From: "Dumpys, Christa" <Christa.Dumpys@seattle.gov>
Date: October 23, 2013 12:20:04 PM PDT
To: "Dumpys, Christa" <Christa.Dumpys@seattle.gov>
Subject: Ft. Lawton Update
You are receiving this message because of your interest in the Fort Lawton Army Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Process. While there is not a lot to share at this point, we wanted to share what we can with you so you are aware of the status of this project. Information and background on the entire process remains online at http://seattle.gov/neighborhoods/fortlawton/brac/.
Status of the property
The status of the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Base property remains the same: as of Sept. 16, 2011, the Army has vacated the base, leaving it in caretaker status until a decision is made on transfer of the property. Under “caretaker” status, the Army still owns and maintains the facility (graffiti removal, grounds upkeep, etc.). In addition they are responsible for securing the property. They have secured the buildings against entry and will secure the gates, but will keep the road open (used as access to the neighborhood and by Metro). All inquiries regarding the Fort Lawton property should be directed to Herb Dannenberg, (608) 388-0713 (office) / (608) 556-1180 (mobile).
Any decision about the sale of land at Fort Lawton remains in the Army’s hands, as Congress intended. City officials continue to consult with Army officials about the future of this important area.
Recap: 2008 Redevelopment Plan and related lawsuit
The City of Seattle, as the designated Local Reuse Authority (LRA) under federal law, finalized the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan in September 2008, after several years of working with the community to plan potential future uses of the site, per BRAC regulations. The City Council passed a resolution formally adopting and approving submittal of the plan to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Army. In October 2008, a neighborhood community organization filed suit against the City of Seattle in state court claiming that the City should have conducted environmental review under the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) before adopting the resolution. The suit resulted in an order voiding the City Council resolution.
In the wake of the court decision, the City will take no final action on any plan until there has been compliance with SEPA. Further, BRAC regulations require the U.S. Army to conduct environmental review under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and to make a property disposal decision. On October 18, 2012, the Army issued a Finding of No Significant Impact under NEPA. The Army has not made a property disposal decision.
What is happening now
Since the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan was developed in 2008, there have been changes in the national and local real estate market. Without updated information it would not be possible to assess the continued feasibility of the vision outlined in the 2008 plan, or of any alternative vision for the reuse of the base property.
Therefore, in August 2012, the City applied for and received a grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to review and update the market study, financial models, and the other assumptions and data that informed the 2008 redevelopment plan.
At this time, the City is NOT reexamining the elements of the plan developed with the community in 2008. Any future proposal for use of the Fort Lawton Army Base property would need to be based on more current analyses, models and assumptions. With the OEA grant, the City will hire a consultant to gather quantitative data to help determine the most appropriate next step/future courses of action, if any, to recommend to the Army and HUD. The gathering and analysis of data has begun and is expected to wrap up in early 2014.
Once the analysis is complete, the City will provide an update to the community. This is now estimated to occur in mid-2014.