Mercer Island ends suspension of Sound Transit shoreline permit

On March 17, the city of Mercer Island withdrew the suspension of the shoreline substantial development permit issued to Sound Transit for its East Link light rail project, according to a city news release.

This matter will be discussed as part of the regular I-90 update to Mercer Island City Council at the March 20 meeting.

At the March 10 preliminary hearing, Sound Transit’s legal counsel stated that the agency was preparing a SEPA addendum to address the East Link project changes that showed probable, significant adverse impacts, if any, could be mitigated to a level of insignificance, according to the council’s agenda bill. The addendum is expected include the change from the assumption regarding Mercer Island SOV use of the R8A lanes contained in the original environmental analysis.

“The city previously had been informed that Sound Transit was preparing a Loss of Mobility study, but the March 10 hearing was the city’s first notice that Sound Transit was preparing a SEPA addendum to the FEIS,” according to the agenda bill. “It remains to be seen whether or not the proposed mitigation identified in Sound Transit’s SEPA addendum will adequately address Loss of Mobility impacts locally.”

According to the news release, Sound Transit intends to release the addendum in about a week, and it won’t do any work under the SSDP until June 2017 at the earliest.

“The city anticipates reviewing the addendum to assist in its determination of whether the change to the project related to Mercer Island SOVs constitutes a ‘substantive change’ causing an ‘adverse environmental impact’ under WAC 173-27-100,” according to the news release. “After that evaluation, the city will take the regulatory steps dictated by its determinations.”

A hearing on the shoreline permit originally occurred in King County Superior Court on March 10, and a second hearing was scheduled for March 31, then moved to 10 a.m. April 7.

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