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Michael Medved

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Sound Transit removal of new Dick’s in Kent: ‘Doesn’t make any sense’

Kent got its first Dick’s Drive-In location just last December, but there’s a possibility that its presence could be short-lived.

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Sound Transit is on the hunt to place a 30-acre facility for operations and maintenance, to clean and maintain trains for the South Link light rail. On its shortlist is the property that hosts the Kent Dick’s Drive-In. If it’s chosen, eminent domain could force Dick’s — along with a handful of retail outlets and restaurants in the area — to pack up and leave.

The Midway Shopping Center property that Dick’s neighbors was just sold for over $19 million last November, and soon, it could belong to Sound Transit.

“We are shocked by this — we couldn’t believe that this was happening,” Dick’s Drive-In Executive Vice President Jasmine Donovan told KTTH’s Saul Spady.

“Putting an operations and maintenance facility where there’s existing, thriving, economic activity is a bad idea, especially when there’s another option,” she added.

Donovan mentioned an alternate site that would make more sense, in Kent’s 60-acre Midway Landfill just a half-mile away from Dick’s.

“It’s a blighted piece of property [and] it will have no other use, other than something like this; some kind of government-related development. We think that is the obvious choice,” she said.

And while Sound Transit does have to investigate more than one potential option for its new facility, “to choose us and take out our brand new restaurant along with other retail establishments that are doing well doesn’t make any sense to us at all.”

To fight this, Kent’s City Council stepped in for a temporary fix.

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“They passed an emergency rezoning ordinance that basically explicitly prohibits transit operations and maintenance use on our property, and at the same time explicitly allowed it and encouraged it on the Midway Landfill site,” Donovan said.

A public hearing will be held at the Kent City Council meeting on Feb. 5 to review the rezoning. Donovan is urging supporters to show up to be heard.

Editor’s note: Saul Spady is the grandson of Dick Spady, the founder of Dick’s Drive-in. Dick’s Drive-In Executive Vice President Jasmine Donovan is Spady’s sister.

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