Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, April 16, 2007

Public Workshop and Hearing on the Proposed Changes to Rural Residential Rules in the Agricultural District

The Whitman County Public Works department is offering an informational workshop on the proposed changes to rural residential code requirements in the Agricultural District tomorrow, April 17, 2007, from 2-5 PM at the Public Service Building in Colfax, Room A, 2nd floor. This be followed at 6-8 PM by a public hearing on Proposed Revisions to the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances in the Public Service Building Auditorium on the 1st floor.

Here are the Rural Residential Housing proposed revisions.

According to the April 5 edition of the Whitman County Gazette, County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said there are no "obvious constitutional flaws" to the current draft, even though the viewshed requirements are still part of the draft. That's a bit strange, considering Tracy recently found that the viewshed section of the code fell short in the balancing test required for constitutionality and said that, "While those are attractive, good for tourism and make this a desirable place to live and work, It could be argued that you are creating a giant theme park called the Palouse at the expense of private landowners." Tracy did state he still had reservations that he would share with the commissioners.

So do I. I think the commissioners are making a big mistake in pushing for these changes that could lead to constitutional challenges in court. But, it appears that the Rural Residential Zoning changes will pass with both viewshed and hilltop development restrictions, no matter what anyone thinks.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out next year, when two of the commissioners are up for reelection.

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