Development restrictions from the Port of Olympias northern and East Bay shoreline should be lengthened to 75 feet from 50 feet, a majority of Olympia City Council members said Tuesday night.
The councils direction came late into its council meeting, during about two hours of discussion on the citys draft Shoreline Management Program. The state-mandated plan the city is drafting, which has been discussed for several years, will affect development on major city shorelines.
Council members continued a trend of favoring more restrictions than their recommendations in October. Last week, most council members said they favor requiring buildings to be set back 50 feet from the Budd Inlet shoreline of the isthmus, up from 30 feet in the October recommendations.
Unlike the earlier recommendations that would affect private property, the Port of Olympia would be directly affected by Tuesdays recommendation. Councilman Nathaniel Jones suggested the tighter restrictions, saying that public property should be held to higher standards.
He favored restrictions that could be rolled back to 50 feet if certain conditions are met. Councilwoman Karen Rogers added that there should be an exception for water-dependent uses. Councilman Jim Cooper said hes opposed to the idea of a bigger setback and I really dont see a difference in how public and private property is treated under the shoreline regulations.
The council then turned to regulating the northern half of city property along West Bay. Cooper suggested sticking with the councils earlier recommendation of a 30-foot setback there, with the option to have no setback for water-dependent uses. Other council members didnt voice an objection.
Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Stephen Buxbaum resumed talking about his worries of lengthening building setbacks to 50 feet from 30 feet on the isthmus, saying it would discourage private investment. But other council members shut the discussion down with a vote to move on to other topics. A majority of council members had already agreed to the setback change last week.
The council is expected to resume its discussions on the shoreline plan on March 19, when it will get a computer visualization of the shoreline, something for which the council is paying $16,250.
A final recommendation from the council could be weeks away. Another public comment process is expected following the latest recommendations. The state Department of Ecology has final say on the plan.