Chelan Commissioners Discuss Climate Change Bill In Legislature
Chelan County Commissioners are looking over bills in the state legislature, including one to update the planning framework for climate change.
Among other things, it requires certain cities and counties to take action to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
Commissioner Kevin Overbay says the requirement would unduly burden rural areas like Chelan County.
"We have a lot of folks that come to an urban core," said Overbay. "But outside of Link (Transit), we don't have any other type of transit to help offset vehicle miles traveled. And folks have to come to the urban core to get medical services, to do shopping."
The bill would also seek to increase buffer zones between wildfire prone landscapes and housing or building development.
Overbay thinks it would take away the ability to build housing in many areas.
"And I will tell you that, when we're sitting on anywhere from 13% to 15% private ownership, I see it as a taking," Overbay said.
According to Overbay, more than 80 percent of property in Chelan County is owned by a government entity.
The county recently sold about a dozen surplus pieces of property in an effort to get county-owned properties into private ownership, and getting that land back on the tax rolls.
The bill in the state legislature would not apply to any areas in eastern Washington, but Overbay thinks it would eventually force restrictions on Chelan County.
It would begin with King, Kitsap, Snohomish, and Pierce counties, and the cities within those counties in 2024.
Overbay meets on a regular basis with the Washington State Association of Counties, which adopted the position of "neutral with concerns" on the bill.
He was adamantly opposed to the measure, but ultimately decided to vote in favor of the Association's position.
Commissioners discussed a group of bills being considered by lawmakers in Olympia at their Monday morning meeting.
The bill seeking to update the state’s planning framework on climate change contains more than 10 different provisions.