Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'Views on 5th Hotel' Land Use Application Approved by City

File photo: A quiet Spring morning along a then-unfenced Capitol Lake, before we knew about New Zealand mud snails, and the proposed 'Views on 5th Hotel' building, seen here.

By Janine Gates

'Views on 5th Hotel' Land Use Application Approved by City

The vacant downtown Olympia office building best known as "The Mistake on the Lake," and the former Capital Center Building, now known as "Views on 5th Hotel," was given land use approval and a state environmental policy act (SEPA) determination of nonsignificance, according to city planning and development department manager Todd Stamm.

There is a public comment period, which closes Wednesday, March 2, at 5:00 p.m.

The nine-story, 75,000 square foot building is proposed to be converted from an office building to a hotel with up to 140 rooms.

According to the land use approval notice, the city has determined that "this action probably will not have a significant adverse impact upon the environment," and an environmental impact statement is not required. The environmental review and SEPA threshold determination was based on the application submitted by architect Glenn Wells, on behalf of a Seattle-based applicant on December 1, 2010.

For more information about the hotel application, see original story on December 1 at

The application was approved on February 16 by the city's site plan review committee. The only application condition the committee specified is that, prior to occupancy, the applicant will install a bicycle parking facility for guests. If the hotel is to include public meeting rooms, public bicycle parking must also be provided.

Wells, the architect for the proposed hotel, says the project is a "go" once the comment and appeal period has expired. The project is moving ahead in the permitting process. Wells says that there isn't anything particularly unusual about the project, but (Stamm) wanted the applicant to submit a land use SEPA checklist because "he wanted to do everything right."

Stamm, who is also the lead SEPA official for the project, agrees.

"Very few rules apply in commercial to commercial building interior remodels. What was unique about this project is that proposed remodels are usually much smaller," said Stamm. Stamm also acknowledged that there is great public interest in this particular building and its location.

When asked about traffic considerations, for example, both Wells and Stamm agreed that peak hour trips are fewer with a hotel, as compared to an office building. According to an analysis by Dave Smith, city transportation staff, an office building there would generate about 135 trips per hour, as compared to an estimated 100 or less trips per hour generated by a hotel. Traffic generated by a hotel is dispersed at different times, too, as opposed to an office building.

In an interview late today, Jerry Reilly, chair of the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, said that while he has not had a chance to review the land use notice just issued, "this is not simply a normal location - the building has a long history of public concern." The Olympia Capitol Park Foundation is raising funds to acquire a portion of the isthmus between Budd Inlet and Capitol Lake for a public park.

Public comment on this application, Project #10-0140, can be directed to Todd Stamm, Planning Manager , City of Olympia Community Planning and Development, PO Box 1967, Olympia, Washington 98507-1967, or, (360) 753-8597.

The comment deadline is March 2, 2011, 5:00 p.m. The appeal deadline is March 9, 2011, 5:00 p.m.

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