From our sister site The Waterland Blog:

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the City of Des Moines issued a SEPA Determination of Significance regarding Zenith Properties LLC’s application for a demolition permit (LUA2019-0032) for the 27-acre property formerly known as the Masonic Retirement Home/Landmark on the Sound, located at 23660 Marine View Drive South.

This begins a 30-day scoping period.

The historic campus has 1,319,850 square feet, was built in 1926, and served for numerous years as a retirement home for local Freemasons. For several years it operated as an event center, and hosted the Rotary Club’s annual Poverty Bay Wine Festival up until being closed by the Masons a few years ago.

Due to the nature of the request, the applicant – Zenith Properties LLC – was required to complete a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist. The City of Des Moines determined that their proposed action is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and is requiring Zenith to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of their application.

Scoping is the first step in the EIS process and includes a public comment period, which begins on Tuesday, May 3 and extends until Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 4:30 p.m PST (Provide comments here). A minimum 21-day public comment period is required by state law. The City of Des Moines has elected to expand the comment period to 30 days.

The City will host a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, May 17 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. PST. Those wishing to provide verbal comment at the meeting should register in advance here.

The scoping phase determines the range of issues to study in the EIS. Draft alternatives under consideration in the EIS include the proposed action (demolition of structures), an alternative that involves historic preservation and potential future adaptive reuse of the buildings, and a no action alternative.

People interested in commenting on the scoping phase have multiple ways to submit information during the comment period:

Verbal comments:

Online via Zoom EIS Scoping Virtual Public Meeting
Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 6 – 8:30 p.m. PST
Meeting will be held virtually on Zoom, advance registration required – pleas register at

Written comments:

City of Des Moines
Attn: SEPA Official (LUA2019-0032)
21630 11th Ave S, Ste D
Des Moines, WA 98198

Comments should focus on alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, possible mitigation measures, and licenses or other approvals that may be required.

Additional opportunities for public comment will be available once the Draft EIS is prepared and issued, which the City anticipates for later in 2022. No decision will be made on Zenith’s application until the completion of the EIS process.

The city included some alternative ideas on its website:

    • Demolition Alternative
      This Alternative assumes demolition of all existing structures and vacant buildings on site, including the main building (approximately 129,680 SF), infirmary wing and addition (approximately 18,982 SF), a residential structure (approximately 10,000 SF) at the southeast corner of the site, two maintenance buildings (each approximately 2,500 SF), the onsite water tower, an outdoor kitchen, patio and outhouse, and the fountain and associated landscape elements. Additional work would include removing existing building foundations and utilities, including water, sewer, and gas.
    • Historic Preservation and Potential Future Adaptive Reuse Alternative
      This Alternative assumes that Zenith preserves and structurally stabilizes the existing structures on site and in a condition that may allow for potential future adaptive reuse. The components of the structural stabilization include foundations, structural, roofing, and exterior envelope, as well as a reasonable evaluation of the viability of applying preservation strategies to the structures, including a cost-benefit analysis that incorporates reasonably available historic preservation program and tax incentives. However, no specific potential future uses are proposed as part of the Alternative.
    • No Action Alternative
      As required by SEPA, the EIS will evaluate a No Action Alternative. The No Action Alternative serves as the baseline condition for comparison with the other Alternatives and describes impacts if the proposed action does not proceed. There would be a continuation of existing site conditions, including retention of the existing structures as vacant and unutilized.

More information can be found at Those interested in receiving updates on Zenith’s application can sign up for the e-newsletter here.

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...