Beach Drive short term rental properties under direct fire (opinion)

Representation of known short term rental units in Seattle

More like a scattered shot gun approach if you ask me. The Seattle Mayor & esteemed Council members are set to propose strict regs on ALL short term (under 30 days) rental properties in the entire city. That of course includes all of West Seattle and the handful of units on Beach Drive which yours truly just went live with in May. 

The purpose and intention of the proposed legislation is to discourage homeowners with non-owner occupied properties to choose housing out of town tourists over more permanent long term renters. If it all goes as planned, the Council predicts there will be 300 new long term rental units on the market.  They stop short on claiming they’ll be “affordable” but that’s what they really want, and frankly should want.

Councilmember Tim Burgess that chairs Affordable Housing prides himself on using “smart policies and evidence-based solutions”. Really?

From personal experience, the few guests we have hosted so far have either had family living in West Seattle, were referred by neighbors that don’t have enough space for out of town relatives, a family from Minnesota that drove up from Portland to hang out and see a Twins game at Safeco Field, and a local West Seattle resident celebrating a landmark birthday with her out of area friends as a stay-cation. What they all had in common is…

  • They did not want to rent a hotel downtown and fight traffic and parking.
  • They did not want to stay in the basement of someone’s primary residence.
  • They all wanted a private waterfront home all to themselves which is not available anywhere commercially in the city.
  • They all spent a majority of time & money hanging out in West Seattle.

Other than required licensing, the Council is not going to hinder homeowners that are using their primary residence for housing STR guests. The idea is that this segment of the market is merely trying to make ends meet and subjecting them to the proposed regs wouldn’t result in additional permanent units anyhow. Well, the only 2 homeowners I know around here using their primary residence as a STR have entire apartment units on their lower floor and choose short term rather than permanent renters. Not trying to pull them into the crab boil as well but it probably won’t be long before the City sics their proposed staff of STR inspector goons on them as well!

Now we need to make a decision what to do with our house next door if the legislation passes through as proposed. Rent it out on a permanent basis? No, we also like the flexibility of using it for ourselves, family & friends. Sell it? Maybe some years down the road. Bottom line is that the City of Seattle will miss out on any further taxes & licensing fees we generate and West Seattle establishments will lose some year around tourism dollars. It’s just too much work & expense to run a STR like ours for the proposed limit of 90 days a year when the break even point is more like around 160 days.

 

WShotel

West Seattle’s one and only hotel/motel

I’m not saying a problem doesn’t exist in other parts of the city. All of Burgess’s example’s of why short term rentals are cheating permanent locals from finding affordable housing border downtown Seattle. He claims extreme abuses of entire apartment/condo floors being held out for STR to tourists. We’ve recently learned that “entrepreneurs” are actually renting out permanent apartment space and then jacking the rent to STR guests all with 100% approval of the building’s management team (also receiving a cut, of course). I also wouldn’t be surprised if abuses are taking place with the recent high density rezoning and micro housing attended for gram & gramps or permanent local renters.

Seems to me that the Council and Mayor should be targeting those abuses rather than ma & pa on Beach Drive.

 

Scupper, reporting/ranting for Beach Drive Blog

Slow down with Proposition 1 …opinion

SDOT’s new levy project to move most of Seattle sounds like another great plan for West Seattle (remember the monorail Green Line?). Status quo with more bike lanes and speed enforcement is exactly what we need! Let’s take closer look at each enhancement…

Fauntleroy WayKey elements include paving, adding a protected bike lane, transit enhancements, and signal upgrades, improving safety and reliability for all travelers. Sounds terrific for Vashon Island comutters. How much $ are they contributing again??

Roxbury Street & 35th AveOver the last three years, 294 collisions, 128 injuries, and 2 fatalities have occurred. We are currently planning and designing near-term safety improvements paired with education and enforcement, working towards the city’s Vision. I believe a majority of these accidents occur from drivers slamming on their breaks trying to avoid the traffic-cop camera’s mailing out $190 tickets for doing 22 in a 20mph School Zone… when lights are flashing or children present or distracted by taking your eyes off the road to get a read on the myriad of signs designed to “educate us”.

SW Alaska Street:  The levy would provide funding to make safety improvements like redesigning the roadway. That’s an easy one. Just put the design back to where it was before adding the “bus only” & the staggered right turn only lane. Can you imagine being an out-of-towner trying to drive that stretch all the way to the junction?

Admiral Way: Project Goals

  • Encourage slower speeds  Tell that to the bikers doing 40 mph down the hill.
  • Reduce collisions  Collisions happen.
  • Accommodate existing maximum on-street parking occupancy There’s plenty of occupancy in motor homes & vans along Beach Drive.
  • Provide a comfortable and predictable bike connection between Alki and California Ave business district Why just bikes?

Here’s a more comprehensive plan that’s much more inclusive to our residents…

Admiral_proposal

 

The rest of the levy just repairs what we already have at a cost of $275 per year per household (median household of 450K) as opposed to the $130 we’re currently paying with the Bridge the Gap levy.

I’m convinced that the rest of the city just believes we West Seattleites love a good parade and need to slow down. While crawling in traffic between Admiral & Fauntleroy junctions yesterday, I reminisced of escorting my HiYu princess along California Ave. I wanted to roll down my window and give the float wave to all the angry impatient drivers heading the other way.

If you ask me, the rest of the city better look out. Old timers tell us it only took 71 years to get the high level bridge over the Duwamish!

Seattleites endured in trying to secure a high-level bridge that would get them to and from “the mainland” without being held up by boat traffic along the Duwamish River.

West Seattleites began campaigning for the bridge in 1916 and at one point threatened to secede from the city if it didn’t deliver.

Thank goodness we now have the West Seattle Bridge. Where else can you sit in traffic all day, soak in the wonderful views and dream of the day Starbucks can land a 4th cup of jo on your car hood’s drone pad.

They first named Alki “little New York” when the city founders came ashore. Now with all the new high density residential buildings coming on-line, we are becoming the “little Manhattan Island” of Seattle and could use a transportation plan that helps us get around.

IMG_5254

Scupper, blathering opinions on Beach Drive Blog (My wife, the blog boss, only allows me 1 opinion per year!)

Woman’s Body recovered off Emma Schmitz View Point

IMG_37217:05 am. A major response from the Seattle Fire Department is taking place right now for what is being called a “salt water rescue” off of SW Oregon Street and Beach Drive.

Scupper is on the scene. We should have more information soon.

UPDATE 7:06 AM: Very sad news, West Seattle Blog reports that a body has been recovered.

UPDATE: 7:17 AM: A Beach Drive neighbor out on a routine walk saw the body and went to another neighbors home for help and to call 9-1-1. The body was found at the lower section of Emma Schmitz by the south flight of stairs.

Scanners report that it is a woman. News crews are on the scene and the coroner is in route.
IMG_3725

UPDATE 8:39 AM: According to West Seattle Blog:

“SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb has briefed us. This is NOT currently being investigated as a homicide, but is considered a “suspicious death,” so SPD is investigating with the Medical Examiner, which has a crew on scene. The woman is believed to be in her 50s but that is just a guess so far – apparently no ID on her…”

UPDATE 8:54 AM: Speculators on the scene believe the deceased woman, who is described as having a heavy build and grey hair, was not in the water for long. We are told that attempts were made to resuscitate her.

UPDATE January 11, 2015: The woman has been identified as Carolyn Arnold. No other information is known at this time.

Port of Manchester WA?

Yes, they actually do have an “official port” where their 3 elected members meet at the library once a month. Now they have something to really talk about, two 1000+ foot cargo ships anchored off their shores! Long term neighbors along Beach Drive have commented about never recalling cargo ships of this size tucking in behind Blake Island.

2014-11-10_1253

The first cargo ship anchoring off Manchester was reported on November 6th by B-Town Blog as making an abrupt U-turn due to weather or mechanical issues…

“The ship Hyundai Force was going south to Tacoma at 1:15 p.m. when it made a U-turn and proceeded slowly in a northern direction.
When the ship made the U-turn it was just north of Three Tree Point.
As it made the U-turn, it blew its fog horn several times.
Clearly must be a response to the strong winds.
Note the trail of white behind the ship showing where it made its U-Turn.”

The Hyundia Force and the NYK Constellation are most likely hanging out waiting for the contract embattled Longshoreman in Tacoma to pay attention to them. The work slowdown has been stacking up ships and cargo up and down ports of the West coast. The Facebook page for Pier Trucker Seattle pretty much sums up how the slowdown is affecting our local transportation and exports (warning for explicit language).

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Sunday Morning Storm Update

Well the first high tide took place a couple hours ago. We’re now bracing for the next high tide which is a 10.94  at  7:12 pm tonight.

[Read more…]

Sunken Trimaran Updates

EDITORS NOTE: We will be updating this post throughout today. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent information. Our earlier coverage can be found here and begins here.  

Scupper visited the sunken trimaran this morning.

Scupper reports that the trimaran and the power boat used to tow the trimaran from Shilshoe Marina, have both sunk.

IMG 1457
 

A police man is on the scene and is talking to the “Skipper” about involving the Coast Guard. The Skipper insists that the CG is aware of the situation.  West Seattle Blog reports that the Coast Gaurd has referred the Skipper to a towing company which would cost money the Skipper does not have. 

IMG 1453
 

We are currently at high tide: 11.24 ft at 8:40 am this morning. Low tide is 1.86 at 3:30 this afternoon.  

Mother Nature is no longer cooperating. We have a small craft advisory in effect with south wind waves of 2 to 4 feet.

UPDATE 9:30 AM.  Someone from the City of Seattle is on the scene to assess and manage the fuel spill from the sunken boats.

tri fuel spill
tri power boat
tri debris
 

UPDATE 9:55 AM. Here is a photo of the “patch” that the Skipper says blew out from waves crashing through the exposed hatches on top of the pontoons.

tri patch
 

UPDATE 10:17 AM: Here is West Seattle Herald’s coverage of the sunken boats by Harbor West Condos.

UPDATE: 11:20 AM:  West Seattle Blog reports the a salvage vessel is getting ready to tow the boat. We wonder if they’re going to take the smaller boat that appears to be leaking fuel. It’s hard to imagine the trimaran being towed in it’s condition.

UPDATE 11:40 AM: Scupper is back on the scene and sending these photos back to BDB HQ of the sunken boats off Beach Drive. Scupper states he does not currently see any tow or salvage type boats on site to help remove the trimaran or power boat. According to Michelle, who has been kindly helping the Skipper, the salvage boats refused to take the boats as the ground team had already drained the fuel off the boat.

tri skipper
tri gas tank removed
 

A crew is on site on remove the fuel from the power boat.

Scupper says the sound of the pontoon separating from the trimaran was incredible.

tri pontoon tore off
 

Here’s a view from the pilings under Harbor West Condominiums off Beach Drive.

tri harbor west p2
 

UPDATE 1:39 PM – a few more photos compliments of “Scupper” of the sunken boats off Beach Drive.

tri pontoon 2
tri pontoon
  

Andrew at Metropolitan Market WINS “Best Bagger” in National Competition!

2013 02 10 15 58 02 140
 

A huge congrats to Andrew for winning the National Bagger Championships competition in Las Vegas. I was just at Metropolitan Market, where Andrew bags groceries when not competing to be the national best, where it was announced over their loud speakers. Shoppers and employees stopped to clap and cheer for Andrew!!

Pictured is the back of a shirt that several of Andrew’s co-workers are wearing today in Andrew’s honor.

Now we know someone famous!

Support your local Veterans

We just received this email from the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 160

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 160 is hosting a spaghetti dinner that is free for veterans and their families. 

We are also holding a donation drive on November 11 from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm to collect items that will be used to create care packages for a group of JBLM soldiers who recent deployed to Afghanistan, who have been adopted by American Legion Post 160 and Auxiliary Unit 160.  Donation suggestions include, but are not limited to:  toothpaste, shaving cream, soap, non-perishable snacks (beef jerky, cookies, sunflower seeds, etc.), and coffee.  Any cash donations will be used to purchase care package items and/or pay for shipping charges.

Both events will be held at American Legion Post 160, located at 3618 SW Alaska Street in West Seattle.  Please contact the Auxiliary at ALAUnit160@gmail .com with any questions.

This is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to those who have served our country.

Happy Veterans Day!

“Emergency Reach Out” event today at Arbor Heights Elementary

Today from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Arbor Heights Elementary, Emergency Reach Out will be taking place. 

Emergency Reach Out
 

From the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network blog:

The full schedule of presentations is as follows:

10:00 – 10:30 West Seattle Be Prepared

10:30 – 10:45 West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network and Seattle Public Utilities

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00 SNAP (Seattle Neighborhoods Activily Prepare)

Noon – 12:30 Break

12:30 – 1:15 Red Cross

1:15 – 1:35 Seattle Animal Shelter

1:35 – 2:00 Seattle Fire Department

As noted above, FREE Latte and Pastry Cart from 10:00 to Noon. Snacks and grill items are available for purchase from BigFood Trucks. Amazing Raffle Prizes and Gifts for attendees!

Hat tip: West Seattle Blog

I have a painting on exhibit at Bumbershoot

In addition to blogging, my day job, etc….I started painting earlier this year – mostly on black velvet. You can imagine my excitement when I was invited to participate at the Elivstravaganza exhibit at Bumbershoot.  I am auctioning my painting with proceeds to benefit Cafe Racer Love. As of yesterday, bids were at $400. I believe that the end of Bumbershoot will be the end of bidding (I’ll confirm and update).  If you’re interested in placing a bid, please contact Marlow Harris ASAP

Here is West Seattle Herald’s coverage and a clip from Evening Magazine (you’ll see a glimpse of my painting at 1:00 into the video).

474378 10151009225416046 42635812 o