Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Land Use’ Category

Shoreline awards neighborhood matching grant for Sunset Park pARTy

by June 29th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Shoreline, Wash. City Council this week approved a mini-grant of $3,942 to the Richmond Highlands Neighborhood Association for a community art project and public event at Sunset School Park. The school has been closed since 2007 and has been vandalized. Combined with complementary funds raised by the association, there will be more than $11,000 to pay for early-phase services and materials to improve the park, including a community artist to lead a September 10 “pARTy at Sunset” community celebration. The event will result in a mural, or fence collage project to boost the property’s public appeal through a five-year period including the school’s demolition. More extensive redevelopment of the site into an open green space and park is expected, under citywide and site-specific parks master plans.

Seattle to sell old utility property to Port for noise buffer

by May 16th, 2011

SUMMARY: After selling or otherwise disposing of 159 excess properties for $159 million between 1998 and August 2008, the City of Seattle has sold none since then although it has some 212 “property management areas” declared as excess and worth roughly $81 million. Under a city council bill expected to be approved this week in committee and soon thereafter by the city council, Seattle would begin anew the offloading of some of its excess properties, with the sale for $178,212 of the old Sunnydale Substation parcel it owns in Burien to the Port of Seattle, which will use it to fill out the buffer zone near the third runway at Sea-Tac Airport.

Know Your Government: WA Energy Facility Site Council

by February 24th, 2011

WHO, WHAT, WHY: The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council was created by the legislature in 1970 to consolidate state agency reviews of proposals for new or expanded energy facilities, needed for deciding whether or not they will get official permits for construction and operation. The council issues or denies energy facility permits with authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under federal clean water and air laws. The council’s portfolio includes proposals for large natural gas and oil pipelines, larger electric plants, and new oil refineries. Alternative energy projects involving proposals for wind, solar, tidal, biomass or geothermal power facilities may opt for Council review of their plans. (Hydro-electric power facilities in Washington state are not regulated by the council; they are overseen by a separate federal agency called the Bonneville Power Agency.) The Council’s chairperson is appointed by the Governor, and the five members represent the Washington state departments of Commerce, Ecology, Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources, and the Utilities and Transportation Commission.

CURRENT WORK HIGHLIGHTS: The council has one proposal currently for which approval is being sought: the Whistling Ridge Energy Project, of up to 50 wind turbines on 1,152 acres of forested land on Saddleback Mountain in Skamania County.

Four more facilities it oversees are already licensed, permitted and operating. They are:

South Kirkland Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Project Advancing; But Fate Still Uncertain

by January 18th, 2011

SUMMARY: The cities of Kirkland and Bellevue have approved an agreement outlining principles to guide the development of the South Kirkland Park and Ride into a regional transit, commercial and housing hub intended to boost transit usage and model the benefits of transit-oriented development. Following upcoming public hearings and final amendments to the development plan, a $6.25 million federal grant could be released and would help cover some of the costs of adding 250 new parking spaces to the current 600 spaces which are at capacity now. 200 housing multifamily housing units are also planned, and 12,500 square feet of commercial space. If private and perhaps non-profit investors can partner on the housing, then the expanded parking component of the development plan can be fully funded; otherwise, not. Demand for commuter parking at the transit hub is likely to increase as tolling begins this spring on the nearby State Route 520 bridge, and then reconstruction of the bridge follows.

Well Water Around Ephrata Landfill Poses “Low To Very Low” Added Risk Of Cancer; Vinyl Chloride Still A Concern

by January 10th, 2011

SUMMARY: In the nearly 70 years since it opened, management of potential environmental risks at and from the Ephrata landfill in Central Washington state has gradually improved. In recent years, public health authorities have been addressing the aftermath of the officially-sanctioned dumping in 1975 by Grant County there of about 2,300 barrels of industrial waste. A recent health consultation report from the Washington Department of Health finds concentrations at levels of concern in private well water within a mile of the site, of benzene, dicloroethane and especially vinyl chloride. DOH says there is a low to very low added risk of cancer for users of private wells within a mile of the landfill, but warns little is known about the combined effects of such chemicals. They recommend further monitoring and public education.

6,000 New Homes Mean Six New Schools In Black Diamond

by January 4th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Black Diamond City Council is poised to approve an agenda bill Jan. 6 granting final authorization to the mayor to sign a comprehensive school mitigation agreement between the city, the Enumclaw School District, and the developer of two new master planned communities which will result in 6,000 new dwelling units and require construction of six new schools, three elementary, two middle, and one high school. The developer will provide land for the schools in exchange for mitigation fee credits, but taxpayers will have to approve the issuance of public debt to pay for construction.

BACKGROUND: Following legally-required environmental analysis and public hearing, the Black Diamond City Council City in September 2010 approved two master planned developments which will result in construction of 6,000 new residential units, The Villages and Lawson Hills. Public schools in Black Diamond, a city in southeastern King County, are operated by the Enumclaw School District, which covers several municipalities in a large suburban-rural area. Under a Comprehensive School Mitigation Agreement approved by the city of Black Diamond and the Enumclaw School District, the developer, Yarrow Bay, will ensure properties are secured within the new communities for new schools that will be required to serve the new population. Yarrow Bay is ready to sign the agreement following final revisions.

KEY LINK: Agenda Bill Authorizing Mayor To Sign Comprehensive School Mitigation Agreement with Enumclaw School District and Yarrow Bay developers; Black Diamond City Council, 1/6/11.


  • The two new master planned developments called The Villages and Lawson Hills will generate a substantial new population of school-age children who cannot be served at existing schools in the Black Diamond area.
  • Based on formulas predicting the number of students in various age groups who will reside in the 3,430 single-family homes and 920 apartments/town homes, there will need to be built: three new elementary schools with 450 students each; two middle schools with 550 students each; and one high school with 1,200 students.
  • To serve the new students, neighborhood schools are preferred so they can walk or bike to school and reduce transportation service needs and associated environmental impacts. Initial locations have been identified for the new schools, but may shift somewhat depending on various factors.
  • The developer Yarrow Bay will convey properties to the Enumclaw School District for construction of the needed new schools in exchange for credits against the so-called “mitigation fees” which are typically assessed in monetary form by cities on developers to compensate for the local government fiscal impacts resulting from new residential communities or units.
  • Paying for construction of the new schools will fall to taxpayers, who will be asked to support passage of school construction bond issues (the issuance of public debt to individual and institutional lenders). The city, school district and developer will “support and encourage” passage of necessary construction bond issues in the near and long-term. (Public entities cannot advocate a “yes” or “no’ vote on any ballot measure, but may provide objective information for the public, and public officials when they are “off the clock” may campaign directly).