Developer looking to swap an old gas station for food trucks at 1400 Bethel St in Olympia after contamination cleanup


The Olympia Site Plan Review Committee held a presubmission conference on a proposal to put up temporary food trucks and a coffee shop on a property at 1400 Bethel Street NE.

At the committee meeting held Wednesday, March 1, applicant Tim Willoughby said the main goal is demolishing the existing building. KD&S Environmental, Inc. has been contracted to demolish the existing building.

He said they have been collaborating with Mike Dexel of the Northeast Neighborhood Association on this project to beautify the area and make the lot a vital part of the neighborhood.

"After the existing building is demolished and gone, there would be no permanent structures on the lot. The existing vehicle access driveways would remain the same, as well as the utilities (power and water), which are currently disconnected," Willoughby stated in the narrative.

Olympia Community Planning and Development Director Leonard Bauer gave a brief background of the place. He said the site used to have a gas station.

"There's contamination under the property. But we are excited to have you here with a proposal, trying to do something with the property before investing in that kind of a cleanup," Bauer told Willoughby.

Washington's State Department of Ecology stated that the site has confirmed or suspected contamination that could harm people and the environment. The site is a beneficiary of the Brownfields Program, which helps communities clean contaminated properties.

Planning and engineering review

Associate planner Lydia Moorehead recommended moving the food trucks onto the paved area.

She informed the applicant that there are limited operating hours in the neighborhood retail zone and drive-thru for the coffee shop is not allowed.

In addition to the neighborhood retail standards, only four food trucks are allowed per parcel. The temporary use permit for mobile vendors is suitable for a year, but they can apply for additional extensions.

Moorehead asked the applicant to present an overall site plan showing all the different food trucks and their spacing when applying for a temporary permit.

Other requirements include:

  • written permission from the property owner
  • a copy of the health department approval
  • proof of business license
  • proof of utility service for solid waste

“You will need to either show that the property owner is providing solid waste management, or you can provide a statement about how garbage will be managed,” Moorehead said.

Contamination concerns

Engineering plans examiner Tiffani King raised her concerns about the contamination if the applicant wants to reestablish water service on the site.

"Before any ground-disturbing activity, such as digging for piping or any other work, we need to know the extent of the contamination and what measures must be taken," she said.

Fire Marshall Randy Haines noted that Olympia has no municipal code adopted on temporary business structures, such as food trucks, particularly on the required spacing of food mobiles.

He cited that the National Fire Protection Association standards require a 10-foot bumper-to-bumper spacing.

He added that the city has requirements for the big propane tanks. "That is something that I would like to look a little further as we see more of this popup."

Haines added that food trucks should be 10 feet away from any existing structure around the area. “Again, that is something I would like to discuss with our building official to look at food trucks and our spacing requirements.”

CORRECTION, March 6, 2023: We corrected the spelling of Mike Dexel's name.


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  • Cobbnaustic

    Funny how the food court down town with the Filling Station coffee shop (that also used to be a gas station) don't follow these rules.

    Friday, March 3, 2023 Report this

  • HarveysMom

    Isn't this corner across the street from an existing Bakery business and, also across another street from an elementary school? Also, this is mostly a residential neighborhood, right? Not sure you want to expand a lot of car traffic here.

    Friday, March 3, 2023 Report this