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MONDAY IS LAST DAY OF PUBLIC COMMENT ON THURSTON HIGHLANDS DRAFT EIS

The Yelm Community Blog has covered several details of the Thurston Highlands Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) previously on July 9 and July 18.

Frankly, I am quite taken aback at the outcry in the community over the fact that the Nisqually Valley Plaza owner does not want transit commuters parking in her lot and little said about the single thing that will change this community forever; that of a 5,000 home development. The public comment period ends tomorrow, yet there has been no in-depth report about the content of the DEIS in our local newspaper, no outcry from the anti-NASCAR and anti-Wal-Mart crowd and only a couple of published Letters to the Editor about the proposal.
Why did the parking lot issue garner more of a response, including a letter from a mayor-appointed citizen committee member? Where is everyone on this??? This is about our region’s future?

Reading this Draft EIS brings up a few more compelling issues:

1. Did you know a Regional Sports Complex is an element of all three land use alternatives being evaluated in the EIS. The Regional Sports Complex would also be deeded to the City, with a joint public/private partnership for operations….
an 87-acre area was identified to accommodate a wide range of outdoor and indoor facilities, including baseball, softball, soccer, swimming and general fitness.

The City would control use of the athletic fields (i.e., be responsible for scheduling use and maintenance), parking and outdoor amenities (like landscaping). Commercial recreation facilities (like a YMCA, batting cages, anything for-profit) would remain private enterprise.

Joint public/private partnership?
Does the public get any input on this?
Is this the Mayor’s proposed Yelm Community Recreational Center announced in the State of the City talk in February?

Is a Regional Sports Complex included in the commercial space and why this type of commercial business?

2. Associated commercial developments within the Master Planned Community to serve the needs of the population within the development will comprise a significant percentage of total commercial development within the City, though separate from the existing Yelm commercial core.

Chapter 3, Section 3.8: 6/10/08 of the DEIS states:

“The proposed Urban Village to serve the retail and professional service needs of the residents of Thurston Highlands, together with the public services and facilities that may be required within the development such as schools, a fire station, a possible satellite police station, and parks, could create the feeling of a separate community within the greater Yelm community.”

Oh, so they are acknowledging the creation a whole new commercial core that “could create the feeling of a separate community within the greater Yelm community?

And from the DEIS:
“It is anticipated that the Development Agreement (or similar instrument) to be created between the City of Yelm and the Thurston Highlands applicant would include regulations for the Master Planned Community that encourage retail and professional services sufficient to serve the needs of the residents of the Master Planned Community, but not compete with the existing Yelm commercial core. The purpose of these project-specific regulations would be to encourage the continuation of meeting regional retail needs within the Citys existing Central Business District.”

How does over one million square feet of commercial space NOT compete with Yelm’s existing commercial core?

That’s not what the Yelm Vision Plan says is supposed to happen:
The Yelm Vision Plan was instituted on January 5, 1995 by a group of people to reflect the will of the community.
This states on page 6, #B:
“Develop retail and commercial services to meet the needs of Yelms growing population. Focus new commercial services in existing commercial areas.

3. Did anyone notice one of the alternatives has 1.5 million square feet of commercial space proposed?
That is the equivalent of 8 Super Wal-Mart’s.

THIS DRAFT EIS EFFECTIVELY ENDS THE YELM VISION PLAN!
WHERE ARE THE VOICES BEING RAISED BY THE VISION PLAN’S CREATORS?

WHERE IS YELM’S PLANNING COMMISSION JOINING THE CHORUS ABOUT ESSENTIALLY ENDING THE VISION PLAN.

WHY DID THIS CITY GO TO ALL OF THE TROUBLE TO CREATE A VISION STATEMENT AND THEN IS NOT GOING TO FOLLOW IT?

My entries on this subject have been called “demeaning, sarcastic, and overall offensive” by one writer.
I say I have not been tough enough about how this city’s own policies are being ignored, and neither has anyone else!

THIS IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO WRITE:
Grant Beck, Community Development Director
City of Yelm Community Development Department
P.O. Box 479
Yelm, WA 98597
highlands@ci.yelm.wa.us

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2008 at 7:06 am | Permalink

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