Fort Lawton EIS upheld by the Hearing Examiner

Yesterday Seattle’s Office of the Hearing Examiner released a ruling on a legal challenge to the city’s final Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed affordable housing project on the Fort Lawton property adjacent to Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood. The ruling fully affirms the adequacy of the EIS and dismisses the challenge.

Here’s some background on the Fort Lawton project.

The appeal was filed last April by Elizabeth Campbell and the Discovery Park Community Alliance (represented by Campbell). However, Campbell never made any real effort to argue the case; rather, she filed multiple procedural motions to drag out the appeal. Along the way, she missed the deadline to submit evidence and a proposed list of expert witnesses she wanted to testify, which meant that she was only allowed to make legal arguments that didn’t require evidence or expert testimony. And then in lieu of a full brief, she merely re-submitted her original notice of appeal — but all of the legal arguments it contained required evidence.  So the city effectively won by default: the Hearing Examiner found that Campbell had not raised any viable issues, and thus affirmed the EIS.

With that, the city is finally free to move forward with its plans for the Fort Lawton redevelopment project. Under its agreement with the US Army, the city has until January 1, 2020 to approve a redevelopment plan for the land, or the Army can sell it to a private developer instead.