Sequim tables one big subdivision, OKs another

SEQUIM — Neighbors — and others farther away — call Sorrento inappropriate, even “appalling,” as David Brown put it.

The development, which proposes 229 dwellings where the Booth dairy farm once was, is part of a trend that’s “messing Sequim up,” said Joy Erichsen.

After a long, angst-filled public hearing Monday night, the Sequim City Council tabled the project, planning to take it up again Oct. 23.

The council members noted, however, that Sorrento meets the city’s zoning requirements and complies with the state Growth Management Act.

Cheryl Browder of Apex Engineering, who represents Sorrento developer Origen Corp. of Des Moines, Wash., also showed the council how the subdivision’s street configurations have been adjusted to better accommodate emergency vehicles.

Density an issue

The 38-acre Sorrento site, at the corner of Sequim-Dungeness Way and Port Williams Road, lies in a zone where 14 dwelling units per acre are allowed. The proposal, however, calls for only 6.3 units per acre.

They’re Mediterranean-style “villas’ and “casitas’ — single-family homes, duplexes and four-plexes — that would be built closer together than most Sequim homes.

That density is one of the things that upset those who came to the podium Monday night.

They didn’t care that 10.4 percent of the development would be open space with gazebos and meandering paths.

This kind of subdivision, said Sue Mendenhall of Sequim, “has created crowded conditions,” in cities.

No way is Sorrento compatible with this town, she said.

The Planning Commission heard on Sept. 5 from many of Sorrento’s would-be neighbors, who said the densely packed houses would bring down their property values, generate intolerable traffic and diminish their quality of life.

The Planning Commission declined to recommend the development for City Council approval.

Several of the neighbors returned to address the council Monday.

Jon Eaton was among those who objected.

“I’ve got a beautiful home,” next to the site, he said. “I’ve been here since ’60. I’m in construction.”

But Sorrento “is a little out of character. I’m concerned about the bulldozers. They’re going to come right through . . .”

“I hate to see something like this being built,” added Erichsen.

People move here to escape urban development, she said.

“We want fresh air . . . and open spaces.”

Fresh-air seekers from cities are swelling Sequim’s population.

“We can’t change the fact that people keep moving here because it’s a nice small town,” said Councilman Paul McHugh.

Resistance to Sorrento smacks of the “not in my backyard” reaction that greeted high-density housing in California, added Councilman Bill Huizinga.

“I’ve been reading up on this,” he said, citing an unnamed article about “suburban homeowners’ who “exerted considerable pressure on local legislators.”

When they succeeded in averting construction of dense developments, they kept the housing supply down and prices up, he said.

The City Council voted last month for municipal code changes that allow considerably higher density than Sorrento would have, Huizinga noted.

“I didn’t see anybody here,” protesting those changes, he said.

New affordable housing

Earlier in Monday’s meeting, the council approved another kind of subdivision: Hendrickson Heritage Park, a 66-unit manufactured home community on West Hendrickson Road.

In doing so, the council members made some people happy.

“This is affordable housing,” said John Vostrez, who said park residents will enjoy pedestrian access to nearby services and shopping.

“My wife and I plan to leave our car in the garage.”

Vostrez, a retired traffic engineer, may help control the congestion that worries city planners.

The planners are considering a traffic signal at Fifth Avenue and Hendrickson to regulate users of the nearby Olympic Medical Center campus, several medical offices and clinics and other residential construction.

Their developers will eventually have to share the cost of the traffic light.

Heritage Park developer Mel Hendrickson is the only one who must pay his share now. He’ll hand over to the city $34,400 to defray the signal’s $266,093 cost.

More in News

Port of Port Townsend focusing on five capital improvement projects

Stormwater improvement in permitting phase; construction may begin this year

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special Olympian William Sirguy, center, accompanied by his mother, Katie Sirguy, during Friday’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run along the Waterfront Trail in Port Angeles. The event, designed to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement, brought together law enforcement officers from Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties for a march across the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Torch run

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special… Continue reading

Groups back natural gas initiative

Signature-gathering efforts end July 5

Pictured left to right, Ginny Wagner, Xxzavyon (XJ) Square, Ewan Mordecai-Smith, Elise Sirguy, Mahayla Amendolare and Mallory Hartman cut the ribbon of the little free library at Jefferson Elementary School on Friday. (Darlene Cook)
Students come together to promote reading literacy

Free library constructed near Jefferson Elementary

An Orca spy hops for a better look at its surroundings during an encounter on Wednesday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Spy hopping

An orca spy hops for a better look at its surroundings during… Continue reading

OMC CEO lobbies on Medicare efforts

Hospital converting travelers to staff

Port Angeles’ Pride on the Pier event set for Sunday

Music, vendors to be featured during three-hour event

Children can receive free lunches on weekdays throughout the summer at multiple locations across Sequim and Port Angeles. Carrie Blake Community Park in Sequim is one of 14 locations between the two cities offering meals through late August. (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula)
Free summer meal program for children to begin in Sequim, Port Angeles

Free meals for children 18 and younger will be available Monday though… Continue reading

Pedestrian hospitalized after she was hit in construction zone

A pedestrian was injured and transported to a hospital after… Continue reading

Paving work to begin Monday in Sequim

Work crews from Lakeside Industries, PR Systems and Stripe Rite… Continue reading

Port Townsend Summer Band to play ‘Wild West’ show Sunday

The Port Townsend Summer Band will present “Wild West!”… Continue reading