Council to work on housing, paths, downtown

First reading of ordinance amending Olympia development rules among agenda items

ahobbs@theolympian.comFebruary 4, 2013 

Here’s a preview of the next Olympia City Council meeting, which is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall:

 • There will be a first reading of an ordinance that would amend city code on high-density corridor (HDC) housing. The ordinance would establish new development rules, such as height limits and minimal setbacks, depending on how close a building is to properties with certain densities.

Public comment was solicited last fall. Those who spoke in favor of the ordinance say it will protect the quality of existing neighborhoods. The former Bing Street Apartments project was cited as one example where proper buffering and height regulations were necessary; residents had said the proposed six-story complex was out of scale with the neighborhood. However, critics said the ordinance would encourage businesses to locate outside Olympia, and could even hinder the growth of walkable or affordable neighborhoods.

 • The council will review changes to the Neighborhood Pathways Program, which caters to pedestrians and bicyclists by building paths that connect city streets. The city will reach out to neighborhoods and solicit applications for future projects. Many of the changes clarify the application process and the city’s role in project proposals.

 • A public hearing will be held regarding the city’s allocation of grant money for the Downtown Ambassadors Program. The city wants to redirect $25,650 in Community Development Block Grant funding toward the program. The money would help hire a new Clean Team member for downtown cleanup jobs. This change in funding requires an amendment to the CDBG action plan.

 • Among items on the council’s consent calendar are labor contracts with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 468. The unions seek council approval for the 2014-2016 labor agreement with the city. Firefighters will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2014, along with wage bumps in 2015 and 2016, based on a percentage of general sales tax revenue.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com

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