Saturday, January 31, 2009

Senate Legislation to Preserve Isthmus Views to be Introduced

Olympia - January 31, 2009
Two bills will be introduced on Monday in the Washington State Senate to preserve isthmus views. Both bills are sponsored by Senators Karen Fraser (D-22), Dan Swecker (R-20), Darlene Fairley (D-32)and Ed Murray (D-43).

Senate Bill 5799 creates a state capitol campus special height district to protect views from and to the Capitol across the isthmus. The bill limits new or remodeled buildings to no more than 35 feet. This is the current limit on the isthmus prior to the rezone for which the the city is now seeking state approval.

The intent section of SB 5799 declares that "The legislature finds that the broad public vista northward from the historic capitol campus, and the public view of the state capitol from many points to the north of it, constitute a vista of statewide and national historic significance."

The other bill, SB 5800, defines the isthmus as a shoreline of statewide significance through the Shoreline Management Act "to advance the public interest and to protect public investments."

The intent section of SB 5800 declares that "The vista is an integral part of the design of the state capitol campus. The state's founders sited the capitol campus in its location principally to take advantage of this expansive vista. It is representative of much of the physical characteristics of very large areas of the state; provides a visual and physical connection between the capitol and Puget Sound; is inspirational; and promotes an appreciation of the scenic grandeur and rich natural resources of our state."

Both bills will be referred to the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee. Senator Fairley is chair of this committee and Senator Swecker is a member.

Hearings have not yet been scheduled for the bills. In order to continue to be considered by the full legislature, the bills need to be approved by the Committee by February 25th.

To read the bills and follow their progress, go to For more information on the campaign to save the isthmus from development, contact Olympia Isthmus Park Association chair Jerry Reilly at or (360)561-4212 or Friends of the Waterfront member Bonnie Jacobs at (360) 352-1346.