Lacey’s growth may stop

June 12th, 2009 by Ken

Lacey has a reputation of a city that loves growth, and a city that will stop at nothing to become the dominate city in the South Sound.

Yet, during last month’s Lacey City Council and Staff Retreat, the subject of growth and annexation was discussed.   Lacey City Manager Greg Cuoio pointed out that annexing adjacent county urban areas in the city would not be in Lacey’s best interests.

Cuoio said that annexing urban areas, and then bringing these urban areas up to city standards, could cost as much as a billion dollars.   That’s money the city doesn’t have, he said.

He also suggested that the city take a look at its urban growth area boundaries and determine if that’s where the city wants to grow.  “We may have to shrink those boundaries,” Cuoio said.

City councilmembers and city staff debated the issue of growth and settled on a population of about 50,000 as the ultimate for the community.

Lacey currently has a population of about 38,000.  There is another 30,000 population in the city’s urban growth management area.

If Lacey were to shut its borders at 50,000 population, many of those currently residing in those urban areas but not in the city limits would be shut out of future city services.

Cuoio’s proposal flies into the face of the Thurston County Commission and particularly Commissioner Sandra Romero, who is attempting to get the cities to annex urban areas adjacent to the city limits.

Romero contends that county government shouldn’t be involved in offering urban services and that would be better undertaken by city governments.

It’s apparent that the three cities and the county will have to talk about servicing those urban areas, which under the Growth Management Act were to have been annexed by the cities.

Look at this as a future issue and possible area of conflict between those who favor growth and those who want to restrict growth  and force it into the cities.

(A similar story ran in the May 09 issue of my newsletter.)

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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