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The Nisqually Valley News reported in their November 21st edition a front page story titled “City to appeal ruling on Yelm subdivisions” where Mayor Harding says in the story,
“the city will continue to do business as usual.” Yet Judge Chris Wickham told the City of Yelm they did not have the water rights to issue any further building permits, least of all in the 5 subdivisions in the case brought by JZ Knight.

To continue to do business as usual means the City will be in Contempt of Court if they issue any building permits in the 5 subdivisions of Tahoma Terra Phase II, Divisions 5 & 6; Windshadow I; Windshadow II; Wyndstone; and Berry Valley I, which would have brought 568 new homes to Yelm.

Mayor Harding said in the same story,
“…the city will not reapprove the subdivisions before the city has appealed the judge’s decision.”
“I feel bad because it’s a waste of the city’s resources, when really this is on the hearing examiner’s decision.”
[Ed. Note: Therefore, no building permits will be issued the 5 aforementioned subdivisions. The Mayor and city officials keep using city resources to defend a stand that is not consistent with the laws of Washington State nor their own city’s Municipal Code, as pointed out by Judge Wickham.].

The Court said the hearing examiner’s decision must be changed to follow the law, covered here previously. The City did not follow the laws of the State of Washington Water Code, the RCW or the Yelm Municipal Code, ACCORDING TO THE COURT & remanded the case back to the City & the hearing examiner to follow the State’s laws.
Read the Court documents for yourself. Click Here

Further, Mayor Harding actually is quoted speaking untruths when he said to the NVN,
“Harding said the city has always proved water at final plat.”

Mr. Harding, such is NOT the case, as I sat in Court and listened to City Attorney Richard Settle argue for the city’s stand to prove water at the building permit phase, rather than final plat AND you know that to be true, which is documented in Court filings! You and the City Council rejected Ms. Knight’s case before the city in 2007, arguing a “reasonable expectation” of water only at the building permit phase is all that is required. That’s why this case went to Thurston County Superior Court – to get to the truth on when the city must provide adequate water.

Mr. Harding, you even said yourself about providing water at he building permit phase in the City’s Press Release of October 10th:
The City of Yelm is pleased with Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickhams decision to deny JZ Knights request to overturn preliminary land use approvals for five separate subdivisions in the City.”

“‘To set aside water rights at a time other than building permit does not make sense. In essence, the City would have to set aside water for lots that might not ever be developed,’ said Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, who is happy with the decision.

‘If the judge had agreed with Knight,’ Harding explained, ‘all growth in Yelm, including the construction of new homes and businesses would stop.’

Then on November 14th in the NVN:
City officials say they arent pleased with how JZ Knights land use appeal on five area subdivisions was handled in Thurston County Superior Court.”

Bottom line: new construction in these 5 subdivisions is now halted and what the Mayor said is totally false:
“Harding said the city has always proved water at final plat.”
Reason this: If this statement by Mayor Harding were true, then there would be nothing for the City to appeal, since Judge Wickham ruled water must be proven at final plat!

Mr. Mayor, your continued dishonesty to the city is a travesty and I told you so in the City Council on October 28th.

As the NVN article stated correctly,
“The judge’s order not only reverses approval of the subdivisions, but it sets a precedent that water must be proven at final plat approval.”

The State Dept. of Ecology and other State agencies are watching this case closely as a precedent setting vehicle in other municipalities’ water issues.

Further, from the NVN, “Knight calls sewer claims retaliation by Yelm developers”

And, “Trespassing charges against former JZ spokesman dropped“.

On April 28, 2006, The Olympian reported this about Lacey’s water issues,
“Last June, the city imposed a de facto moratorium on new development within its urban growth area because it is rapidly running out of water its authorized to withdraw.”

Is Yelm next for a moratorium on new development for lack of water?

Posted by Steve on November 21, 2008 at 4:43 am | Permalink

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