Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, August 31, 2007

"The usual collection of local anti-everything folks"

Keith Bloom, WSU Director of Construction Services and Capital Planning and Development, is quoted in today's Daily Evergreen as saying, “Some people believe that if there is contention and debate it’s a bad thing, but it is necessary for public debate and for all sides to be heard.”

I like Keith a lot, but I respectfully disagree.

Keith, in fact, actually inadvertently stated the reason I disagree in further comments to the Evergreen
“Some of it may have been overstated,” Bloom said. “We have a culture of the media fostering fear within our modern society and in the media. Some of this was evident, and some people were more fearful than they need to be.”
By holding events like this, WSU has allowed the anti-growth fearmongers to be heard again by that media and foster even more fear. We have now seen stories in the Tribune, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Daily Evergreen, and on KLEW TV all give distinctly negative impressions about the Palouse Ridge Golf Club and citizen feelings about it. Unsubstantiated allegations are made by the opposition in the media with no chance for rebuttal. But after all, it is controversy and contention that sells newspapers and airtime, not boring old cooperation and agreement.

And what was the point? As WSU Executive Director of Real Estate Operations and External Affairs Mel Taylor was quoted as saying in yesterday's Daily News, "I don't think not opening the golf course is an option."

So now where there was nothing heard about the golf course a few months ago, the hornet's nest is now abuzz. This won't affect WSU. The golf course is almost built and the state always gets what it wants. No, we'll see fallout from this down the road. Like Keith told KLEW TV, "We have a history in Pullman of chasing away business or chasing away economic growth.”

Exactly. And it is those same anti-everything people that chase away business and economic growth that showed up at Wednesday's forum. Getting all this media coverage just energizes their batteries.

An example of what I'm talking about was reported in yesterday's Daily News:
Pullman resident Cheryl Morgan said the university is being "unethical" by drawing so much water in an area she said has been proven to have a depleting aquifer. Citing data from the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee and other studies, Morgan expressed her disgust with the university's "unconscionable disregard" for area residents by claiming so much shared water.
A search of the Daily News archives shows that Ms. Morgan has been against everything proposed to be built in and around Pullman for the last 9 years:

January 6, 1998
A housing development on Pullman's Military Hill is back on track after neighboring property owners withdrew their appeal of the city's environmental review.

On Monday, Larry and Cheryl Morgan said after meeting with the engineers for Copper Basin Construction and local developer Steve Mader their concerns about runoff from the affordable housing project had been addressed.

The Morgans had filed their appeal in December, saying not enough had been done to control increased runoff from the project which would have traveled over their property and an old city dump.
May 20, 1998
The Pullman City Council on Tuesday approved preliminary plans for the Emerald Pointe development on Sunnyside Hill -- despite protests from landowners concerned about the increased runoff from the site adjacent to Golden Hills.

Carolyn Wyatt, who has lived on Haywood Road for 18 years, said since the Golden Hills development went in she's seen more runoff in the canyon below Davis Way than ever before.

Wyatt said she's not against well-planned development but she doesn't see any guarantees the problem won't get worse.

That sentiment was echoed by a number of residents of Hatley Canyon, including Cheryl Morgan who said the city was ignoring state water quality laws regarding runoff.

"We can't take any more water down there," she said. "We shouldn't be taking the water we already are."
July 29, 1998
In Pullman, the low point appears to be Hatley Canyon where residents complain they've watched as the runoff from developments on Sunnyside and Military hills flow down through their properties to the South Fork of the Palouse River.

The subject came up again Tuesday, as the City Council approved the final plat for Sunnyside Heights subdivision No. 2 near Crestview Street and Alcora Drive.

After members of the council raised questions about possible runoff problems in the area around the subdivision, canyon resident Cheryl Morgan brought up the issue of responsibility for controlling storm water runoff and sediment from the development.

The state Department of Ecology issues permits requiring developers to deal with this problem, she said. But she questioned whether developers were actually doing this.

She also noted that DOE has the ability to levy hefty fines against developers who don't control the runoff from their property.
October 1, 1998
The council on Tuesday approved the final plat for the first phase of the Emerald Pointe development, as well as the proposed planned residential development plan.

The first phase of the development encompasses 18 acres and includes 30 single-family residences.

The total development is planned for 86 acres and would include 132 single-family homes, 240 apartments and 96 townhouses.

The biggest concern about the project was again voiced by people who live below Emerald Pointe along the South Fork of the Palouse River.

Area resident Cheryl Morgan said she's still not convinced the problem is solved.

During the 1996 flood, Morgan said the retention pond did little to slow down the waters which eventually washed over two county roads and their property.
November 18, 1998
He said plans were to meet today with engineers for Emerald Pointe and require the developer build a berm which would protect the homes below the fill should it slide.

Schaumloffel, in a letter to the council submitted Monday, said the city should have moved more quickly. That sentiment was echoed by Cheryl Morgan, who lives below the development and Golden Hills in Hatley Canyon.

Morgan has consistently raised questions about runoff and soil erosion caused by the development. On Tuesday, she said the city needs to do a better job of responding to concerns.

"I know everyone says they're overworked, but that's not acceptable where lives and safety are concerned," she said. "You've got to take these concerns with more respect for those of us impacted."
August 18, 1999
It's like a giant puddle the city constantly has to jump over without getting wet.

Discussions over preliminary plans for development in Pullman were prolonged on Tuesday as members of the City Council again were reminded of concerns over runoff.

"I don't think the standards placed on developers are near adequate enough," said Hayward Road resident Cheryl Morgan.

Her comments came as the council approved the preliminary plats for the third and fourth subdivision of Paradise Ridge on the city's Military Hill.

The two preliminary plats outline the division of 15.7 acres into 42 lots and public streets near Pullman High School.

But after that development is complete, Morgan said, it's the people downstream who have the problems.

"We're not trying to stop development," she said.

"We're trying to work with them and trying to protect our property."
July 12, 2000
It's a pond built to capture flood waters from a rain storm that occurs approximately every 100 years.

Yet some Whitman County residents are concerned the kidney-shaped pool on Pullman's Sunnyside Hill will not properly regulate storm waters through their downstream neighborhood in Hatley Canyon.

The 20-foot deep pond was installed to collect storm water runoff from the new Emerald Pointe subdivision being built near the Golden Hills neighborhood.

Contractors of the development are ready to embark on phase two of the development, which includes eight homes to be built on separate quarter-acre parcels.

In order to move forward with the second phase of the development, the Pullman Planning Commission must first recommend approval to the City Council.

The commission's vote will follow a public hearing tonight, where Hatley Canyon residents, such as Cheryl Morgan, are planning to speak.


Bob Olsen, vice president of Emerald Estates, said, "it's nothing short of a miracle that this project is going on. There are just so many obstacles."
July 14, 2000

Prior to the Emerald Pointe development, Cheryl Morgan, a resident of Hatley Canyon, said in 1996 her front yard turned into a mini-river from rainwater flowing down from the Sunnyside Hill area.

At the public hearing Wednesday, Morgan raised concern about storm water runoff.

She mentioned the past winter and spring were not bad rain seasons. With housing development overtaking the land upstream, Morgan wonders what condition her property would be in if a major storm hit.
July 26, 2000
The Emerald Pointe subdivision project on Sunnyside Hill is inching toward completion.

Pullman City Council members Tuesday approved another phase of the development, which calls for eight single-family homes to be built on 2.1 acres.

The phase is the second of a six-phase project to build 125 homes, 66 condominiums and 60 town homes on the hill. Completion of the project is scheduled for 2007.

Although construction is moving forward, community concern continues about storm water runoff.

Hatley Canyon residents like Cheryl Morgan are concerned a 20-foot deep pond -- built to capture storm water from street catch basins on the hill -- will not work properly.

Morgan's property in the past has flooded following heavy rainstorms. Her front yard is in the path of the natural runoff channel that descends from Sunnyside Hill.

Developers of Emerald Pointe built the kidney-shaped pond to handle a major storm that occurs approximately every 100 years.

The city requires developments like Emerald Pointe to build 20-year storm water retention systems.

Morgan is not convinced the pond will work.

Before council members unanimously approved the phase, Morgan approached the podium and unfolded a letter sent to the city last year from engineer Randell Hahn.
August 17, 2001
Some Whitman County residents say storm water coming down from housing developments on Pullman's hills is more than the Hatley Creek basin can handle.

Cheryl Morgan, representing 10 families that live on Hayward Road, addressed the Whitman County commissioners earlier this week for the fifth time since March 1999.

The developments are in the city of Pullman, but Hayward Road is in the county. Morgan said there should be more cooperation and planning between Pullman and Whitman County to deal with the problem, which she contends has become worse over the past five years.
April 2, 2002
More than three dozen sites in Whitman County became eligible as highway-waterway commercial zones Monday, but officials said they doubt more than four or five will be found suitable.

The zoning ordinance amendment approved by Whitman County commissioners after a public hearing Monday pertains to property near intersections of two state highways or a state highway and a paved county road.


Cheryl Morgan, who lives on Hayward Road near Pullman, said she also was concerned about safety issues. She said her main concern was whether there would be sufficient enforcement of screening requirements.

"Conditional permits are great, but if there's no enforcement, you might as well have a blank piece of paper," she said.
April 8, 2002

A proposed zoning amendment on its way to Whitman County commissioners would allow concrete manufacturing plants as a conditional use in some parts of the Pullman-Moscow corridor.


Cheryl Morgan, a Pullman resident opposed to the zoning amendment, said the rule would be contrary to at least two of the county's stated goals related to development of the corridor.

The zoning amendment to the county's comprehensive plan that set rules for development in the Pullman-Moscow corridor was approved in August 1999.

One of the goals of the zone is to enhance the scenic and environmental quality of the corridor. Another calls for encouraging public use of the Chipman Trail.

The zoning amendment runs counter to those goals, Morgan said.

"Concrete asphalt processing plants were exempt from the 1999 (Pullman Moscow Corridor) comprehensive plan for very good reasons -- to protect the quality of air, water and scenic resources," Morgan stated in a letter to Bordsen in February. "That same protection is of significance today and in the future."

Morgan and other opponents of the amendment say the cumulative impact on the environment, including the Chipman Trail and Paradise Creek, is not being considered under the zoning amendment, which would allow concrete pre-mix plants on either side of State Route 270.

"For some unknown reason, there is no mention within the environmental review sections of the (State Environmental Policy Act) and in these findings of fact that Paradise Creek even exists in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor District," Morgan said in written comments in response to the planning commission's findings of fact.
April 23, 2002
Whitman County commissioners will vote next week on a zoning amendment that would allow concrete manufacturing plants in parts of the Pullman-Moscow corridor.


Cheryl Morgan of Pullman, another opponent of the amendment, read a letter on behalf of herself and corridor residents Dan and Tina Welter.

"We're not opposed to development, but there are certain types of development that are incompatible for some areas," Morgan said.

Morgan said she agreed development requires good planning, but added, "we're kind of hesitant the commissioners are going to do that."
January 27, 2005
In other business, the Planning Commission recommended division of the proposed 14-acre Wawawai Subdivision into 50 lots.

Dana Meshishneck, a co-owner of the property, said he intends to sell the lots as affordable housing for middle income families.

"Our dismay is a lack of buildable lots in the city of Pullman in an affordable price range," Meshishneck said.

Meshishneck's property is uphill from the home owned by Larry and Cheryl Morgan, and Cheryl Morgan voiced her opposition to the development at the meeting. Morgan said she is concerned that stormwater from the development will drain into Hatley Creek, which runs through her front yard.

"We're opposed to having our private property turned into a public stormwater sewer," Morgan said.
February 9, 2005
Pullman has taken steps to restrict the use of fireworks within city limits, but some say those restrictions don't go far enough.


Resident Cheryl Morgan asked Pullman Police Chief Ted Weatherly how many arrests were made as a result of fireworks complaints last year.

Weatherly said there were six warnings and one infraction issued. He did not say how many complaints had been made, but said the police are limited in how they can respond to fireworks complaints.

"As with any misdemeanor, we are restricted," Weatherly said. "We can take witness statements, we can refer to the prosecutor, but we cannot make the arrest."

Morgan said she thinks the new ordinance will be ineffective if police can't arrest the people who set off illegal fireworks.

"We have no confidence because they've told us they cannot protect us," Morgan said. "I think a ban is about the only thing that would protect the safety and welfare of the citizens."
April 13, 2005

Rural Pullman residents Larry and Cheryl Morgan said continued development on Sunnyside Hill could result in their property being wiped out the next time Hatley Creek floods.

Over the Morgans' objections, the Pullman City Council approved plans for two new subdivisions on Sunnyside Hill at its meeting Tuesday.

Cheryl Morgan was present to argue, as she often has in the past, that storm water runoff into Hatley Creek from housing developments on Sunnyside Hill amount to a public utility encroaching on her private property. She said the city of Colfax charges a fee for stormwater runoff.

"It's no different than a telephone line," Morgan said.

Morgan pleaded with the council not to approve Copper Basin's Whispering Hills and Rafik and Marysue Itani's Sunnyside Heights Addition No. 5 subdivisions until the developers obtained stormwater easements from property owners in the Hatley Creek basin.

City Attorney Laura McAloon said, in this specific instance, she did not believe an easement was required.

"There is no trespass," McAloon said. "Under the facts of this development, the discharge is appropriate."

Larry Morgan told the council he and his wife are not trying to stop development on Sunnyside Hill.
July 28, 2005
Cheryl Morgan feels she has gone through the gauntlet in eight years of confronting City Hall over water run-off issues.

Shes weary. She often suspects her voice as a citizen is ignored. But being a part of the process is too important for her to give up the fight.

A discussion of the process brought Morgan to the Pullman Planning Commission on Wednesday night. It wasnt her first appearance there. Most of the members call Morgan by her first name.


What Im hearing here tonight is very disturbing, Morgan said. We citizens feel the staff are the salesmen and you are there to just enforce what they say.

We dont want to say the Planning Commission is the rubber stamp for the city staff, but thats how we feel. ... If you dont want to get all the information and have your own mind, why do we have a planning commission? I dont know.
January 2, 2006
Cheryl Morgan doesnt let her animals drink from Hatley Creek.

The once clear, meandering creek has become a cloudy channel for storm water run-off from development on Sunnyside Hill in Pullman. Morgan fears storm water has brought pollutants that could poison her animals and the environment.


Morgan submitted comments in favor of the Phase II permits because she said the new regulations will make the city take a harder look at the effects of development. She has been battling City Hall for about eight years over storm water drainage into Hatley Creek.

The Hatley Creek Basin covers more than 760 acres, including the area of Sunnyside Hill and Wawawai Road that has been a focal point of housing development in Pullman over the last few years. In 2005, 195 residential lots were approved for development along Wawawai Road.

Morgans concern is that all of that development bottlenecks runoff into an outlet that runs through her front yard on Hayward Road. The change in the stream is visible. Photos Morgan took of Hatley Creek in 1997 show a flat stream flowing over grasses with little or no bank. The creek today is deeply channeled from the storm water flowing through its bed. The water also is much cloudier than it was a decade ago, Morgan said.

There was more clay after the Golden Hills development went in, Morgan said. I have a neighbor who had a pond. It was all filled in with clay.

Morgan fenced off the land where she once allowed her horses to graze free. She wanted to keep them out of the water.

Water quality is very much a concern of ours for livestock, Morgan said. Nobody knows what pollutants are going into our streams.

Nobody knows because nobody has ever tested the water quality in Hatley Creek. Duncan could only say the Department of Ecology is investigating the issue.
February 1, 2006
The Whispering Hills housing development became a topic of some heated conversation Tuesday night even though the Wawawai Road project wasnt on the City Councils agenda.

The debate centered around the citys requirements for stormwater detention in housing developments within the Hatley Creek basin. Cheryl Morgan, who lives at the bottom of the basin, complained to the council that the collective stormwater run-off from development is devastating the portion of Hatley Creek that runs through her land.

The basin covers more than 760 acres, including the area of Sunnyside Hill and Wawawai Road that has been a focal point of housing the development in Pullman over the last few years. Morgans concern is that all of that development bottlenecks runoff into an outlet that runs through her front yard on Hayward Road.

Were telling you people youre not looking at the cumulative effect for people downstream, Morgan said.

Her comments were part of a public meeting on the approval of the preliminary plat for the Sunnyside Heights No. 6 subdivision. The subdivision is the sixth phase of a housing development on Sunnyside Hill off of Wawawai Road planned by Pullman developers Rafik and MarySue Itani.

The discussion quickly turned to another subdivision Copper Basins Whispering Hills development. Morgan told the council the detention ponds in the development are failing and releasing more water into the creek than city standards allow.

Detention ponds are designed to hold back stormwater that drains from paved surfaces and then slowly release limited amounts into natural drainages. Water rolls off of paved surfaces rather than being absorbed into the ground, as it would have before the land was developed.

The problem with the detention ponds in Whispering Hills is that a contractor failed to properly stabilize the site, which meant too much silt was getting into the water, Copper Basin President Steve White said in a telephone interview today. The contractor is treating the silted water and pumping it out into a drainage ditch on Wawawai Road under the supervision of the Washington Department of Ecology, he said.

Morgan cited the problems with the Whispering Hills detention ponds as an example of the failure of existing city standards to protect Hatley Creek from stormwater drainage. She has appeared before the City Council numerous times over the past eight years to plead for stricter standards, including requiring retention of stormwater instead of detention.

The city responded to some of Morgans concerns in 1999 by commissioning a study of stormwater drainage in the Hatley Creek Basin, Public Works Director Mark Workman said in a telephone interview today. After the study was completed in 2000, the city created a new, stricter set of standards for the basin. But by that time, some development had already occurred. All housing developments on Wawawai Road since 2000 have had to meet the stricter requirements. That should mean less stormwater is being discharged from building sites after construction than before construction.

Morgan told the council Tuesday night the stricter Hatley Creek standards dont go far enough.

I encourage you to look at it. Weve got to do something different, she said.
Funny how Morgan she is "not against development", and then she opposes every new development, whether it affects her directly or no. Thank God no ever listens to Morgan. If the Paradise Ridge subdivision had not been built, my wife and I would not have been able to afford our first home a few years ago.


Bruce Heimbigner said...

Our current elected officials are smarter than to cave to a constant drip of complaints.

Like Rush says (I paraphrase): "We don't want to completely eliminate communism, we need to keep a few around on University campuses, just so we remember what a bad idea it is." Likewise for NIMBYs. Having a few around doesn't bother me and provides occasional levity

Scotty said...

Arrest people for illegal fireworks... to PROTECT her? What the heck? Illegal fireworks are out to get her? She seems batty.

I have to think the newspapers seek her out everytime a new development is proposed. It seems that no matter where on Sunnyside hill something in proposed it will affect her?

April E. Coggins said...

In January 2006, Cheryl Morgan also testified against Wal-Mart, citing storm water concerns. She is a fixture (some would say a nuisance) at city council meetings. If you asked her, she would describe herself as a conservative, so she doesn't belong to any groups.

For a point of reference, she lives exactly next door to the sewage treatment plant. It was her family's property that the sewage treatment plant and Maintenance and Operations occupies. The city just bought out the Morgan's storage units, to expand the bus garage.

It's a good thing that Cheryl doesn't allow her horses to poop in the creek anymore. I'm sure her downstream neighbors are appreciative.

Uncle Bubba said...

Cheryl Morgan has storm water on the brain. Ms. Morgan has used storm water as an excuse to rally against any and all progress in Pullman for years.