The Design Review Board of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development met last Wednesday, Oct. 24, to consider if the assisted-living company Aegis’ plan to build a facility at West Galer Street and Third Avenue West met the city’s architectural and design standards. Four members of the Design Review Board were present.
The lead board member said comments from the audience would be welcomed during the second half of the meeting; however. they would need to specifically address the building’s design. Future meetings involving other city agencies would address non-design-related comments and questions.
Matt Rowe, the presenter of Aegis’ plan, presented the details of the proposed facility, which included several changes since the previous meeting. One of the key changes involved cutting down one of the cypress trees where the entrance would be.
“We met several times with the city arborist,” Rowe said. “One tree, where the entrance is, will be removed. There will be more room for sidewalk cafes. Windows will be arranged on Third Avenue so there’s as much privacy as possible.”
Rowe said his team wanted to create a facility that matched with the neighborhood as much as possible. “We looked for details like how Queen Anne was early 20th century. We looked around for neighborhood examples, like Victoria townhomes,” he said.
Four new street trees will be added, Rowe said.
He also reiterated how his plan had seven departures from the current zoning limits, which is why Aegis requested a rezone.
Sticking to the design
Board members then asked questions, including the greening of only one side of the roof with evergreen plants. Rowe explained that the green roof will consist of three types of plants so it remains green year-round.
After the board’s questions, comments were allowed of the participants.
“I hope you’ll listen this time instead of ignore us,” said one participant, who complained his car on Third Avenue West kept getting hit and consequently asked the board to not allow the plan.
However, nearly all of the participants, upon voicing concerns, were redirected by the board to provide input solely relating to design.
But participants had a difficult time focusing on comments about the design; most comments regarded traffic, noise, lighting and abiding by the current zone limits. One suggested it was akin to being forced to ignore the “elephant in the room.”
Martin Kaplan, the chair of Queen Anne Community Council’s Land Use Review Committee (LURC) and one of the evening’s last commenters, said that LURC did not abandon neighbors’ wishes, as many had suggested, but was working in good faith to do what’s best for the neighborhood.
Upcoming meetings will address other aspects of the proposed project, including traffic and rezone concerns.