has said he would like to see six houses built, is in a zone labeled as flood prone, as a riparian corridor (meaning is it near in this case Longfellow Creek) and while it is regarded as single family, it's also a salmon watershed.

DPD describes the land use application this way:

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Land Use Application to subdivide two parcels into eight parcels of land in an environmentally critical area. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 5,017 sq. ft., B) 5,009 sq. ft., C) 5,009 sq. ft., D) 5,033 sq. ft., E) 5,033 sq. ft., F) 5,040 sq. ft., G) 6,533 sq. ft., and H) 5,625 sq. ft.
The project requires the following approvals:
 Short subdivision to create eight parcels of land
 SEPA environmental determination

Rips and Suder both said that DPD has issued letters of correction to the property owner Nick Antonie but as yet have heard nothing. They acknowledged that there's no deadline on such corrections since some things can only be addressed at certain times of the year.

Questions included the following issues:

What about wildlife on the land? Neighbors claim to have seen Ducks, Eagles, Raccoons, Red Fox, and even a Blue Heron.

They questioned the impact on emergency response to new homes built there since there are very few hydrants, and it's narrow road with no sidewalks.

The State Environmental Protection Act checklist is assuming a not yet approved project to enlarge culverts that currently carry Longfellow Creek along 24th S.W. across the street from the proposed land use/project.

What about access to homes in a flood?

A plan suggested in the land use to divert water to the creek would require the approval of a home owner who has chosen not to grant approval since it would pass directly through her land.

A former house on the site was a known drug house and was torn down by the previous owner without proper permits. Construction on the site might create an environmental hazard in the form of drug residue.

Concerns about the impact on Longfellow Creek were expressed since it is a known Salmon stream and the species was only reintroduced in 1974.

Rips and Suder said they would compile the notes from the meeting and were waiting for Antonie to respond to their correction letters before making a ruling on the suggested subdivision of the property.

Heather Wiker, whose property is next to the land in question asked two very pointed questions citing Seattle Municipal code specifically the Cumulative Effects Policy

Which states:
1. A project or action which by itself does not create undue impacts on the environment may create undue impacts when combined with the cumulative effects of prior or simultaneous developments; further, it may directly induce other developments, due to a causal relationship, which will adversely affect the environment.
2. An individual project may have an adverse impact on the environment or public facilities and services which, though acceptable in isolation, could not be sustained given the probable development of subsequent projects with similar impacts.

She noted that the short plat division is the first step to clearing the land and building on the property, so looking at the Cumulative Effect of the short plat and subsequent building on the lot could be one way the DPD restrict the scope of the development.

Wiker went on to cite a piece of code regarding drainage:

a. Property development and redevelopment often create increased volumes and rates of stormwater runoff, which may cause property damage, safety hazards, nuisance problems and water quality degradation.
b. Pollution, mechanical damage, excessive flows, and other conditions in drainage basins will increase the rate of down-cutting and/or the degree of turbidity, siltation, habitat destruction, and other forms of pollution in wetlands, riparian corridors and lakes. They may also reduce low flows or low water levels to a level which endangers aquatic or benthic life within these wetlands, riparian corridors and lakes.
c. The aesthetic quality and educational value of the water and watercourses, as well as the suitability of waters for contact recreation and wildlife habitat, may be destroyed.
d. Authority provided through the Stormwater Code (Chapters 22.800 through 22.808) and Regulations for Environmentally Critical Areas (Chapter 25.09) is intended to achieve mitigation of drainage impacts in most cases, although these ordinances may not anticipate or eliminate all impacts.
2. Policies.
a. It is the City's policy to protect wetlands, riparian corridors, lakes, drainage basins, wildlife habitat, slopes, and other property from adverse drainage impacts.
b. The decisionmaker may condition or deny projects to mitigate their adverse drainage impacts consistent with the Overview Policy set forth in SMC Section 25.05.665; provided, that in addition to projects which meet one or more of the threshold criteria set forth in the Overview Policy, the following may be conditioned or denied:
1) Projects located in environmentally critical areas and areas tributary to them;
2) Projects located in areas where downstream drainage facilities are known to be inadequate; and
3) Projects draining into streams identified by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife as bearing anadromous fish.
c. To mitigate adverse drainage impacts associated with the projects identified in the policy set forth above in subsection 25.05.675.C.2, projects may be required to provide drainage control measures designed to a higher standard than the design storm specified in the Stormwater Code (Chapters 22.800 through 22.808) and the Environmentally Critical Areas Ordinance 2A . Mitigating measures may include, but are not limited to:
1) Reducing the size or scope of the project;
2) Requiring landscaping and/or retention of existing vegetation;
3) Requiring additional drainage control or drainage improvements either on or off site; and
4) Soil stabilization measures.

Suder said, given the potential impact to the riparian corridor that Antonie would be well served to build some kind of water retention system on site that would control the water, permitting a slower release to prevent both flooding and contamination run off.

A copy of the plans and other application materials are available at the DPD Public Resource Center: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000 (206) 684-8467. The Public Resource Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Speaking for many of the neighbors Cyndie Rokicki said, "We realize something will eventually be built on the land. We're not opposed to development. We just want it done the right way."

See our previous coverage for more details:

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.