County calls for stringent review of Wal-Mart, Home Depot center plans

Posted on Wednesday 16 April @ 01:28:55

-by Michael Dashiell
Sequim Gazette staff writer

Sequim, WA - Two large developments on the west end of Sequim have county officials suggesting the developers and the city perform a broader, more extensive environmental review.

At issue is ground-water quality, traffic congestion and light pollution from two projects near the Washington Street/River Road exit. On the north side is a proposal for a multi-phased Wal-Mart project, including a 118,000-square-foot retail store and 76,000-square-foot grocery store. On the south side, representatives from PacLand (Pacific Land Design) and AVB Development Partners, LLC have proposed a 42-acre development dubbed Sequim Village Marketplace, featuring 12 new building lots totaling approximately 395,000 square feet of retail space.

But after reviewing a detailed assessment of each project's environmental impact, Bob Martin, the county's director of Department of Community Development, sent the city of Sequim a list of concerns. He suggests the city withdraw the review and seek a Determination of Significance, a series of more stringent environmental checks that Martin said could trigger an Environmental Impact Statement.

"The county believes that this proposal (Sequim Village Marketplace) lacks sufficient information to adequately assess potential impacts with respect to traffic, storm water, ground-water protection and light/glare issues," Martin wrote.

"Additional study and information must be completed and provided so that we can asses this project, especially in light of the related impacts that are also probable with the Wal-Mart project."

Tuesday morning, Martin said he was careful to only address issues with the project proposals relating to county concerns.v "If they generate the amount of traffic they're proposing, there are some real concerns here," Martin said, noting certain roads (Old Olympic Highway, Kendall Road, Hendrickson Road and Priest Road) currently do not meet design standards for width.

"We just felt with this project, there wasn't enough information. Hopefully the city will seek more information from the applicants."

Martin wrote the projects do not adequately address drainage and ground-water issues in an aquifer area as shallow as 100 feet or less. Sequim city planner Dennis Lefevre said he understands the county has issues with both projects.

He said the city won't do an in-house traffic study but will most likely combine efforts with one or more project coordinators.

"We admit there may have been some issues we may have overlooked, and (these projects are) certainly not a done deal," Lefevre said. "They (county officials) have that right to be concerned. This is what we wanted. We were looking for refining comments."

Lefevre said the city has a 21-day repeal window that hasn't been triggered for the Wal-Mart project. The city council would handle a repeal of the review. The city is still developing the review for Sequim Village Marketplace and will come before the council in May.

Tuesday morning, Paul McHugh, city council member, real estate developer and the local representative for Sequim Village Marketplace, said he had not yet seen the county's comments regarding environmental concerns about the project.

Amy Hill, Wal-Mart's community affairs manager for the West region, said she had not seen the county's concerns, but that her company was reviewing all comments about the Sequim project. "We feel confident we meet all local, state and federal requirements," Hill said.

Tuesday morning calls to PacLand, the company who developed the project proposal for Sequim Village Marketplace, were not returned. Both projects have initial phase construction completed by 2004, assuming government reviews are completed.

Published 4.16.03


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.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site