In an e-mail to their mailing list the Whatcom County Association of Realtors… Government Affairs Committee… Tell the Council to be open and transparent especially on Hirst.


From our reporter at the meeting:

The County Council must remove the permit “Moratorium” on new wells and construction that was instituted on Land Owners after the State Supreme Court ruled in October 2016 to implement the legislature’s passage of ESSB 6091 (the Hirst Fix).

A Council Hearing was held on Tuesday January 23rd at the Garden Room titled  “Surface Water Work Session”. The meeting on this day was a Council Meeting of the whole and as such is held in public since all Council Members are present.

County Executive Louws was present to inform the Council that he had been working on a draft of an “Emergency Ordinance” aimed at repealing the permit moratorium that blocks full implementation of the Legislature’s fix.

Rudd Browne

Councilman Rudd Browne raised a “hypothetical question” asking whether the legislation allowed counties to adopt “stricter rules or restrictions” using examples of 2000 gallons per day instead of the State mandated 3000 gallons per day. Councilman Todd Donovan inquired whether the County shouldn’t force users to be part of the “Water Metering Study”

Using reasoning like we “might be sued” The Prosecuting Attorney’s Lawyer assigned to advise the Council at this meeting, Karen Frakes, is said to have been concerned that this discussion was occurring in public and advised the Council that Executive Session might be a better venue for these discussions.

The Following is a response to the Tuesday meeting by the Government Affairs Committee of the local association of Realtors.

From the last paragraph:

“To say that this action is a slap in the face to the many Whatcom Citizens who worked so hard for a resolution, including many in our Association, is an understatement.  To attempt to conduct further discussions about this topic in private outside the view of the very public impacted by the Council’s proposed action is an insult and very likely illegal.  Please contact the Council and let them know your thoughts on the matter. ”  Here is the rest of the alert.

The following from the Washington State Farm Bureau

“UPDATED Information on the Newly Signed Bill to Fix the Hirst Crisis
With a stroke of a pen, Gov. Inslee signed Senate Bill 6091 into law only hours after it was passed by the Legislature. Even the staunchest supporters of the legislation acknowledge it is not a perfect bill, but it is a good bill for Washington’s farm and ranch families.

True Hirst Fix. SB 6091 provides a clear path to county building permit approvals for new homes for family members who want to come home to the farm, and for farm worker housing. It means that the property of the state’s rural landowners will no longer be devalued and dewatered due to the crisis created by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision….Click here for the rest of the report.

If you are unsure what WRIA you are in, you can find a helpful map by clicking here.