A crew during Service Fest demolish a home at 169 W. Spruce St. The city of Sequim partnered with its homeowner to demolish it. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

A crew during Service Fest demolish a home at 169 W. Spruce St. The city of Sequim partnered with its homeowner to demolish it. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim partners with homeowner, Habitat to demolish ‘blighted’ property

SEQUIM — A property city officials condemned last summer is no longer standing behind the Sequim Civic Center.

A Sequim city crew demolished the home that officials termed blighted at 169 W. Spruce St. as part of an agreement between homeowner Ron Fairclough and the city for the Sequim Service Fest event, which ends Friday.

Fairclough owned several properties in Sequim. Over the years, Sequim police officers have investigated reports at his properties. The Sequim Gazette has reported that police responded to the properties 144 times from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 16, 2014, for reported issues including animal abuse, domestic violence, assault, parking violations, monitoring a sex offender, child abuse, theft, burglary, noise complaints, burglary, drug violations and noise complaints.

However, only a small percentage resulted in criminal cases.

Fairclough could not be reached for comment for this story.

Sequim City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said Fairclough agreed to Habitat for Humanity volunteers demolishing and cleaning up his properties.

Habitat organizers asked the city to monitor deconstruction, she said, but for safety reasons the city partnered with Fairclough to demolish the home.

“When we looked into our records, we realized that due to the house’s age, we had no plans on file and could not determine a safe way to manually deconstruct the home,” she said.

Service Fest organizers said remains of the home and garbage from the property and Fairclough’s neighboring properties at 153 and 161 W. Spruce St., filled 12 truckloads to the dump.

Care-A-Vanners, volunteers who traveled via RVs for Sequim’s neighborhood revitalization projects, helped pick up the site.

Fairclough demolished 161 W. Spruce St., last year, and continues to reside at 153 W. Spruce St.

He met Habitat’s income requirements for assistance, Nelson-Gross said, and his demolished house at 169 W. Spruce St. was subject to code enforcement actions in recent years.

“Under Washington law, we are able to assist low income persons when it is in the best interests of the general public,” she said.

In the past year and a half, Nelson reports police received 34 calls for service to 169 W. Spruce St., with 27 of those from Jan. 1, 2017, to Aug. 25, 2017, when it was labeled “condemned.”

From last August to June 6, when the home was demolished, Nelson said calls came in for disturbances and warrant arrests because people were sneaking into the home.

“The good out of this is he took advantage to partner with Habitat and clean up the blighted property,” said Detective Sgt. Darrell Nelson, who oversees the city’s code enforcement program.

“He is taking steps to remediate.”

Conversations

Fairclough has had discussions about his properties with the City of Sequim in an effort to sell them.

Former City Attorney Craig Ritchie said the city’s last offer in 2008 was $120,000 per lot, but Fairclough said he wanted $570,000 total.

City staff and council members discussed renting 161 and 169 W. Spruce St., to park up to 10 vehicles in 2015, but former city manager Steve Burkett said negotiations were called off due to a stalemate.

Sequim sought $850 per month but Fairclough wanted $1,100 per month.

Burkett previously said that renting the properties was more about improving the neighborhood and less about creating parking spaces.

Fairclough previously said his vision for purchasing the properties, 161 W. Spruce St. in 1980 and 169 W. Spruce St. in 2007, was to create a space for Sequim Laboratory of Dental Arts.

However, he said bad renters cost him tens-of-thousands of dollars from lost rent and stolen property.

For more information, call the City of Sequim, 152 W. Cedar St., at 360-683-3311.

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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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