Wednesday, January 26, 2005 5:30 – 9:00 PM
Yakima County Courthouse, Room B-33

The Planning Commission held a public meeting on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 in Room B-33 of the Yakima County Courthouse.

Members Present:  Zella West, Tom Biehl, Lori Wheeler, Ed Burns, Nancy Charron, Chuck Padorr

Staff Present:  Dean Patterson, John Marvin, Steve Erickson, Ryan Hopkins, Mike Kerins, Terry Austin

Public Present:  Gene Jenkins, David Taylor, Joe Walsh

Call to Order                                                                                                 

Chair West called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. 

Old Business

The November 10th meeting minutes were approved, with changes.

The December 8th meeting minutes were approved as presented.

New Business      

Questions for Terry Austin

Discussion of Ed’s motion from last week’s public hearing. Can we do this?

Terry:  If you are not ready to make a decision, tell the Board that you are not ready to make a recommendation at this point.  Send the proposal forward and ask for it to be remanded back for further review.

The group discussed this further and decided that it is important for representatives from the Planning Commission to attend the Board’s Agenda when this recommendation is presented.  The group also decided that they will continue to review materials relating to the Critical Areas Ordinance and Shoreline Master Program through future study sessions.  

Chuck: There are a number of legal and quasi legal questions that have come up.  Many of them have been submitted in writing.  We heard or read a number of these for the first time. I will go through those:

Submitted by Taylor Consulting:

There are some procedural errors that we are committing – Have you been provided these?


If staff would give you a copy of everything submitted.  There are statements in these documents that we need some clarification on.  The first has to do with our ability to take action on the CAO and the SMP based upon some laws or WAC’s. 

Nancy: Is there an interpretation on BAS; is it only Environmental Science?

Dean:  The State WACS have a description of what science is.  It describes the range of science.  The science also has to be applicable to the subject matter.

Zella: I would like to focus on questions for Terry.  I would like to ask that if we have questions for Terry that we use this time for those questions.  We can pose questions to staff at a later time.

Ed: Please look at an e-mail from Karin Berkholtz to John Marvin.  I just bring that up to make sure that you review that.

Chuck: Possibly staff can provide you a submission by Gene Jenkins.  Page 2 there is a question regarding hazardous trees within a buffer area.  By putting a limitation on certain stream structures. The county would by in conflict with State Laws.

John: There are a number legal questions.  We can provide all of this to Terry.

Chuck: One of the last speakers on the Goals and Policies was Scott Nicholai.  “The County must re-write the CAO under GMA, as apposed to reviewing”. One of the biggest questions was a suggestion to issue a notice of availability.  What is required by this act? 

There were discussions about the concept of restoration.  This is a big question.

Ed: I would like to know if a project is started, can there be restoration on that project?  How far can we go with that?  

Chuck: You will see a couple of legal decisions cited.  I think it is important to know the impact of those decisions. Are they relevant?  We need to know what the importance and value of these are. If we need your guidance in the future, can we use you?

Ed: Procedurally down the road, if we get a group of 5 or 6 people.  Can we sit down with them at a public meeting to get some solutions to these documents? 

Terry: This is the process you want to have at a public hearing.  Let me think about this.  Our original CAO was appealed by the Yakama Nation.  The setbacks and buffers are a result of the Growth Boards.  They were increased by the Growth Board.  The WAC’s that exist in the Shoreline Guideline now are a result of litigation that the County was a part of.  The County was a plaintiff in this process.  I will review the documents

Zella: Five minute Break.  And we will hear from staff.

·        Staff Presentation,  6:15 PM

Dean: There were some negatives and positives from the meetings.  Positive comments on the public process.  There were 44 exhibits submitted at meetings.  We need to make sure the PC has all of the items. 

Dean:  There are a lot of materials to process.  We have come up with four major themes from the meetings.  Procedural, BAS, etc.

Chuck: Staff has indicated that they keep getting the same questions.  It is time to let staff draw a line in the sand so we can go forward.  Would this be good?

Dean:  We have already been doing this.  Issue papers to forestall some comments and answer questions.

Chuck: Some of these may be legal questions that Terry Austin can address.   This would be a value to us also.

Zella: With 2 caveats, the Commission should discuss all decisions made.  Most of this boils down to interpretation. PC needs to weigh in on Terry Austin’s decisions. 

Steve: This is so we can move on, so we can get to the details.

Zella: There are 2 Paths to choose from:

      1) Work on Goals and policies.

      2) Work on Goals and Policies and the specific regulations.

Zella: The next scheduled meeting on February 9th is a public hearing for UGA expansions.  The February 26th is for the first draft of some regulations.

Dean: We can use the 26th meeting to review the themes we heard from the public events.

Zella: Let’s get the themes listed from last week.

The Group began to brainstorm themes which needed further clarification.

Lori: What is necessary?

The group agreed on: Buffers, definitions, BAS, private property rights, restoration vs. protection, economic aspects, development incentives and alternatives.

Chuck: What is really being changed? In text and maps “focus on the change”. 

Lori: What law transcends the land? With the riverine - do we have a right?

Nancy: Views of the PAIs?  Public view?

Steve: This sounds like the tool kit or options.

Zella: We were provided with alternate goals and policies and ordinance. Some of the other issues were:  Mining – The miners thought the proposals were way too restrictive,  BAS, urban vs. rural, lack of credibility, shoreline jurisdiction, time constraints, agricultural operations impact.

Chuck: Solution based process to resolve all of these themes.  Taking the themes and coming up with solutions.

The Commission continued: How the ordinance is implemented, project management & timing, fish and wildlife habitat, Water: manmade vs. natural, diversions & water rights, mapping.

Zella: The CAO is too difficult to read, impact of stream typing

Dean: Do we have to update? We are misinforming the public – annual amendment cycle

Steve: Beyond themes, down to specific like CARA, Geo-Hazards.

Zella: This should go under procedures – new CA and existing.

Dean:  BAS and SAG, report would be abused.  Don’t adopt.  Buffers are mandatory.

Chuck: We can get at the specifics after we get the themes Does staff envision additional outreach?

Dean: Yes, we will continue our ongoing outreach.

Ed: Will CFHMP affect Critical Areas?

Dean:  We keep track of other county projects – we already have stormwater and flood hazard provisions in the CAO.  The new CFHMP process is not regulatory

Zella:  Any suggestions from the audience?  After, I will ask everyone to name there top 5 priorities.

Gene Jenkins: Wildlife corridors affect on agriculture, grandfathering.

Dave Taylor: What have you missed?  Internal consistency and cause and effect.

Zella: Does that mean implementation?

Dave Taylor: How a policy or regulations affects a landowner – Does the ordinance meet the GMA for urban growth.

Zella: This falls between a lot of other categories

Doug M– How do goals and policies deal with essential public facilities like wastewater?

Greenway: Procedural - people didn’t know how this all flows together.

Gene: Is public testimony for the entire document- open up existing goals for argument?  This may be a questions for Terry Austin.

Zella asked the group to list their Top 5 themes from this list.

Lori – what is necessary




private property rights

Ed – legal issues

Protect of fish and wildlife



Private property and agriculture


Private property

What is necessary

Local control

Protect mining





Urban vs. rural

Development incentives

Economic impacts


Legal issues






Legal issues

Ordinance implementation

Procedures and process for solutions




Legal issues


What is necessary

Economic impacts


Dave Taylor – putting these in any order is difficult for agriculture, how does this affect tomorrow, the interrelationship of everything.

Property rights





Gene Jenkins

Property rights




What is necessary

Doug M

Restoration vs. protection

No net loss

Urban vs. rural








Private prop



What is necessary

Private property


Local control

Zella: We can now get the core issues down.

Ed:  What are we going to do with the ones no one picked?

Steve: I think we have a first tier, but there are still a lot of other issues

Lori: Why are we still discussing legal issues and what is necessary?

Zella: This is based on legal interpretation.

Zella:  Let’s vote:  Do we want to consolidate this brainstorming list? Tom yes, Lori yes, Ed no, Nancy organize yes, but not delete any.

Chuck: The purpose of this is to get consensus, and bring as many people together to address these issues.  Lets prioritize to save time, what do we think are the big issues?

Dean: All these are generated from specific comments.  Some are misunderstandings, some are  legal issues we need to get past, and some ask if we need to do?

Zella: We need to go through the exhibits and use themes as guidelines, and review as a group.

Zella: Do we need to review all of this as a group? (Everyone confirmed)

Zella:  This will give staff a chance to start writing ordinance.

Zella – When do we do this?  The next CAO is 2/23.  Do we want to meet before now?

The staff needs to have time to provide their input.

Chuck: I think over the next two meetings, we need Terry’s opinion to move on.  ASAP getting folks together for multiple meetings to begin the process – we will gain credibility – getting consensus.  When will the first get together be?

Zella: We will use any left over time on 2/9 to discuss exhibits and 2/23 with Terry A -  we need to think more about and plan for group meetings – lets have a subcommittee meeting with PC and staff to think about group meetings

Ed: Sub-group can meet to determine 2/23 agenda.

Zella: Who is the subgroup?

Lori: Let’s decide by email

Zella: Who is interested? Tom, Chuck, Ed – Tom is the alternate

Tom: Public participation is different than public observation.  I think it is wise to allow the public to sit in on these meetings.

Dave T.: Questions to legal are good, public has an interest and would like to review and respond. There is a concern that staff can respond to PC but public gets “back doored”.  Record is closed.  If supplemental information is submitted from staff, it should come from others as well.  Deadline is 12/06, don’t pigeon hole or feel pressured – you have a proposed ordinance you can measure against.

Zella: Undecided about public observation. Let’s wait for Terry A opinion.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Planning Commission