City stays mum on what zero-setback looks like

OlympiaAugust 15, 2013 

The Olympia City Council soon will be deciding on our new shoreline regulations. These regulations will determine the shape of waterfront development and use for decades to come. The council’s most recent plan would allow zero-setback development in the most-used core areas of the waterfront. Zero-setback rules would allow buildings to be constructed right up to the water’s edge.

This would eliminate the possibility of a waterfront trail. It would eliminate the possibility of vegetative restoration. It would leave no space for dealing with flooding, including flooding due to sea level rise. Inexplicably, the city has published no photographs or diagrams showing what this zero-setback approach would look like.

Friends of the Waterfront has been advocating for a balanced approach — setbacks of at least 50 feet to allow space for public access and enjoyment as well as private development. The Planning Commission and others have recommended even wider setbacks.

As our population grows, the downtown shoreline area will become ever more important. We hope that concerned citizens will contact the council on this matter.

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