Crews broke ground on the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility three weeks ago, according to leaders with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. A virtual hearing on an appeal is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 14. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Hearing Examiner requires advisory committee in MAT decision

Tribe breaks ground despite looming land use appeal

SEQUIM — It’s been a busy few weeks — and will likely continue to be — for the future of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s proposed medication-assisted treatment facility.

City-appointed hearing examiner Phil Olbrechts ruled on the Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) on Dec. 21, agreeing with conditions from a stipulated agreement between the tribe and the city while adding a monitoring program for the medical facility off South Ninth Avenue.

At the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility, doctors would dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol for patients with opioid-use disorder while offering wrap-around services.

Brent Simcosky, the tribe’s director of health services, said construction on the clinic broke ground three weeks ago, prior to Olbrechts’ decision and after they received a city-approved building permit. Excavation work was started, and a completion target is the end of 2021, he said.

However, the Save Our Sequim (SOS) community group, which has fought the establishment of the facility, filed a Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) appeal in Clallam County Superior Court prior to Olbrechts’ decision, asking city staff to review the tribe’s construction application again and be permitted differently.

If that appeal is successful, the tribe would have to halt construction, and city staff would have to review the permit again under a different review process.

The first scheduled virtual hearing regarding the appeal is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 14.

Both the city and tribe filed motions to dismiss the appeal, which Superior Court judge Brent Basden will consider.

Olbrechts’ decision on the MDNS environmental review cannot be appealed.

See Olbrechts’ ruling here:

See the SOS group’s response here:

Advisory committee

Olbrechts heard testimony between Nov. 16-24 from tribal and city officials and community members about the proposed clinic in a virtual hearing. It centered on such concerns as the clinic’s location, transportation to and from it, homelessness, treatment plans and security.

In his 39-page final decision, Olbrechts approved the city/tribe stipulated agreement from Sept. 8 with revisions.

One includes the establishment of a community advisory committee to develop a monitoring and evaluation program for the clinic, including members such as the tribe’s director of health services, Sequim city manager, law enforcement leaders and a Sequim resident who applies to join selected by committee members.

The committee is to remain in place for the first three years of the clinic’s operations and meet monthly during the first year.

Olbrechts requires the committee to develop a contingency plan that “fully identifies potential courses of action and any corrective measures to be taken when monitoring or evaluation indicates expectations and standards are not being met.”

He wrote: “With this monitoring plan, the proposal will create no significant adverse impacts to police services.”

Olbrechts wrote that the monitoring plan will “directly enable the City to mitigate impacts for which there is insufficient information to evaluate at this time.”

“Ultimately, an enforceable monitoring plan should successfully mitigate all impacts to non-police emergency services,” he wrote.

The monitoring program adopted by this decision creates a ‘wait and see’ mitigation strategy that enables the City to identify precisely what impacts do occur and then tailoring the mitigation necessary to address them.”

Olbrechts wrote that it’s understandable the tribe doesn’t want its business plan locked in concrete, but the Community Response Plan was the only document that limited the proposed clinic patient load to 250 patients per day.

Olbrechts also stated that in lieu of a potential $250,000 bond to support local first responders’ efforts if there’s an adverse impact from the clinic, and all or some funding for a Social Services Navigator may pay for studies and corrective actions found by the committee.

In his decision, Olbrechts maintained the tribe needs to provide on-site security requirements, transportation for those who need it to and from the clinic, and deter any patient loitering.

Save Our Sequim’s board of directors thanked Olbrechts in a statement for “recognizing our main educational point for the past 18 months that installing the proposed MAT clinic, a large Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) or methadone clinic, in the retail core of Sequim will have adverse effects on our community unless properly mitigated.”

SOS board directors said “these impacts have not been acknowledged or adequately studied as a problem for Sequim,” but “Olbrechts has done the community a great service by recognizing that these impacts are worth considering, and that they require action to reduce their effect on Sequim, which is a small town and therefore likely to suffer disproportionately — and thus a mitigation plan is required.”

They disagreed that busing clients or the community advisory committee would constitute mitigation.

Find more information about the MAT application at


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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