The Yakima County Planning Commission held a Roundtable Meeting on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. at the EDS 105 Conference Center.
Members Present: Zella West, Chuck Padorr, Nancy Charron, Ed Burns, Tom Biehl
Members Absent: Lori Wheeler, Gene Gamache
Staff Present: John Marvin, Ryan Hopkins, Steven Erickson, Terri Cyr, C.J. Catt
Spokesperson(s) Present: David Taylor-Agriculture, Chris Nass-Assoc. of Realtors, Joe Walsh-Development Representatives, Onni Perala-Roza Irrigation, Preston Shepherd-Nob Hill Water, Mike Buchanan-COG, Wayne Kalbfleisch-Central Pre Mix, Leslie Wahl-Audubon Society, Doug Pineo & Jeff Lewis-DOE, Gary Beeman, DOT, Mark Teske-Fish & Wildlife, Scott Nicolai-Yakama Nation, Marie Zuroske-S. Yakima Conservation, Michael Tobin-N. Yakima Conservation, Doug Maples-City Planning, Mary Place-City of Yakima, Bill Hordan-Superior Asphalt, Chad Carlson-Columbia Asphalt, Larry Sali-Columbia Ready Mix, Jim Milton-Tri County Water, Bill Kloster-AGC, Bill Huibregtse-Huibregtse,Louman Engineer, Bill Rathbone-City of Union Gap, Dennis Davison, City of Selah, Al Brown-Greenway Foundation
Chair West called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. giving the format, schedule, guidelines and procedures of the meeting. Tonight is to discuss the CARA Section and the GeoHazards Section, if time permits. This roundtable meeting is a result of public meetings held in January. Changes you recommend will be put on the white board. After hearing the changes presented tonight, then we can work towards a balanced solution. Hopefully, on April 27th the Commission will have a study session on what we’ve heard tonight.
There are a series of discussion questions I will be asking the group and will go around the table. I will start off as follows:
I will consider this meeting successful if:
Chris Nass: That the concerns the Realtors have with draft are adequately communicated and received.
Joe Walsh: This truly is an honest and open exchange of ideas and information.
Mary Place: The meeting is completed by 8:00 p.m.
Doug Maples: There are adequate regulations to protect critical areas and environment that are acceptable and reasonable.
Wayne Kalbfleisch: The regulations are reasonable and the community can live with them.
Marie Zuroske: I can take back three issues for the Board to consider.
Gary Beeman: The regulations are reasonable and practical.
Scott NicolaiL The regulations reflect the needs of our children and grandchildren.
Tom Biehl: Achieve aspirations Zella has laid out for our participation.
Chuck Padorr: I already think this is a success by attendance and organization. People can hear each other out too.
Ed Burns: we are working together for the same goal, see individuals willingness to give for Yakima County not just for their own interest. Use communications & good understanding.
Nancy Charron: Learn a couple new points of view.
Preston Shepherd: Have a good practical ordinance.
Dave Taylor: Discussion is meaningful, and the ordinance is reasonable and protects property rights.
Doug Pineo: I learn something. The public process is a good process.
Leslie Wall: The process goes well and sets model that can be used in the future.
Al Brown: All sides of issues are presented, outcome of Planning Commission is a balance.
Michael Buchanan: Results in an ordinance that works for the cities and towns as well.
Onni Perala: Rules that still protect agriculture while also protecting soils and waters of our county.
Steve Erickson: It’s already a success by brining all these people together.
Zella: If everyone has the opportunity to be heard. Heard a good representation of what the needs of the group are. Striving for balance – how we get there is where we are going tonight.
John Marvin provided a CARA section presentation: Strategy came about thru our public process. Took all those ideas and developed ordinance.
Roundtable Review of the CARA Section:
One benefit I see in the Draft CARA section is…
Chris: Purpose and intent, line 30 #4, line 35 #5.
Joe: Inclusion of the aquifer recharge subject in the Critical Areas Ordinance.
Mary: well head protection area.
Doug: Mapping methodology is critical to identifying what CARA elements are. Making sure those are adequate.
Wayne: No changes to existing Goals & Policies.
Marie: Clarifies purpose and intent.
Scott: Raises level of consideration for protection of aquifers.
Dave: There are minimum changes proposed.
Leslie: Criteria for mapping aquifers
Michael: Relies on current state and fed regulations to provide protection.
Onni: Well head protection
One area of concern I see with the Draft CARA section is…
Steve: Have not done the work to clarify the link between the map and the regulations.
Onni: All of the groundwater areas for towns is all mapped.
Michael: Interchangeability of the use critical aquifer recharge area and groundwater throughout the goals and policies and the draft chapter. These are two different things. Don’t see that the map was reviewed by a professional hydrologist.
Al: BAS as relates to mapping.
Dave: Existing goals & policies don’t meet, no changes being recommended.
Scott: Concern that this draft does not provide protection to aquifer recharge areas.
Gary: Catch basin and UIC rule and potential impacts how they tie together.
Marie: Conflict between purpose and intent section.
Wayne: No critical aquifer recharge areas that have been identified based on scientific studies. CARA map is a concern.
Doug: That BAS is not adequate for approval by CTED.
Mary: Under page 2, line 70, protection of CARA thru YCC, zoning… don’t have that before us to look at.
Joe: Line 76, additional burden placed on applicant groundwater being protected from contamination.
Mike T.: Protects against cumulative affects over time.
Of the 3 changes I would like to make to the CARA section, my #3 priority is…
Joe: The Ordinance, Lines 44, 45, mapping – this analysis was at a course analysis scale.. CARA map identifies map of contamination, word “identifies” be changes to “estimates”.
Mary: Line 70/71 consistency between different regulations be there.
Doug: Ordinance, lines 26-29, establish review procedures for development activities… going to make statement need to give procedures in this document or reference codes we are going to use. Land use review process – like to index, line 28. This was added to index list for future review.
Wayne: Ordinance, lines 51 -56, GIS analysis information is broad. Recommends adding language that says if 50% probability it should be studied. CARA map has to be smaller in area and there needs to be a scientific basis for paint brush.
Scott: Mapping is inaccurate over the entire county and monitoring of groundwater for pollutants should be added to assessing CARA’s.
Dave: Accept changes as proposed by the alternate CAO presented by Preston Shepherd at the January Public Hearing.
Leslie: Implement Doe recommendations, infiltration and doe regulations to protect CARA.
Michael: line 52-56, RCW 18.22.0, WAC 308-15 (Geologist Licensing requirements) – Yakima County’s CARA mapping was not done by a licensed hydro-geologist
Onni: It’s not all tied together.
Zella: Couple of specific changes to the document, more concerns there needs to be more flushing out on how these documents are tied together. See if we can consolidate some of these ideas. We will address concerns at a different time.
Zella captured: Change “identify to estimates”; reference to land use review process not being described; CARA map is too big for Yakima County, needs to be condensed; mapping needs to be better monitored for the aquifers; add infiltration section and DOE requirements; Mike referenced the WAC, CARA map, BAS was not used in aquifer recharge areas.
Adding infiltration section, we can study more. Mapping is the big issue tonight. How are we going to fix that? Mapping being used is a guideline and a source of information, nothing more. Regardless is you are located within CARA or not, you will still need to meet standards proposed in this ordinance. At what point do the regulations apply to the map?
Steve: The issue staff came to was to list the uses that have the greatest potential to cause contamination. Regardless where these uses are located, they are still going to have to meet State and Federal standards. The structure of this draft chapter is to use existing standards found in State, Federal and local zoning regulations to provide protection of CARA’s. Those uses which have the highest potential to contaminate must simply show their work and demonstrate that they are going to follow existing standards. This allows CARAs to be protected without adding additional regulations.
Marie: In list of uses, “hazardous waste generator” is of great concern. The way this WAC reads, almost any business would be a hazardous waste generator but they would be listed as an exemption.
Steve: There are a host of exemptions that need to be added and reviewed in the administration section of this ordinance. This was added to index list for future review.
Bill Huibregtse: Broad scope, not a lot of faith in administration coming out of this County. Ordinance is very vague and allows things to be left to interpretation. This is worrisome.
Michael: There seems to be a need to gather more information. We know where the wells are and we need to protect those. My concern is, the bigger area you say you’ll protect, the less protection you can provide. If you designate less area you will be able to provide greater protection.
Scott: Some areas are of higher concern because of contaminated water. County staff has told me of those areas. If county has polluted aquifers, they need to make sure new land uses are done in a way that doesn’t further pollute them.
Mark: Infiltration issue – (Teske) only issue.
Wayne: Only protect those sites that have over 50% probability of groundwater contamination where no mitigation is proposed or possible. Targeting the affected areas.
Steve: Refers back to the protection strategy concept. It is a coordinative function, based on types of uses that have a contamination potential.
Of the 3 changes I would like to make to the CARA section, my #2 priority is…
Joe: In the new Zoning Ordinance section, 9-12 first word should be “the uses”… must demonstrate how groundwater will be… includes all on-site sewage systems of a certain amount. Recommendation if it is less than 14,000 gallons for on-site septic systems, regulated by DOE.
Mary: Zoning Ordinance Chapter 15, lines 21, administrative official may supplement this list… nervous about adding to list without process. Has to be some kind of public process to add to the list, thru the Planning Commission. PC review to account for changes.
Wayne: Agree with them; zoning standards Chapter 15, Table of Uses. Uses that don’t have potential to contaminate CARA in Yakima County – remove those uses. Recommend reduce those items on the list, i.e. above ground storage tanks and surface mining for example.
Gary: Chapter 15.25, table of Uses “Hazardous Waste” - remove including and handling of hazardous substances. Line 20 & 21.
Scott: Educational component that gets out and talks to landowners on best management practices. Get Board of County Commissioners to fund ½ FTE to talk to interest groups about protecting aquifers.
Dave: Title 15 line 16, responsibility, insuring compliance with Federal laws, the county does have an obligation to notify applicants of other permits that are required.
Not addressing hazardous waste in the CARA area. What are the adverse effects if it’s a hazardous issue.
Steve: Item 2 on page 1, needs to be clarified. Clarify what “must demonstrate” means.
Zella summarized what was stated as #2 priority: Acceptance for amending the admin. Official isn’t supplementing the list. Can we agree that going thru a public process to amend the list is a good idea?
Terry Austin: Want to have a process that puts in what others say.
All others agreed that this change should be made.
John: Uses need to follow standards for on-site systems, per Health District. Assuming if you’ve met standards to get septic permit, you are showing your work and protecting CARAs. The County is not proposing adding anything additional for on-site septic, just show your work.
Marie: Dangerous waste generators – concern. What if there isn’t a permit required by the State Agency? How will protection be provided? How can an applicant show their work if there is not a permit process to meet some of these standards?
Steve: Making customer aware of what the permits are so the onus is on them.
Dave: In the event a permit is issued by DOE, it’s exempt. Information county may get is a letter stating that you don’t need a permit.
Zella: Can we gain some consensus on the concern about on-site septic being adequately addressed? Compliance with WAC, yes. Concern on use and standard issues, systematic approach on how applicant demonstrates compliance; problem if you have applicant prove they’ve gone to everyone else – defeat the purpose of expediting projects; The problem could compound itself.
John: Threshold in State Law, for those figures.
No requirement in Health to maintain septic tank once it’s in. WAC code that regulates these systems is underway, per Gordon Kelly, Health District.
Dave: Recommends that all of the listed uses need to be looked at in greater detail.
Doug: Defer to what the District requires at this time.
Zella: Can we all agree that educating people as to the CARA’s is a good recommendation? Can the group support additional education?
Marie: What little we know about groundwater – the major issues are nitrates and pesticides. Unsure of the effectiveness of education in itself. Look at existing resources and why they may be effective.
Zella: Issue, line 16, staff make applicant aware other permits might be required; staff won’t take on legal responsibility to ensure they comply.
Wayne: Doesn’t the County currently give applicants a list during the permit application process?
Steve: Yes, and through this draft chapter, we are trying to give that disclosure early on.
Doug: Understanding of that statement. Importance to disclose all the permits required. It is two sided. We have to know what’s being proposed by the applicant as well.
All: Agreement relatively on this topic.
Repetitive issue on handling hazardous substances, already covered in list of topics.
Suggested reducing the number of items on zoning list; above-ground storage deals with Hanford tanks.
Doug: Define above-ground storage.
Wayne: The reference to the WAC in the table talks about above-ground tanks. Need to verify that was the section that applied.
Mike: Reducing this list, means that industry comes in to metal mine, doesn’t have to get permit. Are we gaining anything? or just protecting the County by leaving these on the list?
Dave: Serious look at what Wayne’s concerns are. Ties to standard section. Talks about this list in this table, no matter where it is, it is regulated.
Steve: The Strategy of this chapter is trying to deal with more likely point source of contaminants. Easily administered by the County.
Bill Hordan: For example, line 9 #2 states: Regardless of its location in or out of CARA, must demonstrate how groundwater will be protected.
Steve: This sentence needs to be reviewed and rewritten, it is not clearly conveying staff’s intent.
Zella: I think we’re all in agreement, need to change wording in Line 9#2..
Hordan: We need to see all of the references for the WAC’s and RCW’s listed in this table. The end of paragraph 2, want that in application submittal. Can’t get approved for DNR Reclamation Plan until we get sign off by the County. This can create a Catch 22 where the applicant gets caught between two agencies and the application is never approved.
Change the wording on quarry on top of mountain vs existing permits – what you’ll get will demonstrate the need for the CARA. Once they have permits, they will be protecting the CARA.
Dean: Take comments on demonstrating compliance and try to fix it. Issues can be remedied by changing the wording. My sense is most people are in agreement on this topic.
Doug: “Demonstrate” needs to be defined if it’s left in the ordinance.
Joe: Well head protection in Ordinance. The credit is given in the paragraph to the water purveyors, requirements of them in regards to sealing up a well. Identify well heads as a source of aquifer contamination, think that contamination would affect existing wells. Inequity of requiring new wells to meet state standards, when old wells are o.k. Existing well problematic areas are not affected by this.
Doug: Chapter 15.20, lines 9-12, look at 16A.09.030, line 76-79, applications for uses on the list must demonstrate how groundwater must be protected – correlate those two sections. If one is changed, the other must also be changed in order to ensure consistency.
Wayne: We haven’t heard anything about Preston Shepherd’s document as a preferred document. Maps for informational purposes only.
Scott: Gap analysis on the activities listed as regulated to see what has fallen thru the cracks. The list of activities needs further review.
Mark: Quantity vs quality is a concern. Role of quantity in aquifers as an example. Don’t see anything that assures the ability of the areas to function as such.
Zella encouraged the participants to submit their testimony in writing as well for the record.
Dave: Areas within all the components that make up the CARA section is of concern. Expand intent into other areas, 8.2 develop performance standards… wetlands, watersheds, surface water. County is stepping outside their jurisdiction. The language in this policy needs to be changed.
Onni: Goals & Policies NS8.2, “Wetlands” needs to be further defined. There is a big difference between natural and man-made wetlands for example. Under man made, want discussion to include wetlands that are irrigation enhanced or induced.
Chuck: This is a definitions issue. Carried along when we reach that point we can discuss these. This was added to index list for future review
Dean: Clarified that indexing the wetland issues, so that they can be covered under separate roundtable. Also reminded the group that the Goals and Policies have been around for 8 years, and there are no changes proposed to them.
Mike: Goals & Policies, top of groundwater.. was the groundwater there before the original Critical Area Ordinance?
Dean: This group of policies was under a heading called “water” and has been changed to be titled, Groudwater and Critical Aquifer recharge Areas.
Mike: Groundwater is another subject entirely, and should be removed from the CARA section.
Zella: Now that we have a list of the top three change request priorities, please couple your change request with another one on the list.
To Review the list of #1 priorities is:
14. Well head protection issue
15. Change language to be consistent.
16. Use Preston Shepherd alternative ordinance language.
17. Gap analysis so we’re not missing something;
18. Quantity vs. quality;
19. NS 8.2 wetlands manmade irrigation enhanced or induced vs. Natural wetlands.
(definitions we’ll get to in administration sections.)
20. Title 15, Line 16 #4, staff to make applicant aware of other permits.
Incorporate one idea from another person:
Joe: Hook his to gap analysis regulation, in conjunction with well head protection.
(14 & 17)
Wayne: Alternative ordinance hook to gap analysis. (16 &17)
Scott: Hook to quantity/quality. (17 & 18)
Mark: Hook to 17/18
Dave: Issue #1 with well head protection (16 & 14)
Onni: Definitions – hook with clarification for consistency (19 & 15)
Doug clarified: If we’re going to have 18.2 in CARA, it should only apply to CARA items, not wetlands.
Zella: Remove groundwater, missed number 20.
Chris: Link 20 with 16.
Dave: Written comments provided would be made available to the public throughout the process. General public can make written comments up to the 18th on CARA’s.
Zella: Yes, staff will make available any written documents they’ve received. After the 18th when they are gathered, staff will let us know they are available.
Steve: Encouraged people to put this in electronic format. So that staff can let you know they are available, a digital format will allow staff to post on the web.
Mary: Now that we are done with CARAs, does that close the comment period? There are a lot of chapters that are going to inter-relate, if we close comment period, it may be challenging. The process just needs to ensure that there will be consistency throughout the ordinance.
Zella: No, we won’t close off comments
Dave: Strongly recommends not having a hearing on just these three sections.
Doug: There needs to be a point when comments cease so you can gather thoughts on it.
Zella: Yes, it won’t go on forever. Submit your comments by the 18th so staff has opportunity to get them to the Planning Commission before the next study session.
Doug: I’m impressed by Yakima County’s consistent effort on this process. Seeing delays all over the place, so cutting off comments is a good thing. Doug explained his process.
Chuck: One of the issues is sub-hearings on some ordinances. If we get down the road, gone thru all the ordinance, taking enormous amounts of comments, things will get lost. Breaking hearing process into groups is one way to divide this into manageable pieces. We will consider additional time that will create.
Dave: Will PC conduct study session on April 27th on CARA’s? and then start Geohazards in May?
Zella: Not sure right now. Need to regroup on this and let you know.
What worked well for you tonight? or what can be done to the make process better in the future?
Steve: Limiting roundtable to a single topic.
Onni: Boiling down to the gist of the comment.
Dean: Discussion about what does “demonstrate” mean.
Doug: Clarified what everything means
Dennis Davison: Groups were listening to each other
Terry A.: Great group of stakeholders
Christy Lafayett: Like to be sitting at table – good process
Jeff: Excellent facilitator, got to important issues
Dave Saunders: Excellent structure to process, good communication
Michael: Distilling the essence
Al: Get out of here friends, as it’s a long process
Leslie: Process was encouraging
Doug: Good process, asked everyone to explain their acronym at least once
Dave: Thanks to PC members that always show up
Nancy: Very effective, good audience participation
Chuck: fulfilled promises
Tom: Appreciate passion everyone has for their area of knowledge
Scott: Well run meeting
Gary: Well run, opportunity with varied expertise to deliver their comments
Marie: Asking us to come up with specific language not just concerns
Wayne: Process is healthy, everybody needs to continue to express and listen, see some changes with our ideas. Encourage us to not go too quickly.
Bill, AGC: Great meeting, everybody came with an open mind and listened.
Bill Hordan: Ditto, important that the staff hear what people have said regarding interpretation.
Chad: County has put forth great effort; convey ourselves well to a group, what’s written has been a question. Miscommunication to be eliminated
Doug: Pessimistic at first, now very pleased. A little apprehensive about combining regulations with goals and policies then too. Agree with the process now.
Mary: Different concern being an elected official, process is good, not done until September raises concerns. Need to get this done so that Yakima can go through our own process.
Joe: Pleasantly surprised
Chris: Analysis of draft in a short time, time afforded to me now to really look at other chapters. Lucky to have the level of agreement on some of the issues.
Zella: Need to be a part of this process. Geohazards date is 2nd Wednesday in May – the llth.
The Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Secretary, Planning Commission
Planning Commission Chair