North Capitol Hill neighbors appeal Holy Names underground parking decision

Homeowners near Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy have filed an appeal to halt approval of a planned 237-car underground parking garage below a new, two-story gymnasium on the school’s 21st Ave E campus on environmental grounds.

The appeal based in State Environmental Policy Act requirements follows last month’s decision by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections allowing the project to move forward.

The city’s Hearing Examiner is scheduled to take up the case in May.

School officials have said they need the new garage and a new 32-space surface parking lot on the northern edge of the E Aloha at 21st Ave E campus to relieve parking pressure on the neighborhood. “As you well know, parking has increasingly become more difficult in the neighborhood due to increased housing density, new businesses, and people parking for other reasons,” academy head of school Liz Swift wrote in a letter sent to neighbors about the project.

“We are extremely disappointed with the City’s decision but are perhaps more disappointed with Holy Names,” the appeal reads. “We were hoping that someone would do the right thing and consider the historical and environmental impact this project will have on our neighborhood, as well as the input from the immediate neighbors who are overwhelmingly opposed to these retrograde plans. But in the end, money speaks volumes and the school apparently intends to proceed as if the neighbors do not exist and are not worthy of listening to. As surprising as it is, that has been their plain message which has not been lost on any of us.”

The lead appellant in the filing according to documents in the case is neighbor Shannon Martin. Ten other neighbors are signees of the appeal. The appellant has included a petition signed by “more than 100 families who reside in the immediate vicinity of the school.”

While the appeal cites the environmental concerns about the school’s project it does not specify how it is out of line with state regulations. “This conclusion is bereft of facts and makes no sense to us,” the appeal (PDF) reads. “When the school embarked upon a far more limited expansion quite recently, all of the neighborhood homes surrounding the school shook during the construction and the homes were impacted. This is a far more massive project.”

The appellants have agreed to file an official “clarification of issues” in the case later this month.


SUBSCRIBE TO CHS If you appreciate and value CHS coverage, please tell your friends and neighbors TODAY to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment. Why support CHS? More here.


 

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

19 thoughts on “North Capitol Hill neighbors appeal Holy Names underground parking decision

  1. “all of the neighborhood homes surrounding the school shook during the construction and the homes were impacted”

    Par for the course. There’s several construction projects that are ongoing and also have come and gone around my house. I’ve accepted that my first floor is now an earthquake simulator and stopped hanging breakable wall art.

  2. It’s curious that the Holy Names property keeps being referred to as a park. I get it that the neighborhood enjoys the private Holy Names property but I think it’s misleading to call it a park.

  3. Eye-roll all you want, and maybe the privately-owned green space shouldn’t be referred to as a “park” (although it’s been used like park space by neighborhood families for decades so it feels that way), but the main point is this: Holy Names claims that building the parking garage won’t increase traffic impacts in the surrounding neighborhood and that simply isn’t true. Adding all of that parking capacity will result in more people driving compared to today. Make it easier to park and it’ll be more appealing for people to drive. Pretty simple. Yet HNA says nothing will change except that the students and staff that currently park on the surrounding streets will instead park underground. Not true. So the conclusion that there will be no environmental effects is wrong. Thus the appeal. There will be environmental effects, and, furthermore, it’s just really sad that they’re spending $30 million on a parking garage when they could be spending that kind of money on… oh, how about scholarships for lower income students to attract more diversity to the school? Or building an apartment building in the neighborhood with subsidized housing for staff so they don’t have to drive to work?

    • I agree that this project will have impacts on traffic, but I think this will be mainly positive ones. Yes, probably a few more people will park in the area who currently are not doing so, but this will be offset by the many students and staff who will now be parking in the garage instead of the surrounding streets.

      From what I have read, Holy Names already provides alot of scholarships for low income students.

      • Dear Anonymous:
        Since you asked, I’ll respond.

        There are over one hundred immediate neighbors of Holy Names who would have made it clear that we would rather see Holy Names Students and faculty take mass transportation, carpool or use Park and Right lots. Parking on city streets Is fine, too, there are always spots available – every day of the week – within a two block radius of the school. What we don’t want to see is the destruction of a green space replaced with a parking lot full of buses, contributing to air, noise and light pollution.

      • In a perfect world, everyone would be using mass transportation, but that’s not realistic. The students and staff of Holy Names have a perfect right to drive their cars to school, and it’s not your role to dictate what transportation CHOICE they make.

      • You are absolutely right, Bob, the people at Holy Names have the right to park wherever they want, and say exactly that in my earlier post.
        The neighbors of Holy Names also have the right to oppose destructive, retrograde plans that will make their neighborhood far less safe.

    • Thank you. Your comments are spot on. If anyone thinks this is going to reduce parking in the area, they’re sadly mistaken. Those spots will immediately be taken by Microsoft employees who park in the area and use the Connectors. This has nothing to do with caring about the neighborhood and everything to do with elitism.

  4. If thousands of units of affordable housing have to get through months of fake environmental appeals, then a parking garage built during a climate crisis probably should too.

    Hey Holy Names: hope this makes you become strident advocates of SEPA reform.

  5. This type of construction is happening all over the city. To try and and single out that section of Capitol Hill as a “historic neighborhood” reeks of entitlement and selfishness. It’s a regular nice Seattle neighborhood. LOL

  6. This is easily the most frustrating and confusing project happening right now. While the rest of the area is working to eliminate parking minimums and increase transit, this PRIVATE school to build more car storage.

    • If you think that’s bad, look into what’s been happening with the Midtown project for years now.

      There will always be selfish neighborhood groups willing to sacrifice the greater good for their own narrow desires.

    • Thank you. Holy Names wants to build not only a 5-story parking garage, but also a surface parking lot to house buses – smack dab in the middle of a SF home neighborhood. We protest the destruction of an important green space and the addition of light, noise and air pollution. In addition, we protest promoting more kids driving cars at a time when the city is encouraging alternative modes of transportation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.