Stakeholders set late Sept. for MAT hearing

Examiner to consider opioid addiction treatment clinic application

If mitigation efforts aren’t reached in the next month, parties opposed to the entirety and/or elements of the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic in Sequim will present their arguments to the City of Sequim’s hearing examiner in late September.

City staff, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe officials and appellants of the tribe’s proposed 16,806-square-foot medical facility application agreed on Phil Olbrechts, the city’s contracted hearing examiner, to consider testimony Sept. 28-30.

Barry Berezowsky, Sequim’s director of community development, said the hearings would be all virtual and over the phone because of COVID-19 regulations. He said he is planning to have information available in the next week for how the public can submit comments/research on appeals to Olbrechts.

The stakeholders met on Aug. 10 and agreed to the timeline, Berezowsky said, leaving open the possibility of some issues being resolved between the parties prior and/or being consolidated with other appeals.

“We’ve set it for three days, but it could be done sooner, or we could request the examiner to continue the hearing if needed,” he said.

There are multiple appeals for the Opioid Use Disorder treatment clinic that either protest the entire application, the Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) environmental review through the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and/or the application’s classification as an A-2 process — where city staff review and approve or deny the project — rather than city councilors approving or denying it under a C-2 process.

An injunction filed by lawyers for Save Our Sequim and Jon Gibson, owner of Parkwood Manufactured Housing Community, was unsuccessful in stopping the application in Clallam County Superior Court in June.

However, city and tribal officials unsuccessfully petitioned the court for legal fees from SOS and Gibson last week.

The tribe’s lawyers are appealing the SEPA review for multiple reasons, largely because they believe the city staff’s conditions, such as community concerns for the project, don’t fall under SEPA regulations.

Berezowsky said because the tribe is appealing their own project they cannot break ground until a resolution is reached through the hearing examiner.

He said they won’t allow them to build “until we’re satisfied that the tribe is going to comply with all of the mitigation measures.”

If the process does come to the hearing examiner, Berezowsky said Olbrechts would first consider the classification process of the application because if city staff’s decision (Berezowsky’s) to approve the decision is overturned, the prject would return to the beginning of the application process.

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