Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ILWU Sues to Stop Seattle Arena Plan

Following through on a threat it made more than a week prior, an International Longshore and Warehouse Union local in the Pacific Northwest has filed a lawsuit to try blocking a plan to construct a new sports arena near the Port of Seattle.

ILWU Local 19, represented by the Seattle-based Gendler & Mann law firm, which specializes in land use and property litigation, says the proposed arena that was approved Oct. 15 by the Seattle and King County councils would harm port operations.

“A new arena can be built anywhere,” the complaint reads in part, “but the same cannot be said about a world-class deep-water port terminal.”

In its legal complaint, which was filed against the city of Seattle, King County and developer WSA Properties, Oct. 24, Local 19 maintains the city and county violated the state Environmental Policy Act by not seeking out alternative sites that would be less disruptive for the port.

The union wants the city and county’s approval of the arena deal declared invalid under the Washington state Environmental Policy Act.

The union contends that the chose site was chosen because the development company’s head, Chris Hansen, owns real estate in and around the selected location.

“Hansen has publicly stated on numerous occasions that ArenaCo is not interested in constructing the arena on any other site in Seattle or elsewhere in King County,” the complaint states. The union also contends that a sports stadium would cause traffic and congestion problems along port corridors.

The area plan, however, includes a $40 million road improvement fund. The fund, which would be covered by tax revenues, would go toward the study and prioritization of area transportation improvements around the SoDo – south of downtown – area where the combo basketball-hockey arena would sit.