Willow Creek Manor, a 128-home subdivision, will move forward with construction despite safety concerns from neighbors and the Sequim Planning Commission.
Sequim City Councilors approved the development at their Nov. 13 meeting in a 5-1 vote with Genaveve Starr opposed and Pam Leonard-Ray excused.
The 128 single-family homes on lots ranging from 5,400-14,500 square feet are planned to go on 44.62 acres off Broadmoor Street east of Rhodefer Road near Carrie Blake Park, and north of West Sequim Bay Road.
About 30 members of the Willow Creek Homeowners Association, who live in the subdivision’s phase A, filled the council chambers Monday advocating that Jeff Cole, owner of the subdivision property, be required to connect Broadmoor Street to West Sequim Bay Road sooner in his project than recommended.
In the city staff’s recommendation, Cole must connect Broadmoor Street with West Sequim Bay Road after phase D, which is tentatively slated for housing lots to go down by Dec. 1, 2021.
Neighbors felt this wasn’t soon enough and that the city’s traffic calming measures with a turnaround at the end of Broadmoor Street and a median at its entrance for an ingress/ egress wasn’t enough.
“We’re appealing to common sense,” said Judy Richey, a Broadmoor Street resident.
“The planning commission required a second access point. What if the development stopped at phase B? Then we’d have a half-mile dead end.”
Residents touched on a number of topics such as affecting home/lot values, driveways being blocked by construction vehicles, and safety.
David Garlington, public works director, said the divided entrance with two lanes and a 10-foot meridian serves as two access points under the city’s current code and in the case of an emergency, drivers can enter or exit on either side.
He said Clallam County Fire District 3 officials agreed that the turnaround at the end of Broadmoor Street sufficed for turning vehicles around and that they can also access Cole’s property to the east, which connects to West Sequim Bay Road.
Cole said the property has been in his extended family since 1900 and that emergency crews have access to his road, which in further development will become Carisbrook Avenue.
He said if the properties don’t sell, then he’ll continue to use the property as a farm, but the proposed road divides his farm in half.
“I’m doing this because I can’t sustain myself as a cattle farmer in the City of Sequim,” he said. “I’m not fighting it anymore. I’ve already wasted a year because the process is taking so long.”
The planning commission reviewed the proposal on Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 and recommended a second point of ingress/ egress be installed before phase D (34 lots) for safety concerns. Originally, Cole wanted it with phased E (24 lots) or F (seven lots), but city staff felt that was too late in development.
Barry Berezowsky, Sequim’s Department of Community Development manager, did not recommend the planning commission’s suggestion because he and other staff felt a second access point wasn’t necessary at this time because of the city’s code and the fire department’s recommendations.
He called the requirement “a loophole” and something city staff plan to review in the future.
City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said city staff recognize there are some issues with the code and public works staff will review it as it corresponds with this issue.
She said under Washington law, Cole was grandfathered in under the city’s existing code and any changes to it the city councilors make would not effect his development.
“When someone submits a subdivision application they’re entitled to the laws at the time,” Nelson-Gross said.
To try and appease homeowners’ worries, city councilors agreed to Berezowsky’s recommendation that construction equipment would not go on Broadmoor Street but instead from West Sequim Bay Road to the new developments.
Some city councilors were apologetic before voting with Deputy Mayor Ted Miller saying the city can’t rely on how the code was amended.
“The city needs to take action to amend it,” he said.
Councilor Bob Lake said he supported the development with reluctance.
“I hope we do change these things,” he said. “The best we can do is not allow construction traffic to go through their street.”
Starr said she didn’t see the current entrance on Broadmoor Street as a good ingress/ egress.
“It’s just a one-way street as it is now and with the extra development (phase B). I would like to see the street completed.”
By June 1, 2018, Cole tentatively plans to have placed/sold 36 lots for Phase B followed by 27 lots by Dec. 1, 2021 for Phase C.
His application was resubmitted from an expired plan under the same design that was submitted and approved in 2007.
Cole said he plans to sell lots to multiple builders and that his development is similar to nearby Cedar Ridge Properties.
Contact the City of Sequim at 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.