Over heavy protest from King County officials, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance May 30 that will allow opponents of a youth detention center to continue their fight against the facility through legal channels.
The bill would retroactively clarify language in the municipal code declaring the decision to approve a master use permit, the last major administrative hurdle the county needed before construction.
Ending the Prison Industrial Complex, with the support of more than 60 other community organizations, submitted an appeal in January, but Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner rejected it because the municipal code did not explicitly name the youth jail as an appealable decision. The new ordinance changes that and could reopen the master use permit to appeal.
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg told council members that continued delays in construction would cost the county $500,000 a month that could otherwise go to youth programs. He painted the project as inevitable.
“The time for symbolism is over,” Satterberg said.
The ordinance passed with a 5-2 vote with councilmembers Tim Burgess and Sally Bagshaw against and two absent.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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