Marcy Stamper

The individual who has been challenging the Nordic Village development across from the Mazama Store has asked the Washington Supreme Court to hear the case because of its fundamental importance for statewide management of water.

In the petition for review filed Feb. 13, Mazama resident Art Gresh also claims that the case would provide important guidance to counties in evaluating the adequacy of water supplies for new developments.

Gresh contends Okanogan County erred in allowing Nordic Village developer Bill Percich to use an exempt well for more than one purpose—in this case, six residential and six commercial units.

Gresh has been challenging the county’s approval of the development based on a complicated water-allocation formula that divided the 5,000 gallons of a single exempt well among the 12 units and a neighboring parcel also owned by Percich.

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the developer in December, saying that Gresh’s appeal had been filed too late.

Gresh and his attorney, Michael Brady, argue that the county’s initial decisions about environmental impact of the water allocations were based on false information about the developer’s water rights and that the subsequent discovery of new information means the appeal is valid and timely.

In addition to resolving the issues specific to Nordic Village, Gresh urges the justices to accept the case because of its importance for state water law and the opportunity to clarify other recent decisions about whether an exempt well can be put to multiple uses, including unlimited water for livestock and even an industrial feedlot.

The high court has weighed in on the Nordic Village case before, declining in 2012 to bypass the Court of Appeals in a review connected with a rezoning of the property and its ramifications for sharing water with the neighboring parcel.

There is no specific timeline for the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case.