SEQUIM: CRITICAL AREAS ORDINANCE UNDER FIRE AGAIN
BY KEN SHORT
SEQUIM -- Vietnam-era veteran Joseph Gil Lujan says his
home has become the latest victim of Clallam County's
controversial Critical Areas Ordinance.
County staff will close Lujan's mobile-home property on 152
River's End Road on May 11, saying the property floods
regularly, leaks raw sewage and is dangerous to public health.
The county issued a Do Not Occupy order on Wednesday. A
county spokesman said the order is not related to the critical
areas rule, but is a public health issue.
Three months earlier, Sequim businessman Jerry Levesque,
another Rivers End Road property owner, was cited for
illegally building up a driveway with fill material and
allowing a trailer to occupy the site.
The county discovered Lujan's problem while investigating
Levesque's alleged illegal structures, Lujan said.
"I think the county is being extremely unfair with
this," he said. "I have to give my renters all the
money back for the rent they put down."
In the meantime, the county is continuing efforts to secure
grant funding to buy the home, Bob Martin, the county's
community development director said.
"Anybody would say this is not a place where anyone
should live," Martin said of the irreparable sewage
problem, the perceived health threat to Lujan's renters, the
public and the alleged release of fecal coliform into
Recently, the state Department of Health closed 400 acres
of Dungeness Bay to commercial shellfish harvesting following
reports of unsafe fecal coliform levels.
Lujan's story began last September when county compliance
officers visited his property, citing him for allegedly
disturbing the Dungeness River's bank behind his property.
Public Health Issue
Under the county's 1999 Critical Areas Ordinance, the
earth-moving work could have affected threatened salmon.
But the failed septic has little to do with the Critical Areas
Ordinance; it is a public health hazard, Martin said.
Meanwhile, Lujan received a letter from county enforcement
officers demanding he revegetate the disturbed embankment
behind his property.
But then the Dungeness River Management Team agreed to
purchase Lujan's land for $85,000 contingent upon state grant
Lujan said he even applied for a low-interest loan to
obtain a permit for a new septic tank. The permit was
denied by county staff, Lujan said, because it conflicted with
the management team's attempt to purchase the land.
But the county was not granted the funds, leaving Lujan
with a $680-per-month mortgage payment out of his $769 monthly
Lujan's permit would not have been granted because of the
persistent flooding, Martin said.
Now, Lujan says, the county order has prohibited him from
continuing to use or sell his home as a rental property.
He is living in another household, he said.
Peninsula Daily News
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any
copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair
use without profit or payment for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]