Newsflash has followed the case of the citizens v. Wal-Mart in the small town (pop. 4,300) of Sequim (“skwim”) in the state of Washington. Here’s the latest communique from the front lines of the battle for Sequim: “This comes to you from the tiny town of Sequim, WA — gateway to the pristine Olympic National Park. You may also know us for our famous Dungeness Crab. Recently, the City Council approved two massive retail developments — a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. Both projects would be very close to the Dungeness River, yet no environmental impact studies were required. A little over a week ago, came the announcement that a third development, with yet another 400,000 square feet of floor space, is in the works. All in a sparsely populated, rural community. To project our environment, and our way of life, Sequim First has asked the courts to require environmental impact studies on both developments. In 2003, the Sequim City Council approved construction of an enormous Wal-Mart “supercenter,” just 1,400 feet from the beautiful Dungeness River. With a floor space of three football fields, and 22 acres of parking lots, the impact of this store on every aspect of our region will be enormous. The City Council never required an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of this development. In fact, the Sequim city attorney stated, “All that is really needed for approval of the project is a non-discretionary building permit, even if it kills all the fish.”
Sequim First is a local citizen’s group of more than 500 families and businesses in the Sequim area. The group is concerned about so much unconsidered growth, and wants to see healthy planning in the peninsula region. Some of the things they are doing include: the appeal to the courts for Environmental Impact Studies of both the Wal-Mart and Sequim Village Marketplace developments; Encouraging community members to take an interest in city governance; Supporting the intent of the City’s comprehensive plan;Appealing the City’s Determination of Non-Significance; Encouraging positive development; Community education. For more background on the Sequim fight, go to www.sequimfirst.org. For earlier stories on this battle, search the Newsflash database by the name of the town.