By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM –– The City Council took action this week on measures requested by developers.
The council Tuesday unanimously allowed an extension for a large retail development.
It also decided on a split vote not to allow a housing developer to install a privately maintained sewer line, overruling a city planning staff recommendation.
The council voted unanimously to give the owners of the 70,775-square-foot Priest Road Center shopping and office complex another year to develop.
The 6.5-acre four-box shopping center, planned for the corner of Washington Street and Priest Road, was approved in November 2009.
Ed Sumpter, whose Blue Sky Real Estate firm is now on the lot and whose firm Sequim Y3K LLC was set to build the development, said the commercial real estate market's decline has limited demand for potential tenants.
Sumpter won a settlement agreement in a 2009 challenge to the city's fees for the development's traffic at the intersection.
Originally charged $151,540 in fees for traffic signals and intersection improvements, Clallam County Superior Court ruled he only had to pay less than half that, or $70,768.
The extension includes amendments to the development's traffic control plan, City Planner Jack Dodge said, that Sumpter agreed to pay for.
Sumpter was uncertain when construction might begin.
On a 4-3 vote, the council rejected a recommendation from Dodge to give up a sewer line easement across four vacant lots of Maple Ridge Estates.
Developer Ron Robbins said the easement's path through the lots limits the design of houses that can be built.
Council members Erik Erichsen, Ted Miller, Candace Pratt and Dennis Smith voted against the city's plan because the sewer lines on the property would be maintained by future owners.
Councilwomen Genaveve Starr and Laura Dubois and Mayor Ken Hays voted in favor of the plan.
“We're totally ignoring what's right for the four future landowners in this,” Councilman Miller said. “We already outlawed private roads.”
Rejection of the proposal means a house being designed for a lot that Robbins said is currently in escrow will have to be built smaller by 10 square feet because it cannot be built over the sewer easement.
Dodge's recommendation was for the city to abandon the property and leave the maintenance of the sewer line up to future landowners.
The line would serve the four lots on the western end of the 40-lot development.
Miller said he worried neighbors could be stuck without sewer service if the line breaks on one of the lots.
Robbins said he now will try to figure out another design and work with the city on another solution.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.