Ali Taysi, a land use consultant and founder of AVT Consulting, hosted a neighborhood meeting on June 1st to present the plans for a project they are promoting, Samish View, a 118-unit apartment building on the parcel next to the Samish Way Elks Club. (My previous article on this project can be found here.) Taysi also happens to be the president of the city’s Planning Commission, although the permit process for this project will not involve recommendations from that commission. Six Samish Neighborhood residents “attended” a Zoom meeting; among them were three members of the Samish Neighborhood Board and the head of the Elks Lodge.
Many of the questions revealed concerns about traffic and parking. The developers’ representatives were attentive to the concerns although some aspects of the traffic issues were beyond the scope of the meeting. One of the main issues was the steep egress (8% according to the developer) from the property’s parking areas and the concomitant problem of sight lines to the north and south along Samish Way. (See artist’s rendering above.) The reps were somewhat aware of this issue and indicated that cars exiting the complex would have sufficient space to move up to the fog line on a level surface to maximize the sight lines north and south. This brought on a discussion of the speeds of vehicles on Samish Way, an arterial with a 35-mph speed limit. The consensus among all was that cars regularly drive in excess of the speed limit, often up to 50-mph. The reps agreed to bring the issue up to the city but pointed out that the developer was not responsible for the speed issue.
Attention was also called to the six parking spaces planned for the front of the building along Samish Way and problems that might arise due to insufficient space to pull out of the line of 35 - 50 mph traffic to parallel park. Suggestions were also made that the parking spaces in front include a loading zone that is marked as such by the city, and a prohibition on parking for more than a few hours, since the developer’s intention is to have these spaces for in-out deliveries, taxis, etc. Additionally, this short-term parking, if not planned correctly could limit views for traffic exiting the parking areas.
The project will allow for about 116-118 parking spaces (one for each unit) on site with no guest parking to speak of. The head of the Elks Lodge was concerned about overflow parking when guests do arrive and the controls that would be placed on overflows. Ali Taysi of AVT Consulting responded that the best way to work out this issue would be through direct discussions with the property manager once the project is built and a manager is hired. The plan includes space that is intended for covered bicycle parking & storage on the lower level, which sounds like a well-intentioned effort to encourage bicycle transit to campus or downtown.
A question arose as to the plans for “affordable” units within the development. Taysi said the units would be offered at market rate. He further stated that the units would be relatively less costly to rent in that all were studios. He offered no estimate of monthly rents but the project will probably not be ready for tenants for a year or two, during which time rental prices may change. Several participants also asked if there would be “doubling up” in the units in an attempt by the renters to cut costs. Taysi said he doubted very much that two people could live in one studio as the average unit size of 350 sq. ft. (about 18 ft. X 20 ft.) would be dissuasive. He also indicated that marketing would be to the general populace and not specifically to students.
Since this permit process is done under a part of the city code, an administrative decision by the planning director is all that is required for approval. In the coming weeks and months the developer will submit the required documentation and at some point the Planning Department will give Notice of Completed Application. At that point, a public comment period of 14 days will begin.