By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
THE LANDFILL INVESTIGATION
The first three phases of the investigation into the viability of turning Monroe’s old city dump into commercial property is now complete, stated Monroe City Administrator Gene Brazel, who opened discussion about the project and gave a status report to the city council Tuesday.
The landfill is located northwest of North Kelsey Street and just west of Galaxy Way, behind Fred Meyer. The landfill operated from the 1950s until it was closed in 1979. It was eventually topped off with a “soil cap” and has been routinely inspected by the Snohomish County Health Department.
The Riley Group engineering firm was chosen by the city to conduct the investigation, and have now provided the city with the final work plan as an outline for the completion of the investigative work. The plan states that the estimated cost to complete the subsurface investigation is around $70,000, which will bring the total of the investigation in at a higher cost than what was originally anticipated.
Thus far the investigation has cost $56,500, and with the additional $70,000, the project is expected to come in at around $126,500.
“We’re still excited about the project; we believe that it’s definitely well-worth the money to move forward,” said Brazel.
The city is exploring ways to recycle much of the landfill’s debris including the colored glass, paper and metal buried there. Gravel companies have expressed an interest in purchasing the gravel buried at the site, and require samples in order to determine if they want to proceed. This is one of the factors causing the higher cost, as it necessitates that the engineers use a more costly method of drilling through the landfill, called sonic drilling.
The sonic drilling method is actually preferred over the less expensive hollow-stem auger drilling, and The Riley Group noted that it is a safer method to use in landfill environments. The sonic method enables them to be able to collect samples continuously along adjoining areas of a borehole.
Monroe Economic Development Manager Jeff Sax recently attended a course on developing these types of contaminated sites. He stressed the importance of preparing the land for possible sale to a developer, which he believes would convert it from a liability to a revenue-generating piece of property, and benefit both the city and the taxpayers of Monroe.
“The best transactions that come together are those where the seller is fully educated on what they have,” said Sax.
He also underlined the importance of understanding what the liabilities and the risks are that are associated with the piece of property.
“When we finish this next step, I think we’ll have our arms around what that is,” he continued.
The next step will involve digging test pits, sonic drilling and laboratory testing of the soil both under the landfill and outside the landfill limits.
Real estate excise tax from the purchase of the Morning Run apartments could possibly be used for the project, or money from the city’s contingency fund.
The motion to authorize The Riley Group to move forward with the next phase of the investigation passed unanimously.
TRAFFIC CALMING DEVICES
Representatives from the Stanton Meadows Homeowners Association addressed council in regards to some improvements they are seeking to make in their community.
President of the HOA, Brent Patterson, spoke, along with Vice President Tyler Free, looking for guidance from council in regards to installing traffic calming devices such as speed humps.
They are particularly concerned with both 175th Street and Stanton Street, which they cited as being very straight and long, and as such, prone to speeders. There are many children at play in the area, along with a high volume of pedestrian traffic on 175th, which has a community park.
They also expressed a need for increased lighting at the intersection of 179th and Stanton Street, which has very limited visibility at night, along with painted curbs specifically for areas near fire hydrants and mailboxes.
The city will create a policy in regards to the installation of traffic calming devices, a draft of which will be presented at the August 13 council meeting.
“There are specific areas in town where this would be a big benefit and I think many people in town would be in favor of having traffic calming in their neighborhoods,” said Councilman Kurt Goering.
Goering recommended that, during the development of the policy, a test neighborhood such as Stanton Meadows could be used as an indicator of the effectiveness of such devices.
The policy will encompass all aspects of the installation of traffic calming devices such as how many requests are needed from a particular neighborhood, what type of calming device would work the best, cost factors, and on what types of streets they would be permitted.
BUILDING CODE REVISIONS
Revisions to the city building code, without a residential sprinkler system requirement appendix, passed unanimously.