Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Valor Apartments Meeting

Tomorrow ( Wednesday, January 9th ) from 6pm to 9pm at the Lake City Community Center, DPD will be holding an open house meeting  for public comment / review of the Valor Apartments permit application. Below is an open letter that was sent to Council Member Richard Conlin ( the chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. ) The Mayor's office and all Council Members were copied. 

Council Member Conlin-

I apologize for the late notice on this meeting. I also apologize for the length of this email, but there is an important point to be made regarding inaccuracies from the Office of Housing that may affect HUD funding as well as SEPA review. 
( This email will be posted also as an open letter on the DPC website. )

On Wednesday, January 9th at the Lake City Community Center from 6 to 9 pm  DPD will be hosting a meeting to get public input on the Valor Apartment project. The permit has not yet been issued and the meeting was scheduled in response to a petition signed by over 100 residents in Lake City. 

I am attaching a photograph of the notice board that went up last year. Most people took this at face value, only to learn much later in the review process what was really intended. 

The community has very serious concerns about the siting of this project:

1. The language on the Notice board is deceptive.

The Notice board at the site reads “To construct a 4 story residential structure with 21 units above a 1,500 sf community center at ground level. Existing structures to be demolished.”

The 21 “residential” units are intended to house individuals / veterans with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug addiction. They will require staff supervision.

The “community center” on the first floor is intended to be a Psychiatric Clinic for residents and a Homeless Drop In Center - a continuation of the Mennonite's God's lil Acre which appears to be an unregistered non profit operating as a pseudo clinic on a harm reduction model with no governmental oversight. 

2. The proposed project may not comply with City Council’s ELI threshold

The limit for Extremely Low Income housing is 20% of all the housing in the area ( the Census Block Group ).

The adjacent block group  is currently at 30% ELI housing ( per OH data ). 33rd from 125th to 130th is at 43.5% ELI,  and the north half of the HUV is at 21% ELI . ( see maps )

This project continues a trend toward poor siting decisions for ELI housing that is increasing the concentration of poverty in our Hub Urban Village - against the Department of Housing and Urban Development's  guiding principle of reducing poverty by by creating mixed income neighborhoods. 

3. There is a 75 unit building for homeless individuals and veterans on the same block.

Some of the residents at McDermott place have addiction issues. Residency there does not require they be clean and sober. 

4. There is a children’s playground, immigrant family housing,  and a new park space directly across the street.

For your reference, I am also attaching two maps. The first is a map that shows Census Block Group 1.3 in the project area at 30% ELI. This map is from the Office of Housing. This number has been revised increasingly upward since I first started investigating it on June 20th of 2012. It started at 9.9% and I am concerned that land use and HUD funding decisions are being made with incorrect data. I want to make sure that yourself and your fellow council members have the most recently corrected map and data and are aware of these changes in relationship to the HUD funding earmarked for this project. 
The last attachment is a map I composed of the Hub Urban Village. The numbers are from the King County Tax Assessor site as well as data from OH. Please note that if you isolate the north half of the Lake City Hub Urban Village, we are at 21% ELI. Although the consolidated plan's siting policy uses Census Block Groups as the bounds for determining the 20% threshold, we believe that the HUV bounds are more pertinent. Also note that the ELI concentration jumps to 43.5% when looking at just 33rd Ave from 125th to 130th - the street the project is proposed for.   

If you made it this far, then thank you for your time. I appreciate it and hope to see you tomorrow. 


  1. Thanks for posting this. I'm planning on attending. I was going to take pictures of the playground and the building lot today. But the maps are a huge help.

  2. Ms. Clark & Mr. Conlin,

    I have learned of the true nature of the Valor Apartments permit application (project #3011758, at 12517 33rd Ave NE) and I strongly feel that it should be denied.

    The block in question is already over 43% ELI -more than double the City Council's threshold. The northern half of our HUV now stands at 21% ELI. It already includes drop-in shelters, low-income housing, more veteran housing, and the proposed site of the Firestation 39 shelter.

    These concentrations do a disservice to low-income individuals as they will not have a neighborhood with the capacity to integrate them into a successful community. This drives down the value of the neighborhood, pushes visitors and businesses out, and strengthens the cycle of poverty.

    As a resident of Lake City I have watched an apparent campaign to shift the responsibility of the city's low-income care onto our struggling neighborhood at the edge of town. We cannot bear this burden alone.

    When I walk to the library with my son, most of our walk does not include the benefit of sidewalks. We pass homeless people, intoxicated, drug-dealers, and prostitutes. Is that a helpful atmosphere for recovering addicts? Is this how your neighborhood is?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Well said, thank you.
      I live in the newly-structured building right across the street with the playground. I have enough of the powerty, homelessness, addiction and odd people to watch avery day; some of it should be "evenly distributed" to other neghborhoods. I myself have never used alcohol, never smoked regular cigaretes (let alone anything else), and have always kept being straight individual. I do FEAR for my 10 yr. old little boy and my self as a woman and a single mother, as the situation for sure will not be safe there to live and move around. I DO NOT WANT THIS BUILDING ACROSS MY STREET. Please, there are mental institutions for people like that and they should be taken care of there.
      Thank you.

  3. Great comment, Adam in Lake City. I'm going to save that for future letters to the city. And thank you DPC for this post and the maps. Is anyone in the city listening??

  4. Mr. Conlin kindly responded:

    "I certainly appreciate the concerns that you raise. This is a permitting issue, and the decision is made by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). Under State law, the Council cannot intervene in permitting processes. I urge you to continue working with DPD on the situation. The Council does have the authority and responsibility to change Seattle regulations if they are not working (within the parameters set in State law), but all of our actions can only apply to future decision-making, not to currently pending actions.
    Sorry I cannot be more helpful!"

    I've contacted the DPD, and you should too!


  5. Adam in Lake CityApril 1, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Unfortunately, the DPD has just approved the project. The deadline for appeal is 4/15/2013. Please get the message out! More details can be found here:


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