Battelle's Sequim Marine Research Operations Center can begin planning a new waterfront building now that its 140-acre campus area can receive sewer and water service and be annexed into the city.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Clallam County commissioners approved expansion of Sequim's urban growth area to include the property along the shores of Sequim Bay just north of the city limits.
Sequim planning director Dennis Lefevre said the final hurdle is city council approval of the ordinance establishing the new "research and development park" zone and land-use classification and a new comprehensive plan policy supporting the expansion.
"Then we'll entertain a request from Battelle for an annexation. That's up to Battelle but it probably will happen fairly quickly."
Two new buildings
The other step is working with the city's utility staff on extending city water and sewer service to the site, which will be easier with the recent appointment of Jim Pemberton as interim public works director, Lefevre said.
Only seven acres of the Battelle site are developed. A campus master plan projects growth of up to 500,000 square feet in the next 10-20 years.
Battelle is studying replacement of one building near the beach as part of that expansion, said Dwight Hughes, Battelle facilities manager
"We need to get the cost and do that fairly soon because we'll be studying hydro-kinetic energy. We're trying to set up for both biomass and hydrokinetic energy research, so we need the space for testing with larger tanks," Hughes said.
The Sequim lab is part of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which received a three-year $6.8 million grant in August to study environmental impacts of generating electricity from oceans and rivers.
Built in 1970s
The lab's address is 1529 West Sequim Bay Road but Hughes said what really makes Battelle a marine research lab is the building on Washington Harbor Road next to the beach.
It was built in the 1970s and needs to be upgraded to include a larger research tank, he said.
Battelle also might add a building to house a huge computer for modeling coastal climate change, and Battelle Memorial Institute - the parent organization - might put in a couple of buildings as well, Hughes said.
Battelle performs water resources modeling, ecotoxicology testing, biotechnology research and marine and coastal resource testing for the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as well as other private and public entities.
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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