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Fort Lawton
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Overview

October 2013 Update

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.

 

September 2012 Update

Status of the property
The status of the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Base property remains the same as last fall: 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 (Blackberry).

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 is looking to how it will remain involved in the federal process. Regardless of its status as an LRA, the City still retains planning and land use regulatory authority over the site. 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.

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 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 is expected to begin in the last months of 2012, and wrap up in early 2013.

Once the analysis is complete, the City will provide an update to the community. This is likely to occur in early to mid-2013.

January 2012 Update

As of Sept. 16, 2011, the Army has vacated the Fort Lawton Army Reserve 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 be directed to Scott McKean at (206) 883-7640.

Any decision about the sale of land at Fort Lawton remains in the Army’s hands, as Congress intended. City officials will continue to consult with Army officials about the future of this important area.

September 2010 Update

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has notified the City that HUD has determined that the City's Proposed Redevelopment Plan and Homeless Assistance Application for the U.S. Army Reserve Center Fort Lawton Complex complies with the requirements of the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act. See letter

June 2010 Updates

Status of Redevelopment Plan Lawsuit
The City has filed an appeal requesting the State Supreme Court review the Court of Appeals ruling on the Fort Lawton case.

Status of Redevelopment Plan Review
HUD is continuing to review the plan submitted by the City of Seattle in Fall 2008. An update will be provided when there is a change in the status of the plan.

August 2009 Updates

Security Concerns at Fort Lawton
During May and June the Army informed the City of off-hours, unauthorized gatherings in the Fort Lawton parking lots that resulted in trash being left and some vandalism.  The Seattle Police Department was notified and we are asking that nearby residents contact Seattle police (call 911) if they suspect unauthorized activities are occurring at Fort Lawton.

Statement from the Army: The original grounds maintenance contractor went out of business in mid-contract which ended regular maintenance until a new contract could be awarded. Additionally, due to the change of Army Reserve Command ownership, the new grounds maintenance contract took longer than expected, however, a new one was awarded in mid-July. Clean up and routine maintenance will begin again in August.

See latest Army release on continued use of Fort Lawton.

City Appealing Redevelopment Plan Lawsuit Decision
The City of Seattle is appealing the King County Superior Court decision on the lawsuit regarding the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan. We expect a decision from the Washington State Court of Appeals in late 2009 or early 2010. The City has sent letters to the Army and the Department of Housing and Urban Development informing them of this decision.

Status of Redevelopment Plan Review
We know that you are wondering what is happening with the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan as it goes through review in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and then on to the Army for property disposal decisions. These can be lengthy processes and when we receive any official word on the plan the community will be notified.


Final Redevelopment Plan Submittal Documents

On Sept. 22, 2008, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 in favor of Resolution 31086, approving the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan.

On Oct. 13, 2008, the entire package was submitted to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as required through the BRAC process. At this time, we have no indication of the timeline for review of the plan, but will continue to update this page as information arises.

Below are the final documents submitted to DOD and HUD. Due to the size of the documents, some have been broken into multiple pdfs for easier downloading. A hard copy of the entire package also is available for public review at both the Central Library and the Magnolia Library.


Draft Redevelopment Plan Submittal Documents

Below are the three documents, in DRAFT form, required for the Local Reuse Authority's final redevelopment plan submittal as part of the BRAC process.

Note: In preparation for submission as part of the official Resolution for full City Council vote on the entire Draft Redevelopment Plan, staff reviewed the documents for spelling, grammar and general inaccuracies or inconsistencies. The revised versions, dated Sept. 5, 2008, are listed below, as well as previous versions. Minor "clean-ups" that did not affect the meaning or intent of the plan were not highlighted. The few substantive changes are listed in an accompanying pdf.


Background
In 1898, a group of Seattle landowners gave the land that became the site of Fort Lawton to the U.S. government for military use. In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decided to close the 70th Regional Support Command headquarters located at Fort Lawton no later than 2009.

The Army named the City of Seattle the Local Reuse Authority (LRA), responsible for the redevelopment of Fort Lawton. The City is facilitating public involvement to create a plan that adheres to federal guidelines while ensuring Fort Lawton becomes a livable and diverse mixed-income community, balancing all of the priorities while appropriately fitting into the surrounding neighborhood.

The redevelopment plan will balance several priorities, including open space, heron habitat, market-rate homes and housing for formerly homeless individuals and families.

 

page last updated: Aug. 13, 2009

 
What's New

Army Schedule to Vacate Fort Lawton
As of March 2008, the Army plans to relocate 19 units to a new center at Fort Lewis, while two newly formed units will remain at Fort Lawton until August or September 2011. See below letters for further detail
- Dec. 6, 2008 Army letter
- Feb. 20, 2009 City's response


Final Plan Submitted
City Council approved the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan on Sept. 22, 2008. The entire package was submitted to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Oct. 13, 2008.

A hard copy of the entire package submitted to DOD and HUD is available for public review at both the Central Library and the Magnolia Library.


Where is Fort Lawton?

- View Discovery Park aerial photo/map

- View Fort Lawton aerial photo

- View Fort Lawton map

- View zoning map


Stay informed
To receive updates via email about the Fort Lawton redevelopment planning process, including public meetings, please email Laurie Ames.

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