Zoning Interpretation                                                                                                  Read the agreement

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A special zoning agreement was negotiated when Weyerhaeuser asked to annex to the city of Federal Way in 1994. There was no expiration date on the agreement, so the city says those 1994 terms run with the property forever.

Nowhere does the agreement specify industrial zoning for this 430-acre parcel.

Instead, the agreement calls for large, contiguous sites with landscaping, open space amenities and buildings of superior quality — low-density uses intended to reflect and be compatible with Weyerhaeuser's existing uses.

The document also specifies which uses are allowed outright and those that may be approved as an accessory to a primary use. Although "warehousing and distribution" are specified, we believe these massive warehouses do not meet the intent of the agreement, and the use of ammonia makes the freezer warehouse an industrial use.

In addition, fish processing is not a permitted use or an accessory use under the zoning. But a catch-all provision allows the city’s Community Development Director to deem any other use he sees as compatible.

The city has interpreted the zoning language to allow fish processing.

And, nowhere else in Federal Way are industrial uses allowed next to single-family neighborhoods.

Piecemealing

New owner Industrial Realty Group and its clients are proposing redevelopment projects on the campus one by one, a practice known as piecemealing. This practice raises some problems for a unique property like the Weyerhaeuser campus.

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The cohesive look and feel of the property will be lost.

And when each project  is considered individually, its impacts — such  as wetlands filling and increased truck traffic — may not seem as bad. But when several projects are developed over many months, those impacts can add up quickly. There’s no going back.

Clear-cutting and erecting the Orca Bay fish-processing plant would change the character of the campus forever.
Construction of the Orca Bay fish-processing plant would change the character of the campus forever.

 

We believe a master plan for the entire campus will preserve the low-density character intended when Weyerhaeuser annexed the property to the city in 1994.

That’s why we’re urging the City Council to enact a moratorium on new permit applications. We need to take a breather and determine the best uses for this special piece of Federal Way.