Olympia council to work on sea level responses

Staff writerMarch 9, 2014 

The Olympia City Council will have a special work session regarding environmental policies at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The council is expected to discuss sea levels, greenhouse gas emissions and nighttime lighting as part of an update to the city’s comprehensive plan. Last revised in 1994, the city’s comprehensive plan outlines goals for the next 20 years. The council hopes to approve an updated plan by the end of this year.

The city planning commission has submitted recommendations for responding to rising sea levels. Downtown Olympia is vulnerable to flooding in the event of a major storm, and the commission suggests ways to protect the shoreline. The city is bracing for the worst-case scenario of a 50-inch rise in sea levels during the next 100 years.

Another topic will be Olympia’s efforts to control its carbon footprint. The council recently adopted a resolution that supports a countywide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The next steps for the City Council include addressing changes to the comprehensive plan that call for more ways to track and reduce greenhouse gases.

Referred to as “dark skies,” one set of policies calls for minimizing artificial sources of nighttime lighting near streams, wetlands and shorelines. The proposal cites the need to “protect wildlife and vegetation, and preserve views of the night sky.” City code already addresses bright lights in residential zones and for business signs.

Before the study session Tuesday, the council has scheduled an executive session at 5:30 p.m. regarding City Manager Steve Hall’s performance evaluation. These sessions are closed to the public, in accordance with state law, which allows the council to review the performance of a public employee behind closed doors.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869

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