Plans to build a new Operations and Maintenance Facility for Tumwater have come under scrutiny as residents oppose the long-planned project.
“We want the city to call time-out and pause this project of building the maintenance operations facility at the old Trails End property until all the concerns of the neighborhoods can be heard, and to see if they can be addressed,” said Tumwater resident Joel Hansen in an interview with The JOLT.
In a letter to the city council, Hansen stated that he is most concerned with the safety of citizens who walk and bike on 79th Avenue SE and what would be the highest and best use of the Trails End property. “My opinion is that the city should rezone this property for residential use and possibly some neighborhood commercial,” Hansen said.
Zoning out of alignment, says a neighbor
Another resident, Joe Whittle, wrote a letter to the city council and the Bridlewood Owners Association and stated “I feel that this new proposal is simply not consistent with the immediate neighborhood environments surrounding the targeted area. I’ve consistently seen industrial growth encroach upon this residential neighborhood with many unanticipated or simply ignored negative results.”
“I was surprised to learn that the zoning for the target areas are currently out of alignment with the county standards, that place step-down buffering zones between residential areas where families are raising children, walking pets, and living a tranquil life. The residents of these neighborhoods deserve the very same accommodations and considerations that you and all other neighborhoods in the county enjoy. These properties should be immediately rezoned to accommodate residential inhabitants consistent with the existing surrounding communities.” Whittle added.
City is planning information meetings
The city is aware that some neighbors are unhappy about the project, according to Ann Cook, communications manager. “We are here to provide information, and we want people to know and understand what the project is. Most importantly we are there to listen and to understand their concerns,” she told The JOLT.
Tumwater’s website includes a special webpage about the project. Three community meetings are planned at city hall on Wednesday, May 18 at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.; the city is requesting that interested parties register in advance for a spot.
“Unlike a meeting where people sit and get information, this is a true opportunity,” Cook explained. “At these meetings, “you can talk to the architect, you can sit down and look at the plan. We're interested in hearing people's comments. We're poised and ready to add a fourth on the same day if it's needed. And then if there's still more interest, you know, we'll add another and it's not the end of our engagement,” Cook added.
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