A neighboring landowner is appealing the City of Seattle’s decision to permit a 75-foot solar-powered building at the corner of 15th Ave and Madison.
In the appeal announced Thursday morning, lawyers representing Madison Court, the apartment building destined to find itself in the shadow of the high-profile Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction, object to a lengthy list of the significant decisions made so far on the project by the city’s Department of Development and Planning including the decision to grant permission for a departure from the area’s zoning laws to allow the building to be built up to 75-feet high to meet the building’s sustainability goals.
In the appeal letter, lawyers for Miller Court are asking the city’s Hearing Examiner to either require an Environmental Impact Study for the Cascadia Center building or require it to conform to standard zoning rules for the area. The appeal hearing will be held March 29.
The move comes only weeks after the state authorized local bonds to pay for an $11 million federal energy grant awarded to the 50,000 square-foot Cascadia Center and the team behind it, The Miller Hull Partnership, Point32, Schuchart Construction and PAE Consulting Engineers.
The Cascadia Center is planned as a living building “designed to satisfy all [of] its energy, water and waste needs on-site,” according to architecture firm Miller Hull which is leading its design. The building will have an expansive set of solar panels designed produce 100% of the building’s energy needs. The building will include
residential space, retail and office space and will serve as the headquarters of the Bullitt Foundation.
The project 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. The most prominent feature of the building will be a huge Photovotalic (Solar Panel) which will cover the entire roof and south side of the building. We wrote about the early plans for the project — and the challenges of solar in the Pacific Northwest — here.
We documented concerns raised at community design meetings — Madison Living Building design meeting notes: A “solar rights issue” — many of which involved the proposed height of the structure.
The Madison Court appeal letter includes nine objections to the project. Some of the objections raised will be the first challenges for the city’s Living Building Pilot Program as Madison Court contends that the Cascadia Center backers haven’t shown their project will meet the necessary requirements to be justify departures from city code.
The letter also documents the Madison Court group’s objection to the granting of the 10-foot increase in height and objections to the building’s gigantic solar panels — “The structural building overhang departure for the Madison Street stairwell and the catwalk under the south photovoltaic (“PV”) roof array unjustifiably convert public space to private use and conflict with adopted design guidelines…”
Also on the objection list: the impact on parking and traffic Madison Court says the sustainable Cascadia Center will cause. The group is also concerned that the Seattle Department of Transportation is reviewing the solar panel structure as a “skybridge.”
The Cascadia Center was originally planned to begin construction this winter. Backers said construction will take about 12 months once work begins.
The site at the intersection of Madison and 15th Ave currently stands fenced and empty after the demolition of the longtime home of CC Attle’s.
(All images: Miller Hull)