Traffic Study Required for Weyerhaeuser Mansion Event Space

There has been a bit of a contentious conversation taking place around the future of the old Weyerhaeuser Mansion at North 43rd and Stevens.

The historic property has been owned by divinity school Corban University, but the school listed the property for sale three years ago, based largely on dwindling enrollment. Seattle-based Blue Ribbon Cooking School and event catering company have expressed interest in purchasing the property for use as an event space, mainly to host weddings.

Blue Ribbon made an offer for the property, contingent on receiving a conditional use permit to allow them to continue to hold weddings on the site, which is zoned single-family residential. In October of last year, Corban University filed a request for that conditional use permit. Neighbors objected. Strongly.

The debate around the question of what sorts of uses are appropriate for the property has gotten increasingly heated, with neighbors saying that weddings and guests have been too disruptive. Apparently noise complaints have been made to the police by both sides.

The City was originally set to issue a decision on the conditional use permit in January. Last week interested parties were notified that the decision has been delayed, because a requested traffic and parking study has not been submitted. Corban has until March 27 to submit the study. The City expects to issue a decision 30 days after receiving the study. Anybody want to make a prediction?

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Scott / Wallflower Photography

I’ll tell you this much: the Weyerhaeuser Estate is a really nice wedding venue. It made Tacoma’s Top Wedding Venues this year for a good reason (see for photos). It would be a shame if Blue Ribbon doesn’t get their permit and we lose it from our city’s excellent inventory of wedding venues.

Besides, I just don’t see any multimillionaires jumping at the opportunity to buy this property. If they did, I’d worry about their intentions, given that the mansion is very antique-feeling, with creaky floors, narrow doorways, temperature control challenges, etc. It has great ambiance for weddings, but less so for actually living in (this coming from an owner of a historic home with all of the above challenges). Let’s not forget, it wasn’t long ago that a nearby historic home on similar prime view property was bought to be torn down to make room for a new mansion.

I’d just like to think that measures can be taken to reduce the occasional problem of disruptive wedding guests. Maybe I’m just being an optimist. As for parking, I’ll just say that a bigger on-site lot sure would be nice. But that’s expensive, and I’m sure that from Blue Ribbon’s perspective, they need to know whether they will be allowed to operate there long-term before even considering that investment.

February 13, 2014 at 1:38 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I agree with Scott.  That place is an appropriate venue for weddings and similar events.  It would be even better as a McMenamins-type complex.  I just can’t muster up much sympathy for the NIMBYs/neighbors on this one.

February 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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