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City of Lacey wants to talk about homelessness at May 21 public hearing

Homelessness is no longer just an ‘Olympia problem’

The Thurston County Commission and Lacey City Council are looking at a proposed homeless mitigation site on Carpenter Road just outside the city of Lacey.
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The Thurston County Commission and Lacey City Council are looking at a proposed homeless mitigation site on Carpenter Road just outside the city of Lacey.

The city of Lacey is proposing changes to its city code that would establish a permitting process and standards to create temporary emergency housing for the homeless.

And the city wants to hear from you.

A public hearing before the city’s planning commission is set for 7:05 p.m. May 21 at Lacey City Hall council chambers, 420 College St. SE.

The hearing comes on the heels of a recent discussion between Lacey City Council and Thurston County Commissioners about creating a homeless mitigation site near the intersection of Martin Way and Carpenter Road. However, the public hearing is unrelated to that site, Lacey planning manager Ryan Andrews said Tuesday.

Andrews said the council and commissioners talked about a proposal on county property that is not in Lacey. The planning commission proposal would apply to potential sites within Lacey, he said.

For six months, the planning commission has been working on proposed changes to the city’s existing emergency housing facility regulations, Andrews said. As it stands now, the city allows only for church properties to host homeless encampments. Under the proposed changes, nonprofits or a unit of government also would be able to host encampments, Andrews said.

The proposed changes would establish standards for public health and safety, sanitation and timelines for approval, he said.

“It opens it up to others to host an encampment,” he said.

The type of homeless encampment to be hosted could be tents, tiny homes or a place where people could sleep in their vehicles, Andrews said.

After the public hearing, the planning commission will consider the testimony at a future work session, and likely will modify the proposal based on that input. Later, the planning commission will send a recommendation to Lacey City Council.

“The final authority is with the council as far as decision-making goes,” he said.

If you can’t attend the hearing, written comments can be sent to the City of Lacey, Department of Community & Economic Development, 420 College St. SE, Lacey, WA 98503. Or comments can be sent by email to Andrews at randrews@ci.lacey.wa.us.

Comments must be received by 5 p.m. May 21 to be considered part of the record.

For more information about the hearing, contact Andrews at randrews@ci.lacey.wa.us or at 360-491-5642.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.


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