4C holds forum for DCD candidates

by Lois Krafsky-Perry
Citizen Review

August 25, 2010

Sequim, WA - The FourC (Concerned Citizens of Clallam County) candidate forum was held on Monday, August 23 at the Sequim Boys and Girls Club. Approximately 250 citizens attended the forum. Pat Tenhulzen facilitated the meeting and reviewed the Mission Statement for Concerned Citizens of Clallam County (4C), which was presented on a screen. She then introduced the two candidates for running for the position of Director of the Department of Community Development (DCD): Sheila Roark-Miller and John Miller.

Sheila said she hails from a family which has lived on the Peninsula for over 100 years. She is currently a code compliance officer for Clallam County.

Sheila’s family has been involved with living conditions such as “streams, farming, logging, building and other areas of rural life”. She considers zoning to be important. She stated that she wants change, and believes the Peninsula is heading in the wrong direction. She said she has seen problems with property and courts, and is concerned about expenses to the county as well as property owners.

She attended Girls State, 35 years ago, and at that time became more interested in her present field.

He said he moved to the Olympic Peninsula area in 1994, and worked for the Elwha Tribe as Executive Director from 1996-2007. John has been the elected DCD director since 2007. Since working in that position, he said he has been involved with building permits, the Carlsborg sewer project and the Gales Addition junk cleanup project.

The candidates answered several questions.

The land use regulations mandated by state and federal government. How would you work for the county with the basis of protecting the environment?

Sheila answered, “I want to mooch salmon. I don’t want to over-fish for many years. Not too many trees…” She noted the natural beauty of the area. “I’m not a big proponent of taking away every foot down- fence to every neighbor’s land use,” she remarked. She said she would probably use reasonable enforcement. She wants to clearly communicate and explain regulations and have a level playing field.

John referred to 1992 Elwha River Restoration. He said he lived in Clallam County sice 1994. He said he wants salmon restoration so his grandkids can catch.
Shelia inserted the comment, I don’t agree with the removal of the Elwha Dam.”

What degree does land use and building codes affect sale and resale of property?

Sheila stated that interpretation of the law does affect and impact affordable housing in our area.

John answered that Sequim Prairie has removed some requirements for damp proofing.

As DCD director, would you consider not using the state’s Storm Water manual and use one specific for the North Olympic Peninsula?

Sheila said they are using their own currently for the past 7 years. “Let’s move on. Our manual is more cut and dry.”

John referred to Department of Ecology (DOE), saying their manual is 4 or 5 inches thick. “We don’t need all of it,” he said. He stated this is public works and not DCD. “We use the 2005 manual as of today.” He said.

Sheila said we need innovative solutions when dealing with difficult land use issues.

John referred to the 2008 low impact development at Sequim Bay and referred to negative vegetation. He said we do not have a clearing and grading ordinance., “which I would like to see.” He continued with “only distribute at building site.” He mentioned water rights and said water is allowed to keep and not to store.

Sheila said,” I’m not fond of the word, ‘innovative solutions’. She continued, “That led to our down-zoning. Changing size of property---they used that term.”

Sheila referred to Township Road run-off. “A crying shame,” she remarked.

Larry Carter, a member of the audience, and State House of Representatives Primary candidate was allowed to ask a question.

The Shoreline Master Program ---150 foot buffers from the shoreline. Carter asked the candidates for an answer on the matter.

Sheila said, “I hope you already have your home along the line, as it would not affect parcels with clear zone. You could maintain that.” She referred to the bluff and referred to the geological survey. She said, “Buffers---I am not real hot on buffers.”

John referred to 1971, saying that the voters of the state said we have the Shoreline Management Act. He also mentioned 1972 legislation, then reviewed 1976 local compliance and the implemented plan. “We have adopted public participation plan most important. I would rather not have ours like Jefferson county did such as size of buffer.”

Sheila said sometimes the news is not good—state and federal government—“sometimes we have to do it, when it comes to decision making as best we can and let the state fight with us.”

John talked about recent board of appeals, new framework, and new appeals court. “I opposed the creation of that and thought the hearing board committee was sufficient. My responsibility was fulfilled by getting it to the Board of Appeals for consideration.”

Sheila said “Unfortunately we had to create a Board of Appeals.” She said as an international building code official, she knows who is applying for non-county. “If in office, I will solve that at my level,” she said.

Sheila summed it up: Our world vs. the public world. She would have each of the employees who serve the public go through a mock permit process with Realtors and surveyors, land engineers, ad bankers, so they could understand the “pain” of going through the process.

She is concerned about understanding excellent customer service. We service the public with open door policy and stewards pay based on taxes. “I’m not pretentious, I am direct and straight forward, “ she stated.

John ended with his idea that he referred to the size of goat structure, as previously discussed. “Anything smaller than 400 feet for tools or animals is not required.”

On the topic Natural Resources he said, “We don’t know what buffers are going to be. FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Act] will be issuing rules this fall on channel migration zones (buffers).”

At this same meeting the candidates for the State Legislature spoke. A separate story will be posted later about their discussions.