April 12, 1999
A neighborhood group's challenge of a March 10 King County ruling, which allowed the Lakepointe Project an exception to intersection standards, has resulted in the denial of that exception by a Kenmore City Hearing Examiner. That ruling effectively stops the Lakepointe project until the negative impacts on local traffic are addressed and alternative solutions proposed.
King County's exception standards stated that the road impacted by proposed development (SR-522) is at "ultimate design;" that an intersection already existing on that road (SR-522 at 68th Ave. NE) is "fully built out;" and that further improvements of this condition are "not feasible for this project."
The County recognized that for roadways at ultimate design, "only decreasing the number of cars on the roadway will help alleviate the detrimental impacts of congestion." The County ruled that an alternative (decreasing the number of cars) was "not appropriate" before issuing the exception.
However, in an admission, the County stated that "completion of a new transportation plan for Lakepointe would be necessary to update and clarify mitigation measures," to meet County mitigation standards.
The hearing examiner ruled that King County did not sufficiently review alternative mitigation strategies. Further, he determined that the County did not explain what traffic reduction strategies were explored and rejected, before issuing Lakepointe the exception.
The examiner found that alternative strategies might include increased availability and access to public transit; requirements for private shuttle service; reduction in the number of vehicles allowed by proposed project tenants; an altered mix of uses of the project; and reduction of project size.
Lakepointe must now address the hearing examiner's findings and send their building permit application back to the county for review.