Planning commissioner resigns over project
June 25, 2020
To The Eagle:
As a member of the Wahkiakum County Planning Commission, I assumed that when the commissioners voted down a permit that it was done, unless it was brought before us again with more discussion and information. Not so, with the Skamokawa Water Expansion project brought before us by the PUD.
Following our rejection, our Wahkiakum County Commissioners unanimously approved it last Tuesday.
There were valid concerns from the planning commissioners in the initial meeting and with no one in attendance to answer those questions it was tabled to the following week. Our chairman, Gene Healy (also a PUD commissioner) mentioned that they wanted to get the OK from the planning commission so they could put it out to bid the following week and get the project started as soon as possible. Still with concerns, in a second special meeting the Shoreline Management Permit (SMP) was rejected by a 4-3 vote.
I still have issues with this. Apparently the state reached out to the PUD to do this project with a 100 percent grant, no strings attached. How did they (the state) know about the Skamokawa Water Expansion issue?
Why does it cost $550,000.00 to put in connections for only 12 residences when those residents already have access to water even though their springs sometimes dry up.
That brings up another concern. When about a dozen or so residents on Oneida Road and Deep River have tried for years to be connected to water from the PUD they were told it wasn’t feasible for so few connections and too expensive. These people have access to no water on their properties and are forced to truck it in. Why wasn't the state aware of their issues?
I have a suggestion. Why not divide the grant (however much it is, as we heard anywhere from
$550,000.00 to a million dollars in the planning meetings) between the east side and the west side? Just a thought!
As an aside, it makes me wonder why the Planning Commission even has representatives from the west side sitting on the board, as most of our money is utilized on the east side of the county. That said, I will be resigning my position on the Planning Commission.