News

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 20:45

Date of Hearing Set + Success of Fundraising

The date for the hearing of our appeal by the Hearing Examiner has been set: August 12. Location and details in the link to the notice below.
We are very impressed by the concern and generosity of our neighbors. As of May 20 contributions total $16,328 from 53 donors!!! Thank you!!!

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 - 21:39

We Filed Our Appeal + Success of Fundraising Continues

Our attorney submitted our Notice of Appeal to the Hearing Examiner.  We have issued an announcement about the appeal and the success of our continuing fundraising. Links:

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 - 21:23

APPEAL HAS BEEN FILED + SUCCESS OF FUNDRAISING CONTINUES

 
WE'VE FILED THE APPEAL:
Our attorney has filed the Notice of Appeal to the Hearing Examiner’s office to challenge the Director’s Decision that approved Blanchet’s project.  Our Notice of Appeal, which succinctly but powerfully outlines our case, is posted on our website at http://blanchetneighbors.com/document/our-notice-appeal .
 
Keep in mind that this is only a notice to get accepted onto the Examiner’s docket.  It is just a bare outline, not the argument itself.  Now our attorney’s extensive work begins:  to prepare and present our full case at the hearing, to work with expert witnesses on noise and lighting glare issues , and to defend our case against the opposing attorneys.
 
Our attorney, David Mann of Gendler & Mann, is one of Seattle’s more experienced land use attorneys, a great supporter of neighborhoods, and he’s recently won a major case before the US Supreme Court.  http://www.gendlermann.com/   He agrees that we have an unusually strong case and an excellent chance of prevailing.
 
EXCITING NEWS:
Thank you!!!  Thanks to all of you, our fundraising effort to pay for our neighborhood’s defense is continuing to be a resounding success.  As of Monday May 20 we’ve received $16,328 in contributions from 53 donors.  As of May 1 our expenses have totaled $2,915 (for attorney advice prior to May 1 and sound consultant measurements of last year’s football games).  Most of the costs are still to come.
 
We can’t know what the final costs will be … they could be greater, or less, than what we’ve received to date.  Much depends on the case that Blanchet’s lawyers make and how much we need to make use of expert technical witnesses.  We have to prepare in the event that expenses are greater than what we now have.  We will return to you any amounts left over on a prorated basis.  We will keep all of you informed as the case progresses.
 
We continue being judicious with our expenditures, while creating a formidable case.  Our attorney has reduced his normal fees in support of the neighborhood. The expertise of several neighbors (including a retired major institution properties manager, a retired planning principal in a major architectural firm, a county planning commissioner, the principal of an environmental consulting firm, and the principal of a computer consulting and website hosting company) has saved us much money and has strengthened our case.  Members of our group have supplied all needed materials and printing gratis.
 
What to expect about the hearing:
The hearing will likely be in the next 4 to 8 weeks.  We’ll inform you when it gets scheduled.
 
The hearing examiner process is a legal process, conducted similar to a court of law.  It rules on objective finding regarding the law, not subjective qualitative issues.  That’s exactly where our case is strongest and the City’s DPD’s decision weakest.  It will be open for the public to observe, but participation and testimony will be limited to the participants and those called as witnesses, including various experts.  More information about Hearing Examiner hearings can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/examiner/docs/PublicGuide2_00001.PDF.
 

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 18:49

City DPD Approved Stadium Lighting - We Are Appealing

Today (April 25)  the city’s DPD approved the Blanchet Stadium lighting.  There are tremendous grounds for appeal: in the decision  there were a number of errors in fact, a number of errors and omissions in interpretation of the code, and the few mitigations offered are insufficient and - if the past is indicative - are likely to gradually disappear over time.
Urgent: We are launching the last stage of our fund drive to support our appeal. Go to the link below. Contribute for our neighborhood’s defense.

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 18:25

Urgent: The City Staff's Decision

Urgent Neighborhood News:
 
Today (April 25) the city’s DPD approved the Blanchet Stadium lighting.  There are tremendous grounds for appeal: in the decision there were a number of errors in fact, a number of errors and omissions in interpretation of the code, and the few mitigations offered are insufficient and - if the past is indicative - are likely to gradually disappear over time.
 
We have retained a top-notch land use attorney who has successfully argued before the US Supreme Court and has supported many similar neighborhoods looking to preserve their quality of life who is confident in our case. (He has also graciously and dramatically reduced his fees for us and will work with us to the extent we can afford).
 
Take Action Now!

  1. Contribute to our neighborhood’s defense fund!

    Consider the impact to your home’s value and your quality of life. Is being able to park in front of your house all year worth $150? Is saving a substantial amount of your home’s value worth $1,000?

    We have already raised over $6,000 to defend our neighborhood – we’re already a little more than half way to what we may need.  Please contribute to help us raise the rest.  All funds go to a trust account held by our attorney.  All unused funds will be returned in a prorated manner.

    It’s important that the funds be in our hand by May 9 so that our attorney can prepare our case.

    Make checks payable to our attorney:
    Gendler & Mann, LLC with a memo “Blanchet Neighbors”

    Mail checks to our treasurer:
    Dean Enell, 4755 Lakeside Drive, Langley, WA 98260
     

  2. Get the word out!

    Spread the word. Talk to your neighbors.
    Make sure your block’s email list passes the info along.
    “Like us” on Social Media – click on the icons for Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Posted: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 08:25

April 22 Update - No decision by city yet but expected very soon

On April 19, the status shown on the city website for reviews by the supervisor changed from "incomplete" to "waived", probably passing the responsibility for a hard decision up the line. It now goes to the Director of the DPD for decision, which we believe could come in the next week or possibly later if there is much internal discussion within the city's DPD.
 
The latest proposal for the stadium Blanchet submitted provided for 70’ high lights (= 7 story building) and a sound system to be used until 10:00 PM 5 nights a week (until 10:30 on varsity football nights) and until 6:00 PM 2 nights per week.  Use would be by Blanchet and undefined others for many field sports (football, soccer, la crosse, field hockey, etc.)  The increased frequency and intensity of use and its consequent adverse impacts of lights, noise, traffic, parking, and ancillary impacts of stadiums (disturbances, graffiti, boisterous revelry, etc.) would damage the livability of our neighborhood and would disrupt our families’ lives.
 
We believe there are many provisions in the city code that require denial of the permit.  We expect that no matter who wins, the other will appeal. So we are now making final preparations for either eventuality
 
In either case we will need an attorney to represent us.  With the support of neighbors like you, we have already raised over $5,400 but we need $5,000 to $7,000 more for our attorney to fully represent us.
 
We are fortunate in that among our neighbors we have 3 who between them have a total of over 60 years of professional experience in land use, building code, environmental studies, and SEPA issues, and other neighbors who have experience in creating and managing websites and others with experience in community organization.  This has enabled us to minimize our costs while mounting a robust defense of our neighborhood.
 
On April 6 we held a very well-attended and enthusiastic neighborhood meeting. Those present at the meeting voted in acclamation that we should appeal if needed and the sense was that we would get the required funds. There was no dissent.  A link to our meeting notes is below.
 
Once a decision is announced we will only have 2 calendar weeks to launch an appeal if needed.  And by the end of those 2 weeks we need to have all donations in hand.
 
Contributions
 
We will begin a concentrated fund drive as soon as the decision is announced.
In the meantime, we encourage donations be made at any time to our trust account at our attorney’s office as follows:
 

  • Contributions should be by check made out to Gendler & Mann, LLP, with a note on the
    memo line “Concerned Blanchet Neighbors”.
  • All checks should be mailed to:

Dean Enell, our treasurer, at
4755 Lakeside Drive,
Langley, WA 98260
 
We identified block captains to liaise with their blocks, to keep their blocks informed, to encourage donations, and to pass out handouts when the concerted fund drive begins.
Click here to contact your Block Captain
They are as follows:
Corliss - Jason Baumgartner & Tiffin Goodman
Bagley – Toni Ciardullo
Meridian – Jim Waddington
Stroud – Judith Benjamin and Clooie Sherman
Burke – Jason Baumgartner & Tiffin Goodman
Wallingford – Dean Enell
Densmore – Sasha Lien
North of 85th – Eric Johnston & Guillemette Regan
82nd – each block captain will be responsible for the 1 block on 82nd east of their street
Ashworth – no volunteer block captain yet – any volunteers?

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 19:36

Change in Status at the City

Today, April 19, the status shown on the city website for reviews by the supervisor changed from "incomplete" to "waived". It now goes to the Director of the DPD for decision, which we believe should come in the next week or possibly longer if there is much internal discussion within the city's DPD.

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 02:26

No Decision Yet

Seattle's Department of Planning and Development Supervisor’s Review is still shown as incomplete (it went to supervisor on March 1).

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 11:51

Update on Blanchet’s Stadium Permits as of Feb. 26, 2013 Updated Mar .14 & Mar. 29

The City has issued its latest comments (correction notice # 3) for Land Use. The reviewer says she is done analyzing the land use component, but is still awaiting Blanchet’s revised Transportation Submittal before releasing results of her review.  She says she will not require a SEPA review but will still review the other issues.  She gives no indication of the outcome of the review of those other issues. We have made 2 short submittals rebutting her conclusion re SEPA. *** UPDATE Mar 29, 2013: The permit status is listed on the DPD's website as all reviews complete and approved. The permit is now in the hands of the supervisor and the DPD director, who should be announcing their decision shortly. ***

We have received an email from DPD staff outlining a partial response to our claims of 3 on-going code violations, as follows:

  1. Existing Sound System not in compliance with its permit:
    The City did a sound check recently on the volume of the speakers and found the sound level of the speakers meets the required limitation. However, the installation is not according to the details of the permit. They are reviewing which should apply as “the requirement.”
     
  2. Press Box constructed without permits:
    Some sources from the City say the building department is investigating, but we have not received confirmation of that. *** UPDATE Mar. 13: As of Mar. 7 the city found the press box to have been in violation and issued a notice of violation requiring it to be removed or proper permits be applied for by April  6. *** UPDATE Mar 29: Blanchet has begun application for a construction permit to replace the existing press box with a new prefabricated press box - Construction permit application 6358328 ***
     
  3. 2 Houses on 85th being used as school offices:
    The city has investigated and issued an order to the school: prior to March 11, 2013 either cease using them as offices or apply for permits (which we believe will require both a variance and an administrative Conditional Use permit). *** UPDATE Mar. 23:  As of Mar. 20 Blanchet applied for and was granted an extension of the compliance date to June 28. Our belief is that this may have been to allow them to apply for a variance and administrative conditional use permit. The other alternative would be that they said it would take that long for them to relocate their offices. ***

 

The above referenced documents can be found at the following links:

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 21:31

Significant Code Violations by Blanchet

We have submitted detailed documentation to the city describing what we believe are 3 significant and relevant code violations by Blanchet. The city is investigating them.

  1. Violation 1: The existing sound amplification system

    The existing stadium sound amplification system installed in 2006 appears not to conform to mandatory conditions required by its permit and should be removed or rebuilt to comply.
     

  2. Violation 2: Press Box Without Permit

    The existing press box on the west bleachers appears to have been constructed without necessary permits. It should be removed or Blanchet should apply for proper review and permits.
     

  3. Violation 3: Expansion of the Institution Without Permits

    Blanchet has recently changed the use of 2 adjacent residences into offices for the school apparently without a permit. That is a violation of city code. And since it adds more than 4,000 sq. ft. of structure to the school, a new Transportation Management Program for traffic and parking is required by city code.

Our documents are at the locations at the URL's below.
Be patient, several documents approach 9 MB so take awhile to download.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 - 09:34

Summary of Our Comments to the City

On December 17 we submitted to the City a summary of our comments.
This document demonstrates:

  1. the Seattle Municipal Code requires the City to deny the requested permits as detailed in Section A.
  2. current and on-going violations of prior conditions of use, violations of the Land Use Code, and violations of the Seattle Building Code in its Section B.
  3. the requirement for a new Transportation Management Plan has been triggered by expansion of the school as shown in Section B.
  4. SEPA requires an EIS to be prepared as documented in Section C.

Our documents are at the locations at the URL's below.
Be patient, each document is between 7 – 9 MB so takes awhile to download.

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 14:55

City-Wide Significance & Stadiums are NOT Ordinary Athletic Fields

2 Paramount issues:
  1. This stadium has city-wide significance to other Seattle neighborhoods & may be a precedent
  2. This Stadium is NOT an ordinary Athletic Field
Below is a link to an extract from our Nov 20 submittal entitled "Deny Permits for Blanchet's Stadium."
This extract focuses only on the above 2 paramount issues.

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 12:09

Our Latest Submittals to the City

On November 20, 2012 we submitted to the city reasons detailing that Blanchet's permit should be denied. See the link below
On December 4 we submitted to the city our reply to Blanchet's response to the City's Correction Notice # 2. See link below.
 
Be patient ... the documents below approach 9 to 10 MB and download slowly.
 

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 04:37

Blanchet's Stadium's Noise In Violation of Existing Permit

Seattle PDP's response drove neighbors to commision a formal sound study of an actual game (Oct. 20, 2012) by an acoustic expert. The results demonstrated that the noise during the Oct.20th game was in violation of city codes. 

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 02:34

Cycle 3 corrections for ZONING, LAND USE

 
Blanchet has now submitted their revised comments and "Cycle 3" should soon be published on the Seattle DPD website.
 
Blanchet's responses are below:
And our reply to their response is below that
 
 

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