Sequim School Board backs Habitat, expansion of shop

SEQUIM — The Sequim School Board has unanimously offered letters of support for two local efforts, one for increased housing and another for expansion of a city shop.

Colleen Robinson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County, said the organization is working toward a 40-home project on a two-parcel, 10-acre site at Brownfield and Miller roads.

In October, the Sequim City Council unanimously voted to allow for multi-family zoning within city limits, allowing for increased density, which “significantly increases” the number of homes that can be built on the property, Habitat officials said.

“Habitat is really on the verge of moving the needle on affordable housing,” Robinson told directors on Monday.

The board approved a letter of support signed by Nickels, reading:

“The Sequim School District is continuing to experience the negative effects of the housing shortage with staff and families on the Olympic Peninsula. Affordable housing options will be a key success for the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel for the district and building of future student enrollment.

“Sequim School District is in full support of the Congressional Set-aside Habitat of Humanity of Clallam County is requesting from Representative Kilmer, Senator Murray, and Senator Cantwell to support the completion of the Brownfield Road project.”

Habitat officials said the organization has raised $1.5 million of the estimated $3.2 million cost of development and infrastructure of the Brownfield Road project. (The MacKenzie Scott Foundation supplied $1 million, while Habitat leveraged its mortgage portfolio to secure an additional $500,000, organization officials said.)

Board directors also approved a letter of support to U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer for the City of Sequim’s Community Project Funding. City officials are seeking an expansion and upgrade to the shop.

The letter reads, in part, “The District relies on the City to maintain and improve street and utility infrastructure that enables us to provide a safe and accessible educational environment at our Sequim School District Campus and other District facilities.

“This includes: maintaining roadway visibility and pedestrian facilities so that students and staff can safely travel to school; sweeping, plowing, and de-icing streets so that our buses can safely drive their bus routes; providing city parks for recreation and enjoyment by our community; and maintaining water and sewer infrastructure that service our school facilities.”

In addition, the letter notes, the inclusion of a fueling station in the proposed project —one that can operate with generator power in the case of an emergency — can also be a benefit to the school district’s emergency response.

Sequim council members in January agreed to back the school district’s efforts to construct a Career and Technical Education (CTE) building, with a $250,000 pledge, paid for through cash, in-kind, multi-year payments, and/or some combination of various options to be determined at a later date.

School officials are vying for state funding for the proposed $17.5 million facility that would house numerous vocational classes.

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Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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