County seeks stormwater review to support economic development
Christine Cook, Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Vancouver, WA – Clark County is petitioning the Washington Supreme Court to review a recent appellate court decision that could interfere with economic development by changing requirements previously enacted to manage stormwater runoff flowing to local waters.
In a petition being filed today, the county argues that the state Court of Appeals was wrong to uphold an earlier decision by the Pollution Control Hearings Board because the hearings board exceeded its authority when considering an agreement between the county and Washington Department of Ecology.
In effect, the county is asking the Supreme Court to find that the hearings board had no authority to:
• Change rules about which stormwater regulations apply to specific projects through “vesting,” which increases the cost of developing private business sites.
• Compel the county to reduce flexibility by requiring certain forms of “low-impact” development.
• Specify how much the county spends on publicly owned stormwater facilities, regardless of financial circumstances.
“The hearings board has tried to dictate aspects of our Clean Water program approved by the state long ago,” said Marc Boldt, chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “We believe it overstepped its bounds. The Supreme Court should recognize that and reverse the appeals court decision that upheld the error.”
In a related stormwater case, the county is complying with a federal order that affects projects that did not receive final engineering approval before Dec. 28, 2011. Clark County Community Development issued a memorandum on how to comply. For details, go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/development/about/documents/Permits-Authorizations-stormwater.pdf.