Posted on December 14, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Friday, Dec 14 at 1:00 AM
SEATTLE - An expansion project towers over Seattle's Brighton neighborhood, and it has residents upset for several reasons.
Joel Sisolak lives next door to the Duoc Su Residential Monastery. The site in the 6900 block of 42nd Avenue South in Seattle was first approved in 1996.
In 2007, property owners received city approval to demolish four single family residences and construct a three story, 27,829 square foot religious facility. The expansion project will create a home for up to 16 monks and a place for weekend religious services, according to the Findings of Fact listed in a Seattle Hearing Examiner Decision.
The temple, still under construction, towers over homes in the neighborhood. So, why would the city allow it? In the same Findings of Fact it states, "institutions, including religious facilities, may be conditionally approved in single family zones."
Sisolak said he noticed a bulk of the construction started about a year and a half ago. Today as the project continues he is not pleased with the pace.
"There just seems to be a lot of down time on this project," said Sisolak.
Sisolak has also experienced a problem in his backyard where his toddler daughter often plays.
"We have had pieces of construction falling into our yard, like a 8 foot piece of metal," said Sisolak who showed KING 5 a piece of roofing on his lawn.
No one was hurt, but it gave him more reason to worry.
Seattle's Department of Planning and Development has received some complaints from nearby neighbors. Most recently, inspectors found a drainage issue.
DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens wrote in an email, "we found that they filled a low spot on their site to level it out. The fill has diverted the previous drainage pattern and caused concerns for several neighbors. This action was not shown on the permit, and they have been told to remove the fill to create what previously existed. DPD will be sending them a Notice of Violation if the fill is not removed this week."
William Lee is listed as owner on permit documents, and by phone Lee told King 5 he is already working to fix the city's concerns. The question Lee said he does not have an answer for is when the project will be done. That troubles neighbors who said the building in its current state is an eyesore.
"They're building a sanctuary, but their sanctuary has ruined ours," said Sisolak. "The construction is ongoing and we just really want to know when it's going to be done."
Sisolak and other nearby residents said they accept that the temple is in line with city rules and in their neighborhood to stay. He hopes moving forward communication will improve with the property owners. Sisolak claimed that up to this point he has had a tough time getting updates from the religious facility.