Friday, September 20, 2013

City's Landmarks Preservation Board Unanimously Approves Historic Nomination For Talaris

Talaris Campus (courtesy of Talaris website)

The City's Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to accept the Landmark historic nomination for the Talaris property. Many Laurelhurst residents as well as the Friends of Battelle/Talaris and others presented information.

Friends of Battelle/Talaris, a group of Laurelhurst residents who have an avid interest in preserving and protecting the Battelle/Talaris site, landscape and buildings based on their unique modernist design and intact original character, submitted the nomination to seek formal recognition of the property’s historic, cultural and architectural significance.

"Recent development proposals may adversely affect the integrity of the site," the group said in a recent press release. 

Here is a part of the Landmark Preservation Board's staff report following the meeting:

Staff Recommendation

Staff recommends the nomination of Battelle Memorial Institute Research Center / Talaris Conference Center at 4000 NE 41st Street, based on the following designation standards: 

C. It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, Station or nation.

D. It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or of a method of construction.

E. It is an outstanding work of a designer, or builder.

F. Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the City and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.

Staff recommends that the features and characteristics proposed for preservation include:

 The site.

 The exteriors of the buildings.


The next step is the designation process, in which a building must meet these six criteria to be approved. Included in this step is a public hearing scheduled for November 6th.

At this meeting the Board "will receive evidence and hear arguments as to whether the site, building or object meets the standards for designation. If the Board does not designate the property, the proceedings terminate and the property cannot be considered for designation for five years, except at the request of the owner."

During the leading up to the public hearing the Board and staff may amend the nomination form and from the
time of nomination, Subchapter VI of SMC 25. 12 shall apply.

The City website says of the designation step:

This section requires a Certificate of Approval for alterations or significant changes to the features proposed for preservation. Following Board approval of the nomination (or designation) the owner may give written notice of a desire to confer and consult with the Board and Board staff to reach agreement on specific features to be preserved and methods to achieve such preservation. A timetable is established by Board, Board staff and the Owner. This written request by the Owner is the only procedure which may alter the time requirements or the public meeting on designation. 

If the Board designates a property, the next step is the Controls and Incentives Agreement for the landmark, which is negotiated by the Board staff with the property owner. Once an agreement is reached and signed, it is then sent to the Landmarks Preservation Board for approval at another public meeting.

The City website says that "controls define those features of the landmark to be preserved and outline the Certificate of Approval process for changes to those features. Incentives may include, but are not limited to, zoning variances, building code exceptions, and financial incentives."

After the agreement on the Controls and Incentives has been reached with the property owner and approved by the Landmarks Preservation Board, a designating ordinance is sent to the City Council for approval.

"The property owner can appeal the Board's recommendation on Controls and Incentives to the Hearing Examiner. The City's Hearing Examiner may modify the Board's recommendation and forward a decision to the City Council for consideration. Either party may appeal the Hearing Examiner's recommendation to the City Council," the website says.

Once landmarks have been approved and gone through the process they are then subject to protection by city ordinance, as stated on the City's Landmark and Designation website.

Here is the nomination for Talaris/Batelle posted on the City's Landmark nomination webiste.

For more information on the City's nomination process go here and here for the City's ordinance pertaining to the nomination, designation, and Controls and Incentives process and appeal procedures.

To contact Friends of Battelle/Talaris email or go to their Facebook page or website.

The Landmarks Preservation Board is coordinated by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program. The Historic Preservation Program handles the identification and protection of more than 400 historic structures, site, objects, and vessels, as well as eight historic districts throughout Seattle.

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