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City to buy back ex-rest stop

The city will buy back the five acres southeast of U.S. Highway 101 that were slated for a rest stop during the bypass project.

The city council voted 5-1 at its Dec. 14 meeting to have city manager Steve Burkett negotiate purchase of the property, which recently was declared as surplus by the state Department of Transportation.

Councilor Paul McHugh voted "no." Mayor Laura Dubois was absent.

McHugh said he voted "no" because the city has no currently identified use for the property, has no reason to own it and shouldn't be in the land speculation business.

He said DOT acquired the property, which it now values at $210,000, by trading the city five acres it owned adjacent to the city's public works shop at 169 W. Hemlock St.

The city also agreed to extend city services to the rest stop property, which McHugh said were valued at $160,000.

The $18 million, 4.6-mile U.S. Highway 101 Sequim bypass opened Aug. 18, 1999, but neither the Simdars Road interchange nor the adjacent rest stop intended to attract drivers to the city were built.

In May 2008, the council sent a letter to DOT expressing its support for transferring the rest stop funding to the Deer Park area east of Port Angeles.



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.



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