Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sign Petition Now Regarding Talaris Public Meeting And DPD's General Comment Period Open Until 12/29


The neighorhood is urgently asked to sign a petition, initiated by the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC), which will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on Friday.

The petition requests that DPD hold a public meeting, which is in accordance with Seattle City Code, when a "proposed development of a broad public significance."
LCC asks in the petition that this meeting be held specifically after the holidays so that more people are able to attend and ask questions of DPD, learn more about the proposal and give comments as LCC explained in a neighborhood wide email yesterday.
Neighbors are also encouraged to send comments directly to Lindsay King at
Diane Sugimura at both with DPD.
Here are sample comments LCC has written:
As a close neighbor of the
Battelle/Talaris site and member and/or supporter of the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC), I am concerned about Project No. 3015404 located at 4000 NE 41st Street, the Battelle/Talaris site. The proposal for this 18-acre site is to subdivide it into 82 parcels and seven tracts of land in an environmentally critical area, with demolition of all existing buildings and substantial grading of the site. A public meeting convened by DPD about this proposal is essential to facilitate public understanding of and comment on it. That meeting should be scheduled after the holidays, in January 2014, and should be arranged so that knowledgeable DPD staff persons are present to answer questions and take comments about the proposal.

I understand that section 23.76.015 A2 of the Seattle Land Use Code calls for such a meeting when "the proposed development is of broad public significance." This clearly applies here. The Battelle/Talaris site is broadly recognized as a site of key significance to the City as demonstrated by the fact that the Landmarks Board recently unanimously designated the site and its buildings as a City landmark. Section 23.76.0153 A2 of the Seattle Land Use Code also calls for a public meeting when "fifty or more persons file a written request" for one. Therefore, this request should be added to the total requesting a meeting.
And the City is holding a general comment period open now through December 29th regarding the proposed land use action at the Talaris site.   

The community can send email, referencing the project #3015404, project address, and the submitter's mailing address, directly to, which will get your name automatically added to the notification mailing list and the comment will be added to the electronic project record and the City for review.

Comments can also be submitted by fax to (206) 233-7901, or by mail to:
Department of Planning and Development
ATTN: Public Resource Center or Assigned Planner
700 Fifth Ave, Ste 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

The property, formerly known as the Battelle Memorial Institute, was granted landmark status on November 7th, by the City's Landmarks Preservation Board in a unanimous vote, and the process is now in the "Controls and Incentives" step.  

The information on the City website says of the designation and Controls and Incentives step:

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

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.

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.

However, the minutes from this week's Laurelhurst Community Club Board meeting state:

On November 12, the Landmarks Board wrote to Talaris asking that they participate in the “controls and incentives” process. The Landmarks Board will meet on Wednesday, January 15 at 3:30 p.m. to consider controls and incentives. It does not appear that Talaris is interested in participating in this process.
Instead, Talaris filed a Land Use Petition Act lawsuit against the City and the Landmarks Preservation Board on November 25. The City must respond within 20 days of that date. Talaris is requesting that the court reverse the decision of the Landmarks Board. Talaris did not oppose the nomination even though they were provided an opportunity to speak at the nomination meeting. At the designation meeting, Talaris decided to oppose the designation.

Talaris claims that the Landmark’s Board process was unlawful, that the Board erroneously interpreted the law, that the designation was not supported by substantial evidence, that the decision was a clearly erroneous application of the law to the facts, and that it violates the constitutional rights of Talaris.  
On December 2, DPD issued a notice of a Talaris proposal to subdivide the site into 82 parcels and seven tracts of land in this environmentally critical area. Parcels would range in size from 5,019 square to 9,356 square feet. All existing structures would be demolished and substantial grading required. Per LCC’s request, the December 15 deadline to comment on the project was extended to December 29.

LCC also added "the owner is seeking a demolition and a grading permit which are inconsistent with the historic designation the calls for preservation of the landscaping and the architectural integrity of the buildings. Neighbors may wish to ask for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement, a public hearing and coordination with the Landmarks Board throughout this process. The owners could explore expansion of conference center uses consistent with the landmark status as an alternative."

Here is what the Proposed Land Use Action sign says on the Talaris property:
Land Use Action
For information contact PRC@Seattle .gov
PROJECT #3015404
Notice of Action
Seattle's Dept. of Planning and Development is reviewing the Master Use Permit application by Triad Associates.
Triad's # 425-821-8448 Planner: Lindsay King's #206-684-9218
To subdivide one parcel into 28 parcels and 7 tracts of land in an environmentally critical area.
Full subdivision….Parcels range in size from 5,019 Sq. ft to 9,356 Sq. ft.
Existing structures to be DEMOLISHED.
Project includes platting of new streets within the subdivision and 126,500 Cu. Yds. for grading
Full subdivision of land 90 parcels
Other permits t may be needed for demolition and grading.
Comments to be submitted by 12/15/2013  (extension granted till 12/29)  This may be the only opportunity to comment.

A nearby resident commented about the proposal:

This will have a sizable impact on the density of our community, school enrollment, traffic, infrastructure, etc. I live very close to Talaris and feel strongly about what happens to this beautiful and environmentally sensitive area.
To give you an idea of the size of this land here is a map below to imagine the density of adding another 82 homes.

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