Latest IRG applications prompt concerns over traffic, environmental issues

Residents are worried about development of the former Weyerhauser Campus.

Recent applications from Industrial Realty Group to develop the former Weyerhaeuser campus were met with opposition from residents at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Brian Davis, Federal Way’s community development director, gave a status update on the two new applications presented by IRG – one for two Greenline warehouses and the other for Greenline business park.

Dana Holloway, a member of Save Weyerhaeuser Campus, said she doesn’t think the council is taking into account the long-term effects of developing the campus.

“Once the forest is cut, the land is bulldozed, the wetlands are filled, the land is destroyed forever… There is no do-over,” Holloway said.

Save Weyerhaeuser Campus and North Lake residents have been working to preserve 53.8 acres of category one wetland, wetland buffer, lakefront and associated forests along North Lake in the headwaters of the East Hylebos Watershed on the campus since IRG purchased the 425-acre property in 2016. Forterra, a nonprofit conservation, stewardship and community building organization, has been working with residents in their efforts.

King County and the city of Federal Way have each pledged $1 million toward the purchase of the property.

Last month, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed buying 65,000 acres of county land for conservation purposes, including lakeshore trails on the former Weyerhaeuser campus.

Holloway asked the council to reject all applications by IRG until all effects, including environmental, can be evaluated.

Davis said the City Council is not involved in the review process for these applications.

“Your role here,” Davis told the council, “on this application, you will not be part of this decision. And that was intended so you could freely communicate with the public.”

Council member Mark Koppang asked Davis to confirm if a use had been determined for the building.

Davis said the application originally stated the tenant to be Orca Bay, however the application has been amended to say there is no known tenant.

Davis also said both buildings are being reviewed as warehouses for traffic evaluation purposes.

One Federal Way resident, Ron Beckerdite, shared his own traffic concerns over the approximately 500,000-square-foot development could potentially cause.

“Have you been to (state route) 18 and (Interstate) 5 between 2:30 and 6:30 in the afternoon? Let’s put about 800 trucks out there; you talk about a goat rope,” he said.

Beckerdite said he hopes increased traffic around the property is being considered to avoid unnecessary noise and travel delays.

Greenline warehouse A is currently under review. The application was received in June 2016 with the latest resubmittal in March 2018.

Other council business

At Tuesday’s meeting residents also continued to encourage the City Council to renew its contract with Centerstage to operate the Knutzen Family Theatre at Dumas Bay Centre. Others spoke about disruptive airplane noise and emissions and increased crime in the community.

At the beginning of the meeting, council member Dini Duclos moved that the proposed storage facility fee be removed from the agenda and sent back to committee for further consideration.

There is no updated timeline on when that proposed fee will be taken to a vote.

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