<strong>Neighbors raise their hands in support of the statements made by Future Queen Anne during the Early Design Guidance meeting on the proposed development of the former Seattle Children&rsquo;s Home site. Photo by Sarah Radmer</strong>
Neighbors raise their hands in support of the statements made by Future Queen Anne during the Early Design Guidance meeting on the proposed development of the former Seattle Children’s Home site. Photo by Sarah Radmer

CamWest/Toll Brothers will need to have another Early Design Guidance meeting before it can move forward with the development process of the former Seattle Children’s Home (901 W. McGraw St.).

The city’s Design Review Board decided it needed clarification on aspects of the design before it could give approval. The decision came at the Early Design Guidance meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 18. 

At the meeting, the developers presented three design options: 

Design Option 1 — Will have traffic access only on the alley. This option would not have the proposed pocket park and would remove six exceptional trees. 

Design Option 2 — Traffic access would be from Ninth Avenue West near West McGraw Street and via the alley on West Crockett Street. This design would not include the pocket park and would remove six exceptional trees. 

Design Option 3 — The developers’ preferred option, this would create a pocket park within the development. This design would save all of the exceptional trees except one. Traffic would access the development via the alley on Crockett Street and on McGraw Street. This would create additional parking spots on Ninth Avenue West and make emergency access easier. 

It was standing-room-only for the Early Design Guidance meeting at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 First Ave. W.). Following the developers’ presentation, the board asked questions, and then the audience had 20 minutes to voice their opinions. 

As has been the case with this development, the vast majority of the audience was in opposition. Four representatives from the group Future Queen Anne spoke in opposition to specific aspects of the plan and asked the room to raise their hands if they shared the concerns; nearly every hand in the room was raised. 

One lone proponent spoke on behalf of the development and said people should realize that density is the direction Seattle is going, so rather than trying to get rid of the developers, the residents should work with them to make the best development possible. 

Following the discussion, the Design Review Board deliberated over the design and identified key areas that needed to be addressed in the next meeting. The City of Seattle has specific design guidelines for multifamily and commercial developments. The board went through the list and determined which applied to this process and which were high priorities for the developers. 

The guidelines the board identified as highest priority were: 

Responding to site characteristics — The board asked for more specific plans regarding the site topography, slope and the specifics of the proposed pocket park.

Streetscape compatibility — Important because of all of the additional density brought to the neighborhood. More density on 10th Avenue makes sense, a board member said. 

Parking and vehicle access — One board member said she would like to see a design option with an underground parking garage. The board also said, if traffic comes out onto 10th Avenue West, there will be additional concerns when there is snow and neighborhood children are using the hill to sled.

Height bulk and scale compatibility — The board recognized that the public asked for more density on 10th Avenue and less on Ninth Avenue. They also said that the developers had presented three different massing studies, but the designs were similar. 

Architectural concept and consistency — The surrounding neighborhood is unique, and the developers presented different design styles that are all found nearby. The board cautioned anything too uniform, but they also warned against mixing too many varying styles. 

Landscaping to enhance the building and/or the site — While the developers celebrated their plans for extended setbacks, the board asked for a more concrete idea of what is typical in the area. They also asked for more information regarding the root-protection zone for the trees on the lot. 

For the full story on the developers’ plans, visit ow.ly/s0ey5.

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