News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Maple Leaf board suing developer of empty block

April 23rd, 2013 · 17 Comments

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

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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