State panel to hear challenge to countys stormwater plan

first_imgClark County’s controversial plan for managing stormwater runoff will be argued before the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. A four-day hearing is scheduled to start Sept. 28 in Lacey.The board hears appeals from the Department of Ecology, and after the state approved the county’s stormwater plan last year a challenge was filed by Earthjustice. The Seattle law firm represents three environmental groups: the Rosemere Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeeper of Hood River, Ore., and Northwest Environmental Defense Center, based at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. While the specifics of the county’s stormwater plan will be argued, the outcome could have wider implications. The board indicated in an Aug. 27 ruling that it wants to hear arguments on state vesting laws and how lenient all counties should be able to be with developers. Currently, an applicant can build under the rules in place at the time the application was filed. This lets builders avoid any new rules that may be adopted later, even if the rules are adopted before anything is actually built. “This is a major change for the state as a whole, although how exactly it plays out remains to be seen,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman.As for the county’s contested plan, it was developed in a compromise with the Department of Ecology, which oversees the federal Clean Water Act.last_img read more