PORT ANGELES — A recently leveled tract of land just west of Port Angeles will sit vacant for now, said Clallam County officials, who don’t know the owner’s plans for the land.
Commissioner Mike Doherty requested a status report from the Department of Community Development on two connecting parcels at the northeast corner of Fey Road and U.S. Highway 101.
The industrial-zoned property was cleared and graded earlier this summer.
It is owned by Sam Hurworth, who is co-founder and chief executive officer of DelHur Industries, based in Port Angeles, a general contractor that performs work in 17 states.
Doherty said he scheduled the discussion because he received a citizen inquiry about the leveling work, which is clearly visible from the highway.
“I was curious, too,” Doherty said.
“I thought for the size of the development, I should have had a better answer of kind of what was going on. I just felt I should get an update.”
Sheila Roark Miller, the elected community development director, told Doherty: “Typically, I don’t get in private property owners’ business.
“That’s why I invited the folks from the founding of DelHur here,” she said.
Hurworth and company Chief Financial Officer Tony Sample attended the board work session Monday.
They declined to speak at the meeting when board Chairman Mike Chapman gave them an opportunity.
Hurworth and Sample did not agree to be interviewed after the meeting and could not be reached for comment last week.
County Planning Manager Steve Gray said the property was zoned industrial in 2011.
The Public Works Department received an application for a commercial road approach for the parcel closest to the highway May 28.
“At that time, the road approach permit was not brought into the Department of Community Development for any sort of review because there was no map or known — at least in terms of public works review — critical areas within the envelope of the road approach or in close proximity,” Gray told commissioners.
The clearing and grading work occurred after the commercial road approach permit was approved.
“Our department started receiving some phone calls and inquiries about that,” Gray said.
“We certainly didn’t know, since we didn’t have any pending permits, what might be going on in that site.
“But I did call DelHur and eventually spoke to Mr. Sample and was informed that there was no specific development plans at this point, but they were certainly out there leveling the site,” Gray said.
Gray advised company officials that they might need a stormwater runoff permit from the state Department of Ecology.
DCD further advised that a wetlands report would be needed for a second road approach permit for the 7.7-acre northern lot because of the presence of a small pond.
The county received the wetlands report July 31.
“A quick review indicates that the conclusion of the wetland consultant is that it’s a man-made pond, which wouldn’t be subject to critical area regulation or buffers,” Gray said.
The second road approach permit is pending with the county.
No other applications
Meanwhile, Clallam County has received no other permit applications for the site.
“I have no clue what they’re going to build there,” Gray said after the work session.
In a Friday interview, Roark Miller said she was “not at all” concerned about DelHur’s long-range plans for the Fey Road property.
“I’m guessing it may be an investment of some sort,” she said.
Roark Miller added that the county has a good working relationship with the Port Angeles construction company and that discussing the plans of a private business in a public meeting is “not typically something we do.”
“If some business goes in there, like if they were building something or running a trucking business or something like that, that’s going to trigger some additional review and permitting we would deal with at that point in time,” Gray told Doherty.
Doherty suggested that the county adopt a clearing and grading ordinance that would require a permit so neighbors could get specific information about a project.
He also raised a secondary concern over the lack of an acceleration, deceleration and holding lane for trucks entering and exiting Fey Road.
“I just think citizens, particularly in adjacent neighborhoods, should be able to have access to information on what the impacts are,” Doherty said.
Said Gray: “Right, but we can’t give information that we don’t have.”
“We knew there was clearing and grading,” Gray said.
“We didn’t know what they were proposing to do in the long run, and we still don’t.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.