By Jim Hills
The proposed privately funded student housing project at Shoreline Community College is taking significant steps forward.
On Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013, officials from the college, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), the state Attorney General’s Office and the investors met to discuss details of the proposal.
“I believe the meeting went very well,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said. “(SBCTC Executive Director) Marty Brown seemed supportive. I think he saw the vision, not just for Shoreline, but the larger possibilities, too.”
On Thursday, Feb. 14, immediate neighbors to the college and other interested parties were mailed a notification required under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). That notice says the college intends to amend previous planning documents adopted in 2003, 2006 and 2011 to include the proposed housing project. The notice also says that the proposed housing project won’t have significant environmental impacts not already addressed in the previously approved and adopted planning documents.
The SEPA notification and related documents are available for public review 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the college Administration Building, 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., Shoreline, WA 98133.
The housing proposal came to the college from David Lee, a local resident with business ties in China. The project would build a 400-bed student housing facility on what is now a soccer field and track at the north end of the campus. Under a Memorandum of Agreement signed Dec. 9, 2012, David Lee and the investors would build and operate the facility at no direct cost to the college. The investors would lease the ground for the building from the state, with those lease payments going to the college.
“Shoreline has a number of programs that attract students from out of the area, including nursing, dental hygiene, automotive and our well-deserved, university-transfer reputation,” Lambert said. “Also, our internationalization initiative is bringing globally competitive skills to our domestic students and more international students to our campus.”
Lambert said the housing, which could be open for fall quarter of 2015, would be available on a first come, first-served basis.
“Housing at community colleges is becoming more and more common,” Lambert said. “This project will benefit students, the community and come at no cost to taxpayers.”
Windermere Real Estate Broker Marguerite Knutson, who is working with David Lee and the other investors, attended Wednesday meeting at the SBCTC office in Olympia. “I’m very encouraged by the response we got,” Knutson said.
Shoreline Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell identified the next step: “We will begin working with the Attorney General’s Office to craft the ground lease and incorporate advice we heard Wednesday.”
And then comes the approval process by the City of Shoreline.
Campbell said the college has been working on getting a Master Development Plan (MDP) ready to submit to the city for some time. Now that the proposed housing project’s SEPA document is finished, the college will be required to host two public meetings, one to gather comments and input from the community and a second to show how the college has responded to those comments and input.
“We are working with our consultants to prepare for those meetings and publicize those meetings,” Campbell said. “We will publicize them just as soon as we know the details.”
Once those meetings have occurred, then the college can submit the MDP to the city. The document would then wend its way through reviews by city planning staff, the Planning Commission and, ultimately, the City Council.
“This is an important project for the college, our students and the community,” Campbell said. “We welcome the opportunity to participate in the appropriate city processes. We are anxious to work with city government and our neighbors to make this the best project it can be for all concerned.”