Last Thursday, May 20, the Lacey Planning Commission shared a proposal to build a new commercial project on the Meridian Campus.
In a webinar, Lacey senior planner Samra Seymour discussed the development and planning process for the new infrastructure. Based on its project proposal, the commercial district would have a Chevron gas station and two commercial buildings that provide 9,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The first building will have a two-story market and convenience store while the upper floors are for offices. The second building will also accommodate retail or office space.
The developers are proposing to put the project in the neighborhood commercial zone. These zones provide opportunities for small businesses near residential areas. The ultimate goal is not to attract people from other regions, but to accommodate the needs of that specific neighborhood. Examples of these are coffee shops, restaurants, dental clinics, and small medical offices.
In addition, Seymour shared that putting the project near a residential area encourages locals to walk as it provides more accessibility and at the same time requiring fewer vehicle trips.
Currently, the project is in the review phase and is still yet subject to a hearing. Seymour shared that, unlike regular development projects, the proposed commercial area should undergo a quasi-judicial review to secure a conditional permit because of its nature. Since it is considered a unique development, the city cannot automatically limit or allow the project in any specific zone. Projects that are usually subjected to quasi-judicial permits include hospitals and churches.
For its review, Seymour shared that the city would have to look into certain factors such as the traffic it would generate, how it would affect the landscape, pedestrian safety, and building site and design.
Initially, Thurston County developed the Meridian Campus plan in the 1980s. The land was annexed by Lacey in 1992 and provides several varieties of uses such as commercial, residential, industrial, and institutional.