Sequim council leaves rules intact; Beitzel won't resign


Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM -- The City Council won't be adjusting its rules governing decision-making actions on issues coming before it for the first time.

But council members want to straighten out confusion among themselves -- and diffuse criticism from the public -- about an apparently inconsistent pattern of taking votes on matters without at least two rounds of discussion.

A lively discussion at Wednesday's study session revisited a controversy arising last week, when Councilman John Beitzel threatened to resign over the council's failure to observe a ``three-touch'' rule, providing for at least two discussions of a given issue before it goes to a council vote.

Beitzel has decided not to resign, Mayor Walt Schubert said Wednesday.

``I talked privately with John,'' Schubert said.

``John's not going to quit. John's not a quitter.''

Beitzel could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and he did not submit a letter of resignation at the council's study session or indicate verbally that he intended to leave.

314-home development

At issue was an application for a 314-unit housing development in east Sequim that Beitzel felt needed more deliberation.

The development, called The Highlands at Sequim, was the subject of a June 28 public hearing at which the council voted to uphold Planning Director Dennis Lefevre's preliminary permitting of the project, despite the fact that a letter of opposition from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife was received that day and council members had no opportunity to review it prior to the meeting.

Fish & Wildlife expressed concerns about the development's impact on the Roosevelt elk herd, which uses the proposed subdivision's land as a migration path.

Though it was too late for the department to weigh in on the environmental portion of the application's review -- the state Environmental Protection Act, or SEPA, portion -- the project would require a rezone, which left it open as a public hearing in which anyone can comment up to the time the council moves to close the hearing.



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