Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Objections to big-box stores under review"

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Whitman County Planner Mark Bordsen said Friday that he may complete by next week his review of comments, including those of Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney, regarding proposed development of a shopping center on the eastern edge of the Moscow-Pullman corridor.

The comments, offered in separate letters by Chaney and Latah County resident Mark Solomon, raise concerns about Bordsen's earlier decision that impacts from the development would not be significant.

Among other things, Chaney wrote that "several issues of concern to the city of Moscow have not been adequately addressed." She listed water use, groundwater protection, traffic congestion, air quality and the availability of emergency services.

Chaney and other Moscow officials have been criticized by people who say they're trying to stand in the way of the development when they should be tapping into the potential economic boom.

Bordsen said Friday that he's giving all comments serious consideration. "I want to be careful and make sure," he said of a pending decision. If Bordsen stands by his original mitigated determination of nonsignificance, the Hawkins Companies development proposal would go to the county's Board of Adjustment for a conditional-use public hearing.

If his affirmation is appealed, both the appeal and the conditional-use hearing would be before the board at the same time, Bordsen said.

The Hawkins proposal calls for a shopping center of more than 600,000 square feet of retail store space on 110 acres. A Lowe's home improvement center and other potential big-box stores could be located at the site that abuts Moscow's western edge at the state line.

Last spring, Moscow officials voiced similar concerns in an appeal to the Whitman County commissioners. But Bordsen said Hawkins withdrew its original request after the county's appeal process was found to be at odds with state law. The Board of Adjustment, not the commission, is the proper place for appeals to be heard, Bordsen said.

"Urban developments require urban services such as water provision, wastewater treatment, public street maintenance, sanitation services, snow removal and police, fire and emergency medical services," Chaney wrote, "few of which are readily available to the proposed development."

At one point, there was talk of the potential for Moscow to provide water across the state line for the development. But it now appears that a well is proposed for the development. "The city of Moscow is concerned with this proposed well location," Chaney wrote, "due to its proximity" to a planned new Moscow well.
Let's just get on with the inevitable Moscow appeal. But as April has said, the county is opening up Pandora's box. By giving an out-of-state entity the legal standing to make a SEPA appeal, who knows where it will stop?

1 comment:

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

We cannot open this box. It is ridiculous to allow Moscow, IDAHO to dictate how Whitman County, WASHINGTON will grow.