Friends of the Waterfront
Coming here soon...
Information about writing Ecology about amending the Shoreline Master Program for Triway
Erase the mistake
on the lake
Courtesy of John Leisenring
Senator Karen Fraser's bill to protect the State Capitol's historic views has now been incorporated into House Bill 1379. To pass the bill, the House will need to concur in the Senate amendments. The key House Members in this process will be the three sponsors of HB 1379 and the Chair of the House Local Government and Housing Committee.
The bill's sponsors are:
The Local Government Chair is:
People need to contact them right away - and if you know anyone from those areas, it would be especially valuable to get those people to call the Legislative Hotline at 1 800 562 6000 and leave a message about this. You can email all four legislators at once by pasting these addresses into your email message
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Just tell them why you think the view matters to people all over the state, and ask them to "CONCUR IN THE SENATE AMENDMENTS TO HB 1379".
Wherever you live, please call the legislative hotline at 1 800 562 6000 again and leave a message for your two house members asking them to "PRESERVE THE VIEWS FROM AND TO OUR MAGNIFICENT CAPITOL CAMPUS BY VOTING TO CONCUR IN THE SENATE AMENDMENTS TO HB 1379"
You can click here to get a message you can send on to people around the state, asking them to help support these bills. (If this link doesn't work with your web browser, please click here to get text that you can copy and paste into a message.)
So far, wide and deep community opposition at the City Council level hasn't been enough to stop Triway's effort to rezone the land between Capital Lake and Puget Sound for high-rise million-dollar condos. Letters to the editor, written testimony to the Planning Commission and the Council, and sign-ins and speakers at the public hearings all ran strongly against the rezone. Recently, the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation gathered around 4,000 city voters' signatures in just over five weeks to successfully complete its initiative campaign to compel the Council to study the cost of an isthmus park, and explore ways to get financial help creating one. This was the first such successful campaign in the city since 1955, when citizens passed an initiative to create Watershed Park and Sylvester Park.
In response to the citizens' initiative, the City Council did start the park study. At the same time, though, five of the seven Council members have gone ahead and voted to rezone. Jeff Kingsbury, Doug Mah, Rhenda Strub, Joan Machlis, and Craig Ottavelli all agreed to rezone for 42 feet - plus height bonuses to 65 and 90 feet in return for mitigations which are mostly what Triway has been proposing all along. Only Councilwoman Karen Messmer voted to oppose this motion, out of respect for the widespread community opposition to higher buildings there. (Joe Hyer straddled the fence, saying he wouldn't vote for more than 65 foot heights at this time, but might be persuaded to vote for more.)
Councilmember Strub joined Councilmembers Hyer and Messmer in voting against the rezone ordinance in its final form at first reading, partly because the development agreement which would have given the Council somewhat more control over the process for a longer period had been dropped. However, then she changed her vote again and joined Councilmembers Mah, Kingsbury, Machlis and Ottavelli and voted to give Triway the rezone on December 16th. If it goes into effect, their rezone will significantly increase the value of this land. It would allow Triway to build an additional 171,000 square feet of high-rise housing with prime views on its property, in addition to 90% of the commercial space it can currently build. Their decision to rezone right away will make it much likelier that the park option will be beyond reach when the citizens' five-month long study is completed.
This isn't over yet. In January the Council decided not to keep the $11 million dollar tax exemption for the owners of the 141 condos Triway plans to sell for $1 million each. The national financial crisis makes it even harder to finance projects, and has dramatically reduced the home equity and investments of buyers. The Department of Ecology will now review the city's request for an amendment to its Shoreline Master Program, and if they find it isn't consistent with the Shorelines Act this rezone won't be possible. The rezone could be thrown out as a result of other subsequent litigation. In its previous form Senator Fraser's bill passed the Senate 36-10 with three Senators excused. (Ten Republicans voted yes and six no, twenty-six Democrats voted yes and four no.) It was slightly amended to be sure that the change will not interfere with the City's efforts to redo Percival Landing. Then it went to the House, where our Representative Sam Hunt worked to pass it, but our Representative Brendan Williams opposed it in committee and the chair refused to bring it up for a vote. Now it's been brought back to life through this amendment. Keep your fingers crossed.
In twenty, or thirty, or forty years, the heart of Olympia should be a spectacular park stretching from Capitol Lake right out to Percival Landing and the boardwalk around Puget Sound, with sweeping unobstructed views up to the Capitol and out to the mountains. Granting this rezone would make that impossible. (There should be plenty of housing downtown, too - but not on this spot.)