*LETTER TO DPD, 11/5/09
*PLAT MAP (2007)
*BROCHURE (2005)


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There is a neighborhood movement going on that you may be interested in. It is a reaction against the proposed thirty-nine house building project in Magnolia. Within the project, new Magnolia residences would be clustered very close to each other, built on many small lots.

Neighbors who formed the Magnolia Action Group (MAG), a nonprofit, have hired a law firm to represent our viewpoint during the review process with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

The building project is named Briarcliff Revival, located at 3901 West Dravus Street, the site of old Briarcliff Elementary near the water-tower.

The owner, Lexington Fine Homes, of Bellevue, has decided not to build on the four and a half acre lot per the current zoning. The area is zoned as SF5000, that is, 5000 square foot lots which are very typical in Magnolia. LFH is instead asking the City of Seattle to approve a Cluster Housing Planned Development for the site, resulting in many lots as small as 3360 square feet.

Cluster Housing Planned Developments -- CHPD -- are intended to lessen the impact large scale housing projects have on a sensitive environment, to cluster the homes onto suitable acreage in order to not encroach on or destroy, say, a wetlands. CHPDs are sensibly intended for environment protection.

LFH has instead isolated a single item from the CHPD intent section (SMC 23.44.024) – i.e. “design flexibility” -- in order to cluster thirty-nine lots with CHPD setbacks. The resulting Revival would have setbacks of five and ten feet instead of the usual 20’ or 25’, narrow alleys and right-of way roadway easements, and a majority of the 39 lots closely mimicking those of row-houses.

This is in no way consistent with our neighborhood, not in character, design or scale. It will not benefit tax paying Magnolia neighbors.

The fundamental problem with this proposal is the corruption of the clustered housing rules to gain density within a common-zoned residential neighborhood. The resulting housing, in addition to being completely out of character with our surrounding neighborhood, will adversely impact the value of living in Magnolia. It will bring a large increase in traffic, a decrease to local public safety, and increase parking congestion in the surrounding neighborhood.

We encourage a development using the existing zoning for the property.

We strongly discourage an administrative conditional use permit for a CHPD.

How can a CHPD be justified as environmental protection is not needed? How can a CHPD be beneficial when the high level of living in Magnolia will in no way be improved by it?

The only beneficiaries are development interests that put profits ahead of a community quality of life. MAG advocates to balance competing interests, recognizing, though, that too much latitude in the form of code deficiencies is being requested by LFH’s proposal.

We need to prepare the legal battle. Our land-use attorney has been in practice since 1970 and comes with a solid reputation for representing neighborhood groups, businesses and hospitals. Just as importantly, he has extensive experience dealing with the Department of Planning and Development.

We are asking all of us for a contribution in order to raise necessary funds for legal costs. It is essential that as many people as possible contribute a donation so that we have adequate funds to cover these attorney costs. 100% of the collected money goes toward attorney fees.

Thank you for your contribution and for your concern about Magnolia's future. Please encourage your friends to assist MAG as well.

You will be informed via your email address as we receive information. If you wish for us to convey any information to our attorney, please let us know.

Thank you,
Board of Directors
P.O. Box 99293
Seattle, WA 98139-0293


Help Say No! to Cluster Housing in Magnolia.

Make checks payable to Magnolia Action Group. For personal tax purposes, MAG donations are not deductible. Magnolia Action Group is a section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.

Magnolia Action Group, a neighborhood group, represents and educates neighbors on growth and development of land in the Magnolia Bluff neighborhood and may hire legal counsel to achieve these goals. MAG is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington.

MAG does not sell or trade any email address or telephone information.

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