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


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28 February 2007
Order denies MAG relief from the Seattle's DPD and Hearing Examiner decisions.

Superior Court Judge Spector, in her order released today, denied our petition for relief from Seattle Hearing Examiner's approval of the DPD decision.

8 December 2006
Appeal was heard today by Judge Spector.

Counsel for the Magnolia Action Group, Eustis Aramburu, did an excellent job presenting the issues in the case. Judge Spector anticipates issuing a decision on the matter by the end of December. We will forward MAG donors a copy of that decision upon receipt.

15 July 2006
A petition seeking review of the Land Use decision has been filed in King County Superior Court by MAG.

MAG formally appealed the findings and decision of the Hearing Examination yesterday. Initial Hearing is scheduled for August 22nd. The Trial Date is currently scheduled Friday, 8th of December 2006.

28 June 2006
The Hearing Examiner yesterday affirmed the Administrative Conditional Use required for subdivision of the site, allowing a CHPD.

The Magnolia Action Group disagrees with the conclusion the Hearing Examiner reached affirming the CHPD and the subdivision plat approval of 3901 W. Dravus in her Decision of June 27, 2006. 39 home lots, with allowed building footprints and CHPD yards, are being platted on the 4.6 acre site; the average home lot will be roughly two-thirds the size of typical Magnolia lots surrounding the site. The proposal includes no public open space. 39th Avenue West will be a dedicated city street and connect to the existing street to the south. An easement, Briarcliff Lane, with sidewalks on both sides, will run roughly east/west. The easement Lane and three alleys will serve individual lots.

Prior to recording the final subdivision plat, the Hearing Examiner, however, further conditioned the application. Briefly, specific treatment of the alleyways, easements, Homeowner's Association By-laws, street & lot trees, sightlines, SPU & SDOT approvals, and other conditions are involved. Full street and easement improvements must be completed prior to the issuance of any building permit.

Specific Conclusions by the Hearing Examiner (by section number) include:
3. The proposal is not required to follow a "clustered" layout.
5. Lot size was not shown to be out of scale with, or so different from the surrounding area, as to be incompatible or injurious.
6. Size of the yards alone does not create incompatibilities.
7. The alley access system does not create incompatibility or injury.
8. The DPD determined scale drawings with elevations and floor plans were not necessary. To the extent the DPD committed an error -- by failing to make this determination in writing -- such error was harmless, and does not justify remand.
15. The applicant cannot be required to create public open space.

Further judicial review is an legal option MAG still may exercise. MAG will discuss this option with its lawyer in the near future. Regarding aggressively pursuing such a future legal challenge to the Decision, interested neighbors may contact MAG directly.

25 May 2006
On behalf of the neighbors surrounding the proposal site at 3901 West Dravus Street, Gregory Cotter and Michele Marchi from Magnolia Action Group attended two days of hearing on the case.

The parties to the case were John Cochenour on behalf of LFH, represented by Melanie McCutcheon; City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, represented by City Attorney Pat Downs; MAG was represented by Rick Aramburu.

The hearing started off last Monday with public testimony. Several neighbors testified – providing valuable opinions to the Hearing Examiner – as to their opposition to the proposed development.

The hearing then commenced to the City’s evidence. The City presented Lucas DeHerrera, the City Planner on the proposal. MAG's attorney did an excellent job cross-examining this witness. The City then presented John Shaw, Transportation Planner, who testified as to traffic and parking issues.

MAG then presented two expert witnesses: Mike Heidenreich, architect – providing CAD 3D renderings of the site – and Dennis Tate, urban planner – testifying on issues of new urbanism and neighborhood planning. On Wednesday, the hearing resumed. MAG presented three neighbors as witnesses – Dr. Vic Barry, Linda Carlson, and Gregory Cotter. All three witnesses testified as to the devastating effect this development would have on the neighborhood. Dr. Barry testified in his capacity as a neighbor only and not as a representative of MCC.

LFH then presented its witness – Hackworth, architect – who had drafted conceptual drawings in the case.

The Examiner closed the case by requesting the parties submit written closing briefs. She has given all parties a deadline of two weeks (June 8th). Once she has the briefs, she will examine the voluminous evidence in the case and render her decision. It is expected that this decision will come out somewhere between the end of June to mid-July.

MAG would very much like to thank all those who have supported MAG and the Magnolia neighborhood in this effort. Our attorney believes that MAG has a very good chance of prevailing in the case. MAG would like to encourage you to continue to support these costly legal efforts.

Please continue to send in your donations. Every bit is critical to this case. Thank you for your support!

7 April 2006
The Hearing Examiner's Office scheduled the Continuance Hearing for May 22, Monday; and May 24, Wednesday, being reserved for additional hearing time if needed. Letters may be sent to Hearing Examiners Office. See the Sample Letter at left, entitled **UPDATE** Sample Letter. You are encouraged to reference it when sending your own letter to the Hearing Examiner.

Letters may be sent to City of Seattle Hearing Examiner, P.O. Box 94729, Seattle WA 98124-4729.
Please reference Master Use Permits 2403714/2402617, or Hearing Examiner Files 05-021/05-025.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, 22 May, with public testomony allowed from 9:00AM until 9:30AM. Hearing Examiner's Office, 40th Floor, Seattle Muni Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Seattle.

The order of the hearing will be:

Public comments on the Revised Proposal (approx. 30 minutes)
Parties' opening statements
DPD presentation

MAG presentation
LFH presentation

22 March 2006
DPD released today an updated analysis and recomendation, originally released 22 August of last year. The update shows revised CHPD lot-coverage, and conforming yards, as ruled upon by Hearing Examiner. Also, SDOT and DPD now recommend 39th West be open immediately with construction of project.

With the updated decision, a post-hearing report from DPD was also sent to the Hearing Examiner, outlining the notable changes from the original plan. These are: (A) Yard changes (20-foot yards for lots 1 and 21-30, 25-foot yards for lots 6 and 15, and a 5-foot yard for lot 6 from south property line); (B) Entire lot-coverage by structures cannot exceed 35% of total 4.58 acres; (C) Vehicle traffic through 39th Avenue West; (D) Landscaping buffers, 4-foot wide with trees, along the proposed alley on both East and West edges of property, which abutting property owners can access if desired; and, (E) Updated internal front-yard setbacks of 10-feet.

10 January 2006
On the second of December Lexington submitted their revised plans, per the Hearing Examination interim decision.

As of today the updated plans, which include adjustments required from the subdivision hearing and interpretation, are being reviewed by the City. A report from DPD regarding conformance will be sent to the Hearing Examiner and MAG within a couple of weeks.

Other than the plans, no new documents were submitted.

7 November 2005
This order is a good way to summarize the appeal to date.

THE HEARING EXAMINER ordered that yards within the Cluster Housing Planned Development meet CHPD code requirements; the DPD Code Interpretation concluded that the CHPD total lot coverage must meet code requirement. Specifically, this means 5-foot side yard setbacks, 25-foot rear yard, and 20-foot from street property lines; and, the lot coverage percentage must not exceed 35% of the total CHPD land area.

25 October Hearing Examiner Order reads, in part: "DPD will review the site-plan revisions in light of these CHPD yard and lot coverage requirements, and then issue a report to the Examiner and parties. [Lexington's] request to hold a subdivision hearing in advance of this CHPD review is denied. The current subdivision proposal relies on CHPD approval. The CHPD is not approved at this time, and it would be premature to consider the subdivision request until lot coverage and yard requirements are revised and reviewed. A hearing on the merits of the MAG appeal of the ACU will be held at the same time as the hearing on subdivision and further considerations. That hearing will be scheduled promptly upon completion of DPD's review and issuance of a report.

The issue of whether lack of a complete application is an error will also be considered at the hearing."

24 October 2005
The second hearing, scheduled to hear appeal on the clustered housing planned project and administrative conditional use, has been canceled per today's Order from the Hearing Examiner.

THE DPD's DECISION granting the ACU is remanded for further review; also, the portion of the hearing regarding further consideration of the sub-division is canceled and is continued to a date to be determined.

3 October 2005
IT IS IMPORTANT you come to the Briarcliff Public Hearing on Thursday, October 6th.

Voice your concern to the Hearing Examiner during the taking of public testimony. It is best to prepare a written paragraph -- about how the Briarcliff plans will specifically impact your home, street and neighborhood -- and then be prepared to leave your paragraph for the Hearing Examiner. This is your only chance to let the Hearing Examiner know how you feel about the proposal! Perhaps you feel LFH should not build their "clustered housing development" for mere profit, and leave your neighborhood with the negative impact. If so, show up, voice your opposition and help make a difference.

30 September 2005
The prehearing conference was held on September 28, 2005.

THE PUBLIC HEARING on the proposed subdivision will be held on October 6th. At that hearing, the DPD and LFH will make their presentations on the proposal, followed by the taking of public testimony.

The appeal of the Administrative Conditional Use (ACU), interpretation, and MAG request for further consideration will be taken up at the October 25th portion of the hearing. The general order of that hearing will be MAG, DPD, LFH and opportunity for rebuttal.

21 September 2005
Anne Watanabe, Deputy Hearing Examiner, released today an order of continuance, in part as follows:

THE PUBLIC HEARING on the full subdivision will commence as scheduled for October 6, 2005, in order to allow for public testimony to be taken on the published date. The remainder of the hearing will be continued to October 25, 2005, commencing at 9AM. Additional time has been reserved for the following day to complete the hearing. This is in response to MAG's request for continuance of the matter. Also, a prehearing conference shall be held on September 28, 2005, at 2PM.

2 September 2005
APPEALS PERIOD NOW EXTENDED until 5:00PM, September 15, 2005.
Recent email (excerpt) from DPD:

"Thank you for your emails. We have heard from a number of people from the community about this project and we appreciate hearing your concerns. Although the notice published August 22 was not in error, we have decided to re-notice the cluster housing decision, project 2402617. The new deadline for sending appeals to the Hearing Examiner is Sept. 15th. The hearing date for the subdivision recommendation, project 2403714, remains October 6th.

We are re-noticing the cluster housing decision because the appeal period ran through a major holiday. The Land Use code allows appeal periods to run over holidays, providing an extra day to make up for each holiday. However, DPD tries to avoid running appeal periods during major holidays whenever possible. It is not always possible to avoid holidays, but is our goal. The re-notice of the cluster housing decision, with the appeal deadline of Sept. 15, allows significant additional time for individuals to make their appeal to the HE and prepare for the Oct. 6th hearing date for the subdivision."

Alan Justad
Community Relations, Department of Planning and Development

22 August 2005
The decision by the DPD has been published, and the director's recommendation is full subdivision (the 39 lots) with numerous conditions. The land use information bulletin is viewable on-line at the Seattle DPD web site (see links).

The next date of note is Thursday, 6th of October, when a public hearing on the application will be held at the Hearing Examiner's office. Written comments may be submitted up to that date.

Other news to pass on: so far this summer, at the Farmer's Market and throughout Magnolia, MAG has collected approximately one thousand signatures from concerned residents expressing their disapproval of this project. These signatures were attached to a petition letter. Thanks to all who signed! The letter and signatures have been sent to the DPD and Mayor's Office.

6 July 2005
Magnolia Action Group -- JOURNAL
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is finalizing review of the proposed redevelopment applications. Once the decisions are published, there will be a two week appeal period for both the Administrative Conditional use, and for the SEPA (environmental impact) components. The recommendation on the subdivision will be issued simultaneously, and there will be public notice given for the required subdivision hearing. The written recommendation for the subdivision will be available for public review, prior to the hearing. Written comments on the recommendation must be submitted to the Hearing Examiner during the public notice time-frame of thiry days after publication. The City's Hearing Examiner issues the Land Use decision on the subdivision application.

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