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Thurston County, Washington

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Community Planning and Economic Development

May 8, 2024 - The Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing for June 5, 2024 at 7:00 P.M. or soon thereafter. The public is invited to provide comments on the proposed Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA): State-Mandated Sex Offender Housing draft ordinance. Comments must be received by 12:00 P.M. on June 5, 2024. The proposed ordinance, related documents, and public comment form are available below.

  • To submit a comment, please visit the Public Participation Opportunity section below and follow the link to the survey monkey comment form.

Washington State Government has mandated that jurisdictions allow Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA): State-Mandated Sex Offender Housing, an alternative to total confinement. Offenders may be placed in LRA Housing if the courts determine they no longer meet the definition of ‘sexually violent predator’.

The new code will outline the requirements and standards for LRA Housing facilities owned and operated by a private provider. Scroll down for draft code language, public comment, and related documents being considered at the public hearing.

This code update is A-30 on the 2024-2025 Development Code Docket. The regulations will be added to Thurston County Code Title 20 (Zoning), Title 21 (Lacey UGA), Title 22 (Tumwater UGA), and Title 23 (Olympia UGA).

Project Background

In Washington state, there are two types of facilities into which courts can place individuals: secure community transition facilities operated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and LRA Housing operated by a private provider. In 2021, the state changed the law, Chapter 71.09 RCW, to allow privately-operated facilities. LRA Housing Code Update outlines the requirements and standards for facilities owned and operated by a private provider.

Secure Community Transition Facilities (SCTF) vs. LRA Housing

  • Secure Community Transition Facilities 
    • Operated by DSHS.
    • 24-hour intensive staffing and supervision.
    • Provides sex offender treatment services.
    • Can be larger facilities, like McNeil Island.
  • LRA Housing
    • Operated by contracted private provider.
    • Fewer residents than SCTF.
    • May offer 24-hour staffing and trained escorts.
    • Facility must adhere to DSHS requirements and state law despite being privately operated.

 

What county government can do: 

  • Require notification of nearby businesses and residences when a request to change building use to LRA Housing has been submitted for review.
  • Provide an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the building use change by written comment or verbally at a public hearing.
  • Require that the building meet current building codes, water and sanitation, and food handling requirements.

What county government can't do:

  • Deny the building use change request based on it being LRA Sex Offender Housing, per Washington State Law.

To comment on the LRA Housing Washington State Law contact your representative: https://leg.wa.gov/House/Representatives/Pages/default.aspx.

Public Participation

Thank you for your interest in the LRA Housing Code Update. To participate in the Planning Commission's public hearing on June 5, 2024, please visit the link below. Comments must be received by June 5, 2024 at 12:00 P.M. Comments received after 12:00 P.M. will be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners as part of their review.

LRA Housing Code Update Comment Form 

Sentiment Analysis of Public Comments

 

Project Timeline

April 17, 2024 - Work Session #1 

May 1, 2024 - Work Session #2

June 5, 2024 - Public Hearing

Document Center