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A special zoning agreement was negotiated when Weyerhaeuser annexed to the city of Federal Way in 1994. It did not include an expiration date, so the city says those 1994 terms, including most development codes that existed two decades ago, run with the property forever.
The zoning does allow "warehousing and distribution." But in allowing these massive warehouses, we believe the city has erroneously interpreted the intent of the agreement.
Experts are telling us that, by definition, the use of ammonia in the freezer plant makes it an industrial use. Likewise, the sheer size of a proposed 721,000-square-foot warehouse makes it an industrial use, not simple warehousing.
As for fish processing, it is not a permitted use or an accessory use under the 1994 zoning agreement. The city's interpretation is that this industrial use is permitted in this zone.
Won't there be an awful lot of semi-trucks?
Yes. The 314,000-square-foot Orca Bay Seafoods processing plant and Preferred Freezer warehouse are expected to require more than 100 truck trips each day. The truck driveway is very close to the Highway 18 westbound on/off ramps.
The 721,000-square-foot warehouse, now in the pre-application stage, would have 162 truck bays and parking for 100 semi-trailers. A preliminary traffic analysis projects more than 1,200 truck and vehicle trips each weekday! The closest access would be South 320th Street.
Both of these major routes are already congested and back up during the morning and afternoon/evening commutes.
How will our environment be impacted?
Wetlands will be filled on the Orca Bay/Preferred Freezer site, creating undetermined impacts to the North Lake-Hylebos watershed. Wildlife that take refuge in the now-wooded area will be displaced when the site is clear-cut for construction. Noise pollution is expected from the refrigerated semi-trucks that will be constantly running.
What can I do about it?
Come to a Federal Way City Council meeting and speak out. Email or call Mayor Jim Ferrell and the City Council members.
Tell them there are better uses for this unique property that will be better for everyone in Federal Way. Urge them to enact a moratorium on future permits until a master plan for the campus is developed.
Make comments on projects as they go through the permitting process. Sign up for email notifications and watch our website and Facebook page for alerts when public comment periods are open.
Make a donation to help fund the legal fight against this error in interpretation