The Jackson Place Alliance for Equity (JPAE) would like to provide an important update on the status of the legal petition filed in King County Superior Court on April 25, 2011 seeking an impartial, unbiased review of the siting of DESC’s crisis diversion facility at 1600-1618 South Lane St.
JPAE’s attorney, through many hours of research, investigating and most recently, the deposition of one of DPD’s Land Use Code experts, has filed an opening brief dated August 22, 2011. A final review hearing between JPAE v City of Seattle, DESC, C.J. & J Pacific LLC, William Hobson and King County took place on Friday September 30th. A decision is currently pending
The brief is lengthy and we hope you will take the time to read it thoroughly, as it provides details and information of how the crisis diversion facility came to be sited at 1600-1618 South Lane St. The complete brief can be viewed here.
Below is a summary of JPAE's opening brief:
On April 2, 2010, King County P.A. Chief of Staff Manion provided updates to the MIDD co-chairs, City Councilmembers and their aides, County representatives, and both County and City attorneys regarding efforts to site the Crisis Diversion Facility and indicated that the County would like to add an addendum to the RFP “to let potential bidders know that they can consider sites in Seattle. . . . What he’d like to have to include in the addendum is either a copy of the City’s letter to the MIDD oversight committee or permission to drop a Seattle Councilmember’s name (or two) that helps explain this new piece of info.”
City Attorney Holmes responded the same day, “I am glad to see so much progress, and anxious to help sustain the momentum.” His Chief of Staff, Ms. DuComb, also e-mailed that “Pete is happy to sign the letter and supports locating the facility in Seattle. Just let me or Kim know, and we can get his ink on paper.”
On Saturday, April 3, 2010, DPD Director Diane Sugimura e-mailed Deputy Director Justad, DPD Director of Planning Foster and other DPD staff, including Bryan Stevens, Customer Service Manager and Industrial Permit Liaison in DPD’s Community Engagement regarding her meeting with Mayor McGinn the day before, Friday afternoon, April 2, 2010. Director Sugimura explained that she had discussed several items with Mayor McGinn, including in particular finding a site for the Crisis Diversion Facility: “They are very interested in helping to find an appropriate site…” “…please contact Kathy Nyland to see if their office is willing to approach whomever is in charge at KC and ask that we sit down with them and discuss options, so we could try to get some control over siting rather than having everyone running around trying to tie up property.”
The following day, Sunday April 4, 2010, Councilmember Bagshaw e-mailed Law Department Chief of Staff DuComb regarding siting of the Crisis Diversion Facility: “The only caution I’ve received from anyone is to avoid Pioneer Square because the Council promised not to put more social services in that area right away.”
Councilmember Bagshaw sent a similar e-mail to King County P.A. Chief of Staff Manion, making sure that the City’s letter of support was received, observing “This is the kind of intergovernmental cooperation that we need!” and cautioning: “The only limitation I’ve heard from my colleagues is to avoid Pioneer Square because there’s an agreement (personal, not legal I understand) not to put more social services in Pioneer Square. 5th Avenue, 9th Avenue, or anywhere close to the jail/admin will probably work without too many complaints.”
Ms. Manion responded, “I hear you loud and clear on the Pioneer Square issue - - no worries. I think we can direct our FMD real estate team to focus on sites that are a little closer to the jail and Harborview.”
On April 6, 2010, Derek Farmer, a Policy Analyst in Mayor McGinn’s office, contacted Deputy Director Justad by e-mail about Councilmember Bagshaw’s suggestion about siting the crisis diversion center in a Martin Selig building located at 5th and Yesler. Mr. Justad followed up, noting that Ms. Sugimura “was planning to talk to Selig or one of his staff.” Deputy Director Justad also sent Mr. Farmer the “zoning overview we sent to Sally B last week at her request.”
Between April 9, 2010 and April 12, 2010, Director Sugimura exchanged several emails with Councilmember Bagshaw concerning the siting of the facility and Ms. Sugimura’s meeting with Martin Selig. Director Sugimura explained, “I got the impression you wanted to be proactive in terms of finding a site, rather than waiting to see what happens.” Councilmember Bagshaw then invited Director Sugimura to talk with her and King County’s Facilities Director Brown “about where we can site this Crisis Diversion Facility!”
By July 7, 2010, King County had selected DESC as the provider for the Crisis Diversion Facility. On that date, DESC Director Bill Hobson e mailed DESC architect John Woodworth that DESC was “just . . . selected to do all of the County’s new crisis diversion program. (We will be using the Lane Street site. . .). The DESC Director celebrated landing the CDF contract to DESC‘s architect in something other than social service terms, enthusing that it was, “A new $6M annual book of business.” (July 9, 2010 e-mail from DESC’s Jessica Cohen to DESC architect Woodworth: “I think Bill shared with you that we got the CDF portion of the County’s RFP so the Lane St site is a go for both CDF and CDIS.”).
Two weeks later, on August 17, 2010, Seattle City Councilmember Bagshaw e-mailed DPD Director Sugimura again: “I have been working with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and the King County’s mental health group for years to create an alternative for police to putting people with mental illness in jail or at Harborview Medical Center. I recently learned that DESC was awarded the RFP for the Crisis Diversion Facility and they have a site in Seattle they are ready to remodel. Amnon Shoenfeld from King County told me that the Department of Planning and Development said getting the permits necessary for a change of use and for the environmental impact process will take 5-7 months instead of the usual 2-3 months due to their being short-staffed. The money is available and the building is needed. I know you are short staffed and doing more than any department should have to do in face of all these budget problems, but can we do anything to move this project forward?”
October 6, 2010, Mr. Hobson requested a meeting with Ms. Sugimura, appealing to the need to save the County and City “a lot of money:” “Unfortunately, I need to ask for your help again because we have hit snags that could delay permitting for this project by months.” His e-mail continues, “I sincerely hope there is some way we can work together to expedite permitting for this project. It promises to save both the County and City a lot of money each year in reduced hospitalizations and incarcerations. Thanks for your assistance.”
DPD planner Swallow responded in an October 11, 2011 e-mail noting that DESC architect John Woodworth had warned her that pressure would be brought to bear: “John has told me from the beginning that the County is wanting this project completed ASAP and when I told him originally that the Type II process takes at least six months to complete he told me people would be calling you.”
DPD Land Use and Zoning Manager Roberta Baker also weighed in on October 11, 2010, explaining that DESC was “appealing to Diane to have us waive the need for an. However, there is no provision in the Land Use Code for “waiver” of a required ACU.”
October 18, 2010 e-mail, the Mayor’s Legal Counsel Mr. Marquardt made it clear to everyone that the public was not to be informed of the project location: “I understand the location of the proposed site has not been announced, pending outreach to residents, so we should preserve confidentiality on the specifics.”
October 19, 2010, although DESC had yet to actually submit its application to DPD, DESC Director Hobson informed every Seattle City Councilmember that DESC had completed land use reviews with City staff from the Department of Planning and Development and are assured our use will be approved.
On October 27, 2010, DESC Director Hobson e-mailed Councilmember Burgess, Councilmember Bagshaw, King County P.A. Deputy Chief of Staff Goodhew, City Attorney Holmes, Sheriff Rahr, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, SPD Deputy Chief of Operations Nick Metz, and King County’s Mr. Shoenfeld and Jackie MacLean. Hobson’s email invites all of the recipients to attend a public informational meeting scheduled for November 9, 2010 to (finally) let the neighborhood know what they had all known for months.
The next day, City Attorney Holmes, Councilmember Bagshaw, and Councilmember
Burgess commented on the informational meeting. Councilmember Bagshaw was effusive in her praise for DESC and in her disrespect for her constituents (whom she referred to as “the beast”) who had questioned whether the site was appropriate: “I too, want to sing your praises. I was very impressed at how you handled the crowd, and your honest and direct answers calmed the beast. You did well.” She then reaffirmed, “I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you to get this Crisis Solution Center built.”
Consistent with its assurances in response to pointed inquiries on behalf of DESC from Councilmembers, City Attorney, County Prosecuting Attorney, and the Mayor’s office, there was no land use public notice or public hearing and comment period before (or after) DPD drafted and issued the decisions [regarding the land use code request for interpretation and subsequently the land use permit issued to DESC].
The Court’s Order allowed one deposition, a JPAE deposition of DPD’s Andy McKim, the author of the DPD Land Use Code Interpretation Decisions. Mr. McKim’s deposition on August 11, 2011, was revealing, perhaps unintentionally so, on the City’s part. Mr. McKim stated that City Council is not supposed to have any role in determining how DPD “interpret[s] the land use code,” that “we raise our eyebrows . . . when somebody from City Council is telling us how to read the code,” and that the issues presented here are ones on which the City Council has no role.
Mr. McKim stated flatly that he had kept no notes of any kind concerning DESC’s project or his Interpretation decisions. Mr. McKim admitted that he did not check any of the factual premises that he had adopted in his Interpretation from the letters on the Interpretation submitted by DESC and its attorney. He did not even know the name or operator of the supposedly “similar facility operating on the same model in Pierce” relied upon in his Interpretation decision, had never been to the facility, had never talked to anyone who operates it, did not check its zoning, and accepted the statistics provided by DESC regarding the Pierce County facility without any verification.
The [DPD] Interpretation claims that the DESC facility is a “hospital” based on the “entire record,” including “information about the services offered and the nature of the staffing and physical components of the facility as described in the RFP and as reflected in the submitted plans,” as well as on information provided by DESC regarding the percentage of “clients” that will be referred by entities other than the police. DPD’s McKim, the Interpretation’s author, was not familiar with even key elements of the DPD record. He could offer no basis for the premises in his Interpretation decision because they had come, without any pretense of verification by DPD, from DESC and its attorney.
The facility is not a hospital. It is not open to the public; people will not be able to “walk-in” to the facility or even make an appointment to be seen. The actual record reflects that the DESC facility is first and foremost one for detention as part of an alternative to jail – a jail diversion program.
November 2011 - Final review hearing decision pending.
September 30, 2011 - Final review hearing, JACKSON PLACE ALLIANCE FOR EQUITY, a Washington nonprofit corporation vs CITY OF SEATTLE, a Washington municipal corporation; DOWNTOWN EMERGENCY SERVICE CENTER, a Washington nonprofit corporation, C.J. & J PACIFIC LLC, a Washington corporation, and WILLIAM HOBSON and KING COUNTY.
September 23, 2011 - JPAE response brief in the Land Use Code petition, JACKSON PLACE ALLIANCE FOR EQUITY, a Washington nonprofit corporation vs CITY OF SEATTLE, a Washington municipal corporation; DOWNTOWN EMERGENCY SERVICE CENTER, a Washington nonprofit corporation, C.J. & J PACIFIC LLC, a Washington corporation, and WILLIAM HOBSON and KING COUNTY
August 22, 2011 - JPAE opening brief in the Land Use Code petition, JACKSON PLACE ALLIANCE FOR
EQUITY, a Washington nonprofit corporation vs CITY OF SEATTLE, a Washington municipal corporation; DOWNTOWN EMERGENCY SERVICE CENTER, a Washington nonprofit corporation, C.J. & J PACIFIC LLC, a Washington corporation, and WILLIAM HOBSON and KING COUNTY
August 11, 2011 - JPAE deposition of Andy McKim, Seattle DPD land use code expert who prepared the Land Use Code Interpretation regarding the property at 1600 South Lane Street.
April 25, 2011 - JPAE filed an appeal to the permit issued for the DESC Crisis Solutions Center
April 6, 2011 - Seattle Department of Planning and Development issued the Land Use Code Interpretation to JPAE in response to the Land Use Code Interpretation request filed on Nov. 22, 2011.
January 10, 2011 - JPAE filed a complaint with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development for a Violation of the Land Use Code at 1600 S Lane St.
January 10, 2011 - JPAE's attorney wrote a letter to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on behalf of the JPAE in regards to the two Interpretation Requests filed by the JPAE concerning DESC Proposal for Change of Land Use at 1600-1618 South Lane Street.
January 3, 2011 - JPAE's attorney wrote a letter to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on behalf of the JPAE in regards to their undisclosed involvement with assisting the DESC obtain a land use classification and building permit in order to site the Crisis Diversion Facility and Crisis Diversion Interim Service at 1600-1618 South Lane Street.