Many may assume with the possibility of zoning changes hanging in the air here in our neighborhood that developers might naturally choose to put a hold on their plans in the hopes that larger, taller buildings will be allowed on their lots in the near future. Indeed, that certainly seems to be the case at some properties. Back in August of last year, I wrote about the former Big Wheel Auto Parts building which is, at least for now, being used as a space for emerging artists. But how long can that last? On 45th in the vicinity of Meridian very few properties have been built up even though few reach their current legal limit of 40 feet. Under an upzone however, they could be built to 55 feet. In contrast, along Interlake in lower Wallingford, developers aren’t waiting for the upzone.
In the 3600 block, three lots have been or are scheduled for redevelopment. All of these properties are within the Wallingford urban village, and would undergo a change to zoning rules if current proposals were approved by the City Council. (For a detailed discussion of existing zones, zoning rules and proposed zoning changes, look here.) But developers in all three of these cases have, apparently, calculated that the time to build is now.
Farthest along in development — in fact, already built — is 3651 Interlake. This sits in an area currently zoned as Neighborhood Commercial (NC) 40. This allows for building up to 40 feet in height, but under the proposed upzone, the developer could have built to 55’. The building is a three story structure with 17 residential units and a “live-work” space on the first level immediately facing Interlake. There’s no off-street parking for the residents, but Stone Way is quite nearby, and this lot would most likely be considered as having “frequent transit” with no need for parking under city rules. During the design review phase of this project, area residents aired a number of concerns. While there was little opposition to the project in principle, many commented that the design had too many blank, concrete walls and glass windows making it a poor fit for the neighborhood. The City agreed with this contention, and made recommendations to the developer to remedy these problems.
3640 Interlake is well along in the planning stages. This lot, though nearby to 3651, is in a different zone: lowrise (LR) 2. This currently allows building up to a height of 30 feet, but if the current plan for upzoning were approved, the developer could have built to 40 feet. The lot will become the site of two townhouse buildings surrounding a courtyard with each building containing three living units. No car parking is proposed but bicycle parking is provided. The builder has asked for a variance to the setback requirement to make the courtyard bigger. The complete document set for this project can be found here.
1408 N. 36th, on the corner of 36th and Interlake, is currently home to two structures, one very ramshackle and boarded-up. The property was recently purchased, and plans for a 5-unit development are just beginning to take shape. Developers and City planners have received quite a bit of input from area residents (see the project documents to review all of this), but there is little opposition to the notion of replacing a single family dwelling with something to accommodate more residents.
[UPDATE: For those who don’t read the comments, Donn adds this about this property:
It’s my understanding that the last project listed, 1408 N 36th, has been aborted, the property is being acquired locally and the tree is expected to continue enjoying its not dead state for a long time. The house wasn’t “ramshackle” until someone, I assume the developer, sawed out the windows and replaced them with plywood.
I haven’t been able to verify this because, among other things, the city’s project information website is down this weekend for maintenance. Grrr …]
Some have expressed surprise at how quickly the review and comment period has moved:
I live in this Wallingford neighborhood, and only today did I hear about this project.
The largest number of comments seem to have been generated by the developer’s proposal to cut down a large, old tree:
- That tree should be saved. It is NOT dead.
- I am very concerned about allowing this development if it means that the exceptional tree on the property will be lost.
- The parking lot between Stone Way and Interlake, on the south side of 36th, is a better property to be developed, without sacrificing the greenness of the neighborhood.
- As someone who has lived in Wallingford for eight years, I am concerned about what I understand going on here, that you are taking out a huge, healthy tree that’s been present in the area for a very long time.
And a number of comments are aimed at ending up with a development that fits in with the existing neighborhood:
I appreciate that 1408 N. 36th is inside an urban village (only just) and that it will be subdivided doesn’t come as a surprise, but I would dearly like the houses to be designed in such a way that we can meet and know these neighbors.
Project documents can be found here.
This part of our neighborhood has seen quite a bit of development already. Clearly though, it’s destined for much, much more.