SEQUIM — Willow Creek Manor, a 128-home subdivision, will move forward with construction despite safety concerns raised by neighbors and the Sequim Planning Commission.
Sequim City Council members approved the development Monday in a 5-1 vote with Genaveve Starr opposed and Pam Leonard-Ray excused.
The 128 single-family homes on lots ranging from 5,400 to 14,500 square feet are planned to go on 44.62 acres off Broadmoor Street east of Rhodefer Road near Carrie Blake Park and north of West Sequim Bay Road.
About 30 members of the Willow Creek Homeowners Association, who live in the subdivision’s phase A, filled the council chambers Monday asking that Jeff Cole, owner of the subdivision property, be required to connect Broadmoor Street to West Sequim Bay Road sooner in his project than recommended.
In the city staff’s recommendation, Cole must connect Broadmoor Street with West Sequim Bay Road after phase D, which is tentatively slated for housing lots to go down by Dec. 1, 2021.
Neighbors felt this wasn’t soon enough and that the city’s traffic-calming measures with a turnaround at the end of Broadmoor Street and a median at its entrance for an ingress/egress weren’t enough.
“We’re appealing to common sense,” said Judy Richey, a Broadmoor Street resident.
“The planning commission required a second access point. What if the development stopped at phase B? Then we’d have a half-mile dead end.”
Residents touched on a number of topics such as effect on home/lot values, driveways being blocked by construction vehicles and safety.
David Garlington, city public works director, said the divided entrance with two lanes and a 10-foot meridian serves as two access points under the city’s current code and that in the case of an emergency, drivers can enter or exit on either side.
He said Clallam County Fire District 3 officials agreed that the turnaround at the end of Broadmoor Street sufficed for turning vehicles around and that they also can access Cole’s property to the east, which connects to West Sequim Bay Road.
Cole said the property has been in his extended family since 1900 and that emergency crews have access to his road, which in further development will become Carisbrook Avenue.
He said if the properties don’t sell, then he’ll continue to use the property as a farm, but the proposed road divides his farm in half.
“I’m doing this because I can’t sustain myself as a cattle farmer in the city of Sequim,” he said. “I’m not fighting it anymore. I’ve already wasted a year because the process is taking so long.”
The planning commission reviewed the proposal Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 and recommended a second point of ingress/egress be installed before phase D (34 lots) to ensure safety. Originally, Cole wanted it with phase E (24 lots) or F (seven lots), but city staff felt that was too late in development.
Barry Berezowsky, Sequim’s Department of Community Development manager, did not recommend the planning commission’s suggestion because he and other staff felt a second access point wasn’t necessary at this time because of the city’s code and the fire department’s recommendations.
He called the requirement “a loophole” and something city staff will review in the future.
City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said city staff recognize there are some issues with the code and public works staff will review it as it corresponds with this issue.
She said under Washington law, Cole was grandfathered in under the city’s existing code and any changes to it the City Council makes would not affect his development.
“When someone submits a subdivision application, they’re entitled to the laws at the time,” Nelson-Gross said.
To appease homeowners’ worries, City Council members agreed to Berezowsky’s recommendation that construction equipment would not go on Broadmoor Street but instead move from West Sequim Bay Road to the new developments.
Some City Council members were apologetic before voting with Deputy Mayor Ted Miller, saying the city can’t rely on how the code was amended.
“The city needs to take action to amend it,” he said.
Councilman Bob Lake said he supported the development with reluctance.
“I hope we do change these things,” he said. “The best we can do is not allow construction traffic to go through their street.”
Starr said she didn’t see the current entrance on Broadmoor Street as a good ingress/egress.
“It’s just a one-way street as it is now, and with the extra development [phase B], I would like to see the street completed.”
By June 1, 2018, Cole tentatively plans to have placed/sold 36 lots for phase B followed by 27 lots by Dec. 1, 2021, for phase C.
His application was resubmitted from an expired plan under the same design that was submitted and approved in 2007.
Cole said he plans to sell lots to multiple builders and that his development is similar to nearby Cedar Ridge Properties.
For more information, contact the city of Sequim at 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].