The Redmond City Council has put its stamp of approval on plans for a new 143,000-square-foot facility to replace the existing .
The council unanimously approved both a conditional use permit and height variance for the new school at its regular Tuesday meeting. The variance allows the school's building height to exceed the 35-feet height limit code by six feet, three inches on the structure itself, with an additional three-feet variance for rooftop mechanical equipment.
Steven Fischer, a senior planner with the City of Redmond, told the council the variance was added because the school will be built on sloped ground.
“If that school were built on flat, level ground, it would comply with Redmond code in terms of building height,” Fischer said.
Plans also call for removal of more than half of the approximately 500 trees located on the property, but Fischer said all landmark trees that are removed will be re-planted on site.
Some nearby residents had earlier this year about plans for the new school because of the property's location above a pair of gas pipelines. Michael Romero, a employee who is overseeing the Rose Hill project, told the city council Tuesday that district officials had met with representatives from the company that operates the pipeline to discuss safety procedures during construction.
Romero said work crews will be installing a temporary fence with a 50-foot buffer around the pipeline location and that no construction equipment will be allowed within that area.
Before voting yes on the permit ordinance and variance, Council President Richard Cole said he is sympathetic to the impact the project will have on the school's neighbors.
“This is going to take awhile, folks, and there’s just no way around that,” he said.
The city council also voted 5-2 Tuesday to pass a resolution voicing the city's opposition to Tim Eyman-sponsored Initiative 1125, which would limit the state's ability to set highway tolls. Several Redmond City Council members said the initiative would effectively kill plans for a new State Route 520 bridge.
"The economic vitality of our community depends on a fully functioning State Route 520," council member Hank Margeson said.
Council members David Carson and Hank Myers voted against the resolution, saying they oppose I-1125 but do not agree with the practice of advising residents how to vote on statewide issues.
A public hearing on whether the city council should continue on medical marijuana gardens was also held at the Tuesday meeting, but no one spoke out either in support of or against the ordinance. Council members unanimously voted to continue the moratorium, which began Aug. 16.