Von Reichbauer supports removal of Lowe’s/Dick’s site from light rail facility list

Sound Transit committee to consider recommendation about sites May 9

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer wants the Lowe’s/Dick’s Drive-In site in Kent removed by Sound Transit from consideration for a light rail vehicle maintenance facility.

Von Reichbauer, also a Sound Transit Board member, announced his opposition to the Lowe’s/Dick’s site in a press release Wednesday. Von Reichbauer, whose District 7 seat on the County Council includes Federal Way and Auburn, is the second Sound Transit Board member to ask for the site near South 240th Street and Pacific Highway South to be removed from the list of six sites under consideration.

Dave Upthegrove, a Sound Transit Board member and whose County Council District 5 includes Kent’s West Hill, earlier announced he wants the site removed from the list. Kent Mayor Dana Ralph and the Kent City Council also support removal of Dick’s from the list.

Von Reichbauer sent a letter to Claudia Balducci, the chair of Sound Transit’s System Expansion Committee, reaffirming his position that the site housing Dick’s Drive-In and the surrounding shopping center should be removed from the list of possible sites for Sound Transit’s Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) South. Sound Transit plans to open the facility in 2026, two years after the extension of light rail from SeaTac to Federal Way.

In his letter, von Reichbauer stressed the importance of working with sites willing to sell and avoiding building sites where jobs are at stake, according to the press release. He also noted the 2011 Midway Subarea plan (by the cities of Kent and Des Moines) envisioned Midway as a “comfortable and aesthetically pleasing” environment. With the addition of Dick’s, “this vision has begun to take place” and “it would be disappointing to see South King County, which has not benefited from the economic growth in the way other areas have, once again get the short end of the stick.”

The System Expansion Committee will consider a recommendation to the full board about which sites to advance to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which would mean a two-year in-depth study of each site. That committee meeting is Thursday, May 9, from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., in downtown Seattle.

Upthegrove serves on the System Expansion Committee along with King County Councilmember Balducci; Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards (Vice Chair); Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus; Kenmore Mayor David Baker; Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling; and University Place Mayor Kent Keel.

The 18-member Sound Transit Board will consider which sites to advance at its May 23 meeting.

The other sites include two on the former Midway Landfill in Kent; two in Federal Way and one in unincorporated King County.

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