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Critical areas ordinance adopted by Grandview Council

GRANDVIEW - A public hearing was held and the Grandview City Council adopted a new critical areas ordinance by unanimous consent last night.

During the public hearing Yakima Valley Conference of Governments Senior Planner Shawn Conrad explained the ordinance's background.

The city in 1992 and in 2006 deemed there was insufficient evidence for such an ordinance when updating Grandview's comprehensive plan.

However, changes in the federal Growth Management Act stipulating consistency between local and regional plans prompted a change to Grandview's stance on the matter in 2009, according to Conrad.

Yakima County updated its critical areas ordinance that year and a few issues have been addressed by the courts due to appeals by the Yakama Nation and Futurewise, Conrad said.

As a result, Grandview's ordinance was written so that the concerns addressed in the courts are not an issue for the city, she said.

The ordinance, said Conrad, addresses wetlands, flood areas, aquifers and conservation areas that must be protected when property owners wish to develop land within the city's jurisdiction.

The Grandview Planning Commission and the Washington State Department of Commerce have both reviewed the City of Grandview's critical areas ordinance with no comments or findings.

The Port of Grandview, however, had an issue last night.

Port Commissioner and President Ron Grow spoke during the public hearing, stating there is an area designated as a high critical aquifer recharge area on the maps that accompany the ordinance that is of concern.

He said the Port of Grandview installed piping for the drain in question, which is located on its Stover Road development site.

Because the maps do not reflect the change, Grow suggested a review of the area in question.

There was a discussion that ensued regarding the designation of the area.

City Administrator Cus Arteaga said the council could adopt the critical areas ordinance and review the property in question for the purpose of amending the ordinance later.

Conrad said she was uncertain as to how the Stover Road property was identified as an aquifer recharge area.

Mayor Norm Childress, addressing concerns for future development of the property said, "We're sensitive to the port's interest in economic development."

Because the property has been set aside for potential development of industry, all parties agreed there should be a remedy to the issue.

Arteaga said the ordinance is critical for the purpose of receiving grant funding. He said $1.5 million in grant funding for wastewater treatment plant improvements was awaiting the results of the city council's actions last night.

He said he would be willing to meet with the city's engineers to explore how to best address the concerns regarding the Stover Road site.

"We can amend the ordinance with modifications at a later date," said Arteaga.

Agreeing to the solution he suggested, the Grandview City Council approved the adoption of the critical areas ordinance by a 5-0 vote.

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