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County extends comment period for VAA's proposed performance center

King County officials have given Islanders an additional 13 days to comment on Vashon Allied Arts’ proposal to build a 20,000-square-foot performance center adjacent to the Blue Heron at Center.

The comment period was due to end on Thursday. The county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) decided on Monday to give those who wish to comment until Wednesday, June 20.

The department has also put several of the project’s key documents into PDFs, including the Critical Areas Report, the report delineating the site’s wetlands and VAA’s answers to a state-mandated checklist of environmental issues. The department will forward the documents to anyone who requests them, said Cathy Ortiz, secretary to John Starbard, the department’s director.

“Apparently, some Vashon residents were not able to find enough information to make a comment and couldn’t come all the way to DDES (in Renton) from Vashon to review the files to make a comment,” Ortiz said.

Molly Reed, VAA’s executive director, said she hadn’t heard that the comment period had been extended but said Islanders could come to VAA’s office if they’d like to review reports.

“The documents are here. We’re happy to share them,” she said.

The review is part of VAA’s effort to secure a building permit as well an exception under the county’s critical areas rules; the critical areas review is triggered by the existence of wetlands adjacent to the building site. Last month, VAA secured a variance from a county highway-widening requirement that would have forced VAA to move the project 30 feet further east from Vashon Highway.

The arts organization hopes to build a $17 million performing arts center on its property at the intersection of Vashon Highway and Cemetery Road. The new Performing Center for the Arts would house a 300-seat theater and orchestra pit, a 1,000-square-foot art gallery, a large foyer that could provide event space and classrooms. At one point, the organization had hoped to break ground this summer, but VAA still has around $6 million to raise, Reed has said.

Written comments should be sent to DDES, Building & FIre Services Division, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, 98057-5212. For more information or to obtain documents, contact DDES Project Manager Mark Mitchell at 296-7119 or email him at mark.mitchell@kingcounty.gov.

 

 

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