OLYMPIA - In an extraordinary move, the Olympia City Council late Tuesday night downzoned about 80 acres near Ken Lake, on the city's west side.
The move was prompted by concerns that building a development there would cause stormwater problems to Ken Lake and the Black Lake drainage ditch, said Keith Stahley, director of Community Planning and Development.
The zoning was changed from R-4 residential to RLI with a requirement of 220 trees. The RLI zone allows for less impervious surface, which means there is less potential for stormwater runoff.
“This is an extraordinary thing for us to do, but I do think it’s important,” said Councilman Steve Langer.
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The city’s move comes after a developer, who has had a plan to develop a subdivision with initially about 300 homes on the property, withdrew the plan about a month ago, according to the city.
The council’s move was made in a first and final vote instead of with the usual two votes, to avoid having a developer slip in a plan between votes. The item was added to the council’s agenda at the last minute at the meeting Tuesday night.
The downzoning was an interim move, which means that the council will make a final decision about the zoning later. It is also required to hold a public hearing in the next 60 days; it is scheduled for Nov. 16.
In other business, the council:
• Voted for a plan to spend about $75,000 to hire a coastal engineering firm to do preliminary engineering on sea walls and other devices meant to combat sea level rise.
• Passed a resolution against Initiative 1100 and 1105, two voter initiatives that would end the state’s monopoly on liquor sales.
• Voted on first reading to ensure that the Parking and Business Improvement Area does not end at the end of the year. The item goes for a final vote on second reading.
Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org