I had a good talk with Royce Buckingham today, from the County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, about the letter that I wrote about the County moratorium requirement. (The County has been very responsive overall, I should add, with a quick e-mail from Planning Director Sam Ryan and a quick call from Royce.)
We spent quite a bit of time talking about the state statute that says that local governments can adopt “additional or more stringent regulations” that are not “inconsistent with the forest practices regulations” in state law. I’m wondering whether any regulation that is “different” from state law is viewed as “inconsistent.” And, if so, why is there even a statement in the law that local governments have the authority to adopt “additional or more stringent regulations”? Royce said he’d look into it further, for which I’m appreciative.
Joe Teehan invited me to talk about the moratorium on “The Joe Show” today (the podcast is available from a link from this page). This is the third time that I’ve been on the show, and I really enjoy it.
Joe and I had one discussion that got me thinking. What if the County said “This is our moratorium law, we’re standing by it, and we’re going to apply it”?
The project proponent would have two choices. It could do what it’s required to do in order to lift the moratorium (see this blog), which would be the simplest and quickest response. Or it could sue the County, which would be more expensive and would take longer.
This would certainly give Whatcom County residents a better idea about the project proponent’s feeling of responsibility toward the community.
The applicant has every right, of course, to fight the County tooth and nail. We all have the right to go to court; it’s what makes America great. (A little lawyer humor there).
Or it could choose to abide by the laws that were in effect when it decided to pursue this project and work diligently to meet the requirements in our County Code.
What do you think?