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Mall owner opposes street plan

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

The Federal Way City Council agreed to hold off on updating grid street requirements in its comprehensive plan after the new owners of SeaTac Mall expressed opposition.

Updates to the city’s comprehensive plan — the state-required guideline for city growth — makes provisions for new streets to one day criss-cross downtown to alleviate traffic as downtown becomes more dense and to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

If the proposal were to pass, downtown property owners would have to make accommodations for the grid roads when they redevelop their properties. For some, like SeaTac Mall, that would mean splitting up property through which the roads would run.

James Yoder, vice president of Steadfast Commercial Properties, which purchased the mall in February, told the council last week the grid street proposals could prove detrimental to the company’s mall redevelopment plans. He estimated adding roads, shoulders and rights-of-way could cost the mall 10 acres, or 20 percent of its property.

He urged the council to “strongly consider the impacts of grid roads on the property,” but added Steadfast was “eager to continue planning efforts to reposition the mall and steer it on a path that will bring success.”

Councilman Eric Faison, who heads the city’s Land-Use and Transportation Committee, which recommended the plan for the streets, said he remains supportive of the grid road proposal.

“The mall is considered unique from all the other downtown properties, and I don’t think that’s fair,” he said. “Other property owners still have to do grid roads if they redevelop.”

Councilman Jack Dovey said grid roads were put into the comprehensive plan “so developers would know this was a place where the road could go in so they wouldn’t build in the middle of a planned grid.”

Still, he added, there shouldn’t be automatic “triggers requiring it when redevelopment occurs.”

Faison suggested the grid road part of this year’s comprehensive plan update be delayed until next year “to give Steadfast a chance to work with the city.”

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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