April 23

Maple Leaf board suing developer of empty block



The eyesore of an empty block in the heart of Maple Leaf’s business district that was sold a year ago is likely to stay that way for the time being after the Maple Leaf Community Council’s executive board filed a lawsuit to stop the development, according to seattlepi.com.

We wrote last summer that the empty lot at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 89th Street was sold to three separate developers including Dan Duffus with Soleil Development, who explained that the group planned to build 14 to 15 units that combine live-work spaces directly on Roosevelt with town homes in the back.

But because the lot was purchased separately, the board says the buyers were able to avoid an appropriately thorough review by city planners. David Miller, president of the community’s executive board, tells us:

It should have gone through both SEPA and Design Review — with Design Review being the most important issue. Our lawsuits argue this exact point — development of this property is very welcome, but it needs to follow the rules.

He adds that because of the piecemeal review, only three parking spots will be required for the entire development, which will include six residential units and seven live-work units, wherein lies one of the other problems. He continues:

Because live/work operates under different architectural rules, we cannot be sure the ground levels of these units will look like businesses. That’s important given the location of the project right in the middle of Roosevelt Way NE business district. The developer told us he was building one thing, and what we got was something less. Design Review would have addressed this.

Worst of all, on recycling day there will be 39 (yes, THIRTY NINE) recycling, trash, and food waste receptacles clogging the sidewalk on Roosevelt — right in the middle of the business district. This is absolutely unacceptable and would *never* have happened if the project went through Design Review as the law requires.

We have better things to do with our community’s time and money than be the factual backstop for DPD. We made our concerns clear starting in July of last year, but DPD went ahead and violated their own rules. We’d hope to work with developers to fix this, but we had to file the lawsuits to protect our legal rights.

Miller adds that the board “is excited this hole in our Roosevely Way NE business district is going to be filled,” and that members hope to come to a mutually acceptable agreement with the developers.

You’re invited to learn more about this issue and other Maple Leaf topics from 7-9 p.m. tomorrow, April 24, at the Maple Leaf General Community Meeting at Olympic View Elementary, 504 N.E. 95th St. Topics will include transportation issues, how the new Northgate urban center will affect Maple Leaf, and tree regulations.

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  1. Dan Duffus is not a developer I would choose to have build adjacent to my house or in the area:


    The direct personal attacks against Mr. Miller are low brow, and the poster should stick to factual arguments rather than venting in such a manner. Shame on you.

    A moderator should edit those Mavid Diller screeds, but still allow constructive comment on the article.

    Mr. Duffus exploits land use regulations for his financial gain at the long term expense of the community. 39 trash bins stored on the street sounds like exploitation to me.

  2. Maple Lifer.
    Please send me your address. We are cancelling our lawsuit on this development to sue you for slandering me with the truth. HOW DARE YOU!

    I have BIG plans for that slab. Maybe a Seattle Stonehenge. Maybe nude hopscotch. WHO KNOWS. All I know is we cannot allow one more person in MY Maple Leaf!

  3. Mavid Diller,
    You nutty NUT. STOP representing our community. You are suing over the number of garbage cans? NO. You are against growth because your mind cannot fathom change…and we all suffer for it. The citizens of Seattle took a good look at you when you ran for council and you got a whopping 3%. You lost every Maple Leaf precinct. If we gave a crap about our Community Council, which 99% don’t, we’d vote you out for good. Please, get help and let us stop looking at this slab of concrete. I want a thriving community, not a madman’s wasteland.

  4. Maple Lifer! How dare you say that! We will sue you next once I protect this sacred concrete slab in the middle of our vibrant downtown. Maple Leaf is almost as big as Manhattan! We are thriving! We have a VIDEO STORE. Clearly you know NOTHING about land use!!! This slab of concrete is ART! No, its Nature…wait…NO…its a portal to another world.
    Why was I elected again? Me and Chris Lehman run this town.

  5. David Miller claims he supports building something, but has opposed every project he has ever seen in Maple Leaf. He is a NIMBY that is damaging the community. Like most community council “activist” he is a borderline mental patient who supplants treatment with attacking anyone who crosses his path. I wish we all cared enough to attend these CC meetings, but sadly, we are healthy and have a life. So goes Seattle.

  6. NE 81st Street –

    We also want the project to go forward and we really have few criticisms – none of which are show stoppers.

    But do you really think 39 waste receptacles on the street on Roosevelt is good for the neighborhood? Or that the buildings may end up looking more like apartments instead of business store fronts? Or that DPD violated their own rules when permitting the project?


  7. but….the density advocates who say they are here to stop sprawl and create a more green city also tell me that not providing on-site parking reduces the cost of the development and hence makes for more affordable housing, and who could possibly argue against more affordable housing, right? People don’t actually need cars in Maple Leaf, do they? Not with the ample transit we have, and a light-rail station less than a mile away at Northgate (in 2021 or something). Only us Maple Leaf NIMBYs would be opposing this, right?

  8. Looks like I need to join the community council – not all of us who live in Maple Leaf are NIMBYs. This eyesore needs to be filled and we should be encouraging this project to go forward.

  9. For those interested in GiveBig, please put a reminder on May 15, 2013 to go to to http://tinyurl.com/MLCC-GiveBig and donate.

    If you wait until May 15, your donation will be matched by the Seattle Foundation in proportion to the money we raise on May 15.

    It’ll hurt our cash flow a little, but we’re asking people to wait to make donations and membership renewals until May 15 so we can maximize the match we receive.


  10. Sue —

    Design Review is required if there are four or more units under development. There are 13 here. Each of the three lots has 4-5 units. Every city department reviews the proposal as 4 or 5 unit projects. This is the crux of our case.

    If folks want to help, please plan to donate to our BigGive drive in May.


  11. Zoning is NC2-40 – Which translates into Neighborhood Commercial – 40′ heights.

    Here are the permit numbers:

    6320796 (primary) / 6341436 (secondary) @ 8909 Roosevelt Way NE
    6321574 (primary) / 6325824 (secondary) @ 8911 Roosevelt Way NE
    6318864 (primary) / 6341809 (secondary, filed under 852 NE 89TH ST because it is a corner lot)

    Permits have been granted for 8909 and 8911.

    The property was always three lots, though it was owned by one person previously.


  12. Thanks, Nic. We’re certainly conflicted with this because we also want the hole filled. Our goal is to make sure the building enhances the business district and we take care of the waste collection issue.

    Despite months of trying to convince DPD to do the right thing, all that was left was to file the lawsuits. Frustrating, to say the least.

    David Miller
    Maple Leaf Community Council

  13. 23.71.044

    Standards for residential uses in commercial zones within the Northgate Overlay District.

    So we are concerned with not enough ground level business??

    A. In C and NC zones with height limits less than eight-five (85) feet, residential uses, in aggregate, may exceed 20% of the street-level street-facing facade only as a special exception under the following conditions or criteria (yada yada)
    Then not enough parking and utility issues. Happy to help if you like.

  14. Oh, so there were three SEPARATE lots. that makes more sense. Well, thats where the crazy starts. And it should have gone through SEPA and design review because of what now? I feel you pain,though. Just check out the 5 side by side rooming houses up on 5th and about 123rd. Each with 8 tenants, 40 people and thats zoned single family.

  15. Sorry I haven’t followed this. How do 3 separate developers purchase one rather small lot? Can you give an address or link to the current reviews/permits? What is the zoning? factual details please.

  16. thanks for staying on top of this and realizing and exposing the developer’s sleight of hand, hopefully they can be brought to their senses, their interests in profit making are not inconsistent with good design and respect for the neighborhood. i have been hoping for years that this lot will finally get infilled and in a way that enhances the neighborhood, i used to rent videos from scarecrow and get coffee at the coffee shop there before the fire (and before that have a sandwich and beer at the maple leaf grill at their original location in that building), it has been a gaping hole for far too long!

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