EVERETT — A developer has taken a step toward closing a dormant landfill as part of a plan years in the making to build a new subdivision southeast of Everett.
The backers of the Bakerview development are awaiting approvals from Snohomish County to log and grade the former Go-East dump, a site where underground fires smoldered in the 1970s and 1980s. A public comment period on the proposal was set to run through Wednesday.
“We haven’t completed any review of those permits yet,” county permitting supervisor Ryan Countryman said.
County hearing examiner Peter Camp last year approved a request to rezone the unincorporated property near Hilton Lake. Before any building can take place, developer P & GE LLC must formally close the landfill. The Kirkland-based company has been working on those plans with the Snohomish Health District for about a decade.
The logging and grading permits are part of that closure process. For now, the developer is seeking permission to cut down trees from about 16 acres.
Separate permits would be required after the closure to build up to 96 homes on 17 acres next to the old landfill.
The county received a 444-page closure plan from the developer in December, as well as the related permit applications.
The site has been controversial.
It totals more than 40 acres off 108th Street SE, east of 35th Avenue SE. It’s on a steep hillside with ravines that slope down toward Lowell-Larimer Road.
Historically, a landfill operated on about 10 acres of the site. The land was mined in the late ’60s to early ’70s.
When the dump opened in 1972, it accepted wood and concrete. The operator at the time, Rekoway Inc. of Seattle, soon received permission to accept different types of waste, including old tires, car parts and car seats.
Within a couple of years, authorities documented the first fires. The health district first started pushing the owner to close the site in 1977.
A couple of years later, the Go-East Corp., co-owned by Seattle attorney Gary W. East, bought the property.
The dump stopped accepting waste in 1983 and has since grown over with red alder and blackberries.
As East sought permission to redevelop the land, neighbors to either side in the Point and Kings Ridge neighborhoods grew anxious over potential dangers from buried waste.
Bore tests have identified plastic pipe, metal, glass shards and carpet in the debris, according to plans submitted to the county. Those materials are found at depths of 1 to 21 feet.
The closure plan calls for placing a physical barrier on top of of the site, venting methane gas and improving drainage. Grading would require relocating a stream that previously was rerouted to its current location.
Waste from part of the area would be excavated at depths of 10 to 15 feet, the proposal says.
“None of the excavated material will be hauled off site to an appropriate facility for disposal unless it contains asbestos, lead paint, or other hazardous material as discussed in the Landfill Closure Plan,” according to a document from P & GE.
Another 6.4 acres of the old landfill would be capped using three different systems. Most of it would be covered by a geomembrane liner on top of a foundation, with another 2 or more feet of soil on top, plus organic material to allow bushes and trees to grow there.
The homes are expected to be 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, according to county documents. Plans show a single road into the future neighborhood from 108th Street SE.
The Puget Sound region is dotted with old landfills, including some that have been redeveloped.
McCollum Pioneer Park on 128th Street SE near Mill Creek sits on top of a former landfill that was at one time south Snohomish County’s main dump site. Everett’s Riverfront project between I-5 and the Snohomish River occupies a former city dump where a mountain of tires piled on top caught fire for months in the 1980s.