Two proposed multifamily developments in Tumwater have raised concerns from a nearby homeowner’s association over design and safety elements.
The Overlook at Somerset Hill’s board of directors has appealed an environmental review, also known as SEPA, for both the Bedrock Apartments and Forest Park townhomes.
The 15-unit Bedrock Apartments has been proposed for a 1.08-acre empty lot at 3006 Banks Lane SW, while the 67-unit Forest Park complex is slated for an undeveloped 7.94-acre lot on Ridgeview Loop.
The city will conduct a public hearing on the Bedrock Apartments appeal at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at Tumwater City Hall. A hearing date for the Forest Park appeal has not been set yet.
The Overlook at Somerset Hill consists of 137 housing units next to Tumwater Hill Elementary School and less than a mile from South Puget Sound Community College.
The homeowner’s association is concerned about whether the housing developments, specifically Bedrock, will blend in with the neighborhood.
Another issue is traffic safety on Barnes Boulevard.
Jonathan Halling, treasurer for the association, said the Bedrock developer needs to remove a brick wall at the corner of Barnes and Ridgeview Loop to raise visibility for drivers leaving the neighborhood and for children who use a crosswalk at that intersection.
Halling said fellow association directors have not seen any design plans for the apartments, nor have they been able to meet with the developer.
“We’re not trying to be obstructive,” he told The Olympian. “We just want to make sure it fits in with the neighborhood.”
The Olympian left multiple messages seeking information from Bedrock developer Larson and Associates in Tacoma.
Meanwhile, Forest Park project manager Michael Lawrence said a timeline will be set for construction once the city officially approves the site plan. The Forest Park parcel abuts the elementary school and would be ideal for families, said Lawrence, noting that each townhouse will come with an attached garage.
Lawrence said this style of housing is scarce in Tumwater and Thurston County. He said there are nearly 900 apartment units in the vicinity that were built in the 1990s as “stacked flats” with no direct garage access.
“Tumwater needs some new generation housing,” he said, pointing out the region’s rising rents. “It’s that void in the market that I’m trying to fill.”