Chairman O’Sullivan called the meeting to order.
Chairman O’Sullivan, Commissioners Oberquell and Wolfe, Department Director Pat Libbey, Deputy Director Sherri McDonald, Environmental Health Director Art Starry, and Clerk of the Board Patti Swanson.
Chairman O’Sullivan opened the public hearing and reviewed the hearing procedure. All individuals present intending to testify at the hearing were then sworn in by Chairman O’Sullivan. Jane Futterman, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney representing the Environmental Health Division, provided an introduction indicating that the applicant is appealing the Administrative Hearing Officer decision that Camp Solomon Schechter’s proposed sewage systems for the new dormitories must be owned and operated by the City of Tumwater according to the Sewerage General Plan for the Urban Growth Management Area and an agreement between Thurston County and the City of Tumwater.
Art Starry, Environmental Health Director, provided background information on the property and proposed development. Mr. Starry commented on issues raised in the letter submitted by Mr. Paul Norr. There was also discussion on the Sewerage General Plan (SGP) and how it relates to this project. Board members asked questions of staff concerning material submitted. Given the requirements contained the SGP, it was necessary to require the sewage system to be owned and operated by the City of Tumwater as a condition of permit approval. An administrative hearing was requested and held appealing the administrative decision to require Tumwater ownership of the sewage system. The appeal was denied.
Mr. Paul Norr presented the appellant’s case asking the Board to take a broader look at the SGP and associated agreements as they relate to this particular situation. Mr. Norr reviewed, with the Board, statements contained in the written material provided. A letter to Skillings – Connolly from Environmental Health Specialist Donald Moulton was submitted and entered into the record as Exhibit 8. Mr. Norr also presented the following maps: 1) arial view of the Camp; 2) soils map; and 3) wetlands map.
Mr. Norr made the following assertions: 1) The Sewerage General Plan does not apply to this property (referring to the zoning map); 2) Even if it is determined otherwise, there are exceptions to the plan that apply; 3) The costs associated with being required to be owned and operated by the City of Tumwater would be a serious hardship for the Camp Solomon Organization; and 4) There is no public health or public safety concern and pollution is not an issue.
Mr. Bob Connolly, with Skillings – Connolly Engineering Firm, spoke regarding the design and safety of the proposed system. Jane Futterman asked questions of Mr. Norr and Mr. Connolly and clarified that the Department’s position is not that the septic system is inadequate but that the requirements of the SGP call for city ownership.
Commissioner Oberquell asked Mr. Starry if the property is located in an aquifer sensitive area and what the depth-to-groundwater level is. Mr. Starry indicated the property is in an aquifer sensitive area and the depth-to-groundwater level is somewhere between medium and high.
Mr. Jay Eaton, City of Tumwater Public Works Director, spoke concerning the City of Tumwater’s position. Mr. Eaton indicated that the City has no plan to provide sewers to the Camp’s Open Space designated property. Chairman O’Sullivan asked questions of Mr. Eaton.
Mr. Norr provided closing remarks.
Commissioner Wolfe acknowledged staff acted appropriately in looking at the Sewerage General Plan, but as policy-makers the Board must look at the big picture. Commissioner Wolfe stated the exception request is appropriate and should be granted.
Commissioner Oberquell expressed concern with the property being located in an Aquifer sensitive area with a medium to high water table and would feel more comfortable, if at a minimum, the system is maintained by a third party.
Mr. Starry indicated that third party maintenance is often required of large systems such as this one. Mr. Norr indicated the Camp would be agreeable.
Chairman O’Sullivan acknowledged that for the past ~50 years, no violations or problems with the property or systems in place have occurred. Given the sentiments expressed by the City of Tumwater, and the Open Space designation, he believes common sense justifies making an exception. Commissioner Oberquell suggested any motion include system maintenance and operation be completed by a third party and asked that exclusion of the property from the Urban Growth Management Area be pursued immediately. Chairman O’Sullivan and Commissioner Wolfe indicated more information would be needed to make such a determination. Elizabeth Petrich, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Board, clarified the process necessary to consider such an action.
When discussion was complete, Commissioner Wolfe moved to grant Camp Solomon Schechter an exemption from following the provisions of the Sewerage General Plan that would require the City of Tumwater own and operate the septic system; and further moved to require that a third party operate and maintain the system. Chairman O’Sullivan seconded the motion. The motion carried with Commissioner Oberquell voting No.
Commissioner Wolfe moved to close the public hearing. Commissioner Oberquell seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Commissioner Wolfe moved to approve the Agenda. Commissioner Oberquell seconded the motion. The motion carried.
The Clerk of the Board identified an error contained in the minutes. Commissioner Wolfe moved to approve the minutes of April 23, 2001 as amended. Commissioner Oberquell seconded the motion. The motion carried.
AUDIENCE REPORTS AND REQUESTS – There were none.
Department Director Pat Libbey provided background information on how provisions in the Sewerage General Plan, discussed earlier as part of the Appeal, came to be. Mr. Libbey suggested this issue may warrant further discussion at a briefing session.
Mr. Libbey apprised the Board concerning a matter pertaining to the Chemical Dependency Advisory Committee.
Patti Swanson, Clerk of the Board
Date of Approval May 21, 2001
The Board of Health meets on the 1st and 3rd Board Meetings of the Month. Minutes will be published when approved by the Board of Health at their next regularly scheduled meeting. If you have any questions regarding this meeting, please contact Patti Swanson, Clerk of the Board of Health using e-mail or calling (360) 786-5581.
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