LBA Woods is what’s wrong with Olympia

September 29th, 2016 by Ken

Those who know me, know, that for the most part, I could care less about what happens in the City of Olympia.   That’s why I hesitate a bit before talking about the city’s recent action to buy the LBA Woods.  But, it gives a good idea of what is wrong with the city.

LBA Woods, are two pieces of property adjacent to the little league baseball fields built decades ago.   The fields and park are used extensively by baseball players and families.   About four years ago, the two pieces of property called LBA Woods, totaling more than 140 acres, came under the control of developers with plans to build extensive housing units.   Immediately, the local neighborhoods rose up and fought to keep the property – – both heavily wooded – – from development.

Using political power from former elected officials, the neighbors lobbied the Olympia City Council.  Last year the city purchased one of the parcels and just recently purchased the other parcel.    The neighborhoods were ecstatic.   Their long battle payed off.   The taxpayers of Olympia put up nearly $8 million dollars of park money to keep the woods from being developed.

Two years ago, the Thuston County Conservation Future’s advisory committee looked at funding the purchase of LBA Woods and determined that such a move would only benefit the local neighborhood and have no significant value to the greater community.

And, that’s the problem with Olympia.

It gives neighborhood groups significant impact on citywide issues that benefit only those local neighborhood groups.   The people living around LBA Park aren’t the only ones.   The South Capitol Neighborhood is one of the major players in citywide issues.   While members of the Olympia City Council may owe their election to a neighborhood group, they represent all of the people of Olympia – – including the taxpayers.   Purchase of LBA Woods provides little benefit to the city as a whole, and a lot of benefit to the neighborhood.

Also – Olympia’s development plans call for increased housing density within the city limits, and yet it has just taken 140 acres of property out of line.   It happens all of the time in Olympia.   A proposal to build housing – is opposed by a neighborhood group – – and the city council bows to neighborhood pressure.   And housing doesn’t get built in the city limits.   It’s forced to go out into the unincorporated areas.

Those are just two examples of what’s wrong with Olympia.



Posted in Government, Local Politics, The Real News

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