OLYMPIA - The Olympia City Council on Monday night moved to extend development deadlines for several planned subdivisions that have received preliminary land-use approval but aren't being built now because of the bad economy.
The council gave a first reading to the ordinance Monday; it will likely be approved in a final vote next week.
Tom Hill, permitting and inspections manager for the city, said developers invested significantly in the properties before the housing market collapsed – including putting in roads and utilities. If the extension weren’t granted, developers would have to reapply under current regulations, which may require costly additional work.
Will Stakelin, government affairs director for Olympia Master Builders, has been pushing for the ordinance.
“It’s going to mean quite a lot to at least a half-dozen subdivisions that in the next year are going to come up against being in a predicament,” he said.
He said Lacey and Tumwater are considering similar extensions. Seattle, Puyallup, and King and Pierce counties have adopted similar relief for developers, a city staff report says.
Only Councilman Joe Hyer voted against the ordinance. In an interview, he said developers knew the rules when they started, and said it was OK if they incurred additional expenses to meet new standards. “That’s the cost of doing business,” he said.
Hill said some of the subdivisions that would be affected are Whitmore Glen at Boulevard and Log Cabin roads, Kaiser South in the Kaiser Road area, and a portion of Briggs Village in the vicinity of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard.
The ordinance would give a two-year extension to developers who were granted preliminary plat approval from Jan. 1, 2004, to Jan. 1, 2006. Preliminary plat approval is the stage in which developers can put in utilities and roads, and there is a five-year deadline to do so, or developers have to start over.
After the roads and utilities are put in, the council can give final plat approval, which subdivides land into buildable lots and allows developers to get permits.
The deadline extension comes with some conditions, including:
• All erosion control structures and practices should be in place.
• Overgrown vegetation, weeds and noxious plants should be under control.