Sequim city councilors started their 2020 by undoing a December decision.
They agreed 6-0 on Jan. 13 — with new city councilor Tom Ferrell excused for serving on the planning commission last year — to approve a preliminary Binding Site Plan for 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.
Their new decision follows a 3-3 split vote on Dec. 9, when some city councilors shared concerns about private streets in the development and the lack of control over leasing prices.
Councilor Ted Miller said in December that a 2007 ordinance overrides a 1997 manufactured home that private streets are only allowed in gated communities, whereas the 1997 code allows private streets in manufactured home parks.
However, City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said more specific standards in the manufactured home code ordinance are what they applied.
Miller said he reluctantly supported the proposal.
“The reason I’m going to support it is because there’s an issue in the city on whether or not public roads should be allowed in Lavender Meadows. I believe they should be. (The) city attorney is of opposite opinion,” he said.
“Unfortunately, if we went to court over the issue there’d only be one loser, the people of Sequim, the taxpayers. No matter who wins it, the Lavender Meadows people are blameless in this.”
Councilors made the decision after a 30-minute executive session in the middle of the meeting.
City staff said the project’s developer JWJ Group, LLC of Poulsbo requested a reconsideration after the December decision.
New city councilor Troy Tenneson said he understood Miller’s issues with the roads, and he recommended the idea of a moratorium on private roads soon until it’s resolved.
“I think it’s not a hill I or we want to stand on and fight,” he said. “For me, as one of the seven, it doesn’t pose an imminent threat to the city.”
John Wesley Johnson, principal with JWJ Group, said his intent with the reconsideration was not to make city councilors feel they were backed into a corner.
“I appreciate the council reconsidering,” he said. “I’m looking forward to work with the community to make something this community is proud of.”
Tom Booth, one of three family partners to own the Sequim farm, said the approval is “long overdue.”
“The sale is going forward, and we’ll be paid after 15 years on the market,” he said.
The site was a dairy farm from 1946 until about 15 years ago, when it went on the real estate market.
JWJ Group representatives said on Jan. 13 that construction drawings will be submitted to the city within three weeks for the project, which includes three phases dependent on the real estate market.
Last November, JWJ Group representatives said the proposed homes will range from $160,000-$200,000 for about 1,700-square-feet homes, with leased lots costing $400-$600 per month to rent.
Homeowners choose the design specifics with homes coming from a factory new. They’ll also be energy efficient and feature 30-year roofs.
JWJ representatives said a portion of residents’ lease would pay for part-time maintenance for common areas, park areas, and a clubhouse.
They said in an interview that about 2,600 feet of frontage improvements on North Sequim Avenue and Port Williams Road costing about $1.5 million would be complete before someone moves into the first house.
Both city staff and the planning commission recommended the project move forward last year.
For more information about the project, visit www.sequimwa.gov or call 360-683-4908.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.