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Sequim’s preliminary downtown plan is ready
Map shows confines of Downtown Plan. Map by Cathy Clark
by MATTHEW NASH
After months of work, the City of Sequim and LMN Architects of Seattle are set to unveil their preliminary Downtown Plan District diagram on Thursday, Feb. 10.
City staff and LMN last brought the plan to public comment in November when 150 people commented and/or looked at concepts.
Citizens get a second chance to share their two cents on the proposed plan at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.
Joe Irvin, interim city planning director, said the main points of the presentation share the preliminary plan, what streets have been proposed for reclassification, what development opportunities and strategies exist and how short-term and long-term implementation strategies could be put into action.
The plan also includes land use and localized and citywide policy recommendations, including zoning code amendments, transportation-related improvements and parking management strategies.
This is the third downtown plan for Sequim. Work was done in 2003 and 2007-2008 on plans that weren’t adopted.
Irvin predicts the Downtown Plan’s boundaries will be from Brown Road to Fifth Avenue and from Fir Street to U.S. Highway 101, while the downtown city core could be condensed even more.
“There’s not a lot of space to develop,” Irvin said. “We’re looking at making it more livable.”
One concept they are investigating is infill development, such as a developer assembling three or more lots together with older buildings torn down to build cottage houses.
Irvin has been speaking with planning directors in Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo; both cities host a lot of cottage housing. City councilors and the planning commission are touring the cities on Friday, Feb. 25.
“(The cities) give a great example of what could happen here,” Irvin said.
Another goal of Irvin’s is to make accessory dwelling units, or secondary resident homes on a plot of land, more feasible for developers.
“Single-story retail and businesses and two-story apartment complexes are what seem to be being built,” Irvin said. “We’re looking at ways to get more residential density downtown and get better cross-circulation across town.”
He suggested goals that could be implemented over different time frames.
• Identify bicycle rack locations for installation, consider sidewalk widths and install way-finding signs
• Identify areas for low-rise, higher-density housing
• Identify mixed use/commercial opportunities.
Irvin said LMN has identified several opportunity sites for commercial development, but identifying an area for something specific doesn’t mean it will be exactly what residents want.
“It’s more feasibility than definition,” he said.
Through economic analysis, LMN identified some businesses Sequim would like to attract:
• Furniture, home furnishings
• Food and beverage, food services and eateries
• Health and personal care
City councilors and staff intend the plan to be action-oriented, to outline a vision of a healthy and strong downtown, to identify the actions needed to accomplish the vision and to define the roles and responsibilities of the organizations and people who will make it happen.
The city council will review the Downtown Plan in a study session on March 14 and the planning commission will discuss it March 15. Councilors hold a public hearing with possible adoption on March 28. Read more about the plan online at www.ci.sequim.wa.us/planning/DowntownPlan.
Who: City of Sequim
What: Downtown Plan open house
Where: Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.
When: Thursday, Feb. 10
• 1-5 p.m. Open House, view preliminary recommendations of the plan
• 7-7:45 p.m. Presentation, plan recommendations explained
• 7:45-8:30 p.m. Questions and answers
View more at www.ci.sequim.wa.us/planning/DowntownPlan
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.