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Clallam to re-examine when cottage industry turns into retail business

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM -- The plant may be lavender, but the problem still is thorny.

Exactly when a cottage industry turns into a retail business -- and what's to be done about it -- is a prickly question for Rob Robertsen to answer.

Robertsen, the elected director of the Clallam County Department of Community Development, said Wednesday the county's zoning codes are partly at fault for an issue that surfaced most recently over a Sequim lavender farm.

Robertsen said he'll re-examine that complaint, plus those in several similar cases where home-based industries have become too successful for their neighbor's comfort.

Too many visitors to farm

Purple Haze Lavender Ltd., 180 Bell Bottom Road, Sequim, will attract thousands of visitors during the Sequim Lavender Festival on July 15-18 -- to the dismay of the farm's next-door neighbor, Alice Lucier.

Lucier objects to the traffic and dust cars and buses will kick up on the narrow unpaved road. She cites county zoning codes in her long-running attempts to halt the activity.

``I can sympathize with her,'' Robertsen said. ``I can see her point.

``Some of her complaints are legitimate. There's an enormous amount of traffic on that little gravel road and a whole lot of activity going on.''

However, Robertsen said he also empathizes with Purple Haze owner Michael Reichner, the first of Sequim's renowned lavender farmers.

Reichner's retail activities support his farm, which in turn preserves the area's agricultural character.

``It's not fair to Mr. Reichner to come in now and say, `We're going to shut you down because we've reinterpreted our codes.' We have to consider those things as well.''


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