LETTER | Potala Village Neighbors Seek “Neighborly Developer” for Lake Washington Boulevard

Editor:

With this morning’s news that Judge Robart has put Lobbing Dargey and his companies into receivership, the likelihood of sale of the 10th Ave S / Lake St S properties may have just increased.

This could be a great opportunity for a wonderfully neighborly developer.  This is a beautiful piece of property zoned for Residential Market – Neighborhood Business.  The area boasts well designed single family homes and low to medium density condominiums with a couple low to medium density apartments (5-18 units/acre).  Setbacks from the sidewalk are generous and usually have lush landscaping, sculptures and fountains that add to the inviting and walkable main boulevard along the western shore of Lake Washington.  Mature trees are generally kept in place and built around.

These properties have a 30 foot height limit ABE so a third story could be built and would likely have some beautiful lake views.  Just think of the wonderful possibilities the properties would offer to a developer truly attempting to build something that ADDS to the current character of the neighborhood.

Mr Dargey’s development of this property has been contentious for more than 4 years.  There has been a steadfast group of about 800 citizens banding together, showing up to meetings in large numbers and pooling money for attorneys.  All this as a result of the developer’s attempts to misconstrue and change zoning and insert a much too big development into a site that was to be for “very small building or mixed use center” with neighborhood serving business(es) and some sort of neighborhood gathering attributes. 

There was more than the “normal” citizen outcry here.  This was not the run of the mill objection with some citizens showing up for a meeting or two and then disappearing.  In fact, the zoning abuses were considered so egregious that the 800 participants rotated their attendance and were still showing up in groups of about 50 at each City Council or Design Review Meeting fifty-two (52) months later.  They have worn matching “red shirts” to approximately 70 meetings to date!

Should the current developer, or some other developer, persist in trying to build a misplaced development on this site, my guess is that the persistent “red shirts” will remain. 

We hope instead to attract a developer with a beautiful neighborhood compatible vision, compatible in size, scale and character.  If you are that developer, your neighbors await with open arms!

Karen Levenson