Olympia committee reviews renovation of Forest Funeral Home's 50-year-old facility


The Olympia Site Plan Review Committee heard a proposal to renovate and expand the existing facility of Forest Funeral Home, which has been operating for over 50 years, at 2501 Pacific Avenue SE.

At the presubmission conference held Wednesday, November 15, Scott Anderson, the project architect, said the funeral home has a 2,700-square-foot building from 1972 that needs to be replaced. The proposed project would demolish the existing building and construct a new 4000-square-foot one-story wood-frame facility on the same site.

Anderson added that access to the site is via the existing roadway network within the cemetery property. The location of the new building will be approximately the same as that of the existing structure.

The narrative stated that the site is currently served by PSE electricity, natural gas, and Olympia water. The existing building is on a septic system, but planners want it connected to the city sewer system.

Planning and engineering review

Paula Smith, Olympia associate planner, noted that the property line to the north encroached on improvements and recommended a boundary line adjustment to resolve this.

Smith mentioned that the applicant has a proposal to make some improvements within that area with a new dumpster enclosure or garbage containment area and some parking updates.

The city planner suggested the applicant consider either a boundary line adjustment or parcel consolidation. Adjusting the line would allow improvements to be fully contained within one parcel.

Senior Engineering Planner Tiffani King informed the applicant that sewer conversion is something that the city is promoting to get rid of septic systems within the city. She noted there are financial incentives for converting from a septic system to a municipal sewer.

King said the applicant may apply for a rebate from the LOTT treatment plant and a waiver of the city's connection fees if the funeral home connects to the sewer.

She presented three potential sewer connection routes, including extending the line from a main in 7th Avenue, Pacific Avenue, or connecting to a privately-owned line in the adjacent office complex.

Holly Borth, the city's historic preservation officer, noted that the project site is located in an area with a moderate risk of encountering cultural resources due to its proximity to a cemetery.

Borth said an inadvertent discovery plan would be required during any ground-disturbing construction activities. If any cultural artifacts are discovered, work will need to stop. The applicant must consult with the State Department of Archaeology and local tribes on next steps.

Barth also mentioned the project will need to go through tribal consultation to determine if any further archaeological assessment is required.


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  • Snevets

    A funeral home on a septic system?! How would the grounds of the old building be remediated, the chemicals used in embalming etc.

    Friday, November 17, 2023 Report this