Acoya Richmond Beach - zoning, public comment, SEPA review, city codes

Thursday, January 4, 2024

 An early conceptual design of the project. This is looking northeast from 8th Ave NW, with the Shell gas station being to the right of the proposed building.

Urbal Architecture filed a permit application and optional SEPA with the City of Shoreline on December 19, 2023 to demolish an abandoned bank building and construct an assisted living facility at 8th NW and Richmond Beach Road in Shoreline WA 98177.

The zoning at this property (Community Business “CB”) allows for assisted living facilities, senior living, and memory care uses, which is what the applicant proposes. 

Per the City’s code, a Building Permit (a Type A application) would not typically require public notices. However, larger projects (such as this one) require SEPA Request for Comment notices because the project proposes more than 60 dwelling units.

SEPA reviews are essentially an extra layer of notices and reviews related to potential environmental impacts on top of the City’s regular review for compliance with the municipal code. 

This SEPA review is where staff look to public comments and the applicant’s SEPA Environmental Checklist to see if there are potential impacts, and if there are extra conditions the City might add to address those impacts, or require an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), or deny the proposal.

Public comment periods are set by the City’s code in SMC 20.30. In this case, a notice is sent at the time of application (now, early on in the review process) and again when a Threshold Determination has been made about whether an EIS is required or not.

No Threshold Determination has been made at this time, nor have any permits been approved

Building Permits, even those with SEPA reviews, do not have any public meeting or public hearing requirements. Public notices went out on December 19 and included the following:
  • Mailing a notice to all property owners within 500’ of the subject property
  • Having the applicant post two signs on the property, one along 8th and another along Richmond Beach Rd.
  • Publication of a notice in the classifieds of the Seattle Times
  • Posted online to the City’s website
  • Emailed to neighborhood contacts for Richmond Beach, Hillwood, Innis Arden and Richmond Highlands neighborhoods
  • Posted to SEPA Registry website
  • Emailed to SEPA officials

The Richmond Village Shopping Center (also known as “The Shops at Richmond Beach”) property is zoned CB, like most of the commercial areas in the City of Shoreline. This zone allows for apartments, assisted living facilities, and several types of commercial uses. 

Commercial and multifamily developments (like this one) are required to meet the City’s design standards for such buildings, as well as parking, landscaping, drainage, and transportation requirements. 

The maximum height is 60 feet, though the applicant is using the City’s Deep Green Incentive Program (an incentive program for sustainable buildings) to go up to a maximum of 80’. 

However, near the western property line (fronting 8th Avenue Northwest) they are required to “step” the building down in height to 45’ because of single-family zoning across the street.

The City’s code requires 1 parking stall for every 3 units in the assisted living facility. The applicant is proposing 207 assisted living units and 23 memory care units for a total of 230 units, which would require 77 parking stalls by the City’s code. They are providing 132 parking stalls, approximately 5 surface stalls at their front entrance, and the remaining stalls in an underground parking garage.

The developer and property owner have not applied for the permits to make alterations or demolitions to the shopping center at this time, although the developer shows that portions of it will be removed as a part of their plans for the assisted living facility. Based on the plans provided, it looks like the property owner and applicant intend for the dry cleaners to stay, but they wish to demolish or remove the commercial spaces west of there.

While the City recently approved ground-floor commercial requirements for multifamily projects in the CB zone district, it does not apply to assisted living facilities. Further, this project came in prior to the December 4 code change and wouldn’t be subject to these new requirements, even if they did apply to assisted living facilities. 

Unfortunately, the code does not require the applicant to retain or provide commercial space here. This decision is largely up to the property owner, developer and applicant, though staff is certainly exploring how the loss of commercial space relates to environmental impacts reviewed under SEPA.

The City will review traffic and transportation impacts of the proposal, as well as other engineering-related items such as drainage and surface water. The developer will be required to make improvements along 8th Ave NW next to their property.


Anonymous,  January 4, 2024 at 9:04 AM  

if the ingress and egress for the structure is on eighth Avenue that will gracefully increase the need for widening of the road with better sidewalks. In addition, walking on 190th is already a hazard. This will only increase the traffic and there needs to be a sidewalk connecting 190th from eighth Avenue to Richmond Beach Road for the safety of any pedestrian, and children walking to and from school.

Anonymous,  January 4, 2024 at 3:15 PM  

That’s a massive building to go in that lot.

The SEPA notification process leaves out many community members who live in this area as only property owners within 500’ are notified in writing. I also think the timing of this process over the holidays left some of us blindsided. The shopping center should be preserved!

Anonymous,  January 4, 2024 at 5:52 PM  

The shopping center should be updated and improved. It is tired and worn out. I hope this spurs development of this shopping area on both sides of RBR.

Just My Opinion January 4, 2024 at 5:54 PM  

On the plus side, it sounds like the residents won't have two cars per unit and drive around a lot.

Anonymous,  January 4, 2024 at 8:01 PM  

As a resident of the neighborhood I am not pleased with this structure being built. We do not have the infrastructure nor do we need a building of this size in our neighborhood. Keep our community as it is!!!! I fear we are going to become Bitter Lake and no one should want that mess.

Anonymous,  January 5, 2024 at 4:53 PM  

It's funny how all you Richmond Beach residents (and 5 of 7 council members who live in Richmond Beach) had no problem OKing this crap in Ridgecrest and North City for the light rail development. But now....OMG, a senior assisted living home...

Anonymous,  January 5, 2024 at 11:48 PM  

They don't care about you, they will be doing it, you cannot stop them, it is happening all over this city, you can see it. Build Back Better, remember? WEF. It is a 15-minute city, this is what it looks like. Horrible

Anonymous,  January 6, 2024 at 2:04 AM  

This massive project adds yet another reason that the Richmond Beach Road diet was a dumb idea. Let's keep densifying this city while we ensure that nobody can get around efficiently.

Anonymous,  January 7, 2024 at 1:28 AM  

NW 190th st, NW 190th Pl, or NW 190th Ln? NW 190th St with all the speed bumps to the north and west of this location? The bulk of additional traffic would be in Richmond Beach Rd and 8th Ave. What school is in the area? I don’t know of any. Einstein isn’t close nor is Syre nor Shorewood. Most kids at that distance would take a bus or be driven. A sidewalk would be useful on 8th Ave for the seniors tho.

Just My Opinion January 7, 2024 at 5:51 PM  

Re: Anon Jan 5 4:53 PM - so true! Yes more people need/want to live close to transit, but there are lots of people with extra $ who would be happy to build a lot in your back yard if you would change zoning to short-plat or increase # of units. Why do so few people own the beach front?

Anonymous,  January 9, 2024 at 10:31 AM  

I've lived in a condo right next to where this monstrosity will be built. Please just don't....I love my neighborhood, and this is not something our community need, nor want.

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