Clallam panel recommends size limits on vacation rentals, B&Bs

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County Planning Commission has backed a proposal to limit vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfast inns to 10,000 square feet and five guest rooms.

The commission voted 6-3 to recommend an ordinance that would amend standards for vacation rentals and add new standards for bed-and-breakfasts.

The proposal would affect new vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfasts in single-family dwellings in unincorporated areas.

It would not affect the proposed 32,000-square-foot bed-and-breakfast at 695 E. Sequim Bay Road because that application has been vested by the Department of Community Development.

If approved by the three commissioners next month, vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfasts between 4,000 and 10,000 square feet would be required to have conditional use permits.

“My concern all along has been the one size fits all,” said Planning Commission Vice Chairwoman Connie Beauvais, a Port of Port Angeles commissioner, before voting with the majority Wednesday.

“I need to be assured that it’s going to fit the neighborhood that it’s in.”

Dissenting members of the planning commission favored an earlier proposal to allow up to eight guest rooms with a conditional use permit required for six or more guest rooms.

County commissioners are expected to hold a public hearing March 7, Principal Planner Kevin LoPiccolo said Thursday.

Clallam County has an existing ordinance for vacation rentals but no permanent zoning for bed-and-breakfasts, which are regulated only by definitions.

Under county code, bed-and-breakfasts are defined as single-family dwellings occupied by the owner or manager with five or fewer rooms for overnight accommodations.

After neighbors objected to Judy Lee’s proposed bed-and-breakfast on East Sequim Bay Road, county commissioners enacted a six-month ordinance limiting structures in rural residential zones to 10,000 square feet.

“That’s due to expire on March 6,” LoPiccolo said.

County commissioners are expected to discuss a three-month extension of the 10,000-square-foot restriction in a Monday work session, with action to follow later this month.

Meanwhile, Lee and her attorneys are challenging a recent determination that the bed-and-breakfast should be regulated by the International Building Code rather than International Residential Code.

County Building Official Annette Warren determined — and the Clallam County Building Code Board of Appeals upheld — that the massive structure is a Group R-1 boarding house and should be designed and built to commercial standards.

Lee filed a lawsuit in Kitsap County Superior Court, saying the Board of Appeals’ Dec. 12 decision was erroneous and should be overturned.

Voting in favor of the new ordinance were Planning Commission Chairwoman Nancy Esteb, Tom Montgomery, Robert Miller, Scott Clausen, Jane Hielman and Beauvais.

Gary Gleason, Steve Gale and Leo Leonard voted no.

All nine members of the planning commission voted to approve a subsequent recommendation to amend the definition of bed-and-breakfasts inns and add a new definition for bedroom units.

The planning commission had discussed the proposals in five work sessions prior to Wednesday’s public hearing, which drew split testimony from industry proponents and residents concerns about maintaining the rural character of their neighborhoods.

“I have no objection to people making money,” said Greg Madsen, who lives near the proposed bed-and-breakfast on East Sequim Bay Road.

“I do object to people making money, or being approved to make money, on the backs of people living in tranquility.”

Francisco de la Cruz, another Miller Peninsula resident, said he supported economic development in “appropriate areas and zones.”

“You can’t just have willy-nilly, Wild West kind of stuff,” de la Cruz said.

“I know that ruled the day for quite a while in here in Clallam County. Sorry, those days are over.”

De la Cruz added that the square-foot restrictions in the proposed ordinance “make sense.”

“We don’t want a mansion next door,” he said.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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