An appeal brought against the ambitious Cascadia Center by a neighboring Madison landowner has yielded very little for the appellant. In a decision affirming the Department of Planning and Development’s permitting of the 75-foot, solar panel-covered building planned for the intersection of Madison and 15th, Seattle Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner rejected the arguments of the legal team for Madison Court, a complex of three apartment buildings to the east of the planned Bullitt Foundation development.
In a multi-day hearing beginning March 29th, lawyers and representatives for the Bullitt Foundation, developer Point 32 and DPD faced off with the Madison Court team to discuss most every aspect of the much-heralded green project. The Cascadia Center aims to meet the goals of the Living Building Challenge, a set of 20 priorities not least of which are 100% on-site waste management and renewable energy generation.
Lawyers for Madison Court had argued that the center should not qualify for the Challenge’s pilot program because its photovoltaic arrays would extend over the sidewalk and therefore the project should not have been granted permission to build 10 feet higher than allowed zoning in the area. CHS broke news of the appeal and posted details of Madison Court’s complaints in February.
The appeal also included an argument that the scale of the building conflicts with neighborhood guidelines:
In her opening remarks at the hearing, Madison Court lawyer Leslie Clark said the project’s sustainability was laudable and this stretch of Madison was an appropriate place for high density development. But putting those elements together, she said, the Cascadia Center as planned was inappropriate for the space. “Two rights have made a wrong,” Clark said. “The overall mass and scale was not reviewed.”
“Testimony will show that this site was careully selected for this building,” said Melody McCutcheon in her opening remarks representing Bullitt and Point 32.
In the decision document provided to CHS by Madison Court, the Hearing Examiner rejected Clark’s contention that the Cascadia Center did not meet necessary requirements of the city’s Living Building Challenge pilot program to justify departures from city code:
With the Hearing Examiner rejecting most of his side’s arguments — though she did add some requirements around transportation planning and loading and construction hours restrictions — Madison Court’s Morris Groberman tells CHS he and his partners are weighing their options and considering whether to appeal at the Superior court.