Update: The Whatcom Tea Party posted this additional information on their website… Ltr to WC Planning Comm
The Court of Appeals, in accepting this case, referred to another case (Kittitas), which
…held the GMA requires counties to “regulate to some extent to assure that land use is not inconsistent with available resources” and “assure adequate potable water is available when issuing building permits and approving subdivision applications. “While Ecology is responsible for appropriation of groundwater by permit under RCW 90.44.050, the County is responsible for land use decisions that affect groundwater resources, including subdivision, at least to the extent required by law.” Ecology “ought to assist counties in their land use planning to adequately protect water resources.” The parties dispute counties’ and Ecology’s roles in addressing water availability for rural development with respect to water code exempt wells. Whatcom County argues the Board incorrectly extended Kittitas beyond the subdivision regulations context and incorrectly required the county, instead of Ecology, to require property owners who would otherwise be exempt from water permit requirements to submit a costly water impairment analysis.
This case, and the issue generally, raises numerous important concerns:
- Should private individuals and organizations assume the power to dictate “remedies” such as public policy and regulation to our elected representatives?
- If there are water quality and quantity problems, how have those been proven – to whom?
- The Growth Management Hearings Board is a quasi-judicial board of state appointees that reviews comprehensive plans as they relate to the GMA (the Growth Management Act). It is not technically qualified nor empowered to make rulings of law or fact in cases involving water law or even “environmental law.”
- Would not the correct duty and response of our local and state government be to identify and solve actual water quality and quantity problems, when and where they exist?
- If the denial of land use should ever be necessary, should such a “taking” (for public benefit) be compensated for? The Washington State Constitution addresses takings.