By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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County commissioners Tuesday voted 3-0 to approve an ordinance changing the zoning designation from Rural Character Conservation 3 to Public.
No opposition was voiced in a public hearing on the matter.
“Putting it into a public zone basically calls it what it’s going to be,” Clallam County Planning Manager Steve Gray said.
“It gives notice to the community of a future intent that this will be developed for a public use in the future.”
The new station will be on the north side of the highway off Sieberts Creek Road behind Conestoga Corners RV Park.
It will replace the existing volunteer station No. 32 at R Corner on the south side of the highway further to the east at 256702 U.S. Highway 101.
Fire District Chief Steve Vogel said it will take at least four years for the district to pay off its existing loans and consider building the new station.
The estimated cost is $2.5 million.
“We’re not going to spend any money right now,” Vogel said.
The eventual move was prompted by the state Department of Transportation’s upcoming project to widen U.S. Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore roads.
Once completed in October 2014, motorists will no longer be able to make left-hand turns onto the highway. Eastbound and westbound traffic will be separated by a 32-foot median.
The fire district purchased the vacant property because it has multidirectional highway access from an improved intersection at Sieberts Creek Road.
“This location keeps them centralized for their district there, with easy access to 101 with a good intersection to turn both east and west,” Gray said.
“That’s really their primary motivation.”
Vogel said the existing Rural Character Conservation zone is “not really a true designation of public property.”
“We’re a public agency, and the property needs to be designated as such,” he said.
The change will take effect at the end of this year.
Construction of the fire station will still require a conditional-use permit.
“Essentially, all major new uses within a public zone require conditional-use permits,” Gray said.
“That allows the neighborhood and the community to look at public projects on public land in a more formal setting to provide input.”
Clallam County Fire District No. 3 operates seven stations throughout the east county.
Paid firefighter and volunteer “combination” stations are located in Carlsborg, Sequim and Blyn.
All-volunteer stations are located at Dungeness, R Corner, Diamond Point and Lost Mountain.
The district has 88 volunteers and 42 paid employees, including maintenance staff and administration.
There are 32 line firefighters covering a territory from just east of Deer Park Road to Gardiner.
The Clallam County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the rezone and approved it by an 8-0 vote June 20.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.