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`Urban village' complex envisioned by developer

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM, WA -- An urban village could appear in Sequim next year. And no, ``urban village'' isn't an oxymoron, at least to Jerry Hann.

To the Whidbey Island-based developer, the concept is smart building.

He hopes to begin construction of one next summer on 76 acres east of South Sequim Avenue and north of U.S. Highway 101.

Hann's development, for now called Bell Creek Village, would include condominium and rental housing, shopping and office buildings and -- if the city and nonprofit groups reach consensus -- a civic center where people could walk from shops to City Hall to the Museum & Arts Center to the public library.

Hann hosted a community meeting Tuesday at the Guy Cole Center in Carrie Blake Park, where he showed preliminary drawings of the village.

`Pedestrian connection'

It will have a 1-acre central park as a kind of town square plus a network of walking paths.

``A strong pedestrian connection'' along Sunnyside Avenue would link the village to downtown, Hann added.

Bell Creek Village could look similar to the Town Center developments in Redmond and Mill Creek, Hann added.

He plans no highrises, however. Buildings would come under the 35-foot height limit permitted in the neighborhood.

``We're not asking for any exceptions to code requirements,'' and the village will feature plentiful open space, Hann said.

Five small parks and 13.5 open acres would be part of the project, and Hann wants to ``rehabilitate'' Bell Creek.

``It's pretty much a fancy ditch,'' he said.

``We'd enhance it and reintroduce water. It wouldn't be a torrent, but it would be a year-round stream.''

`Broad range' of housing

Hann didn't want to call the condos in his village ``affordable housing,'' but said he'd like to build a neighborhood with ``a broad range of housing values.''

He did make an affordable offer to the city in February: Twelve acres of land for $1.

``I told them I'd give them the dollar if they needed it,'' Hann joked.

He can't give land to the city; the $1 price satisfies a legal requirement, he said.

Still, the city isn't ready to close the deal.

Sequim Capital Projects Manager Frank Needham said a committee of officials is still considering six possible sites, including Bell Creek Village, for a new City Hall.

Two things motivated the $1 deal, Hann said. First, with a 76-acre parcel, he said he can afford to share.

``The property has enough area to do what we need to do,'' with residential and retail.

``And I just think it's neat to have all of the city services in one community, in a pedestrian-oriented, new urban center,'' he said.



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