News

Seeing purple

It's two shades of purple with a green roof plus red and green trim and, although the building division of the fashion police may beg to differ,

it's perfectly legal.

A new home at 135 W. Anderson Road north of Sequim is raising a stir among its neighbors due to its unusual color scheme.

Neighbors Brian Juel and Andi Taylor and more than 20 other prop-erty owners sent a petition to the Clallam County Assessor demanding their properties be reassessed to account for what they regard as the house's negative impact on surrounding property values.

"For the most part, our domiciles have had little impact or encroach-ment upon neighbors or nature. We now feel the latest addition to our neighborhood at 135 W. Anderson Road has had a negative impact on all those things we once held in value," the petition reads.

According to the building permit issued last year by the Clallam County Community Development Department, the home has 900-square-foot living area with one bedroom, an office and a media room, plus a 1,745-square-foot garage and a small basement.

It sits on a 1.1-acre parcel that Blaine and Cindy Zechenelly of San Jose, Calif., bought from David and Barb McArthur for $64,500 on Sept. 4, 1998. It was assessed in 2008 at $103,500 for 2009 taxes.

The couple also bought the adjacent 1.24-acre parcel from Edward and Coreen Henning for $85,000 on Jan. 16, 2004. It was assessed in 2008 at $103,500 for 2009 taxes.

Taylor, who lives east of the house, said he has had the Zechenellys over for dinner in his home and e-mailed them regularly during the home's construction.

"I told them I heard many negative comments from the neighbors, so they were aware the neighborhood was not pleased with their choice of colors," Taylor said.

"When the sun rises, my living room has a purple haze. There are lots of people driving by and stopping to view the garage and take pictures," he said.

"I have heard everything from, 'I'll help you paint it at midnight' to, 'What the?'"

"I know its size is not going to change, but the owners could at least repaint it in an attempt to make it more compatible with our community values," Taylor said.

A telephone message left at the Zechenellys' San Jose home seeking comment was not returned.

County Assessor Pam Rushton said she intends to look at the house and analyze the neighborhood but hasn't done so yet.

Appraisers won't get there until this summer, but they do need to assess those properties before July 31 for the new construction rolls, she said.

Even then, there might not be anything for her to do about it.

"I have to be honest. I must analyze the market. Can it change the market? I can't say that. I'd look at whether it was affecting property value.

"I can see no effect because it is just there recently. It wouldn't affect anyone's assessed value now anyway, because 2009 taxes are based on 2008 appraisals," Rushton said.

"It's probably too early to tell. I must look for evidence that it's changing its value. I would look at sales data in the first part of 2008. As of Jan.1, 2008, this house wasn't purple.

"They do have some recourse, but I must see some evidence. When we do our analysis, we look at the assessed value versus sales data. We didn't see this house until late 2008," Rushton said.

"There's nothing I can do without seeing any market evidence. Even then I can't just say it was due to the house. Now, I would probably say it was the economy," Rushton said.

Clallam County is a "one-year county" so, per state law, people can petition to have their property values adjusted by July 1 of the assessment year or within 30 days of receiving change of value notice, she said.

Juel has asked about im-pacts on property values from view obstruction and he does have the opportunity to petition for property re-evaluation based upon that, Rushton said.

"Specific properties valued for views, that can be

considered but on an individual basis. If the property used to have a 180-degree water view and now it doesn't, then we'll need to look at it. It depends if it is valued as a view property," she said.

Rushton said this is one reason that homeowners often seek out neighborhoods governed by homeowner associations with "covenants, conditions and restrictions" that restrict house colors and yard appearance.

She has talked to Juel and said it sounded like he was considering trying to form a homeowners association for the neighborhood, which then could enforce house colors.

But residents can't be forced to join homeowners associations that are formed after a neighborhood is built, and those who don't join aren't subject to the association's authority.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.



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