Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Developer Buys Home Near Hospital And Plans To Demolish It For Two New Homes

House set to be demolished at 4554 45th Avenue NE

Children's Hospital recently sold another of the homes they originally bought in 2007 and 2008, located at 4554 45th Avenue NE, to a developer who will be tearing down the house and replacing it with two new homes.

Children's Hospital bought the 3,000 square foot home built in 1927, located just behind and bordering the hospital in May 2008 for $1,134,000 and sold it this past December after receiving three offers to Doug Armintrout of Armintrout Homes for $1,020,000, who will also be the developer.

Children's Hospital bought the house from long-time residents of 15 years and many neighbors were sad to see the family move at the time.

Children's had approached homeowners living around the hospital's perimeter, to sell their homes and some homeowners contacted the hospital about the sales which were purchased "at the then-market value," Todd Johnson, Children's Vice President of Facilities commented.

This activity happened during the construction of the Melinda French Gates ("Whale")  building and garage and right before the impending large expansion and demolition of Laurelon Terrace condominiums in 2011. 
Children's Hospital bought eight homes and has sold five of them. 

The lot at 4554 45th Avenue NE is 9890 square feet and the real estate listing highlighted that the lot could be split saying "Great opportunity for a large 9,800 sq/ft double lot within Beach Club boundaries."

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) project #3016944 description states:
Land Use Application to subdivide one parcel into two parcels of land in an environmentally critical (because of the steep slope) area. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 4,945 sq. ft. and B) 4,945 sq. ft. Existing structures to be demolished.
One Home Per Lot.  a city-wide grassroots group monitoring large homes built on side and backyards of existing homes, says that even though splitting the lot in two makes for  two lots, each 4,945 square feet, it is still allowable. This document titled "Plan Set" shows a drawing with the current lot dimensions, and how it will be split into two.
The group added:
Even though the city of Seattle has a minimum lot size requirement of 5,000 square feet, lots do not have to be 5,000 square feet to be developed. Crazy, yes, but that's the way it is. The city knows it will run out of buildable lots if it sticks to a strict 5,000 SF minimum, so it has found ways to ease the lot-size restriction in certain cases.
This lot is being developed under the 75/80 Rule, which is an attempt to allow development of lots that are under the minimum lot size, but larger than the surrounding neighbor's lots. By allowing the developer to split the lot into two, the resulting lots are still close in size to the surrounding lots. To qualify, the new lots created must be at least 75% of the minimum lot size (at least 3,750 square feet in this case) and at least 80% of the average lot size of the surrounding tax parcels on the same block face. 
This lot, as you can see from the little map on the document titled "Notice: Notice of application" on this page, is twice as big as the surrounding lots on that block face.
Marti Stave, DPD Senior Land Use Planner confirmed that the lot is a 75/80 exception for minimum lot size. He added that each parcel is proposed to be 4945 Square feet and at least one home will face on 45th Avenue E and "the other is undecided at this time."

Marti also said that "any trees found to be exceptional trees will be required to be retained."
The Blog Staff contacted Doug Armintrout with some questions about the development and he replied:

The intent is to build two new homes for sale.  One will be fairly contemporary in appearance and the other more traditional.  Both plans will be family focused and neither maxes out the setback or lot coverage limitations.  Both garages will face West.  The entry on the interior lot will also face west.  The house on the corner will face north. 
The trees on site are an asset and will be preserved as much as possible.  Smaller trees and plants will be reused on site or given to interested gardeners.
My expectation is that construction will start in the winter of this year.  There will be an impact on parking but it will be kept to a minimum.  The site will be kept extra safe because of the proximity to so many young children.
A very nice family is currently renting the existing home.
Two public-comment were submitted to DPD, which can be found on this page (see the first item, titled "Public comment letter," and the last item, titled "Land Use: Public Comment") regarding how to make the project less burdensome on the neighbors.

One public comment from a nearby neighbor said::

Please consider the following comments: 
Demolition and construction:
-Please take all required measures to control dust and runoff.    
-Follow regulations in regards to noise impacts on neighbors who work and are at home during the day.  
-Construction vehicle parking is a concern because of limited space.  Laurelhurst Elementary School takes much of the street parking.  They also route pick-up/drop-off vehicles down NE 47th Street.   Large construction vehicles should avoid parking on NE 47th Street. 
-Dumpsters and portable toilets should also avoid NE 47th Street and be placed on the property away from residences.  Preferably on the western side facing Seattle Children’s Hospital as there are no homes on the western side of 45th Avenue NE.  
Loss of Light, Trees, Open Space and Privacy: 
-There is no way to measure the loss of openness, light and sky and the impacts it has on neighbors.  I hope the developer will build thoughtfully to scale instead of trying to max every inch of space.  Bigger is not better – light, air, openness and privacy can’t be undervalued.  
- There are two trees that should be preserved.  They are mature Japanese Maples and border the property on NE 47th.  They are near the carport.  The red maple has a trunk circumference of approximately 24”.  
-Privacy screening along fence line is a concern.  We would like to be notified which bushes may be removed and landscaping plans including screening trees or rebuilding the fence.  We have a bamboo shield to protect our property and and could be dislodged if shrubbery is removed.

For more information about the property and proposed plans see these links:

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