The Seattle City Council on Friday filed a motion to partially dismiss an appeal to a final environmental impact statement based on issues raised by the Queen Anne Community Council regarding the city’s proposal to incentivize the creation of more accessory dwelling units.

QACC has been challenging what its Land Use Review Committee chair, Marty Kaplan, calls the elimination of all single-family neighborhoods in Seattle since plans to remove barriers for developing accessory dwelling units.

The community council successfully argued that the city needed to conduct an environmental impact statement to determine how such policy changes would affect Seattle neighborhoods. The Hearing Examiner made its decision in December 2016.

The FEIS for accessory dwelling units was published on Oct. 4, and a preferred alternative was identified that would allow one attached accessory dwelling unit (AADU) and one detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU) on a minimum lot of 3,200 square feet in single-family zones, or two AADUs. No off-street parking would be required, and the property owner would not have to live on site. They would have to retain ownership of the property for one year before building a second ADU.

QACC is set to argue its case before the Hearing Examiner from March 25-29, the appeal having to do with assertions that the city did not adequately consider the impacts of the ADU proposal based on the characteristics of each neighborhood.

The Seattle City Council’s Dec. 7 filing seeks to dismiss QACC’s claim that due process was not provided during the FEIS process, which the community council argues “fails to adequately disclose, discuss and analyze the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the proposed actions…”

According to the city, it went beyond what is required under code, such as holding a second scoping meeting and providing notices during the development process through various communication tools.

“Beyond compliance with the SEPA regulations, Appellant’s only remaining conceivable arguments would amount to a collateral challenge to the adequacy of the City’s SEPA public process regulations,” the motion states, “over which the Examiner does not have jurisdiction in this limited appeal of the adequacy of the FEIS.”

The city is also seeking the dismissal of several claims it argues have already been judged on.

“The doctrine of res judicata bars several of Appellant’s claims in this appeal that were raised by Appellant or should have been raised in its earlier appeal of the DNS and cannot be re-litigated here,” the motion states. “Specifically, the doctrine bars Appellant’s claims that the FEIS failed to adequately address the following purportedly significant adverse impacts of the Proposal: cumulative impacts of the Proposal ‘in conjunction with other significant land use changes as proposed within HALA, MHA, and other legislation;’ impacts to open space and tree canopy coverage; and loss of historic buildings.”

QACC already argued the city failed to consider probable significant adverse impacts in its appeal of the determination of non-significance, the motion states, which resulted in the completion of an EIS.

In its DNS appeal, the community council only convinced the Hearing Examiner to order the city to analyze impacts to housing, population displacement, parking, height, bulk, scale, public services and facilities, according to the motion for partial dismissal.

“With respect to cumulative impacts, the Appellant could and should have raised in its earlier appeal its claim that the Proposal would contribute to cumulative impacts that are significant, but did not,” the motion states. “In all instances, under the doctrine of res judicata, because these claims were or should have been raised in the DNS appeal, the claims are barred here.”

The city is also seeking to dismiss QACC objections to the FEIS it considers “vague, overly broad, and unspecified,” mainly challenges that the document fails to consider impacts that are not spelled out directly; these allegations provide no fair and adequate notice of what QACC will argue at the hearing, so the city would not be able to prepare for them.

“This type of unspecified placeholder text is expressly designed to allow the Appellant to continue to develop its case beyond the deadline for appeal,” the motion states. “That type of gamesmanship should not be allowed. Appellant cannot use these broad and vague allegations to leave the door open for claims and issues that it failed to properly specify in its appeal.”

Kaplan responded on Sunday with a mass email, asking people to write letters of support for the appeal to their councilmembers.

“While we had hoped that Councilmember (Mike) O’Brien and his colleagues would visit with neighborhoods and embrace collective and specific solutions, they have rejected every issue that I together with many others have asked him to consider,” Kaplan wrote. “Instead, the City is now attempting to quash our appeal and public review.”

W-18-009 Seattle City Council's Motion for Partial Dismissal by branax2000 on Scribd