Some residents of Thurston County came forward during the Tuesday, September 19 public hearing to weigh in on the proposed rezoning of some areas under the Grand Mound Subarea Plan Update.
Thurston County Senior Planner Maya Teeples said the proposed update to the Grand Mound community is a 20-year growth plan focusing on updating the area to the population forecast growth through 2045.
Under the proposal, the Thurston County Code must be updated to incorporate development guidelines for Grand Mound, and reduce lot widths for residential zones. The update would also consider land use and change requests.
“Previous reviews on this project (have) been quite extensive since 2017,” said Teeples. “We've held four open houses. The Planning Commission reviewed this over six work sessions and one public hearing.”
Resident Gregory Steelhammer said his parents initiated the call to rezone their parcel to becoming commercial land nearly 12 years ago but nothing has happened since then.
“We would like these parcels developed by our family or others into a commercial business that is compatible with nearby businesses, thereby continuing to further improve the Grand Mound area and benefit local residents,” said Steelhammer. “This should also create additional jobs and increase county and state revenue.”
Some businesses and landowners in the area also agreed with Steelhammer, adding that rezoning some properties to commercial areas would help improve Grand Mound.
“I would really like to see more businesses in the area and grow our community,” said resident Christy Craigsman.
Meanwhile, resident Janice Arnold advocated for a historical park in Grand Mound, saying that she’s afraid that rezoning to commercial areas would just be a trend of all talk and minimal action.
“This is an opportunity for Grand Mound to imagine a park that recognizes indigenous peoples as the ancestral stewards of this land in an honest, responsible way,” said Arnold.
Arnold compared the proposal to New York’s Central Park, where developers were initially outraged at the idea of all that space being devoted to a park.
Resident Dawn Hooper supported Arnold’s proposal, adding that the area “reflects history.”
“The integrity of a broader area be respected so that it doesn't become continuous commercial development that really has no soul and or no heartbeat,” said Hooper.
The initial Grand Mound plan in 1996 is now 26 years old, and the new plan would update the references and goals as well as the plan until the 2040s.
The Board of County Commissioners will hold a follow-up briefing in October before approving final action.
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