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Mill Creek hearing examiner approves Arena Sports indoor sports center binding site plan

Preliminary Mill Creek Arena Sports design. Image courtesy of MG2.
Preliminary Mill Creek Arena Sports design. Image courtesy of MG2.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

Mill Creek’s hearing examiner formally approved Arena Sports’ binding site plan on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

This action allows the 6.75-acre, 98,000 square foot indoor sports and entertainment development project at the intersection of Bothell-Everett Highway (SR527) and Dumas Road to proceed to a formal design review.

“We are pleased with the hearing examiner’s decision,” said City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto.

“This arena sports facility will have tremendous positive impact for our community. Supporting our city goal about recreational opportunities, it will provide diverse opportunities for families and neighbors to get out, recreate together, and enhance our strong community bond.”

Polizzotto also noted that the facility would provide an opportunity to attract events to Mill Creek that will enhance the city’s tourism program. As people come into the community to use the Arena Sports facility, they are more likely to eat and shop in the community.

The proposed 96,370 square foot indoor recreational complex on almost seven acres includes two soccer fields, a warm-up field, eight bowling lanes, laser tag, an inflatable play area, party rooms, kitchen and dining areas along with storage and administrative offices.

The Arena Sports binding site plan includes parking spaces for 382 vehicles to accommodate the expected one million yearly visitors. This is greater than the 195 parking space minimum number required by Mill Creek Municipal Code.

At the January 25, 2017, public hearing Arena Sports CEO Don Crowe stated that based on his experience operating his other four facilities, the larger number of parking spaces was necessary to accommodate the dozens of teams they host during tournaments.

The Mill Creek hearing examiner’s decision noted, “Extra parking is required to accommodate the change-over as one soccer game ends and another begins. Players are arriving before games in order to be on the field at start of play.”

According to Mill Creek City Engineer Scott Smith the proposed development will have adequate stormwater handling facilities. At the January 25th public hearing he testified the adjacent wetland would be protected after construction. He said any excess water will drain to the Mill Creek’s stormwater system and post-construction runoff water quality will be improved over existing conditions.

Arena Sports proposes an eight-foot tall landscaping berm with a substantial landscaping screen on the west side of the property in order to address local residents’ privacy and security concerns.

According to Mill Creek Police, the developed site will be safer than its currently underdeveloped and heavily wooded condition where they are frequently called for loitering complaints.

Arena Sports had an informal design review with Mill Creek’s Design Review Board on January 19th where they received a number of comments regarding their preliminary design.

The project’s next step is to have a formal design review where Mill Creek’s Design Review Board will determine whether or not the development conforms with stringent design standards.

It is expected that construction will begin on the new facility in late spring or early summer 2017, and will open in early 2018.