A community forum is set for tonight,(10/4/21) 7:00PM, at the Yakima Convention Center.  Organizers have invited the wide swath of potential rural water users to talk about water, wells, costs and regulations.

Shaky From The Start?

Former 15th District State Representative Dave Taylor, says when the county started looking closely at enacting an ordinance governing domestic wells there was a concern aboit a “potential” lawsuit by a left-leaning group called Futurewise, that seeks to limit development and hamstring builders, farmers, and home buyers.  Taylor believes it was intimidation, the fear of a potential lawsuit, that lead the Yakima County Commissioners to bypass efforts that Taylor and other lawmakers were working on, and instead passed a Hirst Decision compliant ordinance, instituting a top-heavy and unnecessary “Utility” on County residents.

What is the Hirst decision?

As reported by The Yakima Herald-Republic (YHR) " In 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court's Hirst Decision, county planning agencies are now required to make an independent determination on whether there is an adequate amount of legal and available water before issuing building permits for a new home or subdivision. Previously, it could rely on findings from the state Department of Ecology."

It used to be that homebuilders and homeowners in rural areas of the County could get water by drilling a well because wells were considered exempt due to their relatively low water usage. ( 5,000 gallons or fewer per day).

But the Supreme Court ruled on the Hirst Decision, that a county cannot grant a building permit if the property owner cannot prove they have legal right to a sufficient water, namely that it does not impinge on the water supply from either a protected river or stream or a senior water right holder.

What;s The Other Side?

Not everyone agrees with the governmental & regulatory approach to implementing the details of the Hirst ruling.  A good example of that can be found HERE.

Taylor, now with the Yakima Association of Realtors says "public input was severely limited in this process, so our county Associations seek now to provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns."

The sponsors and some of the affected parties of the event include the Yakima Association of Realtors; Central Washington Home Builders Association; Yakima County Farm Bureau; Washington State Ground Water Association; and Yakima County Cattlemen’s Association.

Alice Villasenor of the Yakima Association of Realtor invites all concerned to attend.

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