Submitted by City of Lacey
At their September 21 meeting, the Lacey City Council voted unanimously to allow City Manager Rick Walk to enter into a Cooperation Agreement (Agreement) with the Nisqually Indian Tribe to collaborate on the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s plan to develop 250 acres of land in northeast Lacey.
Among other items, the Agreement outlines that the City of Lacey (City) and Nisqually Indian Tribe will consult and cooperate on:
- The provision of emergency services to the development, including future discussions on mutual aid.
- Creating interlocal agreement(s) for the actual cost of City services, such as law enforcement, prosecution, public defense, court administration, jail services, etc.
- Possible connections to City utilities and infrastructure, to include water, wastewater, sewer, and transportation.
- Any other governmental issues pertaining to the development of the properties and mitigation of impacts of development on the City.
The Agreement also states that the properties will be designated as “Compact Covered Areas” under the Tax Sharing Compact (Compact) agreed to by the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the State of Washington in 2021. Under the Compact, the State of Washington would share State retail taxes and certain State business & occupation taxes resulting from all non-Tribal member to non-Tribal member retail establishment transactions.
In addition, non-Tribal member to non-Tribal member retail establishment transactions would be subject to local taxes (including City taxes, such as retail sales and use taxes and business and occupation taxes). The City could receive local taxes for non-Tribal purchases at the development, pending the ownership of retail businesses.
The City and Nisqually Indian Tribe will continue to work on subsequent agreements connected to the development over the next few years.
The Nisqually Indian Tribe announced plans to develop 250 acres of land in northeast Lacey during a joint meeting between the Lacey City Council and Nisqually Indian Tribal Council on August 31, 2023 held at the Nisqually Tribe Administration Building. The future development is located on land near Cabela’s and Interstate 5 – Marvin Road interchange (Exit 111).
The initial plans for development include two distinct projects:
- Quietmuth (kway-mooth) Village, a 174-acre, mixed-use development that could include retail, housing, recreation, open space, and cultural amenities.
- Quiemuth Resort, a 74-acre, casino-resort property.
These projects were the culmination of an extensive Nisqually Indian Tribe planning process that included working with land use and environmental planners, traffic and civil engineers, geotechnical consultants, and architects.
“The Nisqually Indian Tribe has lived in the Puget Sound watershed since time immemorial,” said Nisqually Indian Tribe Chairman Willie Frank. “We are proud to have purchased some of our land back and are eager to collaborate on issues of mutual interest with our neighbors as we move forward with the federal process. We are an entrepreneurial tribe that has grown to become one of the largest employers in Thurston County.”
The Nisqually Indian Tribe recently submitted applications to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to transfer the proposed development property to “land into trust” for the benefit of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. This application process can take up to several years to complete and is required prior to any development. Information on this process can be found on the BIA website. In addition, the future projects are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
At the September 7, 2023, City Council meeting, the Lacey City Council agreed to provide a letter supporting the future development in the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s BIA application. Full build-out of the two developments will take several years.
The two projects are anticipated to have a significant impact on the local economy, creating an estimated 4,000 short-term, construction jobs and over 2,000 permanent jobs at the Village and Resort.
“The new development being proposed by the Nisqually Indian Tribe is very exciting. It will bring expansive economic development opportunities to the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the City of Lacey,“ said Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder. “We support these efforts and are confident that the Tribe will continue to live up to their national reputation as environmental stewards during this process. We’re excited about the opportunity this brings for new services and amenities for people in our City, Tribal members, and the broader Thurston County area.”
The City and Nisqually Indian Tribe’s relationship goes back decades. In 2014, the Lacey City Council and the Nisqually Tribal Council signed “The Nisqually Indian Tribe and City of Lacey Accord.” The Accord acknowledges the partnership and mutual interests shared between the City and the Nisqually Indian Tribe. It also provides a framework for future meetings and collaboration.