On Thursday, June 30, Financial Administrative Services (FAS) hosted a public meeting to discuss the Draft Preliminary Recommendation Report on the proposed sale of the Myers Way Property. This issue is important to many residents residing in Top Hat, Highland Park, South Park, Arbor Heights, as well as citywide environmental groups such as Seattle Green Spaces Coalition and TreePAC.
Those in attendance asked for assurances from the City that the decision about selling this property will occur only after the entire community, specifically low income renters, people of color and non-English speaking residents are meaningfully engaged. Residents are asking that FAS apply the Racial and Social Justice Toolkit and follow the Equity and Environment Action Agenda before deciding what to do with this land.
Here are some of the outstanding questions constituents are asking me:
Why has this property been identified as excess/surplus property?
The property was originally purchased for the Joint Training Facility. The City has a goal of not holding properties without a specified municipal purpose. Seattle Public Library, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Office of Housing, and King County Housing Authority evaluated the property for current and future uses and decided they were not interested in obtaining the property. Can we stop the sales process until those most impacted are engaged?
The sales process has not begun. FAS has initiated the review and evaluation of the various options for reuse and disposal of this property.
How will the communities most impacted be further engaged?
FAS will continue to meet with community groups throughout the month of July. FAS will provide interpretation services (i.e. Somali, Vietnamese, and/or Spanish). Please contact Daniel Bretzke by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 206-733-9882, if you would like to schedule a meeting. Public comment is accepted until legislative action is completed.
If the property is sold, how will the City use the money earned from the sale of some or all of the parcels?
$14 million is the total amount of revenues pledged from the Myers Way sale. Of this, $2 Million is reserved for environmental remediation; $1.3 to pay the interfund loan for the original purchase of the property; and $5 Million to pay for services funded after the Mayor, in November last year, declared a Homelessness State of Emergency.
What community benefits are being considered?
The City could consider using property use covenants when with explicit restrictions on or requirements of a future purchaser in order to address environment sustainability of the land, green jobs for local residents, or another city objective.
Is there any commitment to preserve the property as park land or open space?
There is a recommendation from FAS to preserve 20 of the 33 total acres. Recommendation for Joint Training Center Expansion Property (PMA 4601) is to retain city ownership of property and develop and implement a tree management plan for the slope portions on the property; and develop and implement methods to protect wetlands located on south and east property lines. Recommendation for Undeveloped lot at 9501 Myers Way S. (PMA 4540) \u2013 Provision the sale of the land upon a requirement to clean up the subsurface contaminated Cement Kiln Dust (CKD) soils; and record additional covenants to protect wetlands and steep slopes. Recommendation for Undeveloped lot at 9701 Myers Way S. (PMA 4541) \u2013 identify a purchaser who will preserve and enhance the natural environment of the property and to complete a negotiated sale with identified purchasers whose mission is to preserve and enhance urban open spaces. The City could also sell to a commercial user that would commit to protect trees and open space. FAS would record covenants to protect wetlands and steeps slopes. Recommendation for Undeveloped lot at 9600 Myers Way S. (PMA 4542) is to identify a purchaser who will preserve and enhance the natural environment of the property and to complete a negotiated sale with identified purchasers. FAS would record covenants to protect wetlands and steeps slopes.
Why can't the City preserve the entire property?
The City could decide not to sell the property or could sell the property and place conditions on the sale of the property to preserve the property as open space and protect the Duwamish River and keep the watershed healthy.
Is the city only seeking the highest bidder?
FAS recommendation is to sell PMA 4540, on the commercial real estate market and the highest and best offer would be accepted. Any future development would be subject to City land use requirements (i.e. Zoning, Environmental Critical Area Protection, and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Is this site suitable for affordable housing?
The Seattle Office of Housing has determined this site is not appropriate for housing due to the zoning incompatibility and the lack of utility infrastructure.
What is the timeline?
In early August, FAS will finalize its draft Preliminary Report and the Public Involvement Process. Then there is a 30 day public comment period. The Executive will transmit to Council the Final report and the Report on the Public Involvement Process with a Council Bill that is necessary to implement the final recommendation for the excess property. At this time, Council may amend the public involvement plan to further reflect the public involvement goals of the community.