Sequim construction moratorium may continue

An emergency ordinance putting a stay on land divisions in the northwest corner of the Sequim urban growth area is due to sunset soon and the Clallam County commissioners are preparing for discussions to extend the moratorium through next June.

Sequim planning director Dennis Lefevre sent the county a two-page letter asking commissioners to consider shaving off about 30 acres from the originally restricted land base of about 110 acres.

The two sections of land Sequim planners would like left out of the moratorium and out of discussions for removal from the city's growth area are southeast of the West Hendrickson and North Kendall roads intersection and northeast of the Priest and Brackett roads intersection.

"What the city is saying is that these areas need to be retained in the UGA because of right of way issues to continue Ninth Avenue north to Hendrickson Road in (the first) area and that residents did not request removal in the (the second area), which is very close to the commercial activity off Priest Road and (West) Washington Street," said Clallam County Planning Manager Steve Gray.

Commissioners will consider removing the two sections of land from the extended moratorium at a public hearing set for the topic on Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

During a Dec. 1 study session on the topic, commissioners asked their planning staff to bring back maps with the properties near Brackett Road removed from the moratorium because the landowners of those properties had not signed previous petitions to be removed from the growth area.

The second area between Kendall Road and Ninth Avenue still will be in the discussion, but since some of the property owners in that area did sign the petition it was left in the draft moratorium map.

For more than 17 years, residents in two subdivisions abutting the city of Sequim have been trying to distance themselves from the municipality.

And now, after a state ruling that identified the zoning around the Palo Verde Vista neighborhoods as out of compliance with state law, its residents are close to having that distance.

Clallam County Commissioners rezoned the subdivisions and a few surrounding parcels to allow higher densities of homes in an effort to reach compliance with state law.

The majority of the residents in the area were already shy of the old zone and were adamant the new zone did not fit with the already built-out land base. They petitioned for a third time to be removed from the city's growth area and the Clallam County Planning Commission recommended the topic be discussed in the county's annual docket.

The discussion of removal is scheduled for the 2009 annual docket meeting, which is tentatively held in the early fall of each year. Due to the potential changes that could happen in the time from the rezone to the discussion of removal, commissioners agreed to disallow new land divisions until a final decision is made.

Gray said the commissioners are likely to consider what to do about the moratorium's second sunset in May or June of next year.

The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board is scheduled to meet regarding the change and a possible ruling on compliance on Jan. 12.

The Clallam County commissioners are holding a public hearing to extend a moratorium on new land divisions in the northwest corner of the Sequim urban growth area. The hearing is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

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