Why is SWC appealing industrial warehouse development on the campus?
Save Weyerhaeuser Campus believes the City of Federal Way has failed to address cumulative, negative impacts that will be caused by 1.5 million square feet of industrial warehouse development that is proposed on the historic Weyerhaeuser Campus.
If the development is allowed as approved, these conditions will adversely impact our community and region.
State law requires that such impacts be either mitigated to the point of insignificance or analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement after full disclosure to the public.
Neither has happened as a result of our 2019 appeal to the city of Federal Way’s hearing examiner.
This is why we have taken our appeal to the next level —King County Superior Court — for a hearing before Judge Michael K. Ryan that is scheduled for April 24, 2020.
What happened with SWC’s preliminary appeal?
In the summer of 2019, SWC appealed the city’s approval of Warehouse A, the first of three applications (for five warehouses total) filed by campus landowner Industrial Realty Group. In his ruling, the city’s hearing examiner agreed with SWC that:
- The city must consider the cumulative effects of all three IRG projects on the campus. He found that cumulative traffic impacts were significant and not adequately mitigated.
- The city failed to consider the 1991 Hylebos Basin Plan, which includes important protections for water quality, wetlands and salmon habitat. Following the plan is required under the Federal Way city code.
As a result of these issues, SWC believes the hearing examiner should have overturned the city’s approval of Warehouse A — so that the city could require an Environmental Impact Statement or require additional mitigation, such as reducing the project’s size.
Instead the hearing examiner referred the project back to the city to address these issues—without any public oversight or participation. On the Hylebos plan issue, that means key stakeholders who have been involved in Hylebos conservation efforts, such as the King County Department of Natural Resources, the Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes, and conversation groups, will have no input.
SWC believes this lack of public input and oversight is improper.
SWC also is appealing the hearing examiner’s ruling that the City did consider the cumulative impacts on the important historic, aesthetic, and cultural values of the historic campus, especially the award-winning headquarters building and its landscape.
Are you appealing because you are anti-development?
No -- from the day we were founded in August 2016, Save Weyerhaeuser Campus has had a vision of responsible development on the historic Weyerhaeuser campus (since renamed Woodbridge Corporate Park by the new owners).
We are not anti-development; rather, we advocate for new development that builds on the legacy of the original campus. Such development should:
- Incorporate innovative design that meshes with the surrounding landscape
- Preserve as much of the forests and trails as possible
- Conserve the undeveloped North Lake shoreline
- Protect the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and Pacific Bonsai Museum
- Continue to welcome community use
- Provide a mix of uses that brings much-needed family-wage jobs to the region