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Citizens group recommendations

September 23, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Citizens for Protection of Washington County has asked the Washington County Commissioners to implement a one-year moratorium on new subdivisions of properties and new building permits in the county.

The group, which has more than 100 members, supports the moratorium to conserve the county's drought-depleted water sources and to prevent new development that contradicts land-use guidelines in the county's recently revised comprehensive plan, co-chairman Allen Swope said.

The group's recommendation includes the following qualifications:

  • After voting to enact the moratorium, the commissioners should direct the county attorney to publish the order within 30 days.

  • To protect the public interest, the moratorium will allow the orderly and legal implementation of the county's new comprehensive plan.

  • The moratorium should include the updating of all ordinances, including the adequate public facilities ordinance, to conform with the comprehensive plan.

  • The commissioners should direct the county planning department to complete the revision of all documents relating to the implementation of the comprehensive plan within a 12-month period.

  • In the Urban Growth Area, the city and county will certify the water utility has the capacity to supply any proposed subdivision before it is approved.

  • In the Rural Area, no subdivisions of more than five homes will be processed or approved. For subdivisions of fewer than five homes, test wells will be drilled to determine the adequacy of the water supply to provide for both new and existing farms and residences.

  • At the initiation of the moratorium, data from all U.S. Geological Survey test wells in the county will be obtained to determine ground water levels. At the end of one year, data from the same wells will be re-evaluated and a recommendation sought from the county Drought Advisory Board as to whether the moratorium should be extended.
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