Conference Center Update

It is again time to provide an update on the status of the proposed Steamboat Island Community Center at the corner of Steamboat Island and Sunrise Beach roads. More than 100 of our neighbors attended our public meeting on the proposal that we held in June of this year. Most opposed this project.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association (GNA) needs additional money to continue our opposition to this project. We have hired a local land use attorney to assist in opposing this project. Please send your contributions, payable to “GNA” to: Griffin Neighborhood Association, 4931 Oyster Bay Road, NW, Olympia, WA, 98502. Use the memo field, on your check, to note the contribution is for the “GNA Legal Fund.” Contributions may also be made online at the GNA’s website. Click here to make a contribution, over a secure internet connection, using your credit card.

The GNA feels that this project violates the county zoning code. It is proposed to be located in a single family residential zone, not a commercial zone. The applicant filed for a special use permit authorizing a “community club”. This project does not meet the definition of a community club, which is “a building in which members of a community or association may gather for social, educational or cultural activities.” A full-scale banquet kitchen is proposed. This is a 18,000 square foot conference/convention center that is more than twice the size of Saint Martin’s Worthington Center. A 4,900 square foot covered patio is also proposed, along with 150 on-site parking spaces.

The proposed facility will have many adverse impacts on the surrounding area and Griffin community in general. It is not designed to serve local community needs. It is a large, urban intensity facility that will serve the whole south Puget Sound region. It is not compatible with the neighboring area and will create an ever spreading web of large scale commercial enterprises up Steamboat Island Road. It will dramatically increase traffic congestion along roads and through the busiest intersections in our area. Overflow parking will most likely be located along Steamboat Island Road and Sunrise Beach Road. This dense congestion could adversely impact the ability of the Griffin Fire District to respond to emergencies. Urban level public services will be required. Many residents have concerns with the facility’s impact on ground water and the sewage carrying capacity of the site. Many residents have concerns with storm water runoff impacts on Eld Inlet. Many residents object to adverse noise and night lighting impacts.

It appears that the project has lapsed, as the applicant failed to start preparing an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in a timely fashion. After many months of inaction and no communication with the County, the applicant began communicating with the County and finally submitted an EIS. The GNA filed an appeal with the County claiming that the project had lapsed, requiring the applicant to reapply and proceed under newer, stricter zoning controls. The County rejected this so the GNA appealed this decision to the Hearing Examiner. Briefs were filed and the Hearing Examiner will render a decision on this matter in a few weeks. If we prevail, it is likely that the applicant will appeal. If we lose, we may appeal. If the project application proceeds, we will oppose the project before the Hearing Examiner. A public hearing on the project will be held at that time. We will notify you of the public hearing. Potential appeals may follow any decision on the permit.

Again, we would appreciate contributions to continue our fight against the Steamboat Island Community Center.

Griffin Neighborhood Association

Click here for more information regarding this project.