5th & Virginia project delayed after Hearing Examiner rules on Escala Appeal

A ruling by City of Seattle Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil to remand the 5th & Virginia project on daylight and health and require additional work on their dock management plan will further delay the start of construction.

“It is clear that we prevailed on the issue of daylighting and health, said Escala spokesman John Sosnowy.  "The SDCI now has to go back and seriously evaluate the proposal’s impacts as they relate to the loss of light within the Escala residential units. This “remand” is a very significant win for us, and cannot be taken lightly by the Applicant or the SDCI. We expect to be a part of and fully involved in that process."

The Examiner also instructed the Applicant to incorporate certain additional terms into their dock management plan; however, we believe that he clearly missed the mark on really understanding the adverse impacts of alley issues and cumulative effects. Make no mistake about it, this was a case that exposed serious flaws in the Seattle Design Review and SEPA (environmental review) process, as well as the abuses of the system routinely used by SDCI as a matter of policy. I hope we can have a discussion with the Mayor on improving the process in the not-too-distant future.

This ordeal that we have gone through for the past three years is not some kind of a game for us. We literally fear for our lives if this project is built as proposed. Otherwise, we would never have spent the time and the money that we have spent to see that this project is done right. The reason why developers win so often is not because the projects are done right; it’s because affected citizens give up, believing they can’t win against a stacked deck of big money and the City.

But we remember “Erin Brockovich”, so we are determined to persevere against all odds just like she did; except we want it fixed before we have residents seriously ill from lack of daylight, or engaged in “road rage” in an alley and loading berths that won’t work. For the Developer and the City, this is just their job; for us, this is our life! That’s why we will never stop until all avenues are exhausted to get this project done right. If that means going all the way to the Supreme Court, so be it!

Additional info in article by Marc Stiles in Puget Sound Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2018/05/07/douglaston-seattle-tower-plan-escala-appeal-ruling.html