Chapter 18.59

18.59.000    Chapter Contents


18.59.010    Plan amendment procedures. Revised 11/23

18.59.020    Preliminary review and evaluation criteria. Revised 11/23

18.59.030    Council approval of final docket. Revised 11/23

18.59.040    Final review and evaluation. Revised 11/23

18.59.050    Decision criteria for rezone requests. Revised 11/23

18.59.055    Consistency between the zoning map and the future land use map. Revised 11/23

18.59.060    Planning Commission and City Council review and adoption process. Revised 11/23

18.59.070    Timing and exemptions. Revised 11/23

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 6952 §1, 2015).

18.59.010 Plan amendment procedures Revised 11/23

Individual and agency initiated proposals to amend the Olympia Comprehensive Plan must be submitted to the Department on forms provided by the City. Proposals may be submitted at any time; however, to be considered in the same calendar year, they must be submitted by the deadline set by the City Council, unless otherwise specifically authorized by the City Council. All proposals are considered collectively once each year except in the case of an emergency as determined by the City Council (see Timing and Exemptions). The City Council approves the Comprehensive Plan Amendment calendar. No fee is charged at this proposal stage. The Department shall maintain a log or docket of all such proposals including a summary of the proposal, the principal proponent’s name and address, the date on which the proposal was submitted, and its review status.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.020 Preliminary review and evaluation criteria Revised 11/23

A.    Prior to City Council action, the Department shall conduct a preliminary review and evaluation of proposed amendments, including rezones, and assess the extent of review that would be required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The preliminary review and evaluation must also include any review by other departments deemed necessary by the Department, and except as provided in OMC 18.70.190 must be based on the following criteria:

1.    Is the proposed amendment consistent with the county-wide planning policies, the Growth Management Act (GMA), other state or federal law, or the Washington Administrative Code?

2.    Would the proposed amendment cause little or no adverse environmental impacts and, is the time required to analyze impacts available within the time frame of the standard annual review process?

3.    Is sufficient analysis completed to determine any need for additional capital improvements and revenues to maintain level-of-service, and is the time required for this analysis available within the time frame for this annual review process?

4.    Can the proposed amendment be considered now without conflicting with some other Comprehensive Plan established timeline?

5.    Can the proposed amendment be acted on without significant other amendments or revisions not anticipated by the proponents and is the time required for processing those amendments or revisions available within the time frame of this annual review process?

6.    If the proposed amendment was previously reviewed, ruled upon or rejected, has the applicant identified reasons to review the proposed amendment again?

B.    If the Department determines that the answer to any of the above questions is no, it may recommend to the City Council that the proposed amendment or revision not be further processed in the current amendment review cycle. Upon direction from City Council, Department staff will inform those whose proposed amendments or revisions will not be considered because (a) impact analysis beyond the scope of the amendment process is needed; (b) the request does not meet preliminary criteria; or (c) likelihood of inclusion of the proposal in a department’s work program. Proponents may resubmit proposals to the department at any time, subject to the timelines contained in this chapter.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 7205 §17, 2019; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.030 Council approval of final docket Revised 11/23

A.    The Department shall compile a list giving the status of all proposed amendments, including rezones, and forward the list to the City Council. The City Council shall review all such proposals, determine which are appropriate and worthy of further review and consideration, and move those to the Planning Commission for review and public hearing. (See Preliminary Review and Evaluation Criteria.)

B.    The list approved by the City Council is known as the final docket. The Department shall notify proponents of the items on the docket that will be moved to the Planning Commission for review. Proponents are required to submit an application and shall pay such fee as may be established by the City Council. The Department shall also notify proponents of the proposals not moved to the Planning Commission of the Council’s decision. Department and City initiated proposals are exempt from application fees. The Department shall distribute information about the amendment process and the schedule with final application forms.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.040 Final review and evaluation Revised 11/23

A.    The Department shall distribute the final docket of proposed amendments, including rezones, to any state or local agency which is required by law to receive notice of proposed amendments and revisions to the Comprehensive Plan and implementing development regulations within the time required. In addition, the Department shall distribute the final docket of proposed amendments to recognized neighborhood associations and other affected interests identified by the City Council. The Department shall include issues identified in amendment proposal analyses and conduct any review required by SEPA of the proposed amendments, including rezones, listed on the final docket.

B.    The Department shall prepare a report including any recommendations on each proposed amendment, including rezones, on the final docket and forward the report to the Planning Commission. At a minimum the Planning Commission recommendation and the Council decision should address the following:

1.    Does the proposed amendment or revision maintain consistency with other plan elements or development regulations? If not, are amendments or revisions to other plan elements or regulations necessary to maintain consistency with the current final docket that will be considered by the Planning Commission and the City Council?

2.    Is the proposed amendment or rezone consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan?

3.    Is the proposed amendment or revision consistent with the county-wide planning policies?

4.    Does the proposed amendment or rezone comply with the requirements of the GMA?

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.050 Decision criteria for rezone requests Revised 11/23

The following criteria will be used to evaluate each rezone request. A zoning map amendment may only be approved if the Council concludes that at minimum the proposal complies with subsections A through C below. To be considered are whether:

A.    The rezone is consistent with either the Comprehensive Plan including the Plan’s Future Land Use map as described in OMC 18.59.055 or with a concurrently approved amendment to the Plan.

B.    The rezone will maintain the public health, safety, or welfare.

C.    The rezone is consistent with other development regulations that implement the comprehensive plan.

D.    The rezone will result in a district that is compatible with adjoining zoning districts; this may include providing a transition zone between potentially incompatible designations.

E.    Public facilities and services existing and planned for the area are adequate and likely to be available to serve potential development allowed by the proposed zone.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 7013 §2, 2016; Ord. 6952 §2, 2015; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.055 Consistency between the zoning map and the future land use map Revised 11/23

A.    Although the Future Land Use map is not specific with regard to the edges of Land Use designations, the zoning map boundaries should not vary more than 200 feet from the land use designation shown on the Future Land Map.

B.    Each Neighborhood Retail or Neighborhood Center district, if any, may be no further than four blocks (approximately 1,000 feet) from a Neighborhood Center location indicated on the Future Land Use Map or is at a location proposed pursuant to the Subarea Planning process described in the Comprehensive Plan.

C.    Districts on the zoning map must correspond to categories of the Future Land Use Map in accordance with the following table and be consistent with the purposes of each designation. Only those districts listed below are deemed to be consistent with the corresponding Future Land Use map designation, provided that zoning districts in locations enacted prior to January 1, 2015, may remain.



Low Density Neighborhoods

Residential – 1 Unit per 5 Acres

Residential Low Impact

Residential – 4 Units per Acre

Residential – 4 units per Acre Chambers Basin

Residential – 4 to 8 Units per Acre

Residential – 6 to12 Units per Acre (only when adjacent to similar or higher density zoning district)

Medium Density Neighborhoods

Residential Multifamily – 18 Units per Acre

Residential Multifamily – 24 Units per Acre

Mixed Residential

Mixed Residential 7 – 13 Units per Acre

Mixed Residential 10 – 18 Units per Acre

Neighborhood Centers

Neighborhood Retail

Neighborhood Center District

Residential Mixed Use

Residential Mixed Use

Urban Residential

Urban Waterfront – Housing

Planned Developments

Planned Unit Developments

Neighborhood Village District

Community-Oriented Shopping Center

Urban Village District

Professional Office and Multi-family Housing

Professional Office / Residential Multi-family

Urban Corridor

High-Density Corridor – 1

High-Density Corridor – 2

High-Density Corridor – 3 (only within area designated High Density Neighborhood Overlay)

High-Density Corridor – 4

General Commercial

Commercial Services – High Density

Manufactured Housing Park

Mixed Residential 10 to 18 Units per Acre

Residential Multifamily 18 Units per Acre

Residential Multifamily 24 Units per Acre

Urban Waterfront

Urban Waterfront

Urban Waterfront – Housing

Central Business District

Downtown Business

General Commerce

General Commercial

Commercial Services – High Density

Auto Services

Auto Services

Medical Services

Medical Services

Light Industry

Light Industrial / Commercial



(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 7288 §38, 2021; Ord. 6952 §3, 2015).

18.59.060 Planning Commission and City Council review and adoption process Revised 11/23

A.    Following one or more public hearings the Planning Commission shall forward its written recommendation regarding each Comprehensive Plan amendment and any text amendments or rezones to the Council; provided that the Commission may forward any recommendation regarding a site-specific rezone to the Hearing Examiner without holding a public hearing.

B.    The Council shall review the recommendations of the Planning Commission, may hold a public hearing, and shall decide whether to adopt, modify and adopt, reject or defer to a later date, each proposed amendment.

C.    The Department shall notify each proponent by mail of all public hearings and of the Council’s final decision.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 7013 §3, 2016; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).

18.59.070 Timing and exemptions Revised 11/23

A.    The City will consider proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan only once each year, except when amendments are adopted as part of:

1.    the adoption of a subarea plan;

2.    the adoption or amendment of a shoreline master program under the procedures set forth in WAC 173-19;

3.    the response to an existing emergency;

4.    amendments necessitated by changes in state or federal laws;

5.    the resolution of an appeal filed with the Growth Management Hearings Board or with a court; or

6.    the amendment of a capital facilities element that occurs concurrently with the adoption or amendment of the city budget.

B.    The Department will accept proposals for Comprehensive Plan amendments and revisions at any time; however, proposals or applications received after their established due dates will be considered in the next annual amendment review cycle.

However, Olympia and Thurston County have adopted a joint plan that includes goals, policies and regulations that they will jointly administer in Olympia’s urban growth area. Proposals and applications for urban growth area amendments, including rezones, must also meet County process requirements.

(Ord. 7364 §35, 2023; Ord. 5792 §1, 1998).