Residents have concerns about corridor development; environmental questions will be addressed by countyThis is the largest retail development in the history of the Palouse. It is twice as big as the Palouse Mall, over three times bigger than the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenters. And there are only 11 SEPA comments, two of which are from the cities of Pullman and Moscow and one from Mark Solomon??? THERE WERE 151 SEPA COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED PULLMAN WAL-MART SUPERCENTER!!! What a shocking display of blatant hypocrisy by our Palouse liberals. These are the people that are supposedly so concerned about "bigness", economic blight, crime, urban sprawl, traffic, noise, air pollution, stormwater runoff, heavy metals, river temperature, aquifer depletion and deer testicles. Where's the outrage??? The lack of SEPA comments on this new development conclusively proves that the opposition to Wal-Mart is strictly elitist, classist, and snobbish in nature, the Cause Du Jour for the selfish intelligentsia.
Stormwater runoff, traffic and water are the primary areas of concern gleaned from 11 public comments on a proposed shopping center development in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor.
The comments, which had to relate to the State Environmental Policy Actchecklist, must be addressed by Whitman County staff before a final decision is granted on whether to allow the development to progress.
“The majority of (people who submitted comments) looked at the SEPA checklist and decided the answers were not to their liking for one reason or another,” said Alan Thomson, assistant planner for Whitman County.
The Hawkins Companies submitted an application in January to build a 714,000-square-foot shopping complex along the highway just west of the Idaho state line. Whitman County Planning Director Mark Bordsen gave preliminary approval to the developer’s SEPA checklist Feb. 1. The approval automatically triggered a 14-day public comment period on the checklist, which ended Feb. 16.
Bordsen is considering and responding to the comments before issuing a final determination.
“It takes as long as it takes Mark to do it,” Thomson said. There is no deadline for the final decision.
The cities of Moscow and Pullman were among those who submitted their concerns about the development’s water supply coming from the same aquifers residents already depend on, as well as the development’s submitted stormwater drainage design. The Hawkins Companies plan to transfer a water right and use wells in the area rather than extending city services.
The public will have 10 days to appeal once Bordsen issues his decision. If it is not appealed, Hawkins Companies can apply for a conditional-use permit from the county Board of Adjustments. The permitting process will give the public another chance to comment on the development.
Some of the comments not addressed by the SEPA checklist can be covered by local laws, Thomson said. The zoning code for the north side of the corridor will take care of some of the questions. Requirements for state agencies will cover some water, health and stormwater issues, he said.
“SEPA is just one tool to protect the environment.”
My favorite quote on this issue comes from the "No Super Wal-Mart" blog. In a post dated February 7th, the Daily News story about the SEPA approval of the Hawkins Companies development is prefaced with "File this one under the heading: Can’t fight ‘em all or you will lose focus." And yet this development represents a much greater threat to the environment and the economy of Moscow than does a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
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