Pin on your Eeyore tails, folks.
Contrary to initial estimates -- and a few things we were hearing on our end -- the SoDo arena proposal Final Environmental Impact Statement will not be released in the next two weeks. Instead, it is now expected to arrive sometime between April and June.
Ever vigilant Chris Daniels of KING5-TV has the scoop...
JUST IN: DPD spokesman Bryan Stevens on #SeattleArena "Due to the complex nature of the proposal and necessary detail of the analysis...— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) January 16, 2015
"...the FEIS is now expected sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2015." #SeattleArena— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) January 16, 2015
MORE: "As the traffic and parking data continues to be revised, it’s important we remain deliberate as we review and develop the final EIS".— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) January 16, 2015
It's unclear at this point what has changed, although previously, those involved with #SeattleArena study had noted Seattle tunnel impact.— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) January 16, 2015
And, as those who have followed the tunnel project know, that too, has been delayed. #SeattleArena— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) January 16, 2015
A document posted to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development permit records for the project on January 7, 2015, noted that all materials were in and no corrections were needed for either the design review materials or the land use review. FEIS was anticipated to be published late this month and two public meetings were expected to be set to discuss comments and concerns over the findings of the environmental review.
Traffic has frequently been sighted as the biggest concern with the arena project. As other projects, specifically the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct, have increased the potential of traffic through SoDo, Pioneer Square, and the Downtown Seattle core, it makes sense that this would be the area of the environmental review that is receiving the most intensive assessment.
And, as we've been used to, we'll continue to wait a bit further.
In response to contact, DPD spokesman Bryan Stevens told Sonics Rising that the complex nature of the analysis is related to the off-site alternative locations being considered alongside the proposed site in SoDo, as well as major infrastructure improvements and private development.
There are five options being examined in the environmental review and analysis, two options at the SoDo site, two options at Seattle Center (KeyArena and Memorial Stadium locations), and an option for no-action.
Projects going through environmental review must be identified as either public or private per SEPA law. The proposed arena is labeled a private project because it was initiated by Chris Hansen and his investors. Private projects only require alternatives at the proposed location. Public projects require off-site alternatives for the best context.
The city voluntarily required off-site alternatives in this environmental review because of the proposed nature of the city's and King County's involvements in the project, Stevens confirmed. This will give the city a better understanding of how an arena could function in other areas of the city, he said.
In addition to studying environmental concerns at the two Lower Queen Anne options, both traffic patterns and parking availability are being analyzed there, as well.
The location of available private parking areas for the SoDo location hasn't been determined yet, Stevens noted. They must study a number of parking solutions, as well as traffic and pedestrian patterns created by those solutions.
"As the traffic and parking data continues to be revised, it’s important we remain considerate as we review and develop the final EIS," Stevens stated.