A standing room only crowd at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Wallingford Community Council heard from representatives of the Department of Planning and Development, the developer Skanska and a large number of neighbors concerning a proposed office building on Stone Way. While there was overwhelming support for the concept of a Living Building, Wallingford neighbors expressed a wide variety of opinions regarding the proposal (particularly its size and height) and potential benefits and detriments to the community.
Skanska said it was only in the early stages of deciding what the development would look like. However, of immediate concern to the Community Council is a pending amendment to city law which would increase the height limit on the site from 45 feet to 65 feet (plus roof top features up to an additional 15 feet), whether or not the development ultimately met the minimum requirements for the Living Building Pilot Program. This change would be inconsistent with existing zoning, the height limits on surrounding properties and comprehensive and neighborhood plans.
In proposing the change to the law, DPD characterized the amendment as a general legislative change rather than a “project action” in order to limit its SEPA impacts analysis. The WCC was faced with a Thursday deadline for filing an appeal to the city’s Determination of Non-Significance regarding the proposed changes in the ordinance. After discussion, the WCC Board voted unanimously to file an appeal to DPD’s SEPA Determination of Non-Significance.
After the meeting, representatives of both Skanska and WCC expressed the hope that differences could be worked out and the project go forward in some form.
Lee Raaen, WCC President