Environmental Review

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On May 13, 2010, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed providing cities with 150 beds in the King County Jail until 2020. This move, coupled with current and potential contracts that north/east King County cities have with other jurisdictions for jail beds, enabled Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to recommend ending the process of siting a new regional municipal jail to house misdemeanor offenders. For more information, please visit the King County Web site: www.kingcounty.gov

NEC Municipal Jail Sites Environmental Review

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Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle and Shoreline have agreed to a joint environmental review process of the sites the North/East Cities are considering as a possible location for a new municipal jail. These cities have signed an agreement regarding the municipal jail environmental review process. The agreement is only about the process for the joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will evaluate the environmental impacts of potential sites among the five cities. The agreement itself makes no commitments on the location of a new jail (that will be decided separately and the EIS process will aid the decision). It also establishes the City of Seattle as nominal lead agency for complying with the terms of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

In addition to pursuing a potential collaboration on a regional municipal jail, the NEC is working with King County to explore developing an annex to the County jail in downtown Seattle. The NEC and King County have agreed to include the vacant County-owned site located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Jefferson Street – which is adjacent to the King County jail – as one of the sites for consideration under the EIS. An agreement between King County and the City of Seattle governs the environmental review of this site.

  • What is SEPA?
    • SEPA is the State Environmental Policy Act, a state law that directs agencies to consider environmental information before committing to a particular course of action on a project and encourages public involvement in agency decisions.
    • The SEPA process is often required for projects located in cities. Cities have the authority to decide whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required for a given project within their city limits.
  • What is an EIS?
    • An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an objective, impartial evaluation of the environmental consequences of a proposed project.
      • An EIS is a tool that is used by cities, other agencies and the public in the decision-making process on a project.
      • An EIS does not recommend for or against a particular course of action.
  • What are the major steps of the EIS process?
  1. Scoping – minimum 21-day public comment period required.
  2. Draft EIS – includes a required second public comment period (30 to 45 days).
  3. Final EIS.
  • What is the purpose of EIS scoping?
    • Scoping provides notice to agencies, organizations and the public that an EIS will be prepared for the proposed project.
    • The intent of scoping is to gather public and agency comments on the environmental issues and alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.
  • How can the public provide input during scoping?
    • The official SEPA Determination of Significance and notice of the scoping process was published in December 18, 2008. Read the news release.
    • Six Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping meetings are planned. The meetings will focus specifically on gathering comments on the scope of an EIS that will address environmental impacts of potential development of a regional misdemeanant jail at each site.

      The dates and locations for the EIS scoping meetings are:
      • Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments in the Auditorium, W404, at Lake Washington Technical College, located at 11605 132nd Ave. N.E., Kirkland;
      • Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments in the Theater at Shoreline Community College, located at 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., Shoreline;
      • Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at Seattle City Hall, located at 600 Fourth Ave. (between Cherry and James Streets), Seattle;
      • Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments in the Brockey Conference Center at South Seattle Community College, located at 6000 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle;
      • Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments in the Olympic Room at the Seattle Center, located at 225 Mercer Street, Seattle; and
      • Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, from 6 p.m. to close of comments on Level 4, Rooms 404 and 405 of The Meydenbauer Center, located at 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue.

        Note: for all of the EIS scoping meetings, doors open at 6 p.m. and the formal program begins at 6:30 p.m.
        For accommodations and translation services at the EIS Scoping meetings, please contact The Keller Group at 425-788-8990.
      • The following materials will be available as hand outs at the EIS Scoping Meetings:
        • Agenda
        • Meeting Ground Rules
        • EIS Process Overview
        • Elements of Environment
    • Input on the scope of the EIS can be given verbally at the public meetings or in writing at any time during the scoping comment period. Written comments regarding the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement may be sent via email at: [email protected]. Submittal of written comments regarding the EIS scope may be made to Diane SugimuraDirector of Department of Planning and Development,c/o Andy Ishizaki, NEC Regional Municipal Jail EIS, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5200, P.O. Box 94689, Seattle, WA 98124-4689, Phone: 206-233-2027. Written comments must be received by Jan. 30, 2009.
      • EIS Scoping Comments
  • What happens next after scoping?
    • Based on the comments received during the scoping process, the NEC will finalize the EIS scope.
      • EIS Scoping Summary Memo
        This memo from the SEPA Consultant recommends additions to the scope. Please note that these additions, along with the complexity of some of the analyses, have impacted the EIS schedule.
      • EIS Scoping Summary
        This document summarizes the comments received during the EIS Scoping period and identifies the elements that will be analyzed.
    • After the scope is finalized, the SEPA consultant will begin work on the Draft EIS.
  • What is the Draft EIS?
    • The Draft EIS is the initial comprehensive analysis of environmental impacts of various alternatives under a range of topics, such as soils, wetlands, land use, noise, transportation, etc.
    • The Draft EIS is issued and distributed to agencies, organizations, and the public for review as part of a second public comment period.
    • Public meeting(s) are held following issuance of the Draft EIS to gather comments regarding the Draft EIS. Comments on the Draft EIS can be given verbally at the public meetings or in writing at any time during this second comment period.
  • What is the Final EIS?
    • Based on the comments received on the Draft EIS, the Final EIS is prepared as the third and final step in the EIS process. The Final EIS provides responses to comments received on the Draft EIS from agencies, organizations and the public, and may contain clarifications to the analysis of environmental impacts.
    • The Draft and Final EIS together comprise the document that will be used – along with other analyses and public input – to help inform the selection of a site for the regional municipal jail and for other decisions on the project.
  • What is the anticipated schedule for the EIS?
    • Scoping – held in January 2009.
    • Draft EIS – to be issued during the second quarter of 2010.
    • Draft EIS Public Meetings – to be held during the second quarter of 2010.
    • Final EIS – to be issued during the third quarter of 2010.