January 11, 1999
BOTHELL--Residents who live near a proposed Hilton Hotel in Bothell want specifics on what improvements the city will make to an intersection key to getting from their neighborhood to I-405, and have sidetracked the 163-room lodging and office building project with an appeal.
At issue is vague language in the city's review of the project for environmental impacts and Ross Road. Ross is the quickest way for Northcreek Heights residents to get onto Beardslee Boulevard which leads to NE 195th St. and the onramps to north- and south-bound I-405, as well as business parks in the Northcreek Valley.
Patrick Ewing of the Northcreek Heights Homeowners Association says all sorts of rumors are circulating on what may be done to the intersection of Ross and Beardslee--everything from closing it to making it right-turn only with a u-turn down the street. If it's closed, it will mean Northcreek residents will have to drive further into Bothell to get to the interstate.
"We hope the city is more specific on the mitigation plan for the whole intersection. They're not telling us what they're going to do," said Ewing. There are 63 single family residences and 114 apartments in Northcreek Heights.
According to the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance issued by the city in early December, the developer, Windstar Investment LLC of Bellevue, will contribute a share--city documents say it will be $373,000--to improving the intersection.
The offices and hotel are expected to generate 1,694 new net trips per day. The MDNS indicates a build-out of as many as five lanes on Beardslee near Ross.
"The design of this section is yet to occur and will need to be developed concurrent with further project review of the Hilton and UW/Cascadia Projects," according to the MDNS.
In mid-December, Northcreek appealed the MDNS, asking that it be reversed and a full environmental impact statement be prepared, which would take more time and money.
"My people are looking for a solution," said J. Richard Aramburu, a land-use lawyer, who is representing Northcreek. "The issue is what are they going to propose." Bothell officials say they will meet with Northcreek sometime this week.
Kurt Latt, city of Bothell traffic engineer, said the city is looking at some alternatives but couldn't get into specifics. "We're confident we'll have a solution," Latt said.
Ewing said he hopes to get intersection designs from the city for evaluation. He wouldn't comment on what would happen if the designs didn't meet Northcreek's expectations, but said "if we have assurances the intersection will be improved thusly and by a certain time, we'd drop the appeal."
Latt said the residents' anxiety was understandable, but noted that it's still early in the development process. "If this was [further along], and there wasn't an answer, I would be concerned. But it's early," he said.
Last week, the Bothell City Council decided they will hear the appeal, possibly in February, according to Mayor Debbie Treen. The hearing will be consolidated with the project's preliminary planned unit development application. Treen said there could be as many as three nights of hearings.
If the project hadn't been appealed, review would have been forwarded to the city's planning commission. Ultimately, the City Council will approve or deny the project.
As it stands, current plans call for a four-story hotel with a meeting space, indoor pool, spa, exercise room, and restaurant. It would be "nestled" into the hillside, paralleling the contour with views to the east and southeast.
There would also be a separate 44,000 square-foot office building, and between five and nine single family residences on the 7.32-acre site.