The Okanogan County planning commission is holding a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the county code that would allow the county commissioners to designate areas where certain land uses, including subdivisions, would be curtailed to allow the county to study water availability.
The county would use the areas to do a detailed analysis of the water supply for domestic use from permit-exempt wells. The boundaries of any study areas will follow watershed basins or subbasins.
No specific areas have been defined and actual designation of the study areas will require an environmental review and public hearings.
Permit-exempt wells typically serve homes in rural areas where there is no municipal water system. A 2016 state Supreme Court ruling, known as Hirst, requires anyone who wants to use one of these wells for a house to prove that there is enough water and that they have the legal right to use it. The ruling also places the responsibility for compliance on the counties.
The Okanogan County planning director has determined that creating these water-study areas would have no significant impact on the environment.
People are invited to comment on the proposed amendment at a public hearing on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the commissioners’ auditorium in Okanogan. People can provide up to five minutes of verbal testimony or can submit written comments at the hearing or in advance to Roxanna King at email@example.com.
More information about the proposed ordinance is available from Okanogan County Planning Director Perry Huston at (509) 422-7218 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Documents for the proposal are also available at www.okanogancounty.org/planning.