Olympia presents 3 alternative development scenarios for Capital Mall plan; asks public for inputs


Olympia's Community Plan and Development (CP&D) on Thursday, February 2, hosted an open house on the Capital Mall Triangle Subarea Plan, where it asked attendees to share their ideas and inputs for the project.

During the public meeting held at the Capital Mall meeting room near the movie theater across the Stack 571 restaurant,

David Ginther, senior planner and the lead staff for the project said the city-adapted Comprehensive Plan for this project reflects the community's goals:

  • to continue to be economically viable
  • contribute to the community's goals with redevelopment, and connections to adjacent areas for all modes travel
  • evolve into a complete urban neighborhood with a mix of jobs, housing, and services

Ginther added that the city envisions transitioning the subarea to a high-density mixed-use neighborhood and maintaining it as a regional shopping destination.

Ginther presented three alternative development scenarios that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will evaluate for the 300-acre subarea plan.

He added that these alternatives were drafted based on EIS scoping comments and input from the stakeholder workgroup. CP&D received 100 environmental analysis scoping comments and 130 comments outside the scoping period.

The alternatives include:

  • No action. No changes to existing plans and regulations over the next 20 years.
  • West Olympia Hubs (Moderate approach). Removes barriers and provides flexibility for developing three hubs, focusing on connecting the Triangle to existing neighborhoods.
  • Urban Sustainability (Bold approach). Expand density, transit, and mobility options. Integrate climate actions and focus on a new interior center.

"The most aggressive one is alternative three, which is all out as much as the city can do to facilitate the vision for this area…it would require much public-private partnership," Ginther commented.

Ginther mentioned that the project has two main components – the EIS and the subarea plan.

Ginther said the EIS will look at potential adverse significant impacts for future development scenarios and will identify mitigation measures for the three alternatives if there is a potentially significant, unavoidable, adverse impact.

Ginther explained that the subarea plan is more of a community-type plan with consideration of goals and policies. If adverse impacts are found in EIS, it includes mitigation strategies.

CP&D requested the audience at the public meeting to help refine the alternatives and the list of ideas they want to see in the development. Through color coding, people were asked to put green dots for ideas they support most and blue dots for ideas they do not support. The participants are provided with sticky notes for suggestions.

"We want your help for refining, and then we will give them to the consultant to analyze the big impacts and mitigation measures needed. Once they do that, we will come back to the public and get your help to select which of these alternatives is your preferred alternative to going forward with to use as the framework for the subarea plan," Ginther announced.


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  • northbeachcomm

    FEB 3, 2023

    Dear City of Olympia Councilpersons and Staff;

    As you may know, the City of Olympia has been making plans for a revamping the Westside Capital Mall area, (known as the “Triangle sub-area Plan”). This area includes Harrison and Division streets, Capital Mall area, as well as the residential area around Capital High School and the Target Store, on Harrison AVE NW.

    Our neighborhood associations (Southwest and West) have actively lobbied for inclusion of plans for affordable housing, protected pedestrian and bike commuter access, a Senior Center at the mall, a day care center, and a café or grocery store. The City indicated that our Neighborhood Associations (NAs) have been designated as stakeholders, but we have heard little from them recently. The City did hold an Open House on this issue last night. (2-2-23) Unfortunately, many of us were unable to attend because of the short notice.

    At this point, it looks like the neighborhoods’ suggestions have been completely ignored. The “stakeholders” now all appear to be developers who are pushing for high rise buildings instead of neighborhood-friendly amenities and services. The scoping EIS plan has morphed into these 3 “alternatives” for the Harrison and Division streets area:

    #1 Alternative; No change

    #2 and #3 Alternatives, Plans include a 14-story high rise building ( I presume near the bowling alley & Grocery Outlet, that is what I was told.) There is no extra parking demanded of the apt developers.

    The City also proposed blocking off one lane of the 2 lanes along Harrison (in each direction) as “dedicated bus lanes”. We are very concerned about any increase in the traffic gridlock along Harrison and Division. We are also concerned about lack of parking, the City advocates that the high rise apt renters will “park on the a-joining neighborhood streets”. No extra parking will be built at the apt complex site. This is wrong. The low income housing that currently exists behind the Bowling Alley, and Grocery Outlet store is wonderful. This low income housing should not displaced by high rise apt buildings. There is no mention of the huge stormwater issues that will exist with all of the proposed apt houses. There is little mention last night, of the $10 mil. off ramp from HWY 101 into the Capital Mall area. Who will pay for this? This is a waste of tax payer money. This off-ramp is merely to help developers, not the residents, not the neighborhoods. The City says that this planning grant money is limited. The City now thinks that the WA State legislature will pay for this planning. "No" to that!

    I am in support of Alternative #1; NO CHANGE.

    I do not trust the city to listen to the neighborhood associations. The City talks about bike lanes, tree ordinances, and other good issues, but if you try to press them for details, they have none. The only thing that they are sure of is high rise apts. I do not think having high rise apts in our area of Harrison and Division ST NW is a good idea. We have grid lock already; traffic is terrible during high traffic times of the day. Plus parking is difficult to find. Alternatives #2-3 are a nightmare for residents. (LET THE DEVELOPERS PUT THE HIGH RISE APTS WITHIN A BLOCK OF HWY 101)


    dginther@ci.olympia.wa.us, jburney@ci.olympia.wa.us, citycouncil@ci.olympia.wa.us,

    Saturday, February 4, 2023 Report this