Heart overrules head in Olympia

February 24th, 2014 by Ken

One of the oldest struggles in human nature is the battle between our head and our heart.   We often know we need to do something when our heart tells us we’d rather not.

I see that struggle constantly when I think of the City of Olympia and its battle between needing growth and new business, and wanting to keep everything in the city pristine and natural.

Olympia has long supported increased density in urban areas as a means to increase mass transit use and  stop urban sprawl.  Yet its neighborhoods always fight any effort to bring new development into their communities while others fight any effort to allow greater height limits on downtown properties.

The city uses its head when it sees the need for increased density, yet looks to its heart when it comes time to allow those types of actions to proceed.

The idea that the  heart overrules the head comes when the City of Olympia adopts amendments to its city code on high density corridors.   According to proposed new rules, the city will be allowed to lower building heights in the urban high density core when it conflicts with different adjacent densities.

In other words, it has listened to its heart and will be allowed to lower densities in an area in which it really wanted increased densities – in the urban high density core area.

But, the City of Olympia isn’t through letting its heart overrule its head.

In it’s comprehensive plan the city is looking at reducing multi-family densities as well.   Even though the city wants more people living in closer proximity to each other and to urban services, it’s heart is saying no – no – no.

While the City of Olympia needs more business to generate more tax revenue, it is looking at a “Dark Skies” policy that a will restrict the amount of light a business can generate.  This will impact night businesses, particularly hotels and motels.   Because of neighborhood objections to night lighting , several hotels have been forced to  re-locate to Lacey.   If this policy is adopted, others will follow.

The city’s head may say it wants new businesses, but it’s heart says no.

You can’t blame the heart for what it feels, but sometimes a city has to use its head.

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

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