October 2017 Bar Bulletin
By Kate Hambley
As reported in the March and May issues of the Bar Bulletin, last fall the Washington Supreme Court issued a controversial Growth Management Act (GMA) decision, Whatcom County v. Hirst,1 holding that counties cannot rely on the
Department of Ecology’s rules governing small “permit-exempt” wells, but must independently determine whether there is sufficient water available for development.2
The decision was immediately polarizing, pitting property-rights advocates against environmentalists (and splitting along familiar east-west lines). Both sides called for a legislative fix, but the Legislature ultimately could not
deliver in the last, extended session.
Despite the controversy surrounding the decision, the legal effects...