Olympia inches closer to adopting a new comprehensive plan with citizen input

OlympianJanuary 21, 2014 

The Olympia City Council voted Tuesday to move forward with the next steps in adopting an updated comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan describes the city’s goals and vision for the next 20 years. Olympia began working on an update in 2009, starting the process by soliciting public input on the types of programs and policies the city should implement.

The city’s planning commission approved a final plan in December. Work sessions and hearings will be scheduled in the coming weeks to field other recommendations for discussion.

The council’s goal is to adopt an updated plan by June or earlier. City staff will help create a strategy for implementing new goals.

“This is really the city’s business plan,” said Leonard Bauer, deputy director of community planning and development, during the City Council meeting.

The plan covers everything from transportation and neighborhood zoning to land use and downtown revitalization. Specific issues that were addressed by citizens included more public participation in city projects, along with concerns about climate change and rising sea levels.

One key concern was sustainability, as reflected in a county initiative called Sustainable Thurston. Examples of sustainability efforts could include more urban green spaces, resource conservation and low-impact development.

Another dominant request by the public was to make the plan more understandable by using “plain talk.” Bauer noted that the public can check out a draft of the updated comprehensive plan online at imagineolympia.com. The site features larger maps along with red tags indicating a revision in the plan. The public can also submit feedback directly to the city.

Thurston County cities have a June 2016 deadline to make revisions in accordance with the Growth Management Act.

In other council news:

The City Council voted 6-0 to support the Olympia School District’s Technology and Capital Projects Levy. The levy will go before voters in a special election Feb. 11. If approved, the levy will generate about $13.2 million total from 2015-2018 to fund safety projects and technology enhancements districtwide. The missing vote was Councilwoman Jeannine Roe, who was excused from Tuesday’s meeting due to illness.

The council also passed a resolution supporting January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

ANDY HOBBS: 360-704-6869 or ahobbs@theolympian.com

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