The four-story, senior-housing apartment project known as the Reserve at Lacey is officially underway.
How do we know that? The longtime vacant Albertsons at Pacific Avenue and Carpenter Road is gone.
The project had been delayed as the developer worked on its financing, but Lacey community and economic development director, Rick Walk, told the City Council in January that financing was finalized in December. The occupancy date is set for late 2020, according to city information.
It also has been a controversial project.
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Two years ago, Joe Panesko and other residents of the neighborhood that he calls “one of the jewels in our city,” appealed to the hearing examiner the city’s approval of the Reserve at Lacey. The hearing examiner ruled in favor of the city, and Panesko dropped his appeal.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said Monday, adding that construction has been “unbelievably noisy.”
An email from the city that he shared with The Olympian shows that the hours of construction are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Reserve was originally pitched by Southern California developer AVS Communities as a five-story project totaling about 290,000 square feet.
But residents of the nearby Lacey Historical Neighborhood grew alarmed at the scale of project, as well as its expected impact on traffic, noise, lighting, heights and views. To that end, they appealed to the city Hearings Examiner the city’s site plan review decision and a mitigated determination of non-significance — a decision that meant the developer wouldn’t have to prepare an environmental impact statement.
Panesko also was concerned about an increase in traffic cutting through the neighborhood on Ulery Street. He asked the city to enforce a “no through traffic” sign, and the city responded with speed monitoring signs.
Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder, who also lives in that neighborhood, responded:
“In response to our concerns, the Lacey Police Department will conduct emphasis patrols to deter speeding within and around the Lacey Historical Neighborhood. Additionally, our police installed a radar reader board at Ulery and Seventh Avenue to alert drivers to their vehicle’s speed. I was told a second radar board is in the works as well. I believe that these actions will help alleviate some of the frustrations we are experiencing due to the increased traffic.”
For Panesko, though, the city has not done enough.
“I’m really disappointed with the city and their attitude,” he said Monday.