Woodinville City Council members are rarely completely aligned when it comes to major issues. However, all six were in agreement that the new Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station should not be located in Woodinville.
King County Waste Division is searching for a new solid waste transfer station to address expanded capacity and service needs in the Northeast area. In search of a 10-acre site with easy access for transportation, the county narrowed down the options to Woodinville, Redmond and two different locations in Kirkland.
“Of the four of them, our site is probably the least favorable,” Mayor Gary Harris said in an interview.
Council members are hoping that citizen input about the potential site will dissuade the county from picking the city for its new dump and recycling center.
The potential 13.6-acre site in Woodinville would be located at Winsome Trading on Woodinville-Redmond Road. Council members expressed concern about traffic, tourism and distance to the freeway during a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
In an already congested area, Harris noted, the Woodinville location could be difficult for trucks to come and go efficiently. From this site, the fastest route to the freeway would require passing through the trestle, which is already known as the worst traffic spot in the city.
Harris said one constituent already wrote him after the council meeting with worries about noise and smell creating an issue for tourism, such as outdoor breweries in the area and concerts at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.
Houghton Park & Ride, the second Kirkland option, already poses complications as the smallest sized site at 5.1 acres.
In Redmond, a 15.4-acre undeveloped property is being considered at the corner of Willows Road and Northeast 124th Street.
“Throughout the process, the Solid Waste Division has reiterated there are no perfect sites on the Eastside,” said Diana Hart, intergovernmental affairs coordinator for the city.
According to the staff report, the current Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland has been in use since the mid-1960s and is nearing the end of its service life. Despite offering limited services, Houghton continues to be one of the busiest transfer stations in the county.
Hart said the station is positioned next to the former landfill, which is currently being used as sports fields.
The whole property, covering 25.4 acres, is being considered for the replacement site, although the county aims to preserve or redo as much of the ball fields as possible.
Historically, she noted, each time King County has done this process with an existing transfer station in the service area, no site other than the current location has been selected.
At the Tuesday meeting, Councilmember Chuck Price said the transfer station should be positioned nearest to a freeway to limit the impact to arterial roads. He recommended the county remain using the current Kirkland station because of its close access to Interstate 405.
“I think it’s very important that people are aware there’s a community survey out there, and that they take it seriously and fill it out,” Hart said.
She said there will be multiple opportunities for engagement in this process. The county is encouraging members of the community to provide feedback by filling out a brief online survey here.
The survey closes on Feb. 9.
After community review, two to three sites will move forward to environmental review, the staff report said. The new station is anticipated to open in 2027.