Land Use Hearing

The Theodora Apartments are at risk. Unless we stop it, Goodman Real Estate will  convert the building from low income housing for seniors and folks with disabilities to luxury housing for the wealthy. But we can stop this and preserve some of Seattle’s last public housing. One tool at our disposal is public comment to the city on Goodman’s permit applications.  The Theodora  Rescue Committee asks you to take action and send apersonalized Public Comment to the City about your concerns related to Goodman Real Estate’s plans to  redevelop the Theodora Apartments. Please personalize the  email below  to the City. We have included talking points and a sample email are in the grey box at the bottom of this email.


With your help, destroying affordable housing won’t come easy. 
In order for Goodman to get the necessary permits, they will need to change the use of the Theodora from a “congregate retirement facility” to market rate apartments. Goodman Real Estate must go through a SEPA process–an analysis of the environmental and social impact of the planned development. This is an important chance to weigh in and impact their plans!  We must compel the city to scrutinize this application from every angle.

We have one month to show the City that we, the public, do not endorse a conversion that will cause irreparable damage to the Ravenna neighborhood and the larger community. If more than fifty people write to the city requesting a public hearing about the Theodora, the city will be compelled to grant one.

 Please take a few minutes to send a personalized comment letter into the Department of Planning and Development and demand our city pay close attention when our affordable housing is at stake.

Below, we have included some some points you may want to include in your letter as well as a sample letter for you to submit to the city. The more personal, the better. If you have any questions please contact Eliana at or at 206-722-6848 extension 114. Please visit for more information on the tenants’ struggle.

Instructions, Talking Points and Sample Email

Please include your name and address in your letter, as well as a request for a public hearing. You may email your letter in to Please cc: You may also mail a letter to: DPD 700 5th Ave Suite 2000 PO BOX 34019 Seattle, WA 98124

Housing, Parking, Traffic, Trees and other problems to cite in your comment (this list continues to grow) 


  • Active Displacement: The change of use will result in the displacement of thirty residents that currently live at the Theodora.
  • Incentivized Displacement: The Volunteers of America’s actions leading up to the sale and redevelopment of the building has forced 70 tenants to be displaced from the Theodora without access to relocation assistance or Section 8 vouchers.
  • Long term segregation: In the long term, the loss of 112 units of housing affordable for seniors and people with disabilities will result in deep housing segregation in Ravenna and across Seattle. Tenants who have been displaced have been moved to the edges of the city, or out of the city altogether. This building was built with public money through HUD and is a community asset. We cannot afford to lose it.
  • Relocation Assistance: The Volunteers of America was negligently late in applying for a Relocation license from the city resulting in many tenants leaving the building without any assistance to rely on. Though tenants have asked them to provide relocation assistance to tenants who have been forced to leave the building in the last year, they have refused to do so.
  • Misinformation: The information provided on the SEPA checklist indicates Goodman Real Estate plans to provide housing to tenants at 60%-80% AMI. However, there are at least two instances in which Goodman Real Estate has given different numbers. In an interview with KUOW on March 12, 2014 George Petrie, CEO of Goodman Real Estate, indicated housing would be affordable to 60%-99% AMI. Most recently, the Volunteers of America handed out a document to members of the Ravenna community that indicated the building would be affordable to 70%-90% AMI. Moreover, the information provided in the SEPA checklist does not indicate for how long housing will be affordable at the rates listed, and what enforceability the city, residents, or any other entity has.

NonConformity: Under LR2 zoning, the maximum width for a structure is 90’. The existing building already exceeds this on all sides, and an addition to building would further increase non-compliance. Parking and Traffic: Though the current plans provide 56 parking spots at the property, 22 of the spaces are for compact cars. The proposed plans rely on the presence of frequent transportation, but the current budget crisis may result in public transportation near the Theodora being cut. Furthermore, the proposed use of the building will bring additional traffic to Ravenna neighborhood that previously was not a problem, given the mobility challenges many of the Theodora residents have had. The mechanism to build the additional parking will result from a structure that contributes to the nonconforming use of the current structure. Impact on Trees:  The proposed landscape design will result in the destruction of 35 trees on the site. The trees located on the Theodora are beautiful assets to the neighborhood that build its value.

Weeping Cherry 1
Japanese Maples 10
Maple 1
Red Oak 1
Douglas Fir 3
Sweet Gum 2
Mazzard Cherry 1
White Birch 9
Vine Maple 3
Thurder Plum 1

Dust: The construction at the Theodora, alongside the construction occurring at the Children’s Home Society across the street will created an unmanageable amount of dust, hazardous to the health of the neighborhood’s residents.

Sample Email To:,, Subject: Public Comment Letter, MUP #3017233 Body: To the Department of Planning and Development: I am writing to submit my comment on MUP #3017233, an application to change the use of the Theodora Apartments located at 6559 35th Ave NE from a congregate residential facility to market-rate apartments, and to request a public hearing on the property. Furthermore, I request that the public hearing occur on a weekday evening at the Theodora Apartments. As you may be aware, the plot of land located at 6559 35th Ave NE has been dedicated to serve people in need for over 100 years. The current building, built with public money through the Department of Planning and Urban Development, has served hundreds of seniors and people with disabilities. After losing contracts with the Veterans Administration and the Department of Social and Health Services, the Volunteers of America compelled many tenants to leave the Theodora–without relocation assistance and without access to Section 8 vouchers in order to facilitate the sale and development of this building by Goodman Real Estate.  Goodman Real Estate plans to convert the affordable housing at the Theodora to luxury apartments at rents far beyond what any tenant who has ever lived at the Theodora can afford. The impact this change of use will have on our city is irreparable. There are many problems with Goodman Real Estate’s application to the city: from the proposed impact on traffic and parking to the proposed impact on 35 trees located on the site to the very fact that Goodman Real Estate is proposing building an addition that is nonconforming with the current zoning of the property. Facilitating the destruction of affordable housing should not be the purview of the city. I ask you to highly consider these impact as you evaluate Goodman Real Estate’s application. Sincerely, [INSERT NAME AND ANY OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION HERE]

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