Olympia committee reviews permanent supportive housing on Franz Anderson property


On Wednesday, the Olympia Site Plan Review Committee held a presubmission conference on a proposal to build permanent supportive housing on Franz Anderson Road.

Rob Deane of Encore Architects gave a brief overview of the project, which would provide 71 units and 54 parking stalls to be built on multiple parcels west of Franz Anderson Road.

The applicant team was seeking the city’s guidance from the committee regarding reducing parking stalls.

Eric Blank of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) considered the residents' income level while justifying the need for a parking reduction. He mentioned they do not have many cars, similar to the Martin Way affordable housing situation.

Blank added that they are trying to avoid the amount of fill and paving area to establish a level parking, and they wanted to maintain as many trees as possible between the buildings and I-5.

Flexibility in parking space

Olympia's associate planner Lydia Moorehead informed the applicant that the city had just approved new residential parking standards, which would be effective on July 20.

The site is subject to reduced standards for residential development within a half-mile transit, which permits zero to 1.50 spaces per unit.

According to Moorehead, the site is within a half-mile proximity to transit service, with transportation available multiple times an hour for at least 12 hours a day.

Map showing the site's distance to public transportation
Map showing the site's distance to public transportation

Moorehead said that since the site falls within the half-mile proximity, it can have a minimum of zero parking space or up to 1.5 spaces per unit.

Community Plan and Development Deputy Director Tim Smith explained that the parking ordinance was adopted as part of the Housing Action Program Implementation Plan, which aims to encourage housing infill and is designed specifically for these types of projects to give developer flexibility on parking needs and able to reduce to facilitate the development of housing needs.

Incentives for a supportive permanent housing project

Jacinda Steltjes, Affordable Housing Program manager, enumerated the incentives for this type of project.

As permanent supportive housing, targeted at 30% of the Area Median Income for all units, the project would qualify for 80% impact fee reductions.

Another incentive will come from the LOTT Clean Water Alliance, which offers a 50% rebate on new sewer connection fees for low-income and permanent supportive housing.

Steltjes informed that impact fee exemptions and rebates require a covenant, indicating that the property is used for affordable housing.

The project has secured about $6.7 million in regional funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and Lacey's general funds.

Steltjes reminded the applicant that the purchase-and-sales agreement states that these funds must be fully utilized by December 31, 2026.

The project is also subject to scrutiny from Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County.

"We will be keeping an eye on this making sure that is advancing, so that we don't lose that $6.7 million in funding,” Steltjes said.


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