DPCA's Attorney Sends Letter to City of Seattle:
Too Many Irregularities - Start Fort Lawton Process Over
Discovery Park Community Alliance through its attorney, Joe Brogan (Foster Pepper PLLC), has sent a letter to the City of Seattle, c/o Lindsay Masters, Director, Office of Housing, indicating that there are many legal impediments and legal deficiencies related to the City’s handling of the Fort Lawton Army Reserve BRAC[i] Redevelopment process.
The Discovery Park Community Alliance (DPCA) whose members have a long history of being strong advocates for Discovery Park interests, promoting the adherence to all the important tenets of the Discovery Park Master Plan, and particularly that its advocacy should be transparent and have a strong public involvement aspect to it, have long campaigned to have the FLARC property annexed to Discovery Park.
While the City’s Office of Housing has included a quasi-park use alternative as one of the alternatives it is reviewing, DPCA feels that the City’s “park” alternative does not go far enough – the City’s park alternative carries with it a strongly linked housing plan that would need to be undertaken. DPCA’s position is that the FLARC property should be a park only proposition, with no housing strings attached.
Brogan points out in the letter that the City could pursue a Public Benefit Conveyance for park purposes, that this is an unprecedented opportunity to add the final piece of Fort Lawton property to Discovery Park, a goal which Discovery Park advocates have hoped for ever since the first parcel of Fort Lawton property was given to the City in 1972.
The letter goes on to provide a detailed inventory of the multiple of procedural and legal deficiencies in the City’s handling of the current BRAC process. The City as the designated Local Development Authority (LRA) under BRAC is required to comply with BRAC procedure, federal and state environmental review laws, ensuring that the public at-large, businesses, non-profit, school districts, and tribes are notified that the property is available, and to then give them an opportunity to propose uses for the property that are consistent with the purposes established by Congress and the BRAC law. This is only one aspect of BRAC that the City has not complied with.
Other areas of legal concern in the letter are the City’s pursuit of zoning that is incompatible with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the City’s Land Use Code zoning regulations, its insufficiently defined redevelopment alternatives for consideration, the City’s mis-reliance upon an old environmental assessment by the Army in an attempt to fulfill the City’s NEPA and SEPA environmental review obligations, and an overall lack of transparency on the part of the City in its planning for and administration of the BRAC process.
The Discovery Park Community Alliance is requesting that the City of Seattle restart the BRAC process in order to one, ensure compliance with all aspects of BRAC, and two, in order to properly include and engage all stakeholders from the outset of the BRAC process.
[i] Base Realignment and Closure Act
DPCA/Foster Pepper Letter in Dropbox
Letter in GoogleDrive
News Release Re Letter is here (Dropbox)
News Release Re Letter is here (Google Drive)
It is Official
Received our Washington State Secretary of State Non-Profit Corporation certificate.
Discovery Park Community Alliance Scoping Comments Submitted
"The long history of Seattle, Fort Lawton, and Discovery Park and the people associated with them is that their fates have always been inextricably linked, and that the land thereof has been in constant service to the people who used it and lived around it. There never has been a time when the one didn’t lead to the other and then back again." See complete DPCA letter here.
Final comments on the Scoping portion of the EIS for the Fort Lawton property reuse are due at 5:00 PM on June 26, 2017. See COS website for details.
Whether NEPA (National) or SEPA (Washington State) this is a guide for writing public comments for the scoping portion of the environmental impact statement process - How To Write Scoping Comments
Deadline for submittal of comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS for the HALA Agenda (Housing and MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) Policy/Implementation. Comments submitted by the Magnolia Neighborhood Planning Council.
Second City of Seattle Public Meeting
Second and final public meeting for the scoping phase of the City's environmental impact statement process for the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center property reuse project. City workers bring in the reinforcements this time - no public comment allowed.
6-21-2017 - In the News
Queen Anne & Magnolia News
Guest Editorial in Queen Anne & Magnolia News by Gretchen Taylor and Elizabeth Campbell.
MCC Board Meeting
The Magnolia Community Council (MCC) held a board meeting that briefly included discussion about the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center re-use planning by the City of Seattle. Attendees from the public sector asked what the MCC's position was. The President of the MCC, Mary Montgomery, responded that the MCC did not know enough about the project to take a position. Shary Flenniken a member of the audience asked if the MCC would at least write a letter to the City requesting an extension of the scoping comment period, as well as requesting that the City include a school alternative and a parks use only alternative in its plans. Mary responded that one, the MCC was not in a position to do anything. Mary then admonished the audience that it was their responsibility to ben engaged with the planning process and that they needed to be sure to attend meetings; and two, the MCC might consider such a letter, but only if it was written by someone else for them, and then during the MCC's hiatus - it does not meet again until September, 2017 - boardmembers would review the letter and decide whether or not to send it to the City. More on NextDoor.
First City of Seattle Meeting
City of Seattle's first public meeting regarding the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center property redevelopment. Standing room only. Discovery Park Community Alliance members were on hand to greet meeting attendees, hand out DPCA's information flyer, and gather the names of those in the community who support annexing the FLARC property to Discovery Park. Details here.
06-19-2017 - In the News
Magnolia Voice Interview
"Eight years later, the City of Seattle is back with much the same plan. Historically, the City will line up various activists and pro-homeless organizations that want this proposal to go through, according to critics. Now Magnolia Voice interviews Campbell and other Magnolia homeowners who want no part of the City’s recurring proposal." See More
06-16-2017 In the News
Can density and open space co-exist?
"Discovery Park is over 500 complex acres — wild areas, beachfront, bluff, historic housing, large open fields and spectacular views. It is the city’s largest park, but — and this underlines the cries for open space — Discovery doesn’t even crack the top 100 U.S. city parks in terms of size. " See More
Discovery Park Community Alliance representatives met with Parks Department manager at the Fort Lawton Historic District and toured the inside of the historic structures in the District, including the Chapel, the Administration Building, the Guard House, and the Stables. Pictures from the tour can be viewed online here.
Meeting #3 Recap
Meeting #3 COS* Email "This initial small group meeting is intended to be the start of a longer conversation and we would benefit from your neighborhood expertise. Please let me know if you are interested and available to meet. We are planning on meeting Wednesday, June 7, at 5:30 pm. We will meet at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center. Thanks. I look forward to meeting you. Karen Ko, Community Engagement Coordinator Office: 206.233 3732 Cell: 206.786.3287
Today was the start of a series of invitation only meetings convened by the City of Seattle regarding the City's plans to develop the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Property. The City's plans call for 85 homeless housing units, 100 affordable rental apartments, and 50 Habitat for Humanity homes.
Meeting #1 Magnolia Chamber of Commerce - no Attendees
Magnolia Community Club - 2 Attendees, Steve DeForest, Carol Burton
Meeting #2 Five people invited, one invitee attended, Erica Nash, one uninvited person attended, Elizabeth Campbell; latter objected to the invitation only meetings - they are not in the spirit of transparency and public involvement.
Campbell notes from Meeting #2 here.
* COS - City of Seattle
University of Washington forum promoting Friends of Discovery Park's interests, overview of natural space only uses at Discovery Park, revisiting Discovery Park, Friends of Discovery Park history. Video of entire meeting is here.
Video of Friends of Discovery Park invitation only meeting, presentation regarding proposed uses at the Discovery Park, Fort Lawton Historic District. DPCA YouTube video of meeting here.
Investigation into Discovery Park Trust, public disclosure request to the City of Seattle re same
Look for our ad in the Magnolia-Queen Anne News soon for our next meeting
First Meeting - good turnout, setting the agenda for the next six months for Discovery Park
community outreach activities.
Video - Overview of City of Seattle Fort Lawton Army Reserve
housing development project.