A proposed annexation of four properties at Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard into the city of Olympia has attracted concerns from neighbors over density and traffic.
Two of the parcels on the southeast corner of the intersection are single-family homes while the other two comprise Tsuki Nursery. The total area measures 8.5 acres.
After a public hearing Tuesday, the Olympia City Council directed staff to prepare an annexation ordinance that must go before the Thurston County Boundary Review Board before returning to the council for final approval.
Marc Blegen is among the homeowners who live on Orvas Court, a cul-de-sac in unincorporated Thurston County that borders the annexation site’s eastern edge.
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Orvas Court is located off Yelm Highway and can be difficult to access during rush hour, especially when making left turns, Blegen said.
Blegen is concerned that the future property owner will compound the problem by increasing the site’s density and building a multi-family development similar to the Briggs Village community across the street. At this time, the annexation site is zoned to allow four to eight residential units per acre.
“It’s really an encroachment into our residential area,” said Blegen, who has lived on Orvas Court for 33 years. “Higher density is not compatible.”
Blegen and another Orvas Court neighbor, Phil Jones, addressed the council Tuesday about the annexation and traffic impact.
Jones said the housing developments in that area will continue to attract more senior residents as well as families with children.
“That intersection … is really an expressway bypass. You get people from all over really speeding through that area,” said Jones, noting the potential danger for seniors and children who cross the streets. “Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
Commercial real estate broker Tom Schrader, who is representing the property owners, previously told The Olympian that a goal is to rezone the site for a mix of office space and multi-family housing.
Schrader, who owns the Chambers Prairie grange hall on the intersection’s southwest corner in Tumwater, echoed concerns about heavy traffic.
“Yelm Highway needs speed reduction devices or reduced speed limits,” Schrader told the council Tuesday. “I’m fully aware of the concerns that have been expressed about safety there.”
The annexation applicants are Phillip and Therese Hulbert, Grace Slater, and Trong and Rani Hong.
The nursery properties, which are owned by the Hulberts, are on the market for $1.49 million. The Slater property at 1707 Yelm Highway has an asking price of $319,000 while a listing for the Hong property at 1705 Yelm Highway has not been confirmed.