MAT clinic hearing to include tribe’s appeal

Objections over ‘community concern’

SEQUIM — Phil Olbrechts — the City of Sequim’s appointed hearing examiner — will consider on Monday city-imposed conditions for possible environmental impacts for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s appeal was the only one of six not dismissed by Olbrechts on Oct. 8.

He said the other five — from Save Our Sequim, which was formed in opposition to the planned clinic; Jon Gibson, owner of Parkwood Manufactured Housing Community, LLC; and Sequim resident Robert Bilow — “lack standing” against the proposed 16,806-square-foot medical facility on 3.3 acres off South Ninth Avenue.

There, doctors would dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol for patients with opioid-use disorder.

Olbrechts will consider the tribe’s appeal of the Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review.

The virtual meeting begins at 9 a.m. and continues at the same time on Tuesday.

Participants can listen or view the appeal hearing on the web at zoom.us/j/99685756052, or by calling 253-215-8782 or 206-337-9723, with the webinar ID 996 8575 6052.

Find more information at sequimwa.gov/964/ MAT-Clinic-Appeals.

With interest high in the proposed clinic, Olbrechts has limited testimony and public comment only to matters on the MDNS review.

City and tribal attorneys plan to call three witnesses between them: Barry Berezowsky, Sequim’s director of community development, Brent Simcosky, the tribe’s health services director, and Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain.

Andy Murphy with Miller, Nash Graham and Dunn Attorneys at Law, wrote that the tribe objects to three city-required conditions with the MDNS, and they “feel the clinic will not cause any adverse impact to public services. Consequently, there is no impact to mitigate, and none of the conditions relating to public services are allowed under SEPA.”

He argues that community concern is not an environmental impact saying that, “(we) understand why the City took this approach, but SEPA forbids it. It is settled law in Washington that community concern is an improper basis to impose conditions on a permit.”

Another condition the tribe objects to relates to the City of Sequim seeking reimbursement for emergency service personnel if the property is taken off the Clallam County tax roll for emergency services.

“We are aware of no basis that allows a city to require a tribe to forfeit its sovereign immunity, even in a limited capacity, or reimburse a city for ‘lost tax revenue’ in order to receive a permit, especially when the permit is for a project that is permitted outright and causes no probable adverse environmental impacts,” Murphy wrote.

The hearing will begin with Murphy, followed by City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross, public comment with non-expert comments, expert testimony, Nelson-Gross’ rebuttal, Murphy’s rebuttal, and cross-examinations.

For more information about the hearing, call 360-683-4908 or visit sequimwa.gov/471/Current-Projects.

________

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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