Olympia City Council will hold study session for comp plan Tuesday

In place of its weekly business meeting, the Olympia City Council will have a special study session about the comprehensive plan beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The comprehensive plan outlines the city’s vision and goals for the next 20 years. The plan addresses issues including population growth, the environment, downtown development and urban density.

Tuesday’s study session will focus on policies related to street connections, alleys, scenic waterfront viewpoints and Capitol Lake management.

Street connectivity refers to a policy of linking smaller streets with larger arterial roads. The study session will specifically address the plan’s inclusion of connections at Decatur Street and 16th Avenue on Olympia’s west side. Several people have asked that this connection — near Capital Mall — be removed from the plan out of concerns for its effects on the neighborhood.

As for alleys, the issue relates to whether the updated plan should encourage or require more alleys in new developments. The city lacks money to maintain more alleys, according to planners.

Current city regulations include protection of viewpoints from which Budd Inlet, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains can be seen. Staff has proposed a revision of city policy by emphasizing public “viewpoints” and not “corridors,” which had been interpreted as views from streets, according to a report.

Finally, the council will discuss whether the comprehensive plan provides adequate guidance on Olympia’s role in managing Capitol Lake. The specific policy calls for Olympia to monitor work on the lake and participate as appropriate, according to a staff report.

The city has been working on updating the plan since 2009. Council approval of the plan is months away, but a draft of the plan can be viewed at imagineolympia.com.