Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Housing on the Green - WSCN Townhomes Update

This week we released a first look at our Housing on the Green project for the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene.  The project is a joint venture of DNA, Paar Development, and WSCN. Proceeds from the development will be used to fund a renovation of the church and improvements to the grounds including a public playground.

The project features a cluster of six new homes built along the alley side of the church green.  Each of the homes has a two car garage accessed from the alley, a main living level that faces out to the public green, and a top level with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a sleeping loft tucked into the eaves of the roof.

Between the homes and the park are a series of transitional spaces:  A covered porch steps down to a semi-private yard, which steps down to the level of the park.  Each height transition is marked with visual cues such as railings, fences, pathways, and planting beds that provide clear definitions between the public realm and the private realm and all of the gradations in between.  The homes are not connected internally to their garages so that comings and goings from the homes help activate the commons.  In turn, people using the commons help keep an eye on the housing.  Many opportunities are created for chance interactions among neighbors that help build strong communities.

The project owes a great deal to Ross Chapin and his book Pocket Neighborhoods.  Ross has been a generous teacher, and his work has been enormously helpful in explaining concepts of community design to our clients and their neighbors.

The project has received some publicity in West Seattle Blog and KIRO, and is being followed with some interest in the community-at-large. We held our third public meeting last night, received some good feedback, and will be taking some steps over the next couple weeks to help with the public outreach some more, including:
  • Post signage at the site showing some project imagery.  Stake out building footprints on the ground.
  • Publish a document explaining how the funds raised by the development will be used by the church.
  • Publish a draft of the comp plan amendment (required as a precursor to the rezone).
  • Set up an informational website to make project information easy for the public to access.

Project Team:  David Neiman, Juan Vergara, Erin Feeney.

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