Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Council approves Critical Areas Ordinance

 


Colfax City Council Monday night voted 7-0 to approve an update of the city’s critical areas ordinance. The ordinance draft, which had been the subject of extended discussion in past city sessions, was approved without comment from the public after the formal hearing process.

Councilman Jim Kackman, who headed the city’s review of the ordinance draft, said he believes the ordinance draft has been “scrubbed down” to a point where it offers protection of property owners who are undertaking projects and still covers what had to be done to meet state requirements.

The critical areas ordinance stems from the state’s Growth Management Act to protect wetlands, aquifer recharge areas and game areas. It also limits development on hazardous areas and flood zones.

Kackman added he was concerned about the city’s prior move to eliminate penalty charges. He suggested the council might want to include a penalty to give the city an enforcement tool.

He added he was also concerned about the maps situation. In a prior review, city officials have determined the city lacks current maps which delineate the location of critical areas. As it stands now, property owners are required to determine whether or not their land is subject to critical areas restrictions.

Kackman said the city has on file maps which were done in 1994 in preparation for the first critical areas ordinance. The maps were done before the city annexed property along the North Fork of the Palouse River as part of the Redtail Ridge development.

The rural residential zone along the river involves several sites which are subject to the critical areas ordinance that could come into play as property owners undertake projects in that area.

Councilman Al Vorderbrueggen said it was his feeling that the state was expecting small towns to enforce its growth management act when towns have limited staff ability to offer technical assistance to property owners.

 

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