Commissioners irked by Realtors' information letter about upcoming meetings
Citizen Review Online
February 1, 2005
Port Angeles, WA - At the regular Clallam County Commissioner's worksession held Monday, Jan. 31, county staff planner Ann Soule brought up a letter that local Realtors and Homebuilders had mailed out to landowners in the area. They were disturbed about the letter, saying it was "full of misinformation" about the proposed WRIA 18 Watershed Management Plan. Commissioner Steve Tharinger wanted to know who had written the letter, and Mike McAleer, one of three Realtors present, replied that he had. The commissioner challenged McAleer about one of the points in the letter - that they would obligate the county to enter into an agreement with area tribes and the Department of Ecology. McAleer replied that was a true statement. Tharinger responded that the commissioners had only "agreed to agree".
The Realtors have written another letter, which follows:
"Please come to the WRIA 18 Meeting Wed, February 2nd, at the Sequim High School Cafeteria. This one will be about Groundwater. It's from 6:30 to 9 PM. The second one is Feb 8th, at the Roosevelt Middle High School. Also from 6:30 to 9 PM, and about instream flows.
"The Commissioners were quite disappointed with our mailing
informing unimproved property owners about the two meetings and about
the possibility of limitations being put on our future ability to
drill exempt wells.
"They felt the mailing was misleading and inflammatory. The
information in the mailing is correct. I'd be glad to fax anyone a
copy if they would like to see it.
"When you look at the mean CFS [cubic feet per second] for the
"wet" season of Oct through March, and the "dry"
season of April through September, you have to remember that the Dungeness
originates in the mountains; and, the snowpack STORES winter wet-season
precipitation for run-off during the following dry season. There was
one peak of incredible flow, just over 700 CFS, in one month in 1899.
In contrast, 1924-1930 never made it to 500 CFS in a month.
"There is a cumulative record of 68 years of gaging of the river
flow, with an uninterrupted continuous gage record for the past 58
of those years. In 1983, the annual mean river flow DOUBLED from a
low in 1977 to a HIGH of about 540 cfs (page 14 of the "Keys...Dungeness
River"). The water year mean flow for the River from 1924 to
1994 was 375 CFS. The Regulatory Instream Flow Levels recommended
by the WRIA 18 plan for the Dungeness are: Jan, Feb, March, 575 CFS
each month. April, May, June, July, 475 CFS each month. Aug, Sept,
Oct, 180 CFS each month. Nov, Dec, 575 CFS each month. What happens
if we cannot meet those optimal instream flows?
"Then, no new water rights or new wells can be issued/drilled—UNLESS
there is a reserve established for new development/future buildout.
Ecology and the County HAVE committed to supplying such a reserve;
but, neither they nor we know how much that will be as of today. They
will be working on it.
"Other considerations are recommendations to limit the amount
of impervious surface in the Valley, hopefully, to no more than 7%.
Limit the gpd [gallons per day] used by individual domestic wells,
change some land use and animal keeping practices, etc. Some of these
measures are VERY GOOD! Some of them aren't quantified yet; and some
of them, we wonder about their scientific validity. The County will
be addressing those issues at the Focus Sessions.
"Come to the meetings and learn and give input. We all want
to be good stewards of our land! We also want to protect property
rights, and not have regulations which don't help the environment.
"Thank you for your interest and diligence.
"Marguerite Glover and Mike McAleer, Co-Chairs, Government Affairs
Commissioner Mike Chapman stated that the meeting would break people up into little groups to discuss the Plan, rather than hold a general meeting where citizens' voices could be heard by everyone.
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