LETTER: Questions about the Whittaker project remain

March 24, 2014

To: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

cc: Councilmember Sally Bradshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Dear Councilmember Rasmussen:

I appreciate the letter you wrote regarding the proposed development at 4755 Fauntleroy Avenue S.W. As a former public works director and manager of planning, public transportation and local coordination for District 1 of the Washington Department of Transportation, I believe there are questions and actions that need to be addressed before the proposal is approved. There is support for the development if done in accordance with the Triangle Plan.

Has the City done a recent traffic study showing the impact of the ingress and egress of traffic using the mid-block connector on regional traffic? This is the major corridor for Vashon commuters.

Why not keep the mid-block connector pedestrian oriented as shown on Page 22 of the Triangle Plan and use the alley off Edmunds for deliveries?

Why grant an alley vacation? Why not instead relocate the existing alley to the proposed location while keeping the land in public ownership so the City has control to ensure pedestrian access of our urban block structure for future generations?

Has the developer provided thorough design studies using the existing alley configuration to adequately demonstrate it does not work? The West Seattle Junction Conner project developer stated that without the alley vacation the project simply was not feasible. However under new ownership, the vacation is not being used for the project that is now under construction. The project, in fact, WAS feasible without the vacation.

Why has the enhanced pedestrian area between the West Seattle Junction and 35th Avenue S. W. not been addressed as was recommended on Pages 19, 42 and 43 of the Triangle Plan?

Have the drawings of alternative site layouts prepared by Dr. Sutton and the photographs of delivery truck traffic taken at a similar site been distributed to all Council members?

While the City of Seattle does not have a size definition for a “plaza” in West Seattle, the language in other jurisdictions where size is called out in the definition, a space roughly 600 SF would not qualify as a plaza (such as what is defined for Mercer Island). Our main gateway into West Seattle deserves a true gateway plaza; one of adequate size and one activated by retail entries at grade.

Is the dollar value for vacations independently established and/or verified by the City?

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

James W. Guenther

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