Sound Transit moves surprise City Council

Bellevue councilmembers say Sound Transit has been full of surprises lately, and that's not been a good thing.

The latest came during Monday's public comments, with Betsy Blackstock of the Surrey Downs Community Club alerting the council to letters received by residents there that parts of their properties may be condemned to further development of an East Main light rail station.

Blackstock said these notices were mostly received by residents on 111th Avenue Southeast, in the northeast corner of Surrey Downs. This was a surprise, she said, since these properties never came up during a 60-percent design review by Sound Transit earlier this year. Blackstock asked the council to uphold its position that no partial property acquisitions occur there.

Mayor Claudia Balducci, who also serves on the Sound Transit Board, later revealed the agency needs about 5-10 feet of those properties in order to erect a sound wall to mitigate noise from the East Main station.

"This seems to be a pattern where we're surprised by things," said Councilmember Jennifer Robertson.

Drawing the most contention are three of four sites for a future Sound Transit operations and maintenance satellite facility under consideration to be located in the Bel-Red corridor. Such a facility would displace numerous businesses and residents depending on which option is picked and hamper redevelopment efforts there. A public hearing for the maintenance facility will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Coast Bellevue Hotel.

Robertson and several other councilmembers expressed frustrations that they are not receiving the type of communication from Sound Transit they thought they were to receive under a 2011 memorandum of understanding for light rail service, and should consider reaching out to the "higher-ups" within the agency.

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