Developers settle on Spring District appeals

Two opponents of the Spring District development in the Bel Red area have agreed to drop their appeals of the project after developer Wright Runstad agreed to conduct a traffic study.

Kemper Development Company and Woosley Properties dropped their appeals after two days of a possible eight-day meeting in front of the city's Hearing Examiner. The two companies appealed the city's acceptance of the developments master plan because they felt traffic concerns hadn't been addressed with the project as a whole, rather than on a building-by-building basis.

Todd Woosley, of Woosley Properties, said the process did not address the cumulative impact, and when it does it will be too late. By settling the dispute, and initiating a traffic study, all parties will get an idea of the impacts early.

"Our transportation analysis shows that several key intersections will fail in the next two to three budget cycles," he said.

The agreement stipulates that Wright Runstad will conduct the study after the city issues all development and building permits for the project's first 1.5 million square feet of office space, or before Sept. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. The study must be completed before additional office space can be filled, according to the agreement. The study will examine the current traffic conditions of the area, how things would change without further development, and what traffic will look like when the Spring District is complete.

Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad, did not want to discuss specifics, but said an open-ended appeal process can be difficult for all parties. Reaching an agreement allows everyone to plan on what comes next, he said.

"Finding ways to work things out is always better than paying attorneys and consultants in some open ended process," he said.

One appellant still remains in the process, the Lake Bellevue Condominiums Homeowner's Association. The group's appeal also concerns traffic, but the meat of the complaint lies in the environmental impact to Lake Bellevue. The association alleges that the increase in impervious surface will harm the lake, and the city has not given this, and the potential traffic impacts, enough credence in its reviews.

Hearings between Wright Runstad and the Lake Bellevue Homeowners Association could continue throughout the week if a separate deal is not reached.

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