Federal Way leaders criticize potential garbage station site

Proposed plan from King County - Courtesy image
Proposed plan from King County
— image credit: Courtesy image

The Federal Way City Council voted in favor of sending a second letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine, signed by the council as a whole, expressing the council’s shared concerns over the possible siting of a garbage transfer station on the outskirts of the city, off of South 320th Street.

Rob Van Orsow, solid waste/recycling coordinator for the city’s Public Works department, explained that the criteria the county used to find potential sites:

• 15-20 acres in size;

• proper zoning;

• site within a half-mile of a major arterial;

• property cost within budget;

• screening for critical areas, such as wetlands.

The impartiality and somewhat odd selection of some of the sites is a result of how the county identified potential sites, Von Orsow said.

“They basically fed these parameters into a computer with parcel data, and it came up with sites that met these criteria as far as highway access, property cost, zoning and size,” he said.

Von Orsow said a decision is expected to be made sometime next year, with the final decision resting with Constantine.

Federal Way City Councilwoman Dini Duclos reiterated her concerns, saying that the site is just a bad choice for Federal Way.

“The location is a poor location for Federal Way because of the traffic ... there could be an impact to the fire department, and there are three wetlands on that property,” Duclos said. “It’s a bad location.”

Duclos said the early consensus is that the new transfer station will stay in Algona.

“I think everybody believes, since they already bought property in Algona, and I know the mayor of Algona is pretty sure it’s going to end up there. Otherwise, why would you put the money out? They didn’t buy the property here. They didn’t buy the two properties in Auburn. They only bought one,” Duclos said.

Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell said one thing he felt should be addressed with the county and the potential siting of the transfer station would be the possible impact to economic revitalization efforts in Federal Way.

“One of the things I don’t think we’ve fully explored is…the tremendously bad effect that this will have on our economic development efforts downtown,” he said. “The mere suggestion of this, in my opinion, is outrageous.”

Priest also reiterated his concerns, saying the particular siting seemed ill informed.

“This is probably one of the most important decisions, in terms of our community, that we will have. In part, because placing that at that particular area, given the unbelievable congestion we already have, is irrational at best,” he said.

In a Sept. 21 letter to Constantine, some startling statistics were revealed about traffic flows on South 320th Street. City data shows that South 320th Street between I-5 and 23rd Avenue South is one of the busiest arterials in Federal Way, averaging over 40,000 vehicles a day, the letter reads.

“The intersection at 23rd Avenue South is currently operating near capacity,” the letter reads. “To the east, South 320th Street and Military Road fail to meet traffic flow. High traffic volumes along S 320th Street are constant from the morning commute through late evening (no ‘mid-day lull’); this could severely restrict vehicle movements entering and leaving (the site).”


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