OCPF Chair, Jerry Reilly responds to Planning Commission recommendation
Last night, November 1st, 2010 the Olympia Planning Commission voted 9 to 2 to recommend to the City Council that permanent zoning be established on the Isthmus to restrict the height of buildings to 35 feet. This is the height limit that was in effect prior to December 2008 when the former City Council raised the limit to 90 feet. The current City Council restored the 35 foot limit on a temporary basis in January of this year. The action of the Planning Commission is part of the process to make the 35 foot limit permanent.
The recommendation of the Planning commission is to zone the Isthmus as Urban Waterfront Housing (UWH) with a height limit of 35 feet. This is different than the temporary zoning that the Council put in place in January which was Urban Waterfront (UW). Some Planning Commissioners said that they were concerned about some of the uses that would be permitted in the UW zone, such as gas stations and hotels. If the Council follows the recommendation of the Planning Commission, these uses would be prohibited.
The two members who voted against the recommendation appeared to want even further restrictions on heights that could impair the views from and to the Capitol Campus.
From the perspective of our Foundation, we are pleased at the action taken by the Planning Commission and urge the Council to follow their recommendation. Our goal remains to acquire the parcels affected by the proposed re-zone for use as an extension of Heritage Park that will perfect and protect the views from and to America’s most magnificent Capitol Campus setting.
On a related matter, the American Planning Association recently selected Percival Landing as one of the ten best civic spaces in the country. Imagine the national recognition that will come when we are able to link Percival, the Isthmus, Heritage Park and the Capitol into one continuous civic space. When the”mistake by the lake” comes down, we will surely be home to one of the greatest vistas in the world.
Jerry Reilly, Chair
Olympia Capitol Park Foundation