Futurewise Appeals Benton County Comprehensive Plan

From the Tri-City Herald’s article Benton County’s out of water. Growth should be frozen, group says.

Improperly planned growth in Benton County could overtax the Yakima River and other water sources, harming fish, wildlife, waterways and senior water rights holders, an environmental watchdog group says.

Futurewise, formerly 1000 Friends of Washington, is asking the Growth Management Hearings Board for Eastern Washington to review the comprehensive plan Benton County commissioners approved in February, saying it fails to comply with the state’s Growth Management Act on several fronts.

In a petition filed last week, Futurewise claims Benton County didn’t properly analyze the effect 6,800 new people in unincorporated areas over 20 years would have on the county’s limited water resources.

It also says Benton County also failed to analyze the effect of growth on state roadways and work with the state to mitigate them…

The petition triggers a three-person review board, with at least two Eastern Washington residents. A hearing will likely be held in late fall, and the board has 180 days from the April 19 filing date to issue a binding decision…

Continue reading at the Tri-City Herald by clicking here.

From Futurewise’s web site:

….Water resource planning efforts in the lower Yakima River have made clear that water in Benton County is already allocated and flows in the river are too low for salmon and steelhead outmigration and rearing.

This appeal will be the first to address the applicability of the State Legislature’s so-called Hirst fix bill (SB 6091) to planning for growth in the Yakima River basin.  According to the bill, counties in the Yakima basin are mandated to plan for the use of land consistent with available water resources under the Growth Management Act (GMA)…