Neighbors appeal 23-building town home development plan in Lacey

A Puyallup-based developer wants to build a 124-unit, 23-building multifamily development in Lacey, and that has neighbors concerned about an increase in traffic in the area.

The developer and the neighbors, represented by Schilter Farm Homeowners Association president Marcus Humberg, met Monday in Lacey before a hearings examiner after Humberg appealed the city’s approval of the site plan.

The project has been proposed for 3933 Ingleside Drive SE, near 37th Avenue and not far from College Street. The site now is mostly pastureland, although it also has a home and barn on the approximately 8 acres.

Key among Humberg’s concerns is that the city did not require a traffic impact analysis, despite the development showing it would generate 69 rush hour vehicle trips. That exceeds the city’s recommended guidelines of requiring a traffic impact analysis when a development would add 50 or more trips, he said.

Lacey transportation manager Martin Hoppe responded to questions about the lack of a so-called TIA. “I didn’t think a traffic study would provide any additional information,” he said.

Humberg also raised concerns about increased traffic speeding through the neighborhood, and a section of 37th Avenue that doesn’t have sidewalks.

He contended that the city’s spot speed study examined traffic on a single day at a single point of time. He questioned how the city could extrapolate enough data from the results to show that traffic calming measures weren’t necessary.

Hoppe countered that neighborhood streets in the area are more narrow to slow traffic.

A TIA would have addressed access to transit for those who might be disabled, Humberg said. He questions how disabled residents of the new development will get to College Street with a section of unfinished sidewalks on 37th.

If the city had done the traffic analysis, it would’ve allayed a lot of our concerns, said Humberg about the Schilter Farm HOA. The HOA represents 142 homes, he said.

Brandon Smith, managing member of the company that wants to develop the parcel, said Monday they would like to begin work on the town homes right away.

Construction on the 4-plex and 6-plex units could take about a year, he said.

“Change is always difficult, but it’s good to listen to their testimony,” he said Monday during a break in the hearing. “I’m hoping we can work together. We pride ourselves that we build a quality project. Hopefully, we can get past this process stuff and have a positive relationship with them.”

The hearings examiner is expected to rule within a few weeks.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.