ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:29 AM: The community coalition that’s been trying to convince the city not to sell off a group of ex-substation sites, mostly in West Seattle – saying we’ll regret the lost open space – has just discovered that a decision is near.
At Wednesday morning’s meeting of the City Council Energy Committee, City Light will ask official permission to sell eight sites (there originally were nine, but one in the Rainier Valley has been transferred to Seattle Public Utilities). Aerial views and addresses of the sites are here. Two (in south Highland Park, below, and Burien) are planned for sales to other public agencies:
Two (in Fauntleroy and Delridge, below) might go to community non-profits:
The other four (three in West Seattle, below – in Genesee Hill, Pigeon Point, and north Highland Park – one in SeaTac) will, at this point, just plain go up for sale:
Here’s the slide deck the council committee will be shown:
(Other meeting documents are here.)
This all goes back more than two years; in summer of 2013, Seattle City Light announced it was “studying” what to do with the surplus substations. A formal public hearing was held in fall 2013. Individual community groups took a look at the sites in their respective areas, such as the Highland Park Action Committee‘s discussion of the Dumar site in September 2013; the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council has been focused on the Dakota site’s fate. The two nonprofits hoping to purchase sites are the Fauntleroy Community Association, looking at raising money to buy the Fauntleroy site, and Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, hoping to get the Delridge site.
Sale of the remaining four would bring $1.2 million into the city treasury, SCL estimates, adding that – as noted in the slide deck – they’ve already asked other city departments, including Parks, about their interest, and found no takers, aside from the aforementioned SPU transfer.
The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition – founded as the West Seattle GSC, focusing on the substation sites but expanding citywide to advocate for open-space preservation – says it didn’t even get notification this was coming up for council consideration this week, but rather found out by reading the committee agenda sent out at the end of last week. It’s asking supporters to contact the mayor and the council, which certainly can be done with any opinion on the proposed sale, pro or con. As with most council committee meetings, there’ll be a public-comment period on Wednesday as the 9:30 am meeting gets under way; it’ll be shown live via Seattle Channel, cable channel 21 and online at seattlechannel.org. Once the committee has considered the City Light recommendation, it’ll move on to the full council for a final vote.
ADDED 12:10 PM: City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen clarifies the process: This Wednesday’s Energy Committee meeting is when the bill to “dispose” of the surplus ex-substations will be introduced; a briefing is planned but not a vote – that would come at a subsequent meeting. Also, reviewing the full agenda, this item IS listed as an official “public hearing.”