Carlsborg Battle Continues

A group of Carlsborg residents demanded the Clallam County commissioners abandon plans to move forward on a sewer system at a Dec. 14 public hearing.
Though the hearing was about extending interim controls, 19 Carlsborg residents voiced their opinions on the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area and the sewer system proposed to bring it into compliance with the Growth Management Act.
In 2008, the board ruled the Carlsborg UGA was not compliant with the act because it did not have plans for a sewer system. To avoid repercussions, the commissioners implemented interim controls, which come up for renewal every six months.
The interim controls are based on the Washington State Growth Management Act and prohibit business expansion, splitting parcels and other developments until funding and plans for a sewer system are in place. Plans for a sewer system cannot be completed until a Local Utility District is formed at the request of property owners.
The Clallam County Public Utility District released a map in September 2010 of the proposed LUD boundaries, based on signatures collected in support of the LUD.

Opposition largely outside project boundaries

Of the 19 people who gave testimony at the public hearing, 13 were adamantly against the sewer project. However, only four of the 13 live within the proposed project boundaries. Three of the people who testified against the project don’t even live within the UGA.

Part of a group called Citizens for the Preservation of Carlsborg, the opposition expressed concerns about the cost of the sewer system, the confusion surrounding the LUD formation process and the fact they just don’t want Carlsborg to change. The group was passionate and at times disruptive, applauding and cheering after a member spoke, and speaking out of turn.
Scott Fredrick, who lives within the proposed LUD, said houses in Carlsborg aren’t selling and he blamed it on the sewer project.
Fredrick submitted a petition to stop the process, signed by 170 people who have land in or near the proposed LUD.
Susanne Severeid-van Renterghem, who does not live within the proposed LUD, said she wants to preserve the rural landscape of Carlsborg.
“No one wants this sewer,” she said. “No one.”

Letter unanswered

 In October, Severeid-van Renterghem addressed a three-page letter to the Clallam County commissioners and PUD officials with 40 questions regarding the project. She and several other members of CPC signed the letter, which requested documentation for each of the 40 questions. During the public hearing she told the commissioners she still hadn’t received a response.

Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger said he wants to get together with Severeid-van Renterghem, PUD staff and Clallam County planning staff to go over the issues face-to-face. Clallam County Senior Planner Carol Creasey has contacted Severeid-van Renterghem to set up a meeting but hasn’t received a response, Tharinger said.
“Take the time to meet with us,” he said. “We’ve offered this to you several times.”
Severeid-van Renterghem said she did not want to meet with them and as public officials they should respond to her request with documentation as she had asked.
Tharinger later said he is frustrated members of CPC won’t meet with him and county and PUD staff.
“It’s complicated,” he said. “The county is trying to balance out all the different interests and concerns: business, residential, long-term environmental health … It is important to have plans for long-term water, sewer, transportation and other amenities that make for a good community.”

Business owners voice support

Six Carlsborg business owners spoke in support of continuing the process.

“I think everybody that has spoken here so far has valid points and there’s a lot of emotion,” Cory Startup said. “Everyone is trying to preserve what they have.”
For Startup, his business is at stake.
“If this boils down to a zero tolerance, ‘I want Carlsborg to be how it was when I was a kid,’ this is a moot point,” he said. “But everything changes eventually.”
While he doesn’t have enough information about the sewer system to fully support it, especially since the cost won’t be known until late spring or early summer, continuing the process is the only option he has.
“I don’t know what the benefit will be but the flip side is, what other choice do we have?” he said. “There really is no choice for the commercial owners.”
Art Green, who owns a medical device production company, said he has 23 employees and is ready to grow but can’t if the zoning goes back to rural, which it will if the UGA is not brought into compliance with the Growth Management Act.
Green said he is one of the property owners who signed the petition for the LUD.

Misinformation circulating

Several people said they are confused about which map of the proposed project boundaries is accurate.

On Nov. 17, PUD General Manager Doug Nass wrote a response to Severid-van Renterghem’s letter and included a map with the proposed LUD boundaries. The PUD is in charge of the formation of the LUD. The proposed boundaries cut out three manufactured home parks and most residential parcels between Carlsborg Road and Mill Road, with the exception of most of Smithfield Drive. The proposed project boundary lies within the UGA but is smaller.
While the county released preliminary figures in June 2009 on what the sewer would cost land owners, they are not accurate as funding still is being acquired.
Tharinger said the preliminary figures were not well-received and county staff decided it wouldn’t release cost figures again until they were certain.
The project was chosen to be considered for a $10 million loan from the Public Works Trust Fund. The loan has 0.5-percent interest with a five-year deferment and 30 years to pay it off.
Tharinger said county staff hope to host an informational meeting in January to provide accurate information and take questions from the community.
At the end of nearly two hours of public testimony, the commissioners unanimously passed the extension of the interim controls.
Reach Amanda Winters at           

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