Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Moscow’s growth policies don’t apply to Whitman"

Nice editorial in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News from Murf Raquet
Political boundaries on the Palouse are clear. Moscow city limits extend to the Washington state border as does the eastern edge of Whitman County.

Both entities have their own regulations to follow when it comes to development. Often those rules are similar in that they require development plans to undergo sufficient public scrutiny to protect the environment.

It’s time for Moscow to recognize that Whitman County is perfectly capable of determining how and what acreage is developed within it borders.

Whitman County has all but cleared the way for the Hawkins Companies of Boise to develop a 600,000-square-foot retail center along the Pullman-Moscow corridor. The center would abut the state line and Moscow.

Moscow registered concerns about the effects the development would have on the aquifers, wetlands and traffic.

Those concerns and others were addressed through the Washington State Environmental Policy Act, an environmental assessment procedure that is one of the more stringent in the nation.

Whitman County had no legal obligation to consider Moscow’s concerns but did so because of Moscow’s proximity to the development.

That was the right thing to do.

“Moscow is our very close neighbor,” said Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy. “We have taken extensive steps to take their concerns into consideration. If they have any concerns that are not part of the SEPA review the county hopes Moscow will pick up the phone and we can talk about their concerns.”

Dialogue is a fine way to resolve problems.

Now, Moscow must accept the SEPA conclusion and not drag the issue through the court system.

Moscow has every right to determine growth policy within its city limits.

We hope the city can restrain itself in the future if the urge to impose its standards elsewhere pops up again.
As I have been pointing out, Moscow's beef is not going to just be with Whitman County. A war is coming with Pullman as Pullman develops out into the corridor.

For example, Bruce Livingston, Presdent of the Moscow Civic Association (the real government of Moscow) had this to say about Murf's editorial on the Vision 2020 message board:
I have to disagree with Murf and the Daily News editorial board on this one.

Development in the Whitman County corridor affects not only Whitman County, but Pullman within it, and Moscow and Latah County, adjacent to it. I disagree that Moscow has no right to comment on the effects of neighboring developments that have an impact upon us, even if they are in another geo-political subdivision that is arbitrarily drawn regardless of the underlying aquifer boundaries. So long as we follow the procedures of the other political subdivision, our voice should be heard on issues that have an effect upon us.

Conversely, it seems to me that people from Whitman County have a right to be heard on issues that may have an effect upon them, even if the situs of the particular project is in Latah County. Proposed reservoirs, for example...

The insensitivity of some Pullmanites to concerns about our aquifer are reflected by the following comments taken from a story in Wednesday's Moscow Pullman Daily News:

"Councilwoman Ann Heath said the city must lay claim to water soon, before turf wars occur with Latah and Whitman counties and the city of Moscow. 'That's all the more reason ... to set up wells, so we can grow the way we want to grow,' she said. 'How do we want to spend our water? I think we have enough water to make good choices about.' "

Keeping an eye on the water hogs across the state line is important. And the policy should not be "let's get ours, before they get it," despite Ms. Heath's thoughts to the contrary. We ought to be trying to influence water policy regionally, and that means commenting on issues that affect our water, even if the proposed well is a few hundred yards across the state line from Moscow in Whitman County, or in Pullman.
As April pointed out the other day, it is Moscow that has been the "water hog," not Pullman.

Since 1992 Moscow has NEVER met their water usage targets. They have EXCEEDED their targets by 763 million gallons since 1992. On the other hand, Pullman has never failed to use less than our target. Pullman has used 644 million gallons LESS than our target. WSU and UI have also come well under their targets. You can read the full report here: The graph is on page 19. The PBAC web site is here.

Not content with conquering Moscow, the MCA moonbats have set their sights on Pullman and Whitman County (as PARD has failed so miserably to change anything). Have fun storming the castle, Bruce. We're gonna grow, whether the Aquinuts like it or not.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

The great Moscow sage, Bruce Livingston, also had this to say, "I think you will find that when proposals come forward for commercial
development of the land that is behind the Palouse mall, that the City Council will be receptive to that, too.
It is a sensible place for commercial development that will not cut-off Alturas Business Park from expansion."

He is talking about the development of the future Home Depot site. While he says Whitman County should have input on their eco-friendly water resevoir, you can bet he would not appreciate interference with their Home Depot.