The West Seattle Blog… | DEVELOPMENT: Tree concerns dominate hearing on Delridge proposal

The West Seattle Blog… |  DEVELOPMENT: Tree concerns dominate hearing on Delridge proposal
The West Seattle Blog… |  DEVELOPMENT: Tree concerns dominate hearing on Delridge proposal

(WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog Editor

Days after the city released a report showing the tree canopy continues to shrink, proposed tree removal drew most of the comments at an online public hearing on a development site in Delridge.

The hearing was around 6504 24th SW [map], the official address for an 11-unit proposal on a 46,000-square-foot site that also includes 6363 23rd SW. That stretch of 24th SW is a one-way street near Longfellow Creek. The hearing was called for feedback from the community, following a request from the community. The web hosting system indicated that 15 people were present along with four city employees.

This was not a design review meeting; there was no presentation from the developer or architect. Instead, City Planning Officer David Sachs gave a very brief description of the project – 5 two-story single-family homes, 3 attached accessory dwelling units and 3 detached accessory dwelling units, with 11 parking spaces, mostly garages.

As noted on that slide, the site includes what the city considers environmentally critical areas. The development’s potential effect on the environment was the subject of most of the comments. First, a city employee summarized written comments received prior to the hearing, expressing concern about the loss of exceptional trees and past flooding. (The arborist’s report for the site says 85 trees were assessed, and 52 met the “exceptional” criteria. Other project documents say 34 trees would be removed.) A written comment pointed out that the city had purchased parcels over 24 to keep as the creek area’s habitat and wondered why the same could not be done with this site. Another proposed “humble dwelling” would be more appropriate on the site.

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It was a point made by some of those who made comments, both oral and written, during the hearing. They were not opposed to building new homes on the site – just to the amount of tree removal that would be required by the current proposal. One commenter, who identified himself as an architect, even presented a short slide deck with an alternative proposal that he said would keep several of the trees and only require the removal of seven large ones:

A subsequent commenter enthusiastically supported that idea, but city staff had to remind them that it wasn’t part of what the project team had proposed, so it’s not part of what they’re considering. Meanwhile, other commenters had concerns, including 11 more homes overloading the narrow cul-de-sac and its supply system, but Longfellow Creek was a major concern, especially the salmon run, which was already marked by significant pre-spawning mortality blamed on pollution from runoff. “It would be a tragedy to lose precious green space in the neighborhood,” another neighbor said. Other comments included a complaint that there had been insufficient public notice of the scale of the proposal and that since a “luxury developer” was working on the project, it would not really do anything about the housing crisis.

The hearing ran exactly its one-hour allotment. Here’s what happens next:

If you have a comment but didn’t make it to the hearing, you can still send it to the assigned city planner, David Sachs, by emailing [email protected].

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