Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Olympia Wedding and Event Venue Public Hearing Postponed

Above: To the far left of the picture, the framework of a 3,000 square foot white plastic tent at the Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake is still up, in violation of a temporary use permit. The tent, as currently constructed, is not allowed under International Fire Code and other state and city codes. The City of Olympia has requested that it be fully removed by May 11.
By Janine Unsoeld
A public hearing set for May 11th regarding Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake has been postponed until at least July.
The hearing was scheduled to be held in front of the city’s hearing examiner to determine if the venue, a wedding and event business located at 915 and 1007 Deschutes Parkway SW near downtown Olympia, is commercial in nature.
Bart Zier, who currently does not have a permit to operate his business, is requesting a conditional use permit from the City of Olympia for the rental of a residence for wedding and social events. Zier is also requesting the construction of a 2,800 square foot attached covered patio to the residences.
The venue, which has a view of the state Capitol Dome and downtown, has several contractual commitments for future weddings, including one scheduled for May 31.
The property is located in an area zoned single family residential and has incurred documented city code violations since 2013. Zier was most recently fined $1,026 on March 7 for his third violation in three months for not removing a large, omnipresent plastic white tent, as required under a temporary use permit.

At a city site review planning meeting on April 22, staff voted to recommend denial of the conditional use permit application to the hearing examiner. If the hearing examiner did approve a permit, staff created a lengthy list of recommended conditions for approval.
At that point, Zier determined that he needed legal counsel, and hired Phillips Burgess PLLC of Olympia, who filed a motion for postponement of the hearing from May 11 to a date no earlier than June 30, 2015. The motion was filed with the city on May 1.
The city agreed to the motion, and a hearing may occur in July, said Cari Hornbein, interim principal planner for the City of Olympia, who is handling the case.
According to an email dated May 4, attorney Heather Burgess says that Zier is agreeing to the city’s request to not hold events on the property through July 31.
“All currently scheduled events are being cancelled,” she states in the email.
Zier is also required to completely remove all walls and structural remnants of the tent frame structure on the property by no later than May 11.
In the email, Burgess requests an informal meeting with the city to see if there is some way Zier can be permitted to use the property for events in some form.
Native Archaeological Site Disturbed
Letters from concerned neighbors and state and local agencies continue to be received by the city regarding the case.
In a letter submitted to the city on April 30, the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) states that there is a Native American archaeological site in the area currently occupied by Grand Terrace on Capitol Way. Archaeological sites are protected from disturbance on both public and private lands in Washington State.
The letter, also submitted to representatives of the Nisqually and Squaxin Tribes, states that it appears that development work was undertaken on the property since the archaeological site was recorded as a shell midden in 2002.
According to the agency, shell middens are villages, camp sites, or shellfish processing areas, composed of a dark, organically rich soil with shell or shell fragments, artifacts and fire-cracked rock.
The area along Deschutes Parkway is within the ceded area of the Squaxin Island Tribe, and is on the original shoreline of Budd Inlet.
No permits were found on file for development of the site, says the letter written by Gretchen Kaehler, an archaeologist for the department. Under state law, failure to obtain permits is punishable by civil fines, penalties, and criminal prosecution.
According to the letter, concerned tribes may also choose to pursue civil action in state or federal court, investigations and prosecution as well. A view of the property on Thurston County Geodata shows a dramatic loss of trees and disturbance of the property.
For more information about the Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake case, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com, and see the April 26, 2015 story,“Olympia Wedding and Event Venue in Question.” For future stories, use the search button and type in key words.
Above: Standing water in this picture taken April 26 indicates a possible wetland near the railroad tracks along Deschutes Parkway in front of the Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake business.