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.
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