Sequim city councilors continued conversations on several ongoing issues at their July 27 meeting, including extending a moratorium another six months on manufactured homes, adding temporary positions through the rest of 2020, and seeking next steps for an anti-discrimination resolution.
Manufactured home moratorium
To allow city staff more time to navigate the Sequim Municipal Code’s language for private streets, city councilors unanimously agreed to extend a moratorium another six months on manufactured home developments.
The moratorium started on Feb. 10 to prohibit applications, processing and/or approval of manufactured home parks.
Barry Berezowsky, Sequim’s director of community development, scheduled work sessions this month with the city’s planning commission before potentially bringing revisions back to the city council in late September.
Berezowsky told city councilors on July 27 that his six-month work plan is aggressive and “may not meet the deadline in the work plan.”
Conversations about manufactured homes arose late last year when councilors were considering approving Lavender Meadows, a 217-site manufactured home park in three phases on 38.3 acres at the intersection of North Sequim Avenue and Port Williams Road. Former councilor Ted Miller said late last year — and reaffirmed his stance in January when he and the council approved the project — that a 2007 ordinance overrides a 1997 manufactured home ordinance allowing private streets only in gated communities.
Berezowsky said at the city councilor’s July 13 meeting that “staff thinks the policy is well intended but it could bring unintended consequences.”
“There are some streets that the city may not want to take on ownership because they’re not part of the Citywide Transportation Improvement Plan,” he said.
City attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said the 2007 ordinance only dealt with subdivisions and that manufactured homes were “one of those ancillary code changes that did not get caught up.”
Public Works Director David Garlington said the city previously did not have an active inspection program for private streets, but new developments with private streets such as Lavender Meadows must be built to city roads’ standards now.
Anti-racism, discrimination update
City councilors agreed with the city manager to wait to make changes to a proposed ordinance on anti-racism and discrimination until they’ve heard from the community.
City Manager Charlie Bush said elements of the community outreach plan include forming a steering committee consisting of a consortium of government leaders, and using trained city staff facilitators to begin community conversations in the fall.
The discussion stems from councilor Brandon Janisse bringing forward a resolution in June from Sequim resident Shenna Younger asking the council to condemn systemic racism.
Community engagement will result in a community action plan, Bush said.
He said some options include doing an online survey, holding a town hall and/or a design workshop.
Mayor William Armacost said he’s never witnessed bigotry or racism in the city but believes it’s good to engage the public whenever they can.
“I don’t want to see this blow up into something that isn’t existing, but we have a very talented staff who are conscious of where time is spent,” he said.
Bush said he’ll bring an update in September about the time estimate for community engagement.