UPDATE:Appeal to halt Alki Elementary School rebuild denied by hearing examiner upheld by Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones has upheld the determination of non-significance in the plan to remodel Alki Elementary School. He sent a letter to the appellants that reads:
I have received the Hearing Examiner’s Recommendation (“Recommendation”) regarding the SEPA Appeal that was filed by several appellants for the Alki Elementary School Addition and Renovation Project. I have carefully reviewed the Recommendation and find it to be sound. As a result, I adopt the Hearing Examiner’s Recommendation. Appellants’ evidence has not shown the Responsible Official’s SEPA determination to be clearly erroneous. The SEPA Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance is therefore affirmed.
Dr. Brent Jones Superintendent
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections has yet to sign off on the 9 variances from code called for in the plan. Several of the appellants have indicated they will continue to contest the project.
Original Post 3/16
The neighbors near Alki Elementary School who appealed the $67 million plan to rebuild and remake the school were dealt a blow on Wednesday March 15 when their appeal was denied by a Hearing Examiner hired by Seattle Public Schools.
The final decision rests with Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones.
The decision stated:
I. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATION.
Based on the entire record taken as a whole, the appeal should be denied. The appellants failed to offer sufficient evidence to establish that any probable, significant, adverse environmental impact will result from the project, even after requiring the project to meet existing laws, regulations, and measures noted in the environmental information included in the record. The Examiner is not left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. The challenged MDNS should be affirmed.
There are appeals possible to the City Hearing Examiner.
An appeal beyond this is possible but above this level requires going to Superior Court with attorneys and experts. It could potentially involve appraisals but with shifting interest rates it is unclear how the value of home affected would fare. Other parts of the potential impacts of the project beyond purely environmental may have some impact on decisions at that level.
The basis for the denial of the appeal was primarily regarding the environmental impact and all arguments regarding no parking in the plan, a single handicapped parking space across the street from the school, the 57 foot height, the nine departures from code requested, the projected enrollment of over 500 students despite a consistent pattern of declining enrollment were given no weight by the hearing examiner.
Also not yet weighed in is the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections whose ruling on the nine departures from code could impact the project.
If the City’s SDCI Director approves the departures, it seems likely that an appeal to the City’s Hearing Examiner will be filed.