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PART II – THURSTON HIGHLANDS DEFAULT GIVES COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY TO REMAKE ITSELF

KEY QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ASKED REGARDING THURSTON HIGHLANDS IN YELM

The City of Yelm’s acceptance of the Thurston Highlands’ application several years ago violated the city’s own 1995 Vision Plan.

WHY WAS THE YELM VISION PLAN IGNORED?

On January 5, 1995, the Yelm Vision Plan was adopted by the city after many months of work from local citizen input.
Quoting the Vision Plan:
“Yelm now faces the challenge of accommodating substantial additional residential growth and wishes to regain its status as the areas primary commercial center. The Washington State Growth Management Act of 1990 requires that each city in highly populated counties of Washington plan for future growth. The citizens of Yelm have taken an active roll in their comprehensive planning.
Channeled properly, growth can be positive, bring jobs, and strengthen the community. However, if growth is allowed to occur unchecked and without careful planning, the small-town, neighborly qualities, and natural beauty of the city may be destroyed.
[Ed. Note: This was recorded in 1995, folks!]

Therefore, the Vision Committee has been working to upgrade the downtown, create a real heart for the community, and direct future growth of the city.
The Committees intent is to improve the commercial areas economic viability and convenience , as well as its appearance. The projects purposes are to:
1. Improve the economic vitality of the citys commercial areas by focusing on three economic sectors; industry,
retail and commercial, and tourism.
2. Build community pride and involvement.
3. Enhance Yelms identity with a directed sense of character, downtown improvements, and coordinated improvement efforts.
4. Improve vehicular circulation.
5. Promote efficient and high quality land use”

Local citizens involved include these recognizable names:
YELM VISION COMMITTEE
The Yelm Vision Plan was funded through donations
Frances Andrews Chairperson from private individuals and businesses.
John G. Thompson Chairperson
Shelly Badger
Glenn Blando
Lyle Burstad
Lee Anne Campbell
Margaret Clapp
Steve Craig
Jocelyn Eastland
Vicki Elam
John Huddleston
John Kinnee
Susan Louis
John Thomson
Bob Wolf
Peggy L. Wolf

WHY HAVE MANY OF THESE VERY CITIZENS BEEN SILENT ON THE TOTAL DISREGARD OF THIS PLAN –
AND THE SILENCE FROM THESE CURRENT PROMINENT CITIZENS IS OF NOTE:
John G. Thompson now on the Yelm City Council
Shelly Badger – now Yelm City Administrator
Margaret Clapp – now commercial development owner in the Yelm business corridor
John Thomson – now Yelm Planning Commission member

The Yelm Vision Plan stated there would one central business core and that no other business center would be established to compete with the current downtown area.
HMMM!
Why is there over 1.5 million sq. ft. of commercial space (comparable to the square footage of 8 Super Wal-Marts)
proposed in Thurston Highland, which will create a whole new business area to compete with our current downtown.

WHY WAS THE YELM VISION PLAN IGNORED?

Thanks to Bill Hashim’s remarks to the Yelm City Council, this very issue (a request to update the Plan) will be an upcoming Agenda item for a Council Study Session. As soon as the session is announced, I will let you know so that, you, the public can observe.
After all, we don’t want the Plan changed behind our (the public’s) backs to allow Highlands sized developments here, against the 1995 guidelines!
Don’t think the City Council would not change the Plan to allow a 2nd business area & 5,000 homes without citizen input???
Think again!

What is next out there on Thurston Highlands’ property?
The community’s citizens must be strong & force city to rezone that property – and perhaps make that an election issue.

Other issues of grave importance are:
1. how the area should be zoned
2. what other interests are in that zoning.
3. that the Highlands has been used to make a bedroom community out of this city at great future costs to the community – in one of the state’s largest proposed developments, that has little to no self-sustaining industrial or jobs base.

We have an opportunity to remake our community based on following the foresight of the citizen-created 1995 Vision Plan.
Let’s hold the City Council’s & Community Development Dept’s. feet to the fire & see that our officials follow their own city’s adopted guidelines!

Do we want the City of Yelm to be a 5,000 home bedroom community?

WHY WAS THE YELM VISION PLAN IGNORED?

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

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