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We are where we are with the arena Environmental Impact Statement

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Poor communication in delays completing the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Sonics Arena. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has asked for a timeline and greater transparency from his Department of Planning and Development.

Mayor Ed Murray wearing his Seahawks jacket
Mayor Ed Murray wearing his Seahawks jacket
Mayor Ed Murray - Twitter

The news on Friday that Seattle's Department of Planning and Development would need four more months to complete their work was not only a surprise to me, but apparently to Mayor Ed Murrray, too.

Here is the statement from the mayor's office.

STATEMENT ON THE TIMING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR THE POTENTIAL NEW ARENA IN SEATTLE

January 17, 2015 by Office of Mayor Murray

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement on the timing of the Environmental Impact Statement for the potential new arena in Seattle:

"Thursday afternoon I received a briefing about the arena project from the Department of Planning and Development. It was during that briefing that I was informed about the delayed EIS. I have asked DPD to review the EIS timeline and to bring greater transparency to the process surrounding the arena proposal, for all who have an interest in it."

What has passed as communication on the progress of the EIS, and what their plan is, has been disappointing. I am pleased to see that the mayor is asking his employees at the DPD to bring more "transparency" to their plan. And yes, I have an interest in it.

Last year, it was reported that the DPD would need about four months to complete their work once they received the last of the information from Chris Hansen. The DPD received the last of the Land Use revisions, and closed that step on October 17, 2014. Saying that they need four months after two and a half months have passed is disappointing, and should have been communicated earlier, more broadly, and more accurately. That, apparently, is not lost on Ed Murray.

This is where so many of us got the idea that the EIS could be available in January, not April. Somebody did ask the DPD what still had to happen. It really wasn't "speculation", but broadcast news.

On Tuesday, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development said investor Chris Hansen had submitted all the paperwork needed for DPD to proceed.

Wendy Shark, spokesperson for DPD, which is leading the review, said Hansen submitted all the requested information, and DPD would have its final report ready by mid-to-late January at the earliest. Sources close to the project suggested that Hansen's team had submitted the final paperwork a while ago. Shark said DPD could request more information if necessary.

The process, considered one of the final steps for the project, had been bogged down after numerous questions popped up about the proposed SoDo arena site.

There were a lot of moving parts, acknowledged Katy Cheney back in July. Her firm is producing a lot of the research as a third party consultant. Her firm, URS, is doing the work for the city, and the invoices are being paid by Hansen.

Cheney pointed to issues involving the planned waterfront tunnel, and how tolling may force more drivers into SODO. She also noted City Light s planned Denny substation, near South Lake Union, has an impact on the Massachusetts substation near the proposed Stadium site. The two sites need to be connected.

By Chris Daniels, September 30, 2014, KING5 News

I have reached out to the mayor's office to requested that they communicate DPD's plan the mayor has asked for, and progress to that plan for completing their work on the proposed basketball arena. I would reach out to the DPD but look at how that turned out.

We are where we are.