Development restrictions will continue in Carlsborg as county officials continue to work on legal and infrastructure strategies to bring the Urban Growth Area into compliance with state law.
The Clallam County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 29 extended current interim controls for up to six months.
The Carlsborg UGA was ruled as noncompliant by the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board in 2008 for not having a sewer plan in place. The board ruled a sewer plan was necessary under the Growth Management Act and the county has spent the last three years both challenging the ruling in court and working to develop a wastewater treatment plan.
Clallam County Senior Planner Carol Creasey said the current interim controls, which prohibit most development within the UGA, expire Dec. 17. If the controls were to lapse, the UGA would be noncompliant with the board’s ruling, she said.
The interim controls last up to six months and this is the sixth time the board of commissioners voted to renew them.
On the legal front, the county’s appeal of the hearing board’s ruling resulted in the Court of Appeals remanding the case back to the hearing board, Creasey said. A hearing was held Nov. 8 and the Growth Management Hearings Board has 60 days to make a decision.
Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman said if the hearings board reverses its earlier decision based on the remand, the interim controls won’t last the full six months.
The county also is re-evaluating the possibility of using the City of Sequim’s wastewater treatment plant.
So far the option hasn’t proved to be more cost-effective than constructing a sewer system, Planning Manager Steve Gray said before a Nov. 29 public hearing.
The proposed sewer project has $10 million in low-interest loan funding from the state and $4 million from the county, he said.
Public commentBrian Frazier, director of the Citizens for the Preservation of Carlsborg, spoke against the interim controls.
Frazier said the board of commissioners “has had more than enough time to do the right thing” and they should redesignate the UGA as rural zoning.
“The Carlsborg community should not have to pay for the board’s mistakes,” he said.
Frazier criticized claims of elevated nitrate levels in the soil due to on-site septic systems and complained about a lack of code enforcement at the Carlsborg Industrial Park. He read parts of the county code referencing glare shields, sound buffers and downward facing lights, which he said are not currently enforced.
Chapman said the UGA strengthens the county’s economy and is the only area in which the county could see economic growth.
Going back to a rural designation would set the area back to 1990 standards and 1990 development, removing the industrial park and jobs, he said.
“I for one will continue to fight for the UGA,” he said.
Art Green, who owns a business in the industrial park, said there are more than 1,000 jobs in Carlsborg.
A Sequim High School graduate and current basketball coach, Green said owning his own business and being able to expand it on the vacant 1.3 acres he owns next to his current site is his American Dream.
“Business owners don’t want residents stuck with the cost (of a sewer) and we know we’ll pay a large portion of it,” he said.
The economic benefit of the UGA is important, he said.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.