Olympia to take on environmental projects

ahobbs@theolympian.comFebruary 23, 2014 

A new housing density ordinance, environmental protection and long-term goals will highlight the Olympia City Council’s next meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall. Here’s what to expect.

 • The city is expected to approve an application for a National Estuary Program Watershed Protection and Restoration Grant worth $350,000. The goal is to protect and restore the watershed in the Green Cove Basin in northwest Olympia. This wetland area includes Grass Lakes Refuge and is home to Olympic mudminnows and several species of salmon.

With grant support, city stormwater and utility staff will focus on protecting about 704 acres in the area. The strategy is to develop partnerships with nearby neighborhoods to further protect the land from the effects of urbanization and destructive practices.

The city and county have been addressing environmental issues in the Green Cove Basin since the late 1990s.

 • The council also is expected to approve an application for a much smaller state Department of Ecology grant worth $35,000. The money would go toward restoring a riparian area along Black Lake Ditch, near Black Lake Boulevard and U.S. Highway 101.

 • The council is likely to approve an ordinance that will amend city code on high-density corridor housing. One intention is to create “compatibility” of height limits between homes inside and outside the corridor. The ordinance will establish height limits and minimal setbacks for new development, based on a building’s proximity to properties with different population densities.

Public comment was sought last fall and the council gave a first reading of the ordinance this month.

The former Bing Street Apartments, which was once slated for west Olympia, has been cited as an example where buffering and height limits were necessary. Nearby residents had said the proposed six-story complex was not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

 • The council will review new policies to the comprehensive plan, which sets forth the city’s goals and vision for the next 20 years. Suggested by city staff, the proposed changes cover the gamut, including speed limits in the city center and reducing multifamily development density. Other proposals address urban green space, disaster planning, light pollution, sidewalk and alley access, a “Capitol Dome view protection policy,” a “dark skies” effort to control light pollution, and a “sea level rise strategy.”

A special study session for the comprehensive plan will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 207 at City Hall.

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

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service