News

Carlsborg standoff continues

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

The Clallam County Board of Commissioners listened to almost an hour of public comment on the proposed extension of the interim controls in Carlsborg on Tuesday.

 

Commissioners Mike Doherty and Steve Tharinger voted to extend the controls another six months. Commissioner Mike Chapman was not present.

 

The current controls, which prohibit most development, are set to expire June 24.

 

Nearly 30 people were present at the hearing and nine spoke, most in opposition to the extension because they are against a proposed sewer project to bring the area into compliance with state law.

 

Carlsborg was designated as an Urban Growth Area in 2000 and in 2008 the Growth Management Hearings Board ruled the UGA was not compliant with the Growth Management Act because it did not have plans for a sewer system. To avoid repercussions, the commissioners implemented interim controls.

 

The county is simultaneously challenging the ruling in court and the Washington State Court of Appeals recently sent the case back to the GMHB for review.

County staff request extension

Clallam County Senior Planner Carol Creasey requested the commissioners extend the interim controls to allow more time for both the appeal in court and the securing of funding for the sewer system.

 

Creasey said the project has $10 million in funding from a state Public Trust Fund low-interest loan and $4 million in loans from the county. County staff also is looking for other funding sources and on Monday listened to a presentation by graduate students from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute on the economic climate of Carlsborg, which was conducted to aid in the application for a $1 million loan through the state Community Economic Revitalization Board.

 

The students concluded the benefits of the proposed sewer system outweighed the challenges.

 

Linda Rotmark, who supervised the students through the Clallam Economic Development Council, said the students provided a good start for the loan application.

Residents want rural designation

Bryan Frazier, president of the Citizens for the Preservation of Carlsborg, told the commissioners he wanted to see the UGA abolished and the area returned to rural zoning and Limited Area of More Intensive Development zoning.

 

Frazier said the projected growth for Carlsborg is not coming and the commissioners are bankrupting the community while failing to enforce landscaping, lighting and buffer rules for the industrial development.

Stacy Hopkins, who lives and owns a business in Carlsborg, said she thinks the proposed sewer project could take away her “American dream.”

 

A vision of Carlsborg is often discussed but the growth that is talked about hasn’t happened since she moved there three years ago, she said.

Business owners want options

Don Butler, who owns a business in the Carlsborg Industrial Park, told the board he wants the GMA issues resolved so his business can grow.

 

In response to comments that Carlsborg is not growing and the economy is struggling, Butler said his and many other businesses want to expand and hire more people but can’t because of the invalidation of the UGA.

 

Pam Schneider, also a business owner, echoed Butler’s sentiments.

 

If the UGA were stabilized, it would allow local businesses to expand and attract other businesses that could provide good-paying jobs, which would benefit the entire county, she said.

 

“Doing this smart can be a good economic opportunity for Clallam County,” she said.

 

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