SEATTLE-The Seattle City Council this week is holding a hearing regarding limits to the University of Washington’s ability to lease space nearby its main campus. The council lifted the Lease Lid last year, but on appeal it was determined the council did not follow proper procedure with regard to public notice and public participation requirements and must start the process anew.The hearing, scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at Seattle City Hall, initiates a public process that will continue in the council’s Government Affairs & Labor Committee, where there will be several opportunities for public comment on the legislation being reconsidered, including a formal public hearing, later this summer. Since 1985, the UW has been limited in how much space it could lease surrounding its campus in an attempt to ease concerns about the university’s expansion into the neighboring community. Originally, the limit was 241,950 sf. The restriction was expanded to 400,000 sf in 1991 and then to 550,000 sf in 1998. In June 2003, by a 6-3 vote, the city council lifted the lid, thereby allowing the university to lease an unlimited amount of space in the neighboring University District. In September 2003, eight community organizations appeal the adoption of the ordinance to the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board, alleging that it violated Growth Management Act goals and requirements relative to public notice, public participation, and internal plan consistency.Without ruling on plan consistency, the board found that passage of the ordinance lifting the lease lid failed to comply with the GMA’s public notice and public participation requirements. The Board remanded the ordinance (No. 121193) to the city and directed that legislative action be taken to bring it into compliance with the goals and requirements of the Growth Management Act by no later than Aug. 30, 2004.At Thursday’s hearing, the city council will hear from the City/University Community Advisory Committee and the neighborhood groups (petitioners) who appealed the City’s Lease Lid decision last year. The meeting will be open to the public, but there will not be time reserved for public comment.

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