Shoreline Master Program back on agenda in Olympia

Staff writerSeptember 16, 2013 

The Olympia City Council will consider one aspect of its Shoreline Master Program on Tuesday that it was unable to on Aug. 27, when it deadlocked 3-3 because a council member was absent.

The item left to consider is whether to allow “water-dependent” uses in the Marine Recreation shoreline designation or allow them conditionally, which requires extra processing. The “marine recreation” zone takes in the Port Peninsula side facing East Bay, including Swantown Marina. Water-dependent uses include marinas.

The council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E.

Councilwoman Jeannine Roe said she was ill during the six-plus hour shoreline deliberations on Aug. 27, having been hospitalized for eating tainted yogurt.

The city has been considering the Shoreline Master Program for more than three years. It mostly finalized its recommendations on Aug. 27, and they are expected to be passed in October to the state Department of Ecology for final approval.

Ecology is requiring the plan, which is intended to provide for no net loss of ecological function on significant shorelines. Most of the controversy surrounding the plan is centered along Budd Inlet.

Other changes to shoreline regulations the council directed in the draft plan include:

 • On the Budd Inlet side of the isthmus and Percival Landing, the council agreed to get rid of incentives for developers, including shoreline restoration, in return for the ability to build on the water. Instead, the council decreed that no buildings would be allowed within 30 feet of the water. The previous draft put building setbacks at 50 feet, but with incentives to allow developers to build right on the shore under certain conditions, such as accommodating a walking path, allowing physical access to the shoreline, shoreline restoration and bulkhead removal.

 • On the south part of the west shore of East Bay, the council changed the building setback to 100 feet from the ordinary high-water mark, a change from its earlier proposal of zero feet.

 • “Water-related” uses, which could include boat storage, would be allowed only if a developer gets conditional approval from the city in the Marine Recreation Zone.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 mbatcheldor@ theolympian.com @MattBatcheldor

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