Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Talaris Update Regarding Proposed School And Potential Sale To Another Buyer

Talaris Campus (courtesy of Talaris website)

The  Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) recently published this information in their newsletter:

Talaris Update
On January 4, the Talaris property owner’s representative requested another three-month extension from the Seattle Landmark’s Board. In addition to continued negotiations with the Academy for Precision Learning School, the owner is working on a potential sale of the property to a different buyer.

The Landmark’s Board expressed concern about the deteriorated building and property conditions due to neglect over the past four years. The Board granted permission to remove four trees on the property and asked for a Comprehensive Vegetation Management Plan to inform their decisions and keep the integrity of the landscape. The property manager stated that they did not have such a plan. 

At the June 2016 LCC Neighbor meeting, the Academy for Precision Learning School leadership team and architect presented their concept plan for potentially using the Talaris property, owned by Bruce Mc Caw under the name 4000 Property LLC and represented by Nathan Rimmer.

LCC said about the proposed school plan in a previous newsletter:

In conjunction with the approval from the Seattle Landmark’s Board preservation requirements, the Talaris site would retain most of the existing buildings (some possibly unused) and add at least two larger buildings to address the academy’s specific needs.  LCC will continue its efforts to collaborate with all parties to find a win-win solution for this very special property in the neighborhood.

And in October of last year LCC published this information: 

LCC Prevails on Talaris Ruling

On September 23, LCC attorney Peter Eglick, Richard Hill representing Talaris (4000 Properties), and the City Attorney’s office came before Judge Marianne Spearman to decide if Talaris would be granted another “stay” (delay) for their LUPA (Land Use Petition Act) and suit against the validity of the City of Seattle’s Landmark Board’s authority to govern buildings and sites.  These cases are intertwined, which has complicated the speedy resolution required by law for deciding land use issues.  
The Talaris owner has asked for and been granted several stays. If another three-months delay had been granted by the court, 1,000 days would have been spent to settle this case. The law spells out a maximum of 30 to 45 days.  The amount of time elapsed indicated that the Court would no longer have jurisdiction, because the time limit had been egregiously exceeded.  
Mr. Eglick cited another case and ruling to support his argument. He stressed before the court that LCC is not the entity driving up litigation, fees, and delays, but rather 4000 Properties.  The Judge noted the eight previous stays that she granted and asked why it would take another three months for the Academy for Precision Learning to figure out their finances. She ruled “enough,” and lifted the stay. No more delays will be permitted. 
The Judge ordered that LCC and Talaris work out a new LUPA appeal schedule, which they quickly did. It filed September 30.   This ruling is good news for LCC. Now if Talaris wants to continue its suit against the City of Seattle over its Landmark Board authority, LCC will not be part of it. It also reinforced LCC’s status as a party of record in the Talaris land use process. 

In November 2013, the City Landmarks Preservation Board granted landmark status to the Talaris/Batelle site.

Specific controls define those features of the landmark to be preserved and outline the Certificate of Approval process for changes to those features. Some incentives and controls included in the City's ruling are zoning variances, building code exceptions, and financial incentives. Once landmarks have been approved by parties involved, they are then subject to protection by city ordinance, as stated on the City's Landmark and Designation website.

After Talaris suddenly put up "No Trespassing" signs and installed a four feet chain link fencing in 2013, the grass where generations of kids practiced soccer was neglected and no longer mowed.

LCC said that they are continuing negotiations for a neighborhood-friendly Talaris redevelopment as well as lobbying for better property maintenance.

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