Monday, July 13, 2015

City Approves One More Portable At Laurelhurst Elementary School

Today's Land Use Bulletin for the City of Seattle shows that the additional portable requested by Seattle Public Schools (permit 3019627) has been approved by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD).

Principal Talbot's requested one more portable at Laurelhurst Elementary School at the end of the school year after hiring an additional teacher, making for 18 total teachers, without having enough space for all classrooms saying in an end of year email:

When people ask me what I want the outcome of this difficult dilemma to be, I reluctantly have to admit that in spite of a strong consensus from the community in opposition to adding portables, I would like to have one additional portable classroom if the summer construction project isn’t possible. 
Design Departure Committee last month wrote DPD saying:
Since you are considering new information from SPS, we hope that the Committee might be able to present some new information as well.  Since the
March 17 public meeting we have learned that:
·       LASER had agreed to share one of its portables again next year for instructional space
·       SPS has pulled permits to divide the school library, creating a new classroom
·       These two “new” classrooms would obviate the need for additional portables at our school. 
This information indicates that a less impactful alternative exists to simply plopping down more portables in violation of current lot coverage rules and to the detriment of the health and well-being of our community.    
Laurelhurst already has the smallest playground with the highest lot coverage percentage of any NE Seattle elementary school.  SPS has not provided any justification for making our already tight situation worse by adding more portables. 
Seattle Public Schools had originally requested a waiver from City zoning regulations to add up to 4 more portables at the school, increasing the allowed lot coverage of 45% on the two playgrounds.

In March the Design Departure Committee Meeting had a formal meeting, along with DPD and DON (Department of Neighborhood representatives) and two Seattle Public School representatives who appeared unprepared so much so that  DPD (Department of Planning and Development), sent SPS a "Correction Notice" on June 16 with 27 in-depth questions to gather more information before making a final decision.

A packed room of almost 200 people attended the meeting and almost 2 hours of public comment was heard including about 50 speakers, who spoke passionately against increased lot coverage at the school which they testified would result in a significant decrease in playground space, as well as permanent livability impacts to surrounding neighbors

And at this meeting, the Committee unanimously passed two motions, both 6-1 (School District representative voted no on both) - 1) in favor or making a decision at the meeting, thus voting against no further meetings and 2) in denying the proposal for additional portables at the school.

Here is the notice posted on the DPD website regarding the final decision:         


Attachments:View Decision           
Address:4530 46TH AVE NE
Contact phone:(206)252-0558 x
Planner:Holly Godard
Planner phone:(206) 684-0532
The Seattle School District has applied to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to modify the development standards for Laurelhurst Elementary School.Project Description:  Departure request to allow 45% lot coverage by adding four portable classroom buildings to provide four additional classrooms for Laurelhurst Elementary School.  Total footprint of the four proposed buildings is 3,584 square feet.

DEPARTURE DECISIONThe Director's decision is to CONDITIONALLY GRANT the Development Standards Departure request.   

  1. One portable classroom may be located at Laurelhurst Elementary School for a lot coverage maximum of 39.0%  
Copies of the Director's report and the application materials are available at the DPD Public Resource Center, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000 (206) 684-8467.  The Public Resource Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.  Questions may be directed to Holly J. Godard at (206) 684-0532.

Appeals of the Director’s Decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than 5:00 p.m., July 27, 2015
Appeals may be filed online at, delivered in person to the Hearing Examiner’s office on the 40th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave. or mailed to the City of Seattle Hearing Examiner, P.O. Box 94729, Seattle, WA 98124-4729. (Delivery of appeals filed by any form of USPS mail service may be delayed by several days. Allow extra time if mailing an appeal.) An appeal form is available at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Disgusting politics! Just shows that the community meeting was a sham.