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Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Yesler Terrace redevelopment available for review and comment

Comment period concludes December 13

SEATTLE — October 21, 2010 — The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Yesler Terrace public housing community is now available for review and comment. The document is being issued by the Seattle Housing Authority and the Seattle Human Services Department. The comment period begins Saturday, October 30, 2010 and concludes Monday, December 13, 2010.

The environmental review process, mandated by both Federal and State law, examines how various redevelopment alternatives for Yesler Terrace could affect the project’s environment. The eighteen issue areas studied—including air quality, noise and energy—were identified in a public scoping process last spring that captured input from the Yesler Terrace community, public agencies and other stakeholders.

"This is an exciting milestone in the process of creating a new urban neighborhood at Yesler Terrace," said Executive Director Tom Tierney. "The Draft EIS provides valuable information that can help to guide the decision making. The Guiding Principles that were developed with the Citizen Review Committee will also continue to be a fundamental framework for deciding what happens at Yesler Terrace."

The comment period allows the public, government agencies and other stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the Draft EIS. Once the Draft EIS has been revised based upon these comments, the Seattle Housing Authority will issue the Final EIS. The Final EIS will identify a preferred alternative for redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.

The Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners will then make a decision on the best option for redevelopment at Yesler Terrace. This option will become known as the “redevelopment plan” and will be used to guide the future development of the site over the 15-20 year timeframe. The Final EIS is expected to be complete in February 2011.

The entire Draft EIS document can be accessed for free on the Seattle Housing Authority website. To request a free copy on CD, or a printed copy for $25, please contact Collette Frazier at 206-615-3556. Printed copies are available for reference at the following locations:

  • Seattle Public Library, Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Avenue East
  • Seattle Public Library, Douglas Truth Branch, 2300 East Yesler Way
  • Seattle Public Library, Downtown Central Branch, 1000 Fourth Avenue
  • Seattle Public Library, International District/Chinatown Branch, 713 Eighth Avenue South
  • Yesler Community Center, 917 East Yesler Way
  • Yesler Terrace Property Management Office, 102 Broadway, Suite 616
  • Yesler Terrace Job Connection Office, 825 Yesler Way

Comments on the Draft EIS may be submitted in writing by December 13. Comments may be e-mailed to YTEISComments@seattlehousing.org or sent by U.S. mail to: Seattle Housing Authority, ATTN: Stephanie Van Dyke, 120 Sixth Avenue North, P.O. Box 19028, Seattle, WA 98109-1028.

Comments may also be delivered orally at a public meeting on November 30, 2010. The meeting will be held at the old Yesler Terrace Gym at 835 East Yesler Way, from 6 to 8 p.m.

About the EIS alternatives

The Draft EIS analyzes four redevelopment alternatives (including a variation on one alternative) and a “no action” alternative, which evaluates the site in its current state. The alternatives reflect a range of development options on the site that would result in low, medium and high population densities, including leaving the population density as it currently exists. The alternatives were defined by the Seattle Housing Authority, with input from residents, stakeholders and the Citizen Review Committee. All four redevelopment alternatives would replace each of the existing 561 units of extremely low-income housing units. Alternatives 1-3 would add additional low-income housing serving very low-income residents. All four alternatives would provide infrastructure upgrades. Alternatives 2 and 3 anticipate changing the location of several streets.

The alternatives provide for new parks and open spaces, improve the walking environment and better connect to surrounding neighborhoods, including Little Saigon. The four alternatives would also add market-rate housing to the site. Alternatives 1-3 also include office, neighborhood commercial and neighborhood service areas. Under Alternative 4, no new non-residential uses are planned. All of the alternatives will keep the new Yesler Terrace Community Center building.

About the Yesler Terrace redevelopment

Built 70 years ago, Yesler Terrace was a progressive example of public housing architecture at its time. Today, due to the project’s age, as well as other site and economic factors, Seattle Housing no longer considers Yesler Terrace adequate, high-quality housing for the current residents, and neither is it adequate for generations to be served at Yesler Terrace into the future. The future Yesler Terrace is envisioned as a vibrant, culturally diverse, mixed-income community with high-quality housing surrounded by parks, shops, offices and amenities.