Editor's note, June 26: to see a copy of the settlement agreement in a follow-up post.
City Planning Director Rob Odle told Redmond Patch the terms of the agreement were reached in late May, but the document is still undergoing legal review. A land-use petition filed against the city by Sustainable Redmond was scheduled to go before a King County Superior Court judge next week, but that hearing has been canceled.
The vacant property is owned by Group Health and is with 10-12 new apartment buildings and 1.4-million square feet of commercial space. An approved development agreement between Group Health and the city includes an exception to the city's zoning code that allows for more than 1,000 trees to be removed from the site.
The new settlement calls for Group Health to provide funding for the city to transplant some of the property's trees to the surrounding neighborhood, Odle said. The specific number of transplanted trees will depend on how many are determined to be healthy enough to survive off site, Odle said, adding that the selected trees will likely not be the site's largest specimens.
“It has to be physically possible (for them to be transplanted)," he said. “Those are details that need to be worked out with Group Health."
The amount of funding Group Health will contribute for the transplanting has been determined, but Odle said he is not able to disclose that number at this time.
A second part of the settlement clarifies how community input will be incorporated into the design of the development's 2.67-acre park. Although the new agreement leaves open the "potential for tree retention” at the park, Odle said Group Health will not be required to keep any existing trees on that parcel.
Odle said he could not discuss the specific details of the negotiation process but said the consensus that was reached stemmed from a .
Former Mayor Rosemarie Ives, who joined members of Sustainable Redmond in filing the land-use petition earlier this year, said Wednesday that she decided to remove herself from the legal process after not being included in a decision-making discussion among Sustainable Redmond members. Ives declined to say what the decision was but added she was disappointed with the lack of flexibility displayed by the other parties during the April mediation process.
“It was unfortunate because we (Ives and Sustainable Redmond) went in with the intention of working a compromise out and that did not occur,” she said. “I did not want to be held to anything that was agreed to in the second mediation.” Ives said she had just returned from overseas for several weeks and had yet to learn all the details of the new agreement.
Redmond Patch has reached out to Sustainable Redmond and will update this post with any response. Bill Biggs, a vice president of administrative services for Group Health, declined to comment until the agreement is finalized.