This post was updated July 5, 2018- March 3,2019, May 15, 2019
Community Development Services
411 N Ruby, Suite #2
Ellensburg, WA 98926
RE: Upper County Public Works Facility
Citizens Alliance for Property Rights
Kittitas County Chapter ~~~
To Whom It May Concern;
We would like to take this opportunity to address serious reservations we have in how this facility is being processed and the implications it will have to our Upper County region.
We understand that public facilities can be sited in most every zone within the County. The question is has it undergone the necessary oversight needed;
- Has a proper vetting of the project been accomplished? The proposed site is rural land adjacent to the City of Cle Elum and located on the primary connector route between the Upper County’s major municipalities. In discussions at the local level, neither City has been approached regarding the merits or impacts of the proposed facility.
- Is this the proper site for the project proposed, have impacts been fully studied and is it the best option for servicing the citizens of the region? Within a short period of time, both regional Cities will expand along this transportation corridor making us question this site as the best site for a County Public Works location. Furthermore, it is located adjacent to a major regional creek system, in close proximity of the only School complex for this region and will contribute and have impacts to traffic-related issues.
- Analysis of long-term implications of the proposed use on regional goals or planning? This pertains to long-term visions and future impacts associated with the proposed use coupled with the existing Solid Waste Transfer Station. By County estimates, the Upper County is projected to grow 10-30% within the foreseeable future. This will most likely necessitate expanding the current Solid Waste presence and increasing the size and scope of the proposal. What planning, studies or work has the County conducted or has in place for the public to understand the vision for the next 10-20-30 years.
At a minimum, the public should be advised and informed about the vision and cost associated with this vision. The County will be assessing a cost burden to the citizens and future development through taxes and fees in support of current actions. Can this location handle future service levels with both facilities for projected growth? If so, the County needs to provide this information before the project is approved.
- Does it comply with the intentions and directions of County planning? More important, has the County done its due diligence in scoping this site for the future or is this another poorly planned reaction to show it is doing something? How is this factored into the required 6-year forecast?
- Should the project move forward with limited or no input from the region it will serve? Within the County’s Comprehensive Plan, it mandates that new Public Facilities will be coordinated with the KC Conference of Governments and/or municipalities when siting regional or community facilities. What provision has been taken to address these county uses as they pertain to economic development and Rural Tourism enhancement for the region? How has Chapter 5.3 been addressed for EQUITY, EFFECTIVENESS, EFFICIENCY?
“As active property rights advocates for Kittitas County, we question if any of the above have been fully accomplished. We also expect the County to follow and comply with the direction and provision of its Comprehensive Plan. With this as our basis we would like to offer the following observations as they relate to Chapter 5 of Kittitas County’s Comp Plan:
Section 5.2 Public Works is tasked with primarily handling the County’s roadway infrastructure. This includes requiring traffic analysis of project impact very similar to what it is proposing. Does the County have a current Traffic Study to ensure that the level of service with the proposed project will meet the criteria as delineated in Table 5.2.1? Nothing provided to date addresses the elements covered in section 5.2. We would also like to point out that the County is mandated to address “improvements that do not contradict, limit or substantially change the goals and policies of any element of this Comprehensive Plan”. We will address this within later comments of the goals and policies.
Goals and Policies:
GPO 5.27 Integration and Implementation. The County shall develop, adopt and use implementation programs which integrate its land use planning and decisions with its planning and decisions for public facility capital improvements. A facility of this type would normally go through a public process including SEPA notification and oversight.
GPO 5.30 Regional Facilities. The County and each municipality in the County may establish a countywide process for siting essential public facilities of region-wide significance. This process may include:
- An inventory of needed facilities.
- A method of fair share all location of facilities.
- Economic and other incentives to jurisdictions receiving such facilities.
- A method of determining which jurisdiction is responsible for each facility.
- A public involvement strategy.
- Assurance that the environmental and public health and safety are protected
We are requesting that this county action be subject to a public hearing in the upper county.
GPO 5.31 County, Regional, State and Federal Facilities. Essential public facilities, which are identified by the County, by regional agreement, or by State or Federal government, may be subject to local approval by the County and each municipality in the County.
No current involvement with local municipalities.
GPO 5.32 Ensure public involvement when siting of essential public facilities through the use of timely press releases, newspaper notices, public information meetings, and public hearings.
We are requesting that this be subject to a public hearing in the upper county.
GPO 5.33 Consistency with Comprehensive Plan. The County may develop and adopt regulations that ensure that the facility siting is consistent with the adopted County comprehensive plan, including:
- The future land use map.
- The Capital Facilities Plan Element and budget.
- The Utilities Element.
- The Transportation Element.
- The Housing Element.
- The Rural Element.
- The Economic Development Element.
- The comprehensive plans of adjacent jurisdictions that may be affected by the facility siting.
- Regional general welfare considerations.
These are unanswered questions which must be addressed prior to approval.
GPO 5.34 Siting of Public Facilities Outside of UGAs. Essential public facilities sited outside of urban growth areas must be self-supporting and not require the extension, construction, or maintenance of urban services and facilities.
Planning states that water service might come from the City of Cle Elum. Allowing this would be in violation of this GPO. If the existing well is slated for use, a clear understanding of this needs to be vetted by the County and Citizens. The current County Water Bank provides for domestic uses; the proposed use is clearly industrial or commercial at a minimum. Any approval should require a complete vetting of the water source, type of use and quantity as required under the current County Water Policy.
The current site in question is convenient but has rural zoning, is closely located next to the regional school complex, has questionable potable water sourcing, will continue the development of industrial uses along with a primary transportation corridor connecting two municipalities and could introduce pollution sourcing to the Crystal Creek drainage system.
We support the County in its effort to relocate the Upper County Public Works Facility but question the process and lack of vision to date as it relates to this location. The 903 corridor between Cle Elum and Roslyn is and will continue to be a focus for the region and should be carefully considered for how best it should be developed.
With projected growth, will this use/location be a positive implementation in support of growth? We question any expansion of the existing Solid Waste Station and think a careful analysis of how this location can service the growth expectation without impacting the schools and roadway servicing the region is needed.
We request a delay in permitting this project to be imposed until community input is received and vetted. Far too often, improper reactions to needed services become costly to overcome in the future.
Citizens Alliance for Property Rights
Kittitas County Chapter