A South Sound woman said her daughter’s wedding would occur as planned on Saturday, even if they have to break a law to make that happen.
Robyn Link of Lacey said she learned Friday that her daughter’s wedding venue, the Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake, on Deschutes Parkway Southwest, had been shut down by the city of Olympia. The bride, Ashlee Depert, groom Philip Rivera, and about 350 guests are expecting to crash the venue and move forward with the ceremony, she said.
“All I know is my daughter is crying,” Link said on Friday evening. “The day before her wedding is ruined. It is a horrible mess, and I cannot believe because of city-state red tape, that they would do this to my daughter.”
City of Olympia spokeswoman Kellie Purce Braseth said the property owner doesn’t have the temporary use permit to accommodate the event. She said city staffers were working to get one issued, but then officials with the state Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation asked the city to halt the process.
“They found evidence that the archaeological site (on the venue property) had been disturbed and that there had been a structure built on the site,” Purce Braseth said.
“I know it’s devastating for the wedding party, but we have an obligation to work with the state.”
Greg Griffith, deputy historic preservation officer with the state, said he couldn’t comment on the issue Friday night, and referred media inquiries to the city of Olympia, saying city officials are the ones who made the determination to shut the venue down.
Purce Braseth said the city offered to find a solution with the property owner so that the wedding could occur.
“The city staff has offered to work the weekend to issue the permit if all of the conditions can be met by the property owner,” she said. “If they can meet all of the conditions, and if they can meet the historic preservation’s plan for protecting the archaeological site, then we’d be willing to issue the temporary use permit.”
She added: “The property owner knows what the conditions are. There were conditions that needed to be met, and those have been clearly communicated.”
Venue owner Bart Zier said the state is upset over a 10-by-10-foot deck that was built on the property, and that as of Friday night he hadn’t seen a final copy of the conditions that he needs to comply with to get the permit. He said he was told he’d be allowed to hold six events this season at the venue.
“All of the experts we hired to handle (this) said absolutely, no problem and we would be able to have them when we applied for a conditional use permit,” Zier said.
According to a May 7 story in The Olympian, Zier has been operating under a temporary permit since last summer and has been seeking a conditional use permit to host 20 to 30 events a year, and build a 2,800-square foot covered porch for wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, the city’s Site Plan Review Committee recommended denial of the project, and it was referred to the hearing examiner for review.
“It’s been an absolutely brutal process,” Zier said in May. He initially sought the permit in 2014 and has submitted several revised applications.
In 1998, an archeologist examined the area and found remnants “representing a hunter-fisher-gatherer shell midden site.” The area once belonged to the Squaxin Island Tribe, according to records pertaining to construction of the nearby LOTT pump station on Capitol Lake.
Purce Braseth said she understands how difficult it must be on the wedding party. When told of their plans to crash the venue, she said she hopes they don’t move forward with that plan.
“We’re not going to send the police rushing in,” she said. “It’s a violation of the law, so I hope this does not happen. I hope the property owner can meet the conditions we’ve laid out and the plan of Historical Preservation. I hope they can do this on the straight up and up.”