The Nisqually Valley News published on December 19th a story about the Final Thurston Highlands Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released on November 24th
[Ed. Note: What took the local newspaper so long to publish this important story?]:
“Final EIS for the Highlands issued by City of Yelm
The City of Yelm Community Development Department issued the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community.”
“The City of Yelm Community Development Department issued the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community.
The final statement addresses all comments submitted during the review period.
Many of the comments addressed the length of the document.
People, including JZ Knights attorney Keith Moxon, felt the document was too long.
The text of the draft EIS is 331 pages, including tables, excluding figures.
Chapter Three is 154 pages and summarizes approximately 1,200 pages of separate technical reports.
[Ed. Note: Yes, many comments were about the length of the document. Why even the City of Yelm Planning Commission Chair Carlos Perez wrote to Community Director Grant Beck and said in reference to the exceedingly long document, “‘By those rules [State of Washington’s Administrative Code, WAC] the Thurston Highlands DEIS is not in compliance.”]
‘Several methods could have been used to achieve a shorter document; for example, using a smaller font, narrower margins, no subheading structure in the impact analysis or mitigation measure sections, and more cross-referencing to the technical reports,’ the city countered.
‘The city felt those methods would have made the draft EIS more difficult to read.’
‘No one wants to have to continually flip back and forth while reading,’ Community Development Director Grant Beck said.
[Ed. Note: Shorter document? Difficult to read?? Oh, come on, Mr. Beck! Beck says, ‘No one wants to have to continually flip back and forth while reading,’ Grant, please spare the public such an embarrassing response from a City official! You and your colleagues at City Hall chose to not follow State regulations regarding this matter, to which even your own Planning Commissioner Chair wrote in the NVN, covered here previously.]
Other comments asked for additional time to review the document.
The standard review period is 30 days from the documents release date.
The review period was set for 45 days.
Additional comments from Moxon addressed the documents clarity and thoroughness.
‘It should be noted that, almost without exception, the (Moxon) comments that follow below request additional information and analysis in the draft EIS that would have further increased its size, not reduced the volume,’ the city countered.
The primary purpose of the EIS is to provide an impartial discussion of significant environmental impacts, and reasonable alternatives and mitigation measures that avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts.
[Ed. Note: Yes, that is true, however AFTER responding to public issues raised during the Draft EIS process; public Draft EIS comments in this case that were denied a response from the City of Yelm prior to the Final EIS, covered here on August 28th.]
The final EIS will be used by decision makers, along with other regulations and policies, in taking action on the proposed master planned community,” quoting the NVN.
[Ed. Note: I hope the community speaks up and lets the City know public input during this process was flagrantly disregarded, as stated in SEPA & the WAC. And, for such an outrageous lack of respect for the public by Mr. Beck’s ridiculous comments in the NVN!]
Additionally, the NVN omitted extensive reports from and the City’s response to Olympia engineer Ed Wiltsie and 25-plus year veteran ecologist Bill Hashim, experts in their respective fields. They each wrote on a whole host of issues submitted in response to the Draft EIS. And, there were comments from/to the other 50 people who took the time and energy to write the City.
View all of Final Thurston EIS info: CLICK HERE
then scroll down and click: Thurston Highlands Final EIS.
AND FINALLY, A THURSTON HIGHLANDS 5,000 HOME DEVELOPMENT IS IN SERIOUS JEOPARDY, WITH A RECENT SUPERIOR COURT RULING AND THE STATE’S DEPT. OF ECOLOGY TESTIMONY THAT THE CITY OF YELM DOES NOT POSSESS ENOUGH WATER RIGHTS TO SUPPORT THE NEW CONSTRUCTION PERMITS THEY HAVE ISSUED TO DATE, AND/OR ANY NEW ADDITIONAL PERMITS.
UPDATE December 30, 2008
Another blow to a Highlands-type development are these headlines in recent days:
– Housing Starts Fall Through the Floor
The sharp fall in construction means that builders can no longer get credit.
From the Center for Economic and Policy Research
–Home prices tumble record 18 percent
Closely watched index falls by sharpest annual rate on record in Oct.
From the AP.