Yelm Water Tower

Yelm city staff say they’re expecting few impacts to traffic density and street infrastructure from two new apartment complexes as their applications make their way through the permitting stages. 

Nisqually Landing Apartments, a proposed 50-unit development slated for construction behind Walmart, and Wyndstone Apartments, a proposed 75-unit development, are currently in the land-use permitting stages, documents from the city show. 

Two Apartment Complexes Currently in Permitting Could Bring 125 Units to Yelm

City staff say they expect the two apartment complexes to begin construction in the next couple years.

At this time, though, there’s little worry that Yelm’s traffic woes will worsen with the two new developments. Tami Merriman, associate planner, said traffic impact fees received by the city through construction will help the city continue it’s devotion to improving traffic. 

“We are taking significant steps in providing that infrastructure. A lot of it can be traced back to the downtown transportation strategy that was just passed,” said city spokesman Andrew Kollar. 

Improvements similar to how the 1,200-unit Tahoma Terra development took shape alone Longmire Street are expected, for example, city staff say, although likely not on the same scale.  

The Wyndstone development, which will be built on a 5-acre plot on the corner of Durant Street and Tahoma Boulevard, is expected to bring major changes for the better to the surrounding street. 

Merriman said Durant Street will eventually become a pedestrian-only path and Durant Drive, which is located southeast of the development, will expand to connect to Tahoma Boulevard. 

This will give the new complex access to downtown amenities without straining traffic on Yelm Avenue. 

Kollar and Merriman said much of the transportation improvements expected with the development of Nisqually Landing will come in the form of the construction of the state-funded 510 Yelm Loop bypass, slated for completion in late 2023. 

The expected growth also comes as the city begins code reform to incentivize builders to bring a diversity of affordable housing options to the growing Thurston County city. 

During its Dec. 10 regular meeting, the Yelm City Council approved a recommended ordinance passed on by the Yelm Planning Commission that will encourage development of more affordable housing and would also incentivize developers to build denser. 

“It’s hard for a single family to establish roots in a community and move into their first house or first apartments. One of the things this update provides is reducing those barriers to build a housing mix, and in turn that breaks down barriers for young people to buy their first house,” Kollar said. “We’re really trying to incentivize more opportunity.” 

Council member Joe DePinto, the lone vote against the ordinance, told the Nisqually Valley News that he had been hearing from his constituents that they didn’t want Yelm to grow too big too fast. 

Official studies by the city on vacancy rates haven’t been conducted, Merriman said, but the city is aware that a mix of affordable housing is missing.

“Absolutely, apartments are needed,” Merriman said. 

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(2) comments

Mutownsucksnow

This is just insanity, the town can't handle the overwhelming population it has already. The crowds and the traffic are already unbearable. What's the end goal of all this?so they want more first time buyer homes,that eventually turn into rentals that then turn into getto's.75 units on 5 acres,and they want to encourage grouping houses closer together.goodbye yelm I moved here in the seventies and it was paradise now it's impossible to even drive through town.theres just not enough town for all these people,but new houses bring new money to the new residents that have taken over our town.the town is now full of people from somewhere else.farms are gone replaced, by affordable poorly built housing.two years ago there wasn't enough water for me to drill a well on my ten acres now theres enough for 75 units per 5 acres?how does that work,I think it's called corruption. Good bye yelm you were such beautiful little town,now its somewhere I don't want to be anymore

Yelm_Blogger

125 new apartment units usually occupy 2-3 residents per unit with their own vehicles, equating to 300+ more roundtrips per day on city streets to/from their jobs. And the city says this will cause "few impacts to traffic density and street infrastructure?" Really, how disingenuous is that? These are in addition to other developments in process. What was not mentioned is the impact on a stressed water/sewer system that has not been funded in major, required modernization upgrades for over 10 years. How is Public Works to facilitate all of the new hook-ups Yelm is anticipating authorizing when the city receives additional water rights? The city administrator requested council approve a $350,000 triage savings fund for emergency public works issues as you previously reported, an ominous sign of things to come. I applaud Councilor DePinto for voting with his constituents to slow growth here. The city does not have the infrastructure to support such expansion.

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