Kent keeps fighting to save new Dick's Drive-In from Sound Transit's potential tear-down

The thought of demolishing a brand-new Dick's Drive-In has leaders in Kent taking a stand.

They’re fighting back against a Sound Transit expansion that would bulldoze the restaurant and turn it into a maintenance facility.

The Kent City Council held a public hearing Tuesday night in a move to rezone the area to prohibit a maintenance facility from going in – though Sound Transit has said, even that, wouldn’t be the final word.

“How dare they!” said Councilmember Dennis Higgins.

“No, we are not going to tolerate this,” said a speaker during public comment.

People at the meeting spoke loudly.

“We could not have been more shocked,” said Jasmine Donovan of Dick’s Drive-In.

“We need to make it clear to Sound Transit they're not going to take a brand new business and mow it under for the cheapest dollar they can get,” said Tim Brown, a Kent resident who spoke up at the meeting.

They want Sound Transit to stop considering a site with Dick's, Lowe's and other businesses as a potential site for its new 30-acre maintenance facility.
>> RELATED: Dick's Drive-In location listed for possible Sound Transit removal, KC Council takes action

“We’ve got to look out for our best interest for the City of Kent,” said Bill Boyce, president of the Kent City Council.

The hearing is necessary for the council to rezone the site to specifically prohibit Sound Transit from putting the facility on that land.

Instead, the city is pushing for Sound Transit to use an old landfill nearby instead.

“There is the perfect site for that is immediately to the south. And it's available for free to Sound Transit,” Higgins said.

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said Kent has spent years planning how to convert the Dick’s/Lowe's area into a business district, and said a maintenance facility would destroy those plans.

“I mean 15, 20 years we've been talking about this,” Ralph said.

KIRO7 drone video shows the landfill is less than a half mile south of Dick’s.

Sound Transit said two weeks ago it is still considering the landfill but has concerns.

“Having to build over the landfill could cost hundreds of millions of dollars in additional cost (to taxpayers), said Peter Rogoff, the Sound Transit CEO.

The Kent mayor is challenging that.

“We believe there's data to support it will not be not that much more expensive - potentially more, but not that extreme,” Ralph said.

Sound Transit also said almost every other site on the list will mean major displacement.

The options include a King county residential neighborhood. Or in Federal Way, potential sites include the Christian Faith Center megachurch, or another business district that includes Garage Town and other organizations.
-    Dick's/Lowe's (Kent): area of S. 240th Street and Pacific Highway S
-    Midway landfill (Kent): area of Pacific Highway, South 246th and 252nd 
-    Residential neighborhood (unincorporated King County): area of S. 316th Street and Military Road S 
-    Christian Faith Center (Federal Way): area of S. 336th Street and 20th Ave S
-    Garage Town & other businesses (Federal Way): area of 2010 S 344th St
Those other potential displacements also has Kent City Council saying Sound Transit should go with the old landfill - the choice that disrupts no one.

Sound Transit was not at Kent City Council’s public hearing, but it is hosting a public commenting meeting in Kent on March 20th at Highline College.

It said public input will be considered as part of its decision process on where to put the facility.

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