Downtown Residents Call to Action

In a desperate race to secure more funding under the politically popular heading of "affordable housing", the Mayor’s minions will do almost anything. This week, that policy hit a new low, when the SDCI issued an Addendum ReNotice, changing just two words almost two years after the original SEPA Addendum in September 2017. It appears that this ReNotice is simply an attempted manipulation of SEPA that is a direct response to Escala's earlier 5th and Virginia appeal. As one commenter said, "A DS [Determination of Significance] is a DS, no matter what words you use, ‘likely' or ‘could’." It means that the SDCI concluded that there will be significant adverse impacts…and no fancy legal shenanigans can change that fact. Most important, there have been no meaningful improvements to the design to mitigate the adverse impacts.

See a Sample Public Comment Letter from a Downtown Resident below:

August 15, 2019

Dear Ms. Torres and Mr. Torgelson:

I live downtown. My quality of life, and the quality of life of countless other Seattle residents who live in the area and those who drive in and around 5th and Stewart will likely be greatly adversely affected by the proposed project 3018037, if it is approved without proper elimination of the significant adverse impacts that have been found are likely to occur under the Washington Environmental Policy Act.

Your previous finding, based on substantial evidence submitted from both area homeowners and the developer of the proposed project, was that the project “is likely to” have probable significant adverse impacts under the State Environmental Policy Act. Your proposed change is to delete “is likely to” and substitute “could have” probable significant adverse impacts without any explanation, much less a credible or convincing explanation, for the change. This appears to be a significant change that was attempted to be slipped in under the radar.

Is there evidence that you relied on but failed to disclose to all interested parties that you claim merits this fundamental change in wording? Is there a reason why you feel you were in error in relying on the evidence presented and the hearings held in concluding that the project “is likely to” have probable significant adverse impacts under the State Environmental Policy Act?

What contact and interaction was there between the City of Seattle and the developer after the finding of likely significant adverse impacts, without notice to and the knowledge of all interested parties? What additional evidence was presented by the developer that was not disclosed to the objecting parties? If no additional evidence was presented or arguments made by the developer, what prompted the proposed significant change in wording?

Going forward how can anyone reasonably conclude that those responsible for this proposal to make a crucial, substantive change in the wording on significant adverse impacts, without any explanation of the reason for the proposed change, can be fair or impartial?

Stephen Roberts

Please send your Public Comment Letter today (comment period ends Monday August 19th, 2019) in opposition to the SEPA Addendum ReNotice to 5th & Stewart, #3018037, and demand that a Director’s Decision be delayed until the adverse impacts have really been eliminated. Please send your letter to: