OLYMPIA - Port of Olympia officials are concerned about the draft of the city's update to the shoreline management plan, saying some aspects of the draft would hamper the port's operations.
Primary among their concerns is a proposal for a 30-foot setback requirement for all waterfront property that, if applied to the port’s marine terminal, would limit activity there.
Other concerns include unclear language or requirements for the port.
“The port’s desire is that the city adopt a shoreline management plan that promotes and encourages the port to continue to use the shoreline as a means of economic development for Thurston County,” Mike Reid, properties and business development manager for the port, said Friday.
As part of the shoreline management plan update process, the city’s Planning Commission has held public hearings on the issue, and final public testimony will be heard at 6:30 p.m. today at the Olympia City Council Chambers.
The Planning Commission will make no recommendation tonight. It will deliberate over the next few months before making a recommendation to the City Council.
The Planning Commission strictly is a recommending body for the city. The City Council is in charge of adopting the updated shoreline-management plan.
Olympia senior planner Cari Hornbein estimated that the Planning Commission could deliberate for about three months on the input it has received on updating the city’s shoreline management plan, and then could make a recommendation to the City Council as early as spring or possibly over the summer.
Although public testimony for the Planning Commission ends with the meeting, written comment is being accepted until midnight, Hornbein said.
The Port of Olympia Commission will have its meeting at 4 p.m. today so the commission and staffers can attend the Planning Commission meeting.
As a result of the port’s concerns, port officials are recommending that the city adopt a “port maritime and industrial” designation that would exempt the port from the 30-foot setback proposal.
Other ports in the state have similar designations, such as in Tacoma, Anacortes and Port Townsend, said Tim Harris, an attorney working on behalf of the port who outlined the port’s concerns in a letter to Planning Commission Chairman Roger Horn.
“Each of these (port) designations omits the 30-foot buffer required under the city’s draft plan, and each allows over-water structures for water-dependent uses,” Harris wrote in his letter.
Other port recommendations are that the city adopt the updated comprehensive plan before the shoreline plan, and that an economic-impact study be produced before the planning commission makes a recommendation to the city.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/bizblog