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Judge's ruling in Benchview neighborhood challenge to city-approved lot split

Judge's ruling in Benchview neighborhood challenge to city-approved lot split

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Published by WestSeattleBlog
King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman's ruling in the Benchview neighborhood's lot-split fight. She says the city made a mistake.
King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman's ruling in the Benchview neighborhood's lot-split fight. She says the city made a mistake.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: WestSeattleBlog on Jul 26, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/28/2013

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Judge Mariane Spearman
 516 Third Avenue, Room C-203Seattle, WA 98104(206) 477-1647
 ORDER 1 of 13
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SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTONKING COUNTY
BENCHVIEW NEIGHBORHOODASSOCIATION,Petitioner,andCITY OF SEATTLE, et al.,Respondents.CAUSE NO. 13-2-05025-1 SEA
MEMORANDUM DECISIONFacts
The property at issue is situated on the corner lot of SW Manning Street and 55thAvenue SW at 3650 44th Avenue SW
. This property is in a “SF 5000,” or single family zone
where the standard lot size is 5000 square feet. The area was originally platted into 2500square foot parcels, but the homes in the area span at least two of these smaller parcels due to
Seattle’s 5000 square feet per building lot requirement. The LBA
(
Lot Boundary
FILED
13 JUL 24 AM 10:23KING COUNTYSUPERIOR COURT CLERKE-FILEDCASE NUMBER: 13-2-05025-1 SEA
 
 
Judge Mariane Spearman
 516 Third Avenue, Room C-203Seattle, WA 98104(206) 477-1647
 ORDER 2 of 13
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Adjustment
) property is a double lot, spanning four of the originally platted small parcels,totaling 11,500 square feet.In 1952, the house on the LBA property was built with its address, main entrance,walkway access and driveway access all orientated towards 55th Avenue. When this housewas built, 55th Avenue was the only finished street adjacent to the LBA property and provided its sole vehicular and pedestrian access. Thus, Manning Street did not existadjacent to the property at the time the home was built, and instead, was a dead-end east of the LBA property, stopping just west of 5344 SW Manning Street.The LBA house was set back 24.43 feet from the west lot line along 55th Avenue,which is the same as the setback on the neighboring property to the south. The house wassetback 11.53 feet from the north lot line, but featured a balcony that projected another fewfeet into the side yard. The property extended over lots 8, 9, 10 and 11 and the house was built on lots 10 and 11, 3.46 feet from the east lot line of parcel 10. The house was setback 38.58 feet from the south lot line, and a detached garage was built in this side yard in 1959.Parcel 8 served as the back yard for the LBA property. At some point, decks were added tothe house and a portion of one deck extended four feet onto lot 9, while another deck extended several feet onto the 10 foot Manning building line setback.On December 17, 2012 the owners of the LBA property in question applied for a LotBoundary Adjustment with the City of Seattle, requesting to adjust the platted lots. Theowner requested that a portion of the building site occupied by lots 10 and 11 be joined
 
 
Judge Mariane Spearman
 516 Third Avenue, Room C-203Seattle, WA 98104(206) 477-1647
 ORDER 3 of 13
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together into parcel A; portions of lots 9, 10, and 11 would become parcel B; and lot 8 and a portion of lot 9 would become parcel C.
The City’s Department of Planning and Development (“DPD”) processed this LBA
application as a Type I administrative LBA decision. There is no provision for publiccomment or a hearing with a Type I LBA. Despite the lack of formal notice given, membersof the Benchview Neighborhood Association
(“BNA”) submitted written comments and
questions to the DPD opposing the LBA. The DPD responded with a letter on January 15,2013.On January 18, 2013, the City approved the LBA Application, creating threesubstandard lots sized 3,414 square feet, 3,781 square feet, and 4,396 square feet. The twosmaller lots establish building sites facing adjacent to the LBA Property, along ManningStreet and 55th Avenue. The third lot incorporates the existing house on the corner.The Petitioner, Benchview Neighborhood Association, brought this motion to reverse
the City’s approval of the LBA based on its arguments that: (1) the City erred in approving
the LBA, and (2) the City improperly classified this application as an LBA, thereby denyingthe citizens due process because no public notice was required.
Standard of Review
The Land Use Petition Act (“LUPA”) is codified in Chapter 36.70C of the RevisedCode of Washington. Under RCW 36.70C.130, the superior “court may grant relief only if 
the party seeking relief has carried the burden of establishing that one of the standards set
forth in (a) through (f) of this subsection has been met:”

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