Public Can Comment on Shoreline Proposal

By Matt Batcheldor, January 22, 2013, The Olympian

A crowd is expected to gather at City Hall tonight to tell the Olympia City Council what it thinks about the city’s proposed Shoreline Management Program.

It’s the council’s first formal public hearing on the issue since the state required the city to update the plan, which has been the subject of more than three years of discussions. While it covers all major waterways in Olympia, its effect on the Budd Inlet shoreline is particularly pronounced.

Some highlights of a recent draft of the plan:

• The northern portion of the West Bay shoreline would be an urban intensity zone, requiring buildings to be set back 30 feet. A small section near the northern city limits would be an urban conservancy zone, with a setback of 100 feet.

• The southern portion of West Bay, which is largely developed, would be in a waterfront recreation zone, with a minimum setback of 150 feet.

• The Budd Inlet shoreline of the isthmus, the Percival Landing area and the southern area of East Bay would be in an urban intensity zone, allowing development 30 feet from the shoreline.

• The northern portion of East Bay, representing the Swantown Marina area and the northern point of the Port of Olympia peninsula, would be designated for marine recreation, with setbacks as low as 30 feet if certain vegetation requirements are met.

The setback requirements generally are smaller than those recommended by the Olympia Planning Commission, which, for example, would have required buildings to be 100 feet from portions of the port’s shoreline.

In addition to the public hearing, people can submit their comments in writing to the city until Feb. 5. The council is expected to review public input and provide final direction on the plan Feb. 19. It is scheduled to approve the draft plan March 5 and then send it to the state Department of Ecology, which will have the final say on the plan.

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