Clallam County and the city will continue working to expand Sequim's urban growth area to include Battelle's 140 acres of tidelands and uplands along the shores of Sequim Bay just north of the city limits.
During a work session prior to Monday's city council meeting, Clallam County Planning Manager Steve Gray discussed what needs to happen for the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board to accept the proposal.
He said both the city and county comprehensive plans must support the proposed expansion of Sequim's urban growth area. Sequim must develop its proposed "research facility zone" and then the city should proceed with annexing the area.
During the regular meeting, the council unanimously agreed to proceed with the comprehensive plan amendment, the urban growth area expansion and the subsequent annexation of Battelle's property.
"We haven't changed course. We're not going to turn it into condos. We do research and do it very well," Dwight Hughes from Battelle told the council.
Clallam County Community Development Director John Miller said they really do want to get sewer service to Battelle but only in a way acceptable to the Growth Management Hearings board.
Gray said Battelle has long- term needs such as water and sewer service so the urban growth area needs expanded for the city to provide those.
The city's "research facility zone" isn't developed yet and the county must do a State Environmental Policy Act analysis, Gray said. Battelle also wants to annex into the city to have city utility rates instead of urban growth area utility rates, he said.
It will be a joint effort but the county has Battelle's application seeking expansion of Sequim's urban growth area, Gray said.
It's unknown yet if Battelle will be required to perform an environmental impact statement. The time line is possibly by this fall.
Gray said the city and county both must ensure their comprehensive plans support the proposed urban growth area expansion.
The city should be responsible for creating the "research facility zone," Gray said.
Sequim Planning Director Dennis Lefevre said they must change both the zoning code and the land use classification in the comprehensive plan.
City Attorney Craig Ritchie said they could just use the same zone the city of Redmond used for the Microsoft campus although it won't become effective until the urban growth area expansion.
Battelle performs water resources modeling, ecotoxicology testing, biotechnology research and marine and coastal resource testing for the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as well as other private and public entities.
Battelle wants to build a 600-square-foot building for office space and labs and a two-story building with a 7,000-square-foot footprint to be used for laboratories and mechanical and support facilities. About seven acres of the company's 140 acres are developed now.
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