Sequim to tackle question of oversized garages, sheds
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Ken and Kathleen Burrer’s new large garage of Fir Street in Sequim has prompted city leaders to look at the need for new regulations on accessory structures. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Regulations to require that new garages and sheds be smaller than the primary buildings on lots zoned residential will be considered by the city Planning Commission during a special meeting tonight.

Under the current code, secondary structures like garages can be built four times as large as the lot’s primary house.

The new rules, said Chris Hugo, community development director, are designed to ensure that garages are not larger than primary houses.

The Planning Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

After a new, large garage was built in the Oak Trail neighborhood on Sequim’s east side, neighbors voiced their objections to city staff and the Planning Commission.

The neighborhood primarily consists of low-lying, rambler-style homes.

Most of those who attended a hearing on garage sizes in February spoke out in favor of requiring that accessory structures are smaller than houses.

Neighborhood resident Robert Mullen said at that hearing that the Oak Tree neighborhood was built and marketed so that “every house has a view of the Olympic Mountains.”

Under the proposed new rules, garage height would be capped at 18 feet or the height of the house, whichever is less.

Hugo noted all but a handful of existing garages are taller than 18 feet.

Total size of the garage under the proposal is also limited to 1,000 square feet and can not be larger than 80 percent the size of the primary structure.

Footprints of garages on lots larger than 10,000 square feet would be limited to 40 percent of the lot size.

Larger structures would be allowed on lots of more than an acre, primarily those semi-rural lots on the east side toward Sequim Bay.

Accessory structures on those lots would be able to be built as large as 3,000 square feet and 35 feet high, Hugo said.

If the planning commission approves Hugo’s proposed language, the city would schedule a public hearing on the new rules next month, Hugo said.

The Planning Commission also will review a new master plan for the city’s transportation system tonight.

The plan contains six-year and 20-year projects aimed at making the network of roads, sidewalks and alternatives better fit the city’s future.

Many of the projects are aimed at improving the city’s space for bicycle, transit and pedestrian travel routes.

“That wasn’t as much as a focus in the past, but it is a priority for the future,” said Paul Haines, public works director.

A panel of citizens and consulting engineers from the Fehr and Peers firm spent the better part of the last year assembling the plan.

The city’s last traffic study was in 2006.

Haines said the new study takes into account lower growth projections than were used in 2006, when the city was booming.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 08. 2013 6:47PM
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