Clallam seeks grant for stormwater system; concern expressed over what’s being bought

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have endorsed a grant application to the state Department of Ecology that would retrofit the Clallam County Courthouse parking lot for stormwater management.

The two-year grant carries a maximum consideration of $500,000 and includes a 25 percent match.

At a commissioners’ work session when the endorsement was given Monday, Commissioner Mike Chapman expressed some concern with the proposal, citing Mason County’s experience with the pervious pavement.

Chapman met on Friday with Mason County officials, who said the pavement needs to be replaced.

“It’s a disaster,” Chapman said.

“They are so unhappy with it. . . . The pavement literally peels away in the summer.”

Caution urged

Chapman said Clallam County should exercise caution in spending more money on its courthouse parking lot.

Senior Planner Carol Creasey said the county would study the retrofit if it wins the grant, then decide whether or not to accept it.

“I’m kind of surprised to hear about that in Mason County because in Seattle and Portland it’s worked wonderfully,” she said.

Craig Jacobs, public works director, said the retrofit proposal needs to be studied carefully because of disruptions it would cause.

There would be regrading of portions of the parking lot on its northern edge near Peabody Creek, the walking lanes and the south employee lot.

“We want to minimize any impact to the activities that go on at the courthouse,” Creasey said.

Retrofit inclusions

Retrofitting would include rain gardens, where amended soils would filter storm water before it enters creeks and streams and seeps into the groundwater.

Commissioners Chapman and Steve Tharinger directed Joel Winborn, parks, fair and facilities division manager, to study the proposal and work with planners.

At today’s business meeting at 10 a.m., the commissioners will schedule Dec. 15 hearings to consider adjustment of the Sequim Urban Growth Area boundary west of the city and to create a new parks and recreation zoning district.

The affected area is south of West Hendrickson Road and east of North Priest Road.

The Clallam County Planning Commission held a public hearing on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 18 it recommended removing 68 lots on 78 acres from the urban growth area and redesignating them as rural low.

That is a lower density than now and allows for one home per 4.8 acres.

About 27 acres in the northeast and southwest portions of the neighborhood would remain in the growth area, according to the recommendation.

On the other matter, all existing county-managed parks would fall under a new parks and recreation zoning district if it is approved on Dec. 15.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the new zoning district Nov. 18 and received a “fair amount” of public testimony, planning manager Steve Gray said.

County staff incorporated that testimony into a recommendation that the planning commission will consider on Wednesday.

This new zoning district would govern land uses to be consistent with the county’s park and recreation master plan.

Conditional uses would be subject to a permit.

Setbacks near parks

The district would include a 15-foot setbacks for structures bordering a park boundary, and 45- to 60-foot setbacks for roads.

The Planning Commission’s findings and conclusions on park zoning will be available by Friday, Gray said.

Also today, the board will consider a $2,845 change order with Aldergrove Construction for work on the boiler replacement at the historic west section of the Clallam County Courthouse.

Work includes a new location for a steam vent, valves, sewer line and irrigation. The total project cost is now $232,311.

Most of the boiler work has been completed, as has the roof replacement at the courthouse.

“We’re keeping the water out, so we’re really happy with that,” Winborn said.

“The roof so far is doing what it’s supposed to do, and that was certainly what we expected. . . . It’s really been tested already.”

County lawmakers also may approve a 2010 budget after they hold two public hearings today in the commissioners’ meeting room (160) at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

The hearings are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected]

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