The Seattle City Council today approved (7-0, Rasmussen and O'Brien disqualified) legislation to better protect renters from sub-standard rental housing conditions. The three pieces of legislation create a framework to improve sub-standard housing via administrative warrants and a rental housing licensing and inspection program as early as 2012.

"The vast majority of landlords in Seattle care about their renters and their investment, but a few don't," Councilmember Sally J. Clark said. Clark chairs the Council's Committee on the Built Environment which last week voted the legislation forward to the Full Council. "A rental licensing and inspection program isn't a cure-all for sub-standard housing, but we should preserve the ability to institute a program that safeguards the rights of tenants and property owners."


The Seattle Department of Planning and Development is hosting back-to-back meetings June 14 to review the environmental impacts and design of Compass Housing Alliance's 80-unit low-income housing development Urness House.

Urness House, to be located at 1753 N.W. 56th St., will house formerly homeless men and women and provide onsite treatment facilities for physical and medical conditions. It is being operated by the nonprofit Compass Housing Alliance.

The environmental review meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 14 at Ballard High School. During the meeting, the public will be able to comment on potential environmental impacts of the project, including traffic, parking and public safety.

The design review meeting for the project will take place immediately after the environmental review meeting, at 8 p.m. The meeting is a follow up to the Feb. 8 design meeting.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Weinstein A|U

The early preferred design for Compass Housing Alliance's low-income housing development in Ballard presented at a Feb. 8 meeting.

By Chris Leman

Unless you contact the Seattle City Council today, it will pass Resolution 31211, committing Seattle to produce 86,000 net new units of housing by 2031—for a total Seattle housing supply of about one-third more than we have today.

Housing growth in Seattle, in a good year, is about 2,000 units. So, our housing growth rate each year would need to increase by about 50 percent.

Look around you and think about which residences will be demolished to make room for much larger and tackier ones.

This outrageous proposal, which originated with former Mayor Greg Nickels, can be found by clicking here.

It would never have gotten this far if it were not being handled with little public notice and no real explanation or discussion. The proposed resolution was first introduced just a week ago on May 3.


Compass Housing Alliance, which filed for a Master Use Permit for its Ballard location April 14, has released more information about the operations and screening processes for the 80-unit housing development for formerly homeless men and women at 1753 N.W. 56th St.

Compass' Ballard development, which will now be called Urness House, will provide housing for formerly homeless individuals making less than $8,000 per year and will provide onsite services for them.

Potential residents will be chronically homeless individuals who are identified from shelter and transitional housing programs and referred from the city, county and United Way, according to a Compass Housing Alliance press release.

Applications from potential residents will be denied if that individual has been convicted of arson in the past 10 years or has been required to register as a level-3 sex offender.

Applications will undergo further review if criminal records show the individual has been convicted of a serious crime, showed continued patterns of criminal behavior or been required to register as a sex offender.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Weinstein A|U

A rendering of Urness House, Compass Housing Alliance's residential development for formerly homeless individuals, shows how it would fit into the surrounding neighborhood.

Some Ballard residents are concerned that Compass Center Ballard, a housing development for formerly homeless individuals, is being snuck through the planning stages and will seriously damage the neighborhood.

Dave Jarrell owns an apartment building across the street from the Compass Center Ballard location at 1753 N.W. 56th St. He said few people in the neighborhood are aware of what the project is.

Mike Yamaguchi, owner of the Landmark Apartments to the east of the site, said Compass Housing Alliance is trying to sneak the housing development into Ballard.

He said the community needs to have a chance to voice their opinion on the project – an 80-unit residential building for homeless men and women that includes services for residents who have substance dependencies or other disabilities.

Rick Friedhoff, executive director of Compass Housing Alliance, said they sent out notices to nearby property owners when the property was acquired in February 2008.

The project was announced at more than one Ballard District Council meeting and covered numerous times by both the Ballard News-Tribune and MyBallard.com, he said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

A notice on the property at 1753 N.W. 56th St. announces plans for a low-income housing development. Owners of nearby apartment buildings are worried about the effects of the project.

Architectural firm Weinstein AU, who are behind such Ballard buildings as the Majestic Bay, presented very early designs for the low-income housing development Compass Center Ballard to the community and Northwest Design Review Board Feb. 8.

Compass Center Ballard is being planned as a seven-story, 57,000-square-foot development with 80 units for single men and women.

Residents will pay 30 percent of their income to live in the center, which will include services for residents with substance dependencies and other disabilities.

Rumi Takahashi from Weinstein AU presented three different proposals for the shape and orientation of the building, located at 1753 N.W. 56th St.

The design preferred by Weinstein AU and the Northwest Design Review Board is a 75-foot-high building set back 10 feet from the sidewalk.

The design has notches taken out of the top five floors on the east and west sides, creating second-floor decks.

Takahashi said Compass Housing Alliance, developers of Compass Center Ballard, very much wants a green roof, such as the one on the Ballard Library, with a rooftop deck.

DSC_0244 A.JPG
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Compass Housing Alliance Director Rick Friedhoff talks about the upcoming Compass Center Ballard, a low-income housing development, at a Feb. 8 design meeting. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE PREFERRED EARLY DESIGNS.

Norse Home Fundraiser

Norse Home is hosting a Smorgasbord & Lutefisk Fundraising Dinner. All of your Scandinavian favorites, including Lutefisk, will be served.

Valet parking is available. Evening attire; National Costumes encouraged. Raffles will be held during the event.

Cost: $50 per person. All proceeds to benefit a New Norse Home Transportation Van.

Please call 206.781.7400 for information. Reservations required by Feb. 12 as seating is limited.


Norse Home
5311 Phinney Ave. N.

PNA Home Design & Remodel Fair

The 13th Annual Phinney Neighborhood Association Home Design & Remodel Fair will feature 95 exhibitors, presentations, door prizes and consultations by City of Seattle permit specialists. A strong emphasis will be placed on green building, green remodeling and sustainable living.

Call 206.783.2244 for more information.


Phinney Neighborhood Center
6532 Phinney Ave. N.

Compass Center Early Design Guidance Meeting

Early design guidance for the seven-story low-income housing development being built by the Compass Center at 1753 N.W. 56th St. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the design and siting of the development.


Ballard High School
1418 N.W. 65th St.

With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.


Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne

A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.

According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.

“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”

Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne

The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.

2009 Review 1.JPG
Photo credit: 
Shay Isaacson

Bella Isaacson and George Ford chalked a patriotic mural in Ballard Jan. 20 to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE YEAR IN PHOTOS.

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