Port Angeles: Conference center faces first of many hurdles this week

PORT ANGELES — Now that the City Council has accepted developer Randal Ehm’s Oak Street conference center proposal as “substantially complete,” the developer faces the first of several hurdles this week.

The first is a public hearing on a proposed land swap before the Department of Natural Resources Board. That meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Port of Port Angeles Commission meeting room, at 338 W. First St.

Ehm, president of Ehm Architecture of Seattle and San Diego, has proposed a four-story, 150-room Marriott hotel and conference center on 3.75 waterfront acres at the foot of Oak Street. The cost is expected to be about $15 million.

The conference center would be built on land now owned by the Port of Port Angeles and the state Department of Natural Resources. However, the Port and Natural Resources must swap small land parcels to create a suitable building site that Ehm can buy from the Port.

Under the proposed land swap, Natural Resources would give the Port 16,849 square feet of filled Natural Resources-managed, state-owned tidelands located north of Front Street between Oak and Cherry streets.

In exchange, the Port would give Natural Resources 16,849 square feet of tidelands adjacent to the present state-owned site.

Then Ehm would buy land for the conference center from the Port for about $1 million and lease the rest of the necessary land from Natural Resources.

Ehm also is seeking a shoreline conditional use permit and a height restriction variance from the city of Port Angeles. They will be subjects of public hearings before the Port Angeles Planning Commission on June 26 and July 10.


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