Olympia Planning Commission’s 2012 Work Program

One of the agenda items for the November 7, 2011 Olympia Planning Commission Meeting was the 2012 Work Program. This is a preliminary schedule of the issues that the OPC intends to undertake during their next year. Each year, the commission reviews a document like this, around this time of year. Each year, the commissioners give their comments, suggested revisions, and general objections. Once all these comments have been reviewed, the commission sends the document to its city council committees for approval. After that approval, the work begins.

Obviously, much can and will change throughout the course of the year. Applications are submitted, council members and their committees suggest deviations in the plan, and many other events can change the program.

From the current vantage point, here are my thoughts on the preliminary program for 2012:

  • The comprehensive plan is scheduled for completion by mid-year. Given that the SMP has now taken 30 months, and the comprehensive plan is much longer, I would be flabbergasted if the latter’s review was completed that quickly.
  • The parking code promises to be among the most interesting, necessary, and controversial issues that the commission has undertaken since I’ve been a member. Ready your comments, dear Olympians! We’ll need them.
  • I’m very happy to see the State Capitol Heights District Amendment included. It is high time that we solidify and codify that urban amenity.
  • LID Briefing is also long overdue. These mechanisms in the right hands can be powerful tools toward the desirable development of a city. It’s lower on the list so I’m not optimistic that we’ll get to it in 2012, but here’s to hoping.

Finally, notice how many of these items are carry overs from 2011. The commission has spent so much time on the SMP (for better or worse–that’s not for me to judge) that we  now have almost an entire year of work to catch up on in addition to the new issues that require our review for the next year. I can only hope that with the improved deliberation process that we’ve adopted for use in the SMP deliberation (and we’re still getting the hang of it), we’ll be better prepared to take on issues that promise to be no less controversial or important.

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