EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was updated with a quote from Kennedy Catholic High School President Mike Prato at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2, 2015: KHSVicinity-Map On Friday (Oct. 2), the City of Burien released a “Notice of Decision” that will allow Kennedy Catholic High School to move forward with its land use permit application to expand and renovate its Athletic Complex. “Expanding the use of Kennedy Catholic High School’s athletic facilities has impacts on surrounding properties,” said Burien Community Development Director Chip Davis. “The review process was careful to take these impacts into consideration and look for ways to lessen them.” “Kennedy Catholic has a rich history in the Burien and surrounding community and athletics has played a key part in that tradition,” Kennedy President Mike Prato said. “We are proud to be part of this community and we are excited to continue to offer a high-quality Catholic education within modern facilities to all those who seek it. “We are grateful to all who have helped us throughout this entire process,” Prato added. “This is an exciting day to be a Lancer!” As many of our Readers may recall, The B-Town Blog was first to report on this issue via a Letter to the Editor on July 13, 2015 by Will Spruill, who lives near the school. Spruill demanded in his Letter that “the city of Burien not allow the expansion of Kennedy High School’s athletic field” for the following reasons:

  • Lighting
  • Sound amplification
  • Parking
  • Increased traffic danger
In addition to those concerns, Spruill also said that the development of the athletic complex would lower the value of his home. “The proposed project belongs in a commercial area with zoning that allows such structures and setbacks,” Spruill wrote. “Approving this project and its features to build an athletic complex directly into a residential neighborhood is a poor choice.” The city’s decision will allow additional construction to finalize the complex starting next summer. Here’s what the city announced on Friday, Oct. 2:
On June 4, 2015, Kennedy Catholic High School filed for a land use and environmental review for their Athletic Field Renovation Master Plan. The land use and environmental review considered work anticipated in Phases 2 and 3 of the Master Plan. (Phase 1 of the multi-year plan included grading, drainage, and surface improvements to the athletic field inside of the perimeter track, and was completed in fall 2014.) Phase 2 work, proposed to occur during summer 2016, includes:
  • ï‚·  installing a new scoreboard;
  • ï‚·  building permanent bleacher seating for 1,390;
  • ï‚·  constructing a 2,229 square foot fieldhouse with restrooms, ticket booths, and concessions;
  • ï‚·  building new retaining walls;
  • ï‚·  constructing access stairs and ramps;
  • ï‚·  and improving the baseball field.
Phase 3 work, proposed to occur during summer 2017 and dependent on fundraising, includes:
  • ï‚·  lighting the athletic field;
  • ï‚·  building a two-story, 1,027 square foot addition to the field house to add a classroom and observation deck;
  • ï‚·  recoating the track surface;
  • ï‚·  adding three new tennis courts with court lighting;
  • ï‚·  and completing off-site right-of-way improvements along the northern property line (landscaping, curbing, and other frontage improvements).
The land use application considered in this Decision included requests for a variance to setback requirements to install poles and a 10 foot high fence along the northern property line within the required setback and a variance to height requirements for the installation of six 70 foot tall athletic field lighting poles and four 50 foot tall tennis court lighting poles. The environmental review was required to outline and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the construction and use of the expanded athletic facilities. A Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) was issued for the project to acknowledge several environmental impacts and impose conditions of approval on the project. Such conditions are intended to reduce the adverse environmental impacts down to a nonsignificant level. The primary impacts to adjoining properties identified in the project review were:
    • ï‚·  NOISE ranging from traffic, cheering, band music, and public address speakers;
    • ï‚·  LIGHT AND VISUAL IMPACTS consisting of glare, spill light and “sky glow” associated with the football field and tennis court lighting; and
    • ï‚·  TRANSPORTATION consisting of traffic and parking associated with the increased bleacher seating and improved facilities for sporting events.
The conditions tied to the approval for the project include:
    • ï‚·  NOISE: the design and installation of a sound system must cap decibel levels at 65dBA when measured at any location along the northern property line.
    • ï‚·  LIGHT AND VISUAL IMPACTS: a 10 foot tall fence and buffering landscaping along the northern property line must be installed, and lighting for the athletic field and tennis court must be designed to prevent spill light off-site from exceeding levels estimated in the approved Field Spill Light Plan (submitted as part of the School’s application).ï‚·
    • TRANSPORTATION: signed parking agreements must be secured with neighboring properties to identify 135 additional off-street parking spaces for varsity football games. Additionally, a traffic and parking management plan – including the use of off-duty police – is required to manage and control game-day traffic. Lastly, the School must complete frontage improvements along the north property on South 138th Street.A 21-day public comment period commenced July 9 and concluded July 30, during which time 66 comments in support and 11 comments in opposition were received by the City.
Parties of record may appeal the Decision to the Hearing Examiner. Written appeals regarding the Type 1 Land Use Review must be filed with the Burien City Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on October 16, 2015. Written appeals regarding the SEPA MDNS must be filed with the City Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on October 23, 2015. A filing fee of $309 applies to any appeals submitted. Copies of the official Notice of Decision and the detailed conditions of approval may be found at www.burienwa.gov/KHS2015. To view a full Notice of Decision packet, including attachments, please visit City Hall Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Notice of Decision packets have also been mailed to parties of record.
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