august 2019 update: another victory for save madison valley
The Hearing Examiner sided with SMV. She said no to Velmeir’s request to impose an arbitrary and rushed schedule for the two remanded issues (shading of the Pea Patch and drainage of the site). The Examiner also refused to oversee the remands, keeping it in the hands of SDCI—where it belongs!
What does this mean? This was an attempt to work around established laws and procedures. In simpler terms: to not play by the rules, but instead bend those rules to their own advantage.
Next? It’s up to the developer and SDCI to study and address the remanded issues. We continue to wait to see how they will respond. Once addressed, it will be one more obstacle cleared from the path to an appeal in Superior Court. Please consider another donation today
August 2019: Frivolous (and expensive!) Move by Developer….
Velmeir, the would-be developer of the City People’s site, has filed a frivolous motion with the Hearing Examiner’s office. Velmeir wants to bypass the SEPA process (State Environmental Protection Act -- established to ensure that environmental impacts are evaluated and, when necessary, mitigated) and create their own rushed schedule to suit their wishes. In the words of SMV’s attorney in our response to the motion:
With its motion, Velmeir asks the Hearing Examiner to act as a staff member of SDCI by taking on the role of collecting information about shadow and drainage impacts, reviewing and assessing that information, and issuing a determination under SEPA on whether the proposal will have significant adverse impacts. There are so many levels of illegality here that it’s hard to know where to begin….
…[this] eliminates the responsible official, eliminates the public comment period, and eliminates the hearing examiner appeal process entirely. The parties would be submitting evidence without witness testimony, without any adherence to rules of evidence, without opportunity for cross examination, and without opportunity for discovery. The Examiner would be reviewing materials and issuing a decision as if she were a planner at SDCI, not as a judge sitting over an appeal.
You might expect that SDCI would resist a move that appears to invite a developer to take over SDCI’s role and their independent decision-making---- but you’d be wrong. Although there was no need for SDCI to weigh in on this frivolous motion, they chose to write… in support of Velmeir’s motion! Our City let us down.
Because SMV adheres to the laws, rules and procedures of Superior Court, the Hearing Examiner, and SDCI--- and expects the other side to do so also--- Velmeir is accusing SMV of trying to “slow things down.” They imply that the rules aren’t for them.
For anyone who wants to dig deeper into the legal details, here is a link to read the full documents: https://web6.seattle.gov/Examiner/case/MUP-18-020
Each motion that Velmeir files, frivolous or not, SMV has to respond to, has to use attorney time, has to rely on your donations to stay in this process working to hold the developer and the City accountable to the rules, guidelines, and laws of Seattle. We aren’t giving up and we know you won’t either. Please consider another donation today. Thank you for your support. We wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for all of you.
YOU DID IT AGAIN!
Thank you to all of you who contributed in the last weeks. We made our match and raised another $5,000 toward our upcoming legal expenses.
The outpouring from the community keeps us going--- paying the bills, and inspiring us to continue the work for a development that fits our neighborhood. Thank you for showing us that you care too.
We are still waiting for the court to let us know when we can begin the next steps in our appeal. We’ll let you know when we learn more. Stay tuned!
And thank you again for your support these three long years as we fight for a development that abides by Seattle’s codes and laws.
MADISON PARK TIMES GETS CONFUSED!
You may have seen in the MPT “Judge grants SMV’s request to dismiss land-use petition.” If so, like us, you may have wondered, “Huh…???”
We were not consulted or invited to comment for this confusing and misleading article. Here’s the scoop from our perspective:
• Our desire is to make our entire case, all at once, in Superior Court. This means waiting until after the developer and City finish the remands (drainage and p-patch shading) required by the Hearing Examiner. This is efficient with court time and plaintiff/defendant money (i.e., address all issues at once, rather than half now, half after the remands are complete).
• To get this we asked the court to “dismiss” the case (if the court “dismisses” the case now, we are free to argue it later—after the remands are complete).
• The judge (in error, we believe) instead issued a “voluntary dismissal” on our behalf. This is not what we requested, and we do NOT want to voluntarily dismiss the case (it could hinder us appealing after the remands). So now we will ask the judge to correct this error (a “motion for reconsideration”).
The short story is that we will appeal, and we want to do it in as efficient and cost-effective manner as possible. While being careful stewards of your resources and ours, we remain committed to advocating for a development that conforms to Seattle City Laws, rules, and regulations.
Another Matching Grant as SMV heads to Superior Court on 5/31/19
Our first appearance in Superior Court will be May 31 at 3:30 pm. At this initial meeting the attorneys and judge will discuss the outlines of the case and schedule the dates for presenting briefs, exhibits, and making oral arguments.
A generous donor has again offered us a matching grant: $5,000 has been offered to us -- if we can raise $5,000 from the community before our first court appearance on the 31st. Please dig into your hearts and your pockets, and give again. Help us reach our goal. This will help us pay our extensive legal fees. DONATE today to double your donation.
Thank you for your support over these last three years. If you’re receiving this email it’s because you have been a supportive part of this long, important journey: Exercising our rights as community members to fight for a project in the heart of Madison Valley that adheres to established laws and guidelines and promotes healthy development.
Thank you for supporting us and supporting neighborhood activism on the part of our community!
SMV appeals City's decision
Save Madison Valley has submitted its 105-page appeal of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection's approval of plans for the 82-unit mixed-use development--The Madison.
A few members of our community feel strongly that this project is NOT RIGHT. Together they have donated $17,000 as a matching grant to jumpstart our appeal.
• A building that towers 80 feet high in an “NC-40” zone (four-story zone)?
• Clear cut a protected grove and exceptional trees?
• A massive building in a liquefaction zone with a history of flooding?
• Inviting in traffic that will overwhelm our streets and intersections—turning our walkable neighborhood into a drive-through?
Does this sound like responsible development to you???
Let’s tell the City we want them to do their job to protect communities and manage development. We want our neighborhood — and our City — to grow in a way that is healthy and livable.
We want to develop Madison Valley responsibly.
Save Madison Valley is a community of neighbors committed to the livability, safety, and vibrancy of the Madison Valley neighborhood in Seattle.
Velmeir, a Michigan-based development company, is purchasing the Madison Valley home of City People's Garden Store. In the place of City People's, Velmeir plans to construct a mixed-use building of more than 165,000 square feet with 75 residential units and a parking garage with 157 spaces.