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Lacey City Council approves 14-building apartment complex on 15th Avenue NE

Lacey City Council set to weigh Woodland Meadows

A major housing development called Woodland Meadows is set to come before Lacey City Council.
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A major housing development called Woodland Meadows is set to come before Lacey City Council.

Despite concerns about affordable housing and increased traffic, Lacey City Council voted 6-1 Thursday night to approve Woodland Meadows, a major housing development set to be built on 15th Avenue Northeast.

Woodland Meadows is a 360-unit, 14-building market-rate apartment complex, which also will include 23 single-family homes. It will spread across 26 acres between 15th Avenue Northeast and I-5, east of Century Court Northeast.

The project came before the hearings examiner in April, who recommended approval of the project to City Council.

Given the size of the project, the Vancouver, Wash.-based developer, Nouvelle Apartments LLC, will pay significant traffic impact fees to Thurston County — 15th Avenue is a county road — and the city of Lacey. The hearings examiner also approved the development with more than 100 conditions attached to it.

Yet Councilwoman Lynda Zeman expressed disappointment when she learned all of Woodland Meadows would be market-rate housing.

She said the area is “crying out for affordable housing,” and that a lack of affordable housing contributes to homelessness. She asked the council to table its decision and to amend the recommendation to include affordable housing options.

Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said he appreciated Zeman’s comments about affordable housing, but he also said that Woodland Meadows has gone through a long process and has been planned to meet city standards.

“To change those standards now would be unfair,” he said.

Lacey senior planner Samra Seymour explained that nothing has been specifically designated as affordable housing at Woodland Meadows, but it will have a range of units and rents, including what she said was a first for the market: garage-top studios.

Ryder acknowledged that traffic is bad on 15th Avenue, but the county road is set to be improved.

Councilman Lenny Greenstein, who voted in favor of the development, said more housing is the answer to the lack of affordable housing.

“It’s a supply issue and this brings considerable additional supply,” he said.

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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