Clallam: Critical Areas Code repeal effort headed to court

A citizen's petition calling for the repeal of the county Critical Areas Ordinance is headed to court.

Clallam County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to seek a court ruling on the validity of the petition.

At issue is whether the public has the right to repeal a local law required by the state.

The petition, which has met the signature requirement to be placed on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, calls for the repeal of the Critical Areas Ordinance, which establishes development buffers near streams, wetlands and slopes in unincorporated Clallam County.

Commissioner Mike Chapman, R-Port Angeles, cast the lone vote opposing court action.

“I believe this board would be in violation of Clallam County code to do that,” he said.

“The charter directly tells the commissioners what to do. The charter does not say seek a declaratory judgment.”

Commissioners Mike Doherty, D-Port Angeles, and Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, disagreed.

“To get the opinion of the court is proper,” Doherty said.

Tharinger suggested the court action after some debate on the petition's validity and whether the next step should be a public hearing.

“I think it's inappropriate to have a public hearing on this referendum,” Tharinger said.

Full details appear in today's edition of the Peninsula News. Click onto “Subscribe” to have your PDN delivered to your home or office.

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