Lacey, Thurston officials come together to discuss urban growth plans


Thurston County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) and the Lacey City Council met to discuss plans for the Urban Growth Area (UGA) and other matters concerning the two jurisdictions.

The joint meeting was also attended by some officials from both Thurston County and Lacey, who presented a “high-level” briefing about the joint plan on UGA,

“It’s always a good time to check in with each other and see how things are going,” said Commissioner Carolina Mejia. “To kind of discuss on how to be better partners with each other.”

Staff mentioned that the joint UGA plans in the coming years are based on the shared experiences of community members, local business owners, and organizations.

According to the draft joint plan, a county-wide community outreach program was done in 2022. Community members were asked to provide prioritized feedback on the topics they consider to be of “the greatest importance and potential challenge to our future and way of life.”

The leading answers from the participants from the Lacey community were (a) protection of sensitive areas like wildlife habitat, flood areas, landslide areas, and surface and groundwater and (b) preparation for climate change and actions towards reducing impacts.

Other priority topics from the community survey are traffic congestion, the protection of agricultural lands, and the rejection of a newly proposed airport within Thurston County.

Land use

Lacey Community and Economic Development Planner Hans Shepherd recommended that Lacey explore designating “urban holding areas” specifically within the Pleasant Glade and McAllister Springs Geologically Sensitive Area.

Changing agricultural zones to “urban holding areas” would then prevent agricultural lands from developing until they are rezoned or have access to sewer systems, said Shepherd.

Martin Way

Lacey said it supports the coordination of a joint project to improve the Martin Way Corridor, specifically those that are “related to pedestrian safety multimodal transportation improvements.”

Both the city and the county would also continue reviewing and updating the zoning code for the corridor, specifically “focusing on facilitating a mix of uses on larger parcels, a mix of uses within the corridor and identifying strategic parcels for more intensive study.”

Past and next 20 years

The joint plan update of the city and the county aims to summarize everything that happened with the community over the last 20 years while also preparing for the changes that will happen in the next 20 years. The previous Lacey joint plan was adopted in 2003.

“We know how important this is; it is one of the most important relationships within the county… we have to get on the same page to make sure that our joint plan is working,” said Lacey City Mayor Andy Ryder.


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  • Southsoundguy

    Cities will grow and swallow up the land. Their power needs to be severely constrained.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2023 Report this

  • Yeti1981

    UGAs are designated for growth. Down zoning them to restrict growth flies in the face of reality and the law.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2023 Report this

  • Yeti1981

    Also, my guess is the farmers would like to have the ability to do whatever they choose to do with their property whether that be develop it or not. Why would the government be able to take that ability from the property owner?

    Tuesday, August 29, 2023 Report this