This coming Wednesday January 25, Velmeir Companies will return to the Design Review Board for the third time with their proposal for the City People’s site. Overall, the new designs have retained the most positive elements of the project while addressing several key ongoing concerns about the pedestrian realm, light and access, with one significant update: the addition of housing along Dewey Place.
The project’s complete overhaul of designs on Dewey is the most striking change in the packet. Whereas the previous iteration had extra-deep setbacks and greenery, the current proposal includes a row of five two-story townhomes. This updated design appears to address the Design Review Board’s previous concerns about dark, inactive spaces and would create a lively residential use, matching that of existing single-family homes across the street. This move also effectively closes off the garage to Dewey, eliminating neighbors’ noise concerns.
Spaces for People
The project’s updated designs not only retained but enlarged the pedestrian and sidewalk spaces along Madison, providing a minimum of eight feet and up to 10 feet of sidewalk. This move reflects community input and the Design Review Board’s comments that the project will act as a neighborhood gathering space. Further, the garage access point on Madison now includes decorative screening, vastly improving the appearance of the entryway. On Dewey, along with the new 11-foot setback of the garage to accommodate townhomes, the retaining wall was lowered so as to create people-scale views back and forth between the homes and passers-by.
At the Madison Valley Community Council’s big community meeting in May 2016 and at the previous design review meetings, concerns were raised about the most appropriate access options: should vehicles enter from Dewey, from Madison, or Velmeir’s preferred configuration — use split access? In the months since the last Design Review Board meeting, a traffic study was performed to help answer this question. The study demonstrated that split access minimizes the traffic impacts to both streets, and this is shown in the proposal.
Neighbors expressed concerns about 24-hour a day garage lighting; the current design addresses this concern entirely. The addition of five townhomes abutting the back side of the parking garage along Dewey not only eliminates the possibility of car noise and fumes, but light as well.
The design packet shows that Velmeir has tackled four key issue areas head-on in their new proposal: treatment of Dewey Place, spaces for people, access, and lighting. If you’d like to view the packet, it can be found here.
The new owners at City People’s will re-open very soon, and will operate for the remainder of the year while the redevelopment seeks approvals. This is wonderful news for the community and for City People’s business. However, if you agree that the Velmeir project has made significant strides to address concerns and mitigate any issues, consider voicing your support in moving this project forward and staying on schedule. To do so, you can:
• Send a note to PRC@Seattle.gov referencing the project address (2925 E Madison)
• Attend next Wednesday’s meeting at 8:00pm at:
901 12th Ave
Pigott Auditorium — Note new location