I recently sent out an email and got the following responses from Diane Davis, code compliance manager, via Wendy Shark, spokesperson for Department of Planning and Development (DPD), on February 12, 2015:
Questions that were emailed to me directly from residents, (RNA members):
“It looks like the city is piling on with new fines – how will that effect ongoing litigation?”
This will not affect ongoing litigation except to the extent that the total amount ultimately owing might be more.
“(Is the) city … only dealing with the houses that have a huge amount of garbage piling up on the exterior?”
We are dealing with the houses on a case by case basis, as we receive complaints or our inspectors observe violations while in the field. We can more easily proceed when violations are visible from the outside and we don’t need to gain access to the interior (for which we need permission).
“(How does the activity two weeks ago impact or connect to) the liens on properties?”
There is no specific relationship between current enforcement and prior judgments.
“How bad do things need to get, before action can be taken? Are any other actions to board up structures planned?”
We proceed as we receive complaints or observe violations, to the fullest extent the codes allow.
“The recent action was undertaken by a citizen neighbor, who contacted everyone possible in the city, and got some rewarding results. Is it possible for us to get a list of Sisley properties? If so, people could check up on some of these to see if there are nuisance issues.”
Current actions were result of tenant complaints in the fall about unlawful eviction notices. As we gained access to properties with consent of tenants, we were able to put together enforcement cases.
“Is this map accurate: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?msa=0&mid=zZL-kvVKufwg.kx_-VvtCy-ro, does this city have a map to share with the community of Sisley (or other) properties?”
That map looks accurate. Some of these properties may be partially controlled by lessee Roosevelt Development Group. Customers can complain about any potential violation they observe (Sisley-related or not) by calling our complaint line 615-0808 or going to complaint page http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/makeacomplaint/default.htm
Questions from Laura, Editor, The Roosie:
What are the current total amounts of liens on Hugh Sisley properties? What are the per-day amounts? How many properties are part of the lien?
We do not technically have liens, but rather legal judgments. The City’s judgments against the Sisleys total approximately $695,000. They have been obtained since 2009; with interest, the amount exceeds $1 million.
What is the timeline for action for DPD on inspecting properties in question for violations or is it just based on neighbor complaints and photos?
DPD is monitoring properties on an ongoing basis (in particular, the vacant buildings) and also responding to complaints from neighbors and building occupants.
When will DPD refer the most recent action for legal review with Seattle City Attorney’s office?
Our goal is to refer cases for legal review within 30 days of noncompliance with a compliance date in an NOV. (I am publishing this sentence but was unable to follow up about what “in an NOV” means.)
Given the high interest in the state of these properties is there more that could be done by DPD and the City Attorney’s office to reach out and communicate regularly with the community? Can someone from multiple city departments come to a meeting and give a coordinated response to the concerns of the community?
Both the Law Department and DPD have been responding to inquiries from neighborhood groups and individuals on a regular basis. DPD can come to a meeting to discuss ongoing enforcement actions although this information may be more effectively communicated in writing. It may be possible to have someone from the Law Department come to discuss the status of the lawsuits and legal judgments although some of this information may be confidential or related to legal strategy so cannot be shared.
The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association hopes to have an update from DPD at tomorrow’s general meeting. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8 pm on Feb. 24, 2015 at Christian Calvary Assembly, Third Floor, 68th & Roosevelt.