Olympia to buy land on Morse-Merryman Road, build water tower

Spot on Morse-Merryman Road to also include reservoir, should meet need for 25 years

ahobbs@theolympian.comJanuary 2, 2014 

Olympia is buying 5.3 acres of land at the former Trillium project site near Morse-Merryman Road, where it will build a new reservoir and water tower.


Olympia will buy a 5.3-acre land parcel in the southeast part of the city with plans to build a new water reservoir and tower.

The Olympia City Council approved the $800,000 purchase from Kirkland developer D.R. Horton earlier this month. The sale is expected to close by mid-January. The property is at 3350 Morse-Merryman Road.

Construction of the water tower is expected to begin in spring 2015 at a cost of about $6.6 million. The design process will begin after the sale closes.

The funding comes from bonds that will be paid back through water rates and general facilities charges on new homes. The new water tank should be ready to use by late 2015 or early 2016, according to city engineers.

The reservoir will meet future demand from population growth. It must also comply with federally mandated drinking water standards for disinfection and adequate “chlorine contact time,” according to the city’s 2014-2019 Capital Facilities Plan.

The new reservoir is expected to provide adequate storage for at least 25 years.

“Right now, we don’t have enough stored water to meet our pressure requirements in that zone,” said City Manager Steve Hall, noting that the new reservoir has been under consideration for about six years. “It’s an important part of our water storage system.”

The reservoir’s construction will coincide with the building of hundreds of homes in the area. The city and D.R. Horton had previously tussled over a proposed development on the so-called Trillium property near LBA Park. The 79-acre site is bordered to the north by Morse-Merryman Road and to the east by Wiggins Road.

In 2011, the Olympia City Council denied a plan for D.R. Horton to build 500 homes there because of issues related to transit access and school placement. The developer lost an appeal on the city’s ruling in 2013 and agreed to pursue a lower-density zoning plan of four to eight units per acre that was approved by the City Council in 2012.

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

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