Sequim council approves shoreline master plan

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Roughly two years of work on the city's shoreline development regulations culminated Tuesday night with a unanimous City Council vote to approve the city's shoreline master program update.

City Council members also voted to continue three public hearings — on the city's budget, property tax levy and fees and charges — to the council's Nov. 26 meeting, when the council is expected to vote on the three items.

The hearings will be conducted during the council's 6 p.m. regular meeting at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

Council members also will vote on a 1 percent property tax increase, as allowed by state law.

Council members voted 6-0 at Tuesday's meeting to approve updates to Sequim's Shoreline Master Program.

Shoreline use

The program regulates land use within 200 feet from rivers, lakes, streams and marine shores, said Jack Dodge, Sequim senior planner.

Each city must by state law update its shoreline program on a regular basis, Dodge explained, with the most recent update for Sequim's program approved in 1996.

Roughly 2 miles of marine shoreline lies within the city and the city's urban growth area, Dodge said.

The shoreline encompasses the private property of a handful of large entities, such as the Port of Port Angeles, and contains 28 single-family properties.

“It was hard work to make sure we got input from all those groups,” Dodge said.

Dodge said one of the main changes to the shoreline program was a newly added shoreline restoration plan, which lays out in general terms how the city's shoreline can be restored to a more natural state.

The restoration plan gives ideas on how stretches of shoreline can be restored if private or public entities plan development near these stretches, Dodge explained.

“It provides examples for what can be done,” he said.

“There's a variety of different things that it looks at.”

$40,000 grant

City staff used a $40,000 grant from the state Department of Ecology, which reviews and has final approval of all Shoreline Master Programs in the state, to work on the master program.

It conducted at least four public workshops, nine planning commission meetings and five City Council meetings at which the topic was discussed, Dodge said.

Sequim Mayor Ken Hays said Wednesday that one of the most important parts of developing the program was seeking public input and efficiently integrating those comments into the program.

“It's been a very long process but, I thought, a smooth process,” Hays said.

Although the program has the potential to affect more than two dozen property owners, Dodge said city staff received comment from a relatively small number of Sequim residents.

“Quite frankly, based on what I've seen, it hasn't really been controversial,” Dodge said.

“We didn't get too many people commenting.”

For more information on the plan, visit http://tinyurl.com/anw3vax.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 15. 2012 9:30AM
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