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Sound Transit tells Bellevue residents $300 is ‘just compensation’

A graphic representation of what the East Link light rail line will look like across the floating I-90 Bridge over Lake Washington. Some Bellevue residents say they are not being properly compensated for the impact the project will have. (Sound Transit)
LISTEN: Sound Transit tells Bellevue residents $300 is ‘just compensation’

Lawyers representing nearly 40 Bellevue homeowners say that the money Sound Transit is offering their clients is nowhere near enough. The group has refused to accept compensation from the agency for plans to drastically change their neighborhood.

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Sound Transit is suing the residents of Surrey Downs — a community within Bellevue — arguing that the $300 the agency is offering is “just compensation” for residents. The residents will have to put up with years of construction and then a light rail line.

The plan is opposite of what homeowners signed up for, attorneys Jim Dore and Catherine Clark told Todd Herman.

The contract from the 1950s states that lots within Surrey Downs will not be used for non-residential purposes, except for home occupation that uses no more than 25 percent of the building. Additionally, “There shall be no noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat or glare produced as a result of the home occupation which would exceed that normally produced by a single residence.”

Sound Transit hasn’t budged from its $300 offer since residents began receiving notifications in 2015, KING 5 reports.

Sound Transit needs 75 percent of people living in Surrey Downs to sign off on the offer before moving forward.

Clark says their clients are not excited about light rail coming to the area. Many people living in Surrey, she told Todd Herman, are retirees.

Clark and Dore argue Sound Transit owes their clients compensation in the thousands of dollars, not hundreds.

A spokesperson for Sound Transit told KING 5 the $300 wasn’t an arbitrary number; the company had an appraisal done. It is a “fair value” for changing the property right, she said.

A multi-week jury trial is expected to begin Feb. 20.

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