The story of a Belmont Ave home’s downward spiral into decay, danger and frustration for neighbors is slated to come to a rapid conclusion. Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will go to court this July to have the property at 502 Belmont Ave E condemned, allowing the city to have the building demolished by August.
According to DPD deputy director Alan Justad, this is the first time DPD has pursued demolition of the house. The announcement follows a series of complaints against the property over the last three years. The most recent complaint was filed in January 2009 and was moved to the “law department” this February, according to city records. It also comes only days after neighbor Allison’s CHS post about 502 Belmont Ave E in which she and CHS community members document years of complaints filed against the property with the DPD for issues with garbage in the yard to leaving the building unsecure. In total, the DPD Web site lists four active complaints for the property.
In a police report released last week, the Seattle Police Department documented an investigation of a reported robbery at the property in which officers declined to enter the structure because of concerns about ‘biohazard.’ A man told officers he was jumped inside a home he was squatting in on Belmont Ave that matches the description of the property. “This location has significant biohazard and is unsecured by the property owner,” the officer filing the report noted.
According to King County Property records, 502 Belmont is owned by Seattle resident Kyle Clark. Catalyst Commercial Partners told Allison that Clark is trying to sell the house and and two other properties he owns on the street and that he has been in a “struggle” with the insurance company over coverage money to fix the house.
CHS has been unable to reach Clark to speak to him about this situation.
The house has long been notable on Belmont but it wasn’t always because of biohazard, crime and trash. Commenter subbacultcha provides some perspective from inside the house from back in its quirkier days:
Heh. I lived in that there house for a few years — the Hidden Mangrove it was dubbed. We liked living there an awful lot. We did get an official warning once for having too much “art” in our yard. But it was a fun and happy home. And a lot of neighbors seemed to enjoy our colorfulness. People would always stop by when we were on the porch and tell us that they liked the house and our awesome cats. Before I lived there, I lived down the street and I would always walk by that house in awe. It was awesome to answer an ad on Craigslist and have it turn out to be _that_ house (!)
My housemates and I moved out because we had to make room for more condos. It was very sad and we tried to fight it but we didn’t win. And then the condo market fell flat. And now it’s scary and crawling with weirdos, but in a bad way. So sorry to see it go down like that.
Justad said the court proceedings will likely take place in early July and, after a mandatory 30-day appeal period, demolition could begin as early as the first weeks of August. Justad said the cost of knocking down the building will be covered by a lien placed on the property.