Monday, February 16, 2009

Isthmus Development Appeal Filed by Former Governors

photos by Janine Gates
Above: View of the isthmus area from the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia.

Olympia - A petition for review of the proposed Olympia rezone of the downtown isthmus was filed last week with the Growth Management Review Board. Three former Washington State governors, Albert Rosellini, Dan Evans, and Booth Gardner, along with former Secretary of State Ralph Munro, joined in the appeal.

On December 16, 2008, the Olympia city council voted 5 - 2 to amend the Olympia Comprehensive Plan to allow for buildings greater than 35 feet in height on the narrow strip of land separating Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet. Triway Enterprises owns the land and sought the rezone to build five to seven story buildings for 141 condominium units. Despite overwhelming community opposition, the Olympia city council voted to approve the rezone.

According to the petition filed February 13th, the rezone violates the Growth Management Act, the Shoreline Management Act, the State Environmental Policy Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.

In part, the petition reads, "The proposed heights of 65 feet and 90 feet in the Olympia Isthmus violate the law and policy of the State Capitol Campus, and the rezone fails to avoid piecemeal and uncoordinated development of the Olympia Isthmus property....negating the statewide interest in preserving and enhancing the design and plans for the State Capitol Campus, preserving and enhancing the public views from and to the State Capitol Campus, the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains."

The petitioners request that the Growth Management Board reverse the Comprehensive Plan amendment and retain the 35 foot height limit in the Olympia Isthmus.

In related news, the House cancelled this Wednesday's Local Government and Housing committee hearing on isthmus bills HB 2081 and HB 2082. The Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee will still hold its hearing on its isthmus bills, SB 5800 and SB5799, on Thursday, February 19, at 3:30 p.m. in Hearing Room 2, Cherberg Building.