Community Wants Voice

Update: Kiro TV covered the story of 819 NW 70th Street being developed without public notice and community input and the citywide issue it represents. Read the Blog for more updates.

A bulldozer showing up was the city’s only notice to neighbors that this house will be replaced by a six-unit, 8,000 square-foot, commercial development on a residential block in Ballard. 


No public notification? No community involvement? No traffic impact study? Neighbors say no way!

The city isn’t notifying the community or allowing input for the sizable live/work project planned for 819 NW 70th Street in Whittier Heights/Ballard. Neighbors are disenfranchised by the city and developer, who is circumventing public notice and community involvement.

Inviting the community to choose paint chip colors–the developer’s idea for involving us–underscores what’s wrong with this picture.  It’s a missed opportunity. The developer could genuinely engage the people who live here, and build something that makes him money AND gets neighbors excited about the project. Good developers do that. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. (Update: neighbors weren’t asked for input on paint chip colors.)

Instead, this 1,640 square-foot, 1924 home on a 3,650 square-foot lot on a residential side street

will be replaced by this 8,000+ square-foot live/work development with commercial space, no parking…and no public notice, community input or traffic safety study.

Design rendering of  8,000+ square-foot building captured from the DPD’s project website

Below is another view. Take 5 Urban Market at 8th Ave NW and NW 70th Street is on the left.
BEFORE (facing southwest on NW 70th Street):

AFTER (facing southwest on NW 70th Street):

The development is out-of-human-scale and disregards its neighborhood context and the character of the single family block where it sits. The community deserves to have a voice.

Notice the existing yellow “Residential Street” sign indicating this is a residential–not commercial–neighborhood?

The developer changed the address so all six units will now face Division Ave, a residential side street zoned for single family homes. The handful of nearby commercial properties all face NW 70th Street and have since the early 1920’s just like 819 NW 70th Street. Division Ave isn’t set up to handle a big jump in traffic and on street parking for six businesses plus six new residences. Yet the city won’t do anything to address traffic safety issues. Why not?

BEFORE (facing south on NW 70th Street):

AFTER (facing south on NW 70th Street):

BEFORE (facing east on Division Ave NW):

AFTER (facing east on Division Ave NW):

BEFORE (facing north on Division Ave NW):
The photo above shows Division Ave NW; not one commercial store front on this residential street.

AFTER (facing north on Division Ave NW):

Read the Friends of Division Ave Blog for updates. 


One thought on “Community Wants Voice

  1. An architect friend of mine told me the city no longer requires off-street parking when building a building like this or any other complex, for that matter. I guess they’re hoping everyone will ride Metro, share a ride, be retired, walk to work or ride a bike. Even if one resident or one person working there brings a car there, it puts pressure on that neighborhood. Perhaps I’m just not hip enough to understand that a lot of renters don’t drive or own cars. To me, it’s the only logical reason why allowing someone, a developer, to build something like this is OK. Am I just not getting it?

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