“Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting.” This quote, attributed to Mark Twain and repeated by Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, aptly sums up the long road to get approval for North Bend’s Water System Plan (WSP.)
This plan provides a planning strategy for the City’s water utility over 5-, 10- and 20-year planning periods. According to the city, due to the uncertainties with growth and mitigation capacity outlined in the plan, the City was seeking 5-year approval for the WSP.
The UTRC (Utilities Technical Review Committee) had recommended approval, and the plan was sent to the King County Council for their approval.
Opposition to the plan claimed issues with mitigation strategies, compliance with county codes, insufficient water for current demands and asked for the plan to be sent back to North Bend Local Services Committee.
On Tuesday, January 26th, after hearing comments from city officials and groups opposing the WSP, the King County Council voted 7-2 to approve the plan. According to sponsor Kathy Lambert, the plan will move forward to the State Dept of Public health for the next step. This step allows the city to move forward in making agreements with other water purveyors to meet the ongoing needs of the city to meet the Growth Management Act requirements.
This also means the developer of the Dahlgren project can take some steps forward too. According to city PIO Danna McCall, the developer can still install all utilities without DOH approval. But to build buildings and supply those buildings with water, WSP approval from the Department of Health is required. That approval is expected next month, February 2021.
On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 6 PM, the City of North Bend will host a Virtual Town Hall Meeting. The meeting is an opportunity for North Bend water customers to learn about the City’s proposed Water System Plan (WSP).
This is the second public meeting about the Water System Plan the City has hosted. The first meeting was held in May 2020. Since that time, the King County Utilities Technical Review Committee (UTRC) added a new property – the site of a proposed National Guard Readiness Center near Truck town – to the City’s water service area.
This property had been in the Sallal Water Association service area, but due to Sallal’s lack of water availability for the proposed Readiness Center, the UTRC moved the property to North Bend’s service area, requiring an update to the WSP.
The February 2nd Town Hall meeting will cover the two changes to the Water System Plan: the addition of the National Guard site and the 5-year plan duration. There will also be time for public comment, structured at three minutes per commenter.
Please visit the City of North Bend’s News Flash page HERE for more details on how to attend this meeting.
After the town hall meeting, the updated WSP goes to the North Bend City Council that night for an approval vote. At that point, it goes to DOH for approval. The City expects approval from both council and DOH.
“The City is pleased with the King County Council’s approval of our Water System Plan. Over the past two years we devoted countless hours creating a sound plan to provide our water customers with safe, reliable water.”
-Mayor Rob McFarland
[*Note: A quote was removed regarding length on North Bends mitigation pending clarification from that source.]