Olympia’s Community Planning and Development outlines work plan for 2024


Olympia’s Community Planning and Development (CP&D) Deputy Director Tim Smith outlined the division’s 2024 agenda with a significant focus on continuing work on updating the city’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan and critical code changes to address housing.

In a recent presentation at the Land Use and Environment Committee meeting, Smith provided an overview of the CP&D work plan for next year. The division has a staff of 8.75 (Full-Time Equivalent) FTE employees split between current planning, long-range planning, and administrative support roles.

According to Smith, the 2045 Comprehensive Plan update is expected to be completed in June 2025.

The planning deputy director added other long-range projects, including ongoing work and responses to state law changes. These are:

  • Neighborhood centers report
  • Drive-through code amendment application – seeking to allow drive-through operations along the streets on the east side. The proposed amendment will undergo review by the Planning Commission and City Council to determine if the change is compatible with the city's goals.
  • Capital Mall Triangle Subarea Plan/Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Capital Mall Triangle Subarea Plan Implementation
  • Code changes to address housing – this includes the state’s middle housing regulations.
  • 2045 Comprehensive Plan Update cross-department team coordination - a cross-departmental team is coordinating efforts across divisions to ensure the update progresses on schedule. The city will hire consultants through grants for comprehensive plan environmental review and transportation modeling.
  • 2045 Comprehensive Plan EIS/Transportation Modeling
  • Land Use Element of 2045 Comprehensive Plan
  • Public Participation and Partners of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan
  • Capital Facilities Plan
  • SE Urban Growth Annexation
  • Creative District Code Amendments – the city has made some code changes to the Engineering Design and Development Standards to encourage adaptive reuse of buildings.
  • Review of SEPA Categorical Exemptions

Smith noted recent changes in state law affecting design review. He said legislation now restricts design review meetings to a single session, requiring adjustments to the local code and exemptions for specific uses. Staff will need to consolidate Olympia's typical two-stage review process into one.

Smith added that planning responsibilities like permits and historic preservation would remain ongoing. The division also oversees programs like neighborhood grants and urban forestry.


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