Special Lacey City Council meeting attracts about a dozen

Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder kicked off the city’s first “on the road” City Council meeting Thursday in style by announcing news about two restaurants: Chipotle is set to come to the city, not far from the intersection at Marvin Road and Martin Way, while popular local eatery Ricardo’s plans to relocate to Woodland Square Loop.

That’s another major step for the city in its efforts to re-invigorate the Woodland District and turn it into a mixed-use destination, similar to a downtown.

Thursday’s meeting at Chambers Prairie Elementary was the first of three gatherings away from City Hall. The next two will take place at Mountain View Elementary on July 16 and at River Ridge High School on Oct. 1.

About a dozen people attended the meeting, a mayor-led effort to reach out to the community because council meetings aren’t usually well attended by the public.

Residents who attended got a chance to ask the mayor and council a few questions.

Fred Brower, who lives in the Brookfield neighborhood along Komachin Loop Southeast, raised concerns about the lack of tree trimming on that street, and asked for clarification about whether it’s the city’s responsibility or the homeowner’s.

Brower said the trees have become overgrown and block the streetlights. He thinks the lack of visibility contributed to a recent car crash in front of his house.

Mayor Ryder said the city continues to have conversations about street tree maintenance but hasn’t come up with a solution.

“We’re not there yet,” he said, adding that the city has been hampered by budget constraints.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt urged Brower to talk to the city’s public works director.

“We are well aware of the problem,” Councilman Michael Steadman added about the maintenance of street trees. “It’s a city concern and resident concern, but no stone will be left unturned (to find a solution).”

Brower said later that he appreciated the “on the road” meeting because he doesn’t always have time to attend the regularly scheduled council meetings. He said he found the council to be very receptive.

Mayor Ryder, too, was pleased with the first meeting and its attendance, noting that they had to compete with Thursday’s beautiful weather.

Also Thursday night:

After the community portion of the meeting, the council held a work session about “Septic Summit 2,” an upcoming gathering of local elected officials to discuss the county’s 17,000 septic systems and how best to convert them to sewer to protect groundwater and surface water. Of that total, about 10,000 are in Lacey, but most are in Lacey’s urban growth area.

Septic Summit 2 is set for 5:30 p.m. April 29 at the LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia.