Opinion

Letters to the editor for Jan. 18

Promote opportunities in downtown Olympia

Who is going to be the champion for downtown Olympia?

I nominate The Olympian.

Rather than relying on a developer who has been taking rent from the state for a building unfit for occupancy, let's be positive and see what can be done.

Downtown has better live theater and restaurants than ever. There are new and interesting shops.

Yes, there is a lot to do, and we can focus on these things creatively.

The Spar has not left downtown. A creative and historically interesting new owner has replaced an owner who could not accommodate a new no-smoking law. The Talcott family did not want to continue in business and sold their shop to a new operator, who is still in business downtown under his own name. Panowicz Jewelers relocated but are still downtown.

Heritage Park continues in late stages of development, soon to be wonderfully attractive, under the aegis of the state, the city and a community nonprofit organization. Percival Landing is being rehabilitated, and the very useful adjacent block was recently added as a park.

Look at the opportunities The Olympian can promote: Useful development of the southeast corner of State Avenue and Water Street and the vacant land north of the Phoenix Inn. Additionally, the newspaper could follow its good article and shepherd the Columbia Street condos into being.

Also, The Olympian can investigate the city's downtown permitting process and highlight specific changes that the newspaper sees as striking a better balance between the city's needs and a developer's interests.

Fred Adair, Olympia

Does environment or developer get protection?

In December, an annexation was proposed southwest of Tumwater. The extremely large area begins from the current city limits and extends to the edge of Doelman Farm.

The first line of a letter sent to 1,600 residents within the proposed area states: "Recently, hundreds of your neighbors have requested to be annexed into the city of Tumwater."

I asked city planning whether that statement was true. They responded that to avoid "pointing fingers," they made a misleading statement. One landowner/developer has initiated the annexation proposal.

I request that the Tumwater's city staff, the independently contracted facilitators hired to inform local homeowners, and the petitioning landowner/developer honestly disclose the who, how, why and what.

Who initiated the annexation process? Why is it being requested? How is the process being paid for, and what might be neighborhood effects?

City staff reported they are not obligated to report who requested the annexation, that a developer is paying for staff administration of the process or that large-scale development plans are behind this annexation proposal.

Building urban developments frequently requires connecting roads and brings heavy traffic into quiet neighborhoods. High groundwater creates flooding and potential pollution where overbuilding is allowed.

Class 1 wetlands exist within this annexation area, and the Black River is in close proximity to its boundary. Residents should be informed of these issues, have a voice in this process and expect that Tumwater land use succeeds in supporting and protecting the environment.

Sherry Buckner, Tumwater

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