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City says Capitol Hill high school’s underground parking garage project can move forward

Capitol Hill private high school Holy Names can move ahead with its plans for a, 237-car underground parking garage below a new, two-story gymnasium, and a new 32-space surface parking lot on the northern edge of its E Aloha at 21st Ave E campus after a city finding that the projects are within bounds of state environmental law.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections issued the determination of “non-significance” late last month. Any appeal of the decision must be filed by Thursday.

In a statement on the decision, Liz Swift, head of school, did not announce a start date for construction but said the work would take 16 to 18 months to complete.

“We are partnering with some of the industry’s most experienced and respected companies to minimize any construction impacts on the surrounding neighborhood,” Smith said in the statement. “As a long-time steward of this community, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with neighbors, students, families, alumnae and other stakeholders as this critical and sustainable school-improvement project moves through construction.”

Holy Names enrolls around 700 students and recently completed a recent 9,000 square-foot addition to its beautiful dome-capped northern Capitol Hill campus.

The process to shape the school’s plan began with the start of 2018 as school officials announced details of the proposed project. “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,” Swift wrote in a letter sent to neighbors about the project and planned community meetings to collect feedback.

Over the summer, Holy Names unveiled a revised plan with hopes of addressing concerns about 21st Ave E’s use as a “neighborhood greenway” and to reduce the amount of lawn and trees lost to the gym and garage project.

While there is no record yet of any appeal filed against the decision, neighborhood groups have been busy putting the State Environmental Policy Act to work to push back on development projects. This PCC-centered mixed-use project planned for Madison Valley is one recent example. An appeal to require further review of the multimillion parking garage and gym proposal will cost the filer $85.

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18 thoughts on “City says Capitol Hill high school’s underground parking garage project can move forward” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Let’s all pause and reflect on the meaningless of the mumbo-jumbo phrase “determination of non-significance”. New park and hide vehicles will take the place of the ones that use this garage and there will be no net improvement to the parking situation and the neighbors will face hundreds of entrances and exits to the garage every day.

    • It’s shocking that the City went ahead and approved these backwards, retrograde plans. Shame on Holy Names for ignoring the pleas of their neighbors and proceeding with what will severely alter the integrity of this historical neighborhood, as well as compromise the safety and health their neighbors. There were other options available that would have given them what they needed, but sadly they were not open to listening to them.
      As for the City? Here is their mission statement: “As stewards and regulators of land and buildings, we preserve and enhance the equity, livability, safety and health in our communities.” If only that were true.
      Holy Names, once a fine institution, has just ruined not only its reputation, but its legacy, as well as created serious ill-will with their neighbors. We are disgusted and heartbroken.

  2. If you build it, they will come.

    Thanks, Holy Names, for taking a giant step backward, in your selfish endeavors to ONLY serve your staff & students, while the neighborhood will quickly dissolve in to a soon to be traffic nightmare for those living nearby.

    There’s already a divide of contention with the amount of traffic the private schools bring to the neighborhood, as apposed to their public school neighbors, and this will be the tracker-hoe to dig that divide even deeper.

    Expense education does NOT equal the ability to make eco-friendly, safe-neighborhood and forward thinking decisions that benefit EVERYONE and ALL LIVING THINGS. It actually only selfishly buys you what you want, regardless of your intentions and all living things.

    Well then, congratulations on your selfish disgusting win.

  3. Remember folks, the rest of exist to bend to the will of parents. It’s prevalent everywhere. Parent privilege is real. Won’t you think about the kids?

  4. Can someone please explain to me why the neighbors oppose this plan? It seems to me that the parking garage will take many cars off the surrounding streets, thus opening up spaces for the neighbors and their guests.

    • Your brain is only working on a very superficial level.

      If it’s suddenly “free and easy” to park on-street in that area, how long do you think that condition will last in a growing City? The end result is just more cars everywhere.

      • The garage is opening up streets for more Out of the ZIP Code park and hides anb the garage will create hundreds of exits and entrances each day for the neighbors to choke on!

        People entering and exiting a parking garage in a large city? THE HORROR!!!!

        People from out of MY neighborhood parking on MY public street? THE NERVE!!!

        Seriously, you need to take a step back and look at the situation to realize how out of touch with reality you are and how much of a spoiled brat you come across as.

      • Single family zoning does not appreciate or welcome a massive garage in its neighborhood.

        Please point out in the zoning code where it mentions not appreciating or welcoming a parking garage?

    • Bob

      Try walking around that area at 8am – so many cars driven by 16yr olds racing around neighborhood streets. The garage will just increase that.

    • Sorry, maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t get your arguments. It seems to me that a parking garage will mitigate the problem of the students driving around at 8AM, because they will park in the garage instead. As for the “problem” of vehicles entering and exiting the garage, how is that worse than those same vehicles circling the blocks looking for a parking spot?

      And regarding the assumption that the freeing up of neighborhood spaces will just get filled up again, I kind of doubt that as it is a purely residential neighborhood, so the street spaces will mainly be occupied by those who live nearby, and not by students/staff of Holy Names. Would that not be an improvement over the current situation? Even if you are right and the spaces get filled up, how is that different than now?

  5. As a homeowner who lives 2 blocks over from Holy Names and drives through this neighborhood every single day, I say with full confidence that this is a great step forward!

    And frankly, the fact that so many of you are against this makes me even more certain that this is the correct thing to do. The We’re-so-Seattle-it-hurts “cars are evil” crowd have a monopoly on wrong and will never be happy regardless of this or any other decision.