WALLA WALLA — County commissioners will hold a public hearing Monday on changes recommended to an update of Walla Walla County’s critical areas regulations.
The hearing will be at 2:15 p.m. at the Public Health and Legislative Building, 314 W. Main St.
Although the updated regulations were ready for approval last December, the county has had to delay enactment until the state Supreme Court issued a final decision in a court case filed by a citizens’ group, Futurewise, against the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.
"The (Supreme Court) case resulted in additional clarification of the application of the Growth Management Act to critical areas within shorelines of statewide significance," Tom Glover, county Community Development director, said in a release.
As a result, the department and the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office have recommended changes to the county ordinance to address the court’s opinion in the case, Glover said.
At Monday’s hearing, testimony will be limited to the amendments added as a result of the court case.
After the hearing, commissioners may take action to adopt the updated regulations, including any changes deemed necessary as the result of testimony.
All counties and cities that have opted to plan under the state Growth Management Act are required to protect lands defined as "critical areas" within their boundaries.
There are five critical areas. They are geologically hazardous areas, frequently flooded areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.
According to state law, critical areas regulations will apply to agricultural areas, but not agricultural activities. Agricultural activities will not be affected until July 1, 2010, pending the outcome and recommendations of a study being conducted by the Ruckelshaus Center and subsequent action by the state Legislature.
(Source: Walla Walla County Community Development Department)