Velmeir responds to The Madison remands

Developer argues stormwater management system, shadow impacts on P-Patch from mixed-use project will be better than current site conditions

Velmeir responds to The Madison remands

Velmeir responds to The Madison remands

Seven months after a decision by Deputy Hearing Examiner Barbara Ehrlichman, Velmeir Properties has issued responses to two remanded issues connected to its proposed Madison Valley mixed-use development.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections director approved a master use permit for The Madison, a six-story apartment building, planned to include a PCC Market on the ground floor, back in July 2018.

Neighborhood group Save Madison Valley filed an appeal shortly after. Ehrlichman ended up siding with SDCI for the most part.

The deputy hearing examiner did find SDCI’s determination of non-significance erroneous in its threshold determination related to drainage; an updated drainage study was needed to assess stormwater detention.

She also denied a motion for reconsideration by SDCI regarding mitigating shade on the Mad P-Patch adjacent to the property.

Madison Valley resident Kate Fleming drowned in her basement when she was trapped there by a major flood event on Dec. 14, 2006, where clogged storm drains caused an accumulation of water at the Madison sag, causing a concrete retaining wall to fail. More mud spilled into storm drains downhill from East Madison Street, adding to the flooding issue.

In addressing concerns about stormwater management, Velmeir submitted a 135-page report compiled by Navix Engineering, which argues the system proposed for The Madison project “is an improvement over existing site conditions, which currently allows stormwater to sheet flow from the site down the hill” from East Madison Street to East Dewey Place, where six townhomes are planned.

The report states that the one-acre project site only contributes 1/790 of the total potential runoff in the Madison Valley drainage basin.

“After the Project is completed, stormwater from the site will be collected and directed into a combination rainwater reuse/detention facility, which will collect, store and release the stormwater at rates at or below Peak Control Standard, as required by Seattle’s stormwater code,” the report states. “The stormwater will be discharged into a dedicated 8-inch City sewer main, which connects downstream to the City’s 60-inch combined sewer conveyance pipeline.”

Runoff modeling conducted by Navix shows rates will be lower in all storm events — from a 2-year to 100-year — than under current site conditions, which is devoid of stormwater infrastructure, the report states.

The City People’s Garden Store currently sits on the property at 2925 E. Madison St. Multiple lease extensions have been offered as Velmeir works through SMV’s legal challenges.

A shadow study by project architect Studio Meng Strazzara shows that some shadow would be cast on the Mad P-Patch in fall and winter, though diagrams also show similar or greater shadow coverage from the existing garden store and tree canopy on the slope behind it on the P-patch.

Velmeir brought in arborist consulting group Tree Solutions Inc. to assess the study. A memo by Tree Solutions submitted to SDCI states that Seattle experiences heavy cloud coverage — greater than 75 percent — 226 days a year, and that not all P-patch plots are guaranteed sun exposure.

Tree Solutions concludes that there would be no difference in plant viability after The Madison’s construction during January, February, October, November and December.

“During this time frame, anything that was grown in the past will be able to be produced in the future,” the memo states. “During the main growing months, between late March and September, the change in growing days between pre and post construction is negligible. The shadows cast by the existing tree canopy is very similar to the shadow cast by the proposed structure.”

Save Madison Valley member Tony Hacker tells MPT the group has not reached an opinion about Velmeir’s responses to drainage and shadow impacts, but is pushing SDCI to include its input as it works toward making a decision.

SDCI confirmed it has received the responses to the remands and is working on next steps.

Once SDCI makes its decision, SMV expects to continue challenging the project in King County Superior Court.