Sequim airport receives new zone

People who own property near Sequim Valley Airport have even more reasons to check with the county before making building or business plans. Certain land uses are prohibited in the area.

Nearly two years after proposing new land-use regulations in and around Sequim Valley Airport, Clallam County planners brought the proposal to the public for another review before asking the Clallam County commissioners to take action on the zoning ordinance.

The proposal will cause very little change to most development and land use in areas surrounding the airport but will prohibit certain land uses in areas near the runway where, statistically, there is a greater chance of an airplane causing damage, according to the county planners.

"Basically, the ordinance prohibits certain land uses in areas where there is the highest chance of an accident, like the ends of the runway," said associate planner Chad Theismann.

"It does allow hangars and aviation-related residential development within the immediate vicinity of the runway's sides and also has minor regulations in a vicinity of just under a mile in each direction of the runway."

The county commissioners approved the new airport overlay Dec. 16 after a public hearing on the proposal. No comment was given. Theismann said he had worked with different aviation groups and the airport in order to have a publicly accepted zone for the airport.

During the commissioner meeting, he displayed a zoning map with a large oval surrounding the airport. Within the oval, which stretches about 4,500 feet in each direction of the runway, certain land uses that could cause electrical interference with aircraft or that could pose sight problems from steam or exhaust are prohibited.

The ordinance limits structures on or immediately near the airport to 36 feet in height. In areas within 9,500 feet of the runway, development is limited to 75 feet in height.

"The proposed overlay encourages the economic viability of land use near the runway, protects federal airspace with height regulations and ensures land use does not impede on airport operations to make sure Sequim Valley Airport is an essential and viable public facility," Theismann said.

Although Sequim Valley Airport is privately owned by the Sallee family, it is publicly used. The state requires local jurisdictions to control incompatible land uses near or on essential public use airports.

"The original proposal was delayed because it was to cover all airports in the county,"

Theismann said. "After reviewing public comment on that proposal, the planning commission decided we needed to look at the airports one at a time."

Sequim is the first of Clallam County's five airports to go through the new, individualized overlay planning process.

The draft ordinance and zoning or height restriction map are online at


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