City nixes rental deal

Officials say plan was to alleviate crime, improve neighborhood

Negotiations for the City of Sequim to rent two adjacent properties next to the new Civic Center are over for now.

City Manager Steve Burkett told Sequim city councilors on March 23 that they stopped talks to rent 161 and 169 W. Spruce St. owned by Ron Fairclough for parking up to 10 public works vehicles.

“We called it off,” Burkett saidd. “We reached a stalemate in terms of negotiations. They (Fairclough and his brother-in-law Bud Pedersen) thought it was worth more than what we were offering.”

The city was seeking $850 a month for three years but Fairclough, 76, said his last offer was $1,100 per month.

Fairclough said he feels his properties are worth more than what the city was offering.

“If I accepted $850, I still have to pay taxes and my net would not be very much,” he said. “I’m old. I’d like to have a retirement. They don’t want to do it that way though.”

Burkett said negotiations aren’t completely closed.

“If they came back with a proposal that is reasonable, then they (city councilors) could decide on it,” he said. “In the future, the city is going to want to have that probably for an expansion, but that’s five to 10 to 15 years from now.”

Crime call log

However, Burkett previously said that renting the properties was more about improving the neighborhood than creating parking spaces.

In a records request from the Sequim Police Department, it shows that from Jan. 1, 2010-Dec. 16, 2014, law enforcement responded to 144 total incidents at the properties.

At 161 W. Spruce St., the police responded 93 total times for alleged incidents such as animal abuse, domestic violence, assault, parking violations, monitoring a sex offender, violation of court orders, child abuse, theft, burglary and noise complaints. Of the 93 calls, 14 required police reports.

At 169 W. Spruce St., the police reported to 51 incidents with 28 of those calls coming in 2014.

Some of the 51 incidents included concerns about burglary, an injured animal, drug violations, disturbances/fighting, noise complaints and assault. Four of the incidents required a police report.

Burkett said the police are going to be very aggressive with following up on reports at the two neighboring properties.

“We’ll be keeping our eyes there,” Burkett said.

Fairclough said he’s been struggling to make up for 19 months of lost rent after squatters lived at 169 W. Spruce St.

Previously, Fairclough said he’s lost about $40,000 in bad rentals and at least $10,000 in stolen property since buying 161 W. Spruce St. in 1980 and 169 W. Spruce St. in 2007.

Prior to renting, his plan was to turn the sites into his Sequim Laboratory of Dental Arts and parking.


Sell or not

Fairclough said he’s approached the city numerous times over the years to sell his properties but was told he was asking too much.

City Attorney Craig Rit-chie said the city’s last offer was $120,000 per 6,250 square foot lot.

Fairclough said that in 2008 he was willing to sell both sites for $570,000.

Fairclough said if the city returned with a “fair and decent offer” he’d be willing to rent or sell.

“What they want is for me to be anxious to sell,” he said.

“There’s a big difference between being anxious and wanting to sell. I’ve been willing to sell for 40 years but not anxious. From 2000-2008 I was kind of anxious to sell (for travel expenses for his ex-wife). If I sold my properties now, I’d be about broke. I’d maybe make about $40,000.”

Nearby, the City of Sequim completed a purchase worth $89,500 for a home at 191 W. Spruce St. (now demolished) as a parking lot for Clallam Transit buses and as an emergency exit for the Sequim Police Department.

In June 2014, city councilors voted to enforce a short sale with eminent domain on the house to speed up the sale with the homeowners’ bank. The city and the homeowners agreed on a deal more than two years ago but the bank would lose about $50,500 after the loan to the homeowners and sale to the city.

Ritchie previously said the city was not seeking a deal for Fairclough’s properties when the latest rental agreement was first proposed.

Burkett said the Civic Center is expected to be substantially complete on April 25 but the plaza is targeted for completion by June 1.

An open house remains tentative for May 1 with a dedication/grand opening on June 13.

For more information, call 683-4139 or visit