Tort claim could end in repeal of emergency measure against large buildings in rural Clallam areas

Claimant is a woman who wants to build a 32,000-square-foot bed and breakfast on East Sequim Bay Road.

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners this week are expected to take steps to repeal an emergency ordinance that put a moratorium on large buildings in rural areas.

The decision was prompted by a tort claim filed by a woman who wants to build a 32,000-square-foot bed and breakfast on East Sequim Bay Road.

Ordinance 909 limits the size of structures in rural areas to 10,000 square feet.

Commissioners passed the 60-day emergency ordinance by 2-1 vote July 26 over Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols’ reservations, with Mike Chapman and Mark Ozias voting yes and Bill Peach voting no.

After an executive session last Tuesday, the full board voted on the record to direct staff to take necessary steps to repeal the ordinance.

The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requested the closed-door session with the board, the Department of Community Development and the Human Resources/Risk Department to discuss potential litigation related to the ordinance.

The tort claim was filed on behalf of Judy Lee, who applied to build the massive bed and breakfast at 695 E. Sequim Bay Road near Old Blyn Highway.

Public hearing

This Tuesday, commissioners are expected to call for a Sept. 6 public hearing to consider repealing the ordinance.

Meanwhile, county planners have developed interim zoning controls under the Growth Management Act that would place a moratorium on large buildings for six months.

Commissioners this Tuesday will consider calling a Sept. 6 hearing on the proposed six-month zoning controls.

“The idea would be that the moment when 909 expires, the interim ordinances take effect,” Clallam County Civil Prosecuting Attorney David Alvarez told KONP radio.

“So there won’t be any gap in that regard.”

Mary Ellen Winborn, the elected Community Development director, has described the proposed bed and breakfast as a “hotel.”

It would be larger than the Quality Inn &Suites in Sequim and the new Clallam County Public Utility District headquarters in Carlsborg.

The four-story building would have 25 bathrooms and five overnight suites with 11 total rooms for guests, county Planning Manager Steve Gray has said.

Winborn is tasked with determining whether Lee’s application was vested before Ordinance 909 took effect July 26.

The ordinance was passed as Winborn was awaiting the applicant’s payment to begin a plan-check review for the project.

If the application is deemed to have been vested before the ordinance took effect, the six-month moratorium would not apply to the bed and breakfast, Alvarez said.

The East Sequim Bay Road property is owned by Dzogchen, Lee’s Los Angeles-based LLC. The parcel was purchased May 17 for $400,000, according to county records.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected]

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