Commission nomination process to start from scratch

It's been nearly three months since Susan Lorenzen left Sequim's planning commission, but the city is still nowhere near finding her replacement. Actually, the city council is having to start from square one.

After interviews conducted in February, resident and local attorney Jacques Dulin was nominated to fill the vacancy. However before the council could appoint Dulin, the state of his residency, whether or not he actually lived within the city limits, was called into question.

"I simply want to point out that Mr. Dulin's home is for sale and I'm concerned that Mr. Dulin is not a city resident," resident Andrew Shogren said during the March 10 meeting of the city council.

Dulin admitted that he is in the process of selling his home at 698 Oak Place and building a new one outside the city limits.

According to Sequim's municipal code, "Not more than two members of the planning commission maybe be appointed from outside the city of Sequim provided that they reside within the Sequim School District boundaries in Clallam County,"

Currently members Mark Ozias and Larry Freedman fill the commission's "out of city" positions.

The council asked city attorney Craig Ritchie to look into the matter of Dulin's residency and to provide an answer in time for its March 17 study session.

"He's got several houses," said Ritchie during the study session.

According to a memo from Ritchie to the council regarding the matter, "One of the 'incidents of a legal residence' is whether or not the person is registered to vote at the residence. Jacques is registered to vote at the residence in Sequim. In addition, Jacques owns a three-bedroom, two-bath house in the country. His current house in the city is for sale. He also owns and operates his professional office in the city of Sequim and owns a rental house in Sequim."

According to Ritchie, Dulin is qualified to take the vacancy, but under current code, would be disqualified instantly once he moves outside the city limits. Ritchie offered the council seven different recommendations as to how they should proceed, from appointing Dulin until his house sells to even changing the code to provide for three members to live outside the city limits.

Although a formal motion was not made, council consensus was to start over, reopening the entire application and selection process.

"That way it will be clean," said Councilman Walt Schubert.

A formalized action will take place during the council meeting on March 24.

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