Sequim hosts multiple hearings Monday for budget, small dwellings

Legislators to hear council, school district priorities

SEQUIM — Today’s Sequim City Council meeting will be filled with public hearings, including the city’s 2021 budget and potential changes to the municipal code for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), along with a meeting with legislators about next year’s legislative session.

At 5 p.m., city council members will host a virtual joint meeting with Sequim School District’s board directors to share their 2021 legislative priorities with local legislators.

City council members unanimously agreed to their priorities list Oct. 26. The list includes seeking final funding for the U.S. Highway 101 East Corridor Improvement Project, starting a federal funding exchange program for rural cities and an increase in broadband accessibility.

City of Sequim-contracted lobbyist Davor Gjurasic said Oct. 26 that city leaders and partners continue to push the state to connect the east corridor project with a planned 2022 Johnson Creek fish passage project.

“It only makes sense and saves the state money,” he said.

As for the exchange of federal funds to local jurisdictions, Gjurasic said the paperwork becomes less onerous to complete $200,000-$300,000 road projects. He said Oregon and California already have similar programs, and he thinks Washington state could too.

Following the hour-long work session, multiple public hearings will be conducted at the 6 p.m. regular meeting.

Some of those tentatively scheduled include the first of two hearings on the city’s $33.5 million budget for 2021, a proposed 1-percent property tax increase, rates and fees changes for 2021 and potential accessory dwelling units (ADUs) code changes.

Of note:

• City council members agreed Sept. 26 not to increase water or sewer rates in 2021.

• Barry Berezowsky, Sequim director of the Department of Community Development, said an ADU is a secondary structure subordinate to the primary structure that typically houses an aging family member or is rented to an unrelated party. They are often used as affordable housing options for a variety of people.

Berezowsky estimates about 16 ADUs in the city but believes there may be significantly more.

Berezowsky said there are already regulations for the dwellings, but the update includes recommendations from the Sequim Planning Commission, with some of them including:

• Prohibiting manufactured and mobile homes and RVs from serving as ADUs.

• Prohibiting ADUs from serving as short-term rentals for less than 90 days.

• Removing two-bedroom limitation.

• Broadening architectural choices beyond that of primary residence.

• Increasing max square footage from 700 to 850 square feet.

• Removing limitation of the number of people allowed in the home.

To participate in Monday’s meeting, visit sequim wa.gov/669/City-Council-Boards-Commission-Media or facebook.com/sequim wagov. Residents can also call 253-215-8782 (meeting ID 912 3546 4249). Written public comment can be sent to [email protected] prior to the meeting.

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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].

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