The tribe lowers the height of the planned hotel
PORT ANGELES – The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe lowered the height of a planned $ 25 million waterfront hotel in downtown Port Angeles to 45 feet, eliminating the need for a permit to conditional use and a shoreline deviation for the long-standing project.
The planned four-story Elwha hotel at 101-111 E. Front St. would still have 106 rooms, according to the tribe’s updated Substantial Coastline Development Permit application submitted in July.
It was unclear on Monday how the design change, lowered from a previously planned 60-foot height, was accomplished.
“It looks like the stories they have are not as high as they used to be,” Community Development Officer Emma Bolin said on Monday.
âWe are not doing a building review at this point. We have elevations and we also have basic floor plans. We are only looking at the volume and dimensions of the coastline.
Project manager Michael Peters declined to comment on the details of the revised application or the date of resumption of work on the 1.16 acre parcel.
“I am not yet able to comment,” he said in a text message.
The Ministry of Community and Economic Development determined that the application for a shoreline development permit was complete on August 10 and issued a determination of non-significance for environmental impacts.
“It’s a big step in the right direction,” Peters said last week in a text message.
Tribal Council President Frances Charles did not respond to calls for comment on Friday and Monday.
âThe shoreline process is simplified because they have reduced the height,â Bolin said last week. âThere is no decision from the Ministry of Ecology. It is an administrative decision of the city.
A shoreline permit is required because 45 feet of the planned 80,494 square foot hotel, which includes parking, is within 200 feet of the shoreline, measured from the ordinary high water mark, which subjects it to shoreline development regulations.
âAnalysis of climatic sea level rise (and continued land mass rise) is provided in the [State Environmental Policy Act], and is not expected to impact the property for the next 100 years, âaccording to the revised request.
âThe project will have no impact on the floodplain. ”
The tribe could submit a building permit for the project but could wait until the shoreline permit is finalized, Bolin said.
Preparation for construction included the removal of 8,000 tonnes of contaminated soil. The backfill would raise the site to its previous elevation.
“The function of the shoreline is enhanced by removing contaminated soils from the site that could migrate into the shoreline environment,” according to the updated shoreline permit application.
The hotel would include a restaurant and kitchen totaling 3,060 feet, a swimming pool and off-street parking for 36 vehicles.
The southwest corner, which faces Front and Laurel streets, would include a public space with landscaping, seating, and a trail built to American Disability Act standards.
Public seating and planters are also said to be located at the northwest corner of the property facing Railroad Avenue, facing the shore and offering views of Port Angeles harbor.
An open-air restaurant is planned for the same public seating area that faces Railroad Avenue.
The building would be constructed between Railroad Avenue to the north, Front Street to the south, Laurel Street to the west, and the Gateway Transit Center to the east.
“The development of the hotel enhances public access and enjoyment by providing attractive landscaping and pathways between Front Street and Railroad Avenue, as well as a view of the shoreline between the two streets,” says the request for allowed.
âPublic shore and seating with a view are provided,â he says.
âThe use of the site as a hotel matches that of the Red Lion Hotel a few meters from the shore.â
The tribe purchased the downtown plot as city surplus in December 2018.
The Necessities & Temptations gift shop, Cornerhouse Restaurant & Lounge, Downtown Hotel, Harbor Art Gallery, Budget Rent a Car and Winters Garage, which housed an oil and gas company, were demolished in the fall of 2019 to make way for the project.
A delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic extended until November 2020, when Peters predicted that construction would begin by this summer and be completed by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Peters said in June that the authorization and electrical switch issues needed to be addressed.
Applications for land and shoreline use permits were filed in early 2021.
According to the updated permit application, the electrical switch will be relocated, an issue Peters said in a previous interview was delaying the design of the project.
City public works director Thomas Hunter said Monday that a tribal contractor would move the switch, a standard small switch box to ground level, in late September.
âNo major downtime is planned at this time,â said Hunter.
“The only reason it had to be moved is because their design required it to be moved,” he said. “Looks like everything is on the right track, and we are delighted to see them moving forward.”
A 30-day public comment period on the environmental impact on the riparian permit and state environmental policy law checklist begins today.
Written comments on the project can be submitted no later than September 23 to DCED at [emailÂ protected]
To review project documents, contact Assistant Planner Kevin Bagwell at 360-417-4750 or [emailÂ protected]
The project will not go to a public hearing, Bolin said.
Senior Editor Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [emailÂ protected].