A Sumner development firm recently received approval from the city of Yelm hearing examiner to move forward with the subdivision of a 19.5-acre development off Mountain View Road in Yelm, with conditions.
Because of city water rights, construction will likely be stalled until Yelm can prove they have concurrency.
Concurrency, as defined by the Washington Growth Management Act, is the requirement that adequate water capacity be available to support development.
Subdivision of the property was approved Thursday, July 18, according to a letter by Hearing Examiner Stephen Causseaux.
The Hutch, a proposed development spearheaded by Mitchell Development II LLC and located at 9306 Mountain View Road, would bring 118 single-family dwelling units to Yelm.
The project is currently pending city review and would likely need half of the city’s available water rights.
Tami Merriman, associate planner with Yelm Community and Economic Development Department, said the next steps for the applicant will be to submit civil construction plans for city review. But that likely won’t happen until the city applies for additional water rights through the Washington state Department of Ecology.
Merriman said she estimates the city will likely apply for, at most, 3,000 additional water connections, which would help the city serve its current as well as future customers.
“The 3,000 additional connections should serve our city limits as well as our urban growth area for 20 years,” she said.
The city has long acknowledged this shortage and has been attempting to acquire new water rights since 1994, according to hearing examiner documents.
In 2010, Ecology approved additional water rights for the city. That decision was ultimately appealed and later upheld in 2017 with the state supreme court case of Sarah Foster v. the Department of Ecology.
The proposed plat would consume 118 of the city’s current 240 connections.
The Yelm hearing examiner held a public hearing Tuesday, July 9, to receive public comment on the application. The city recommended the hearing examiner deny the subdivision application until it could find water concurrency.
Mitchell Development II LLC applied for a preliminary subdivision application back in August 2018 with the intent of dividing and developing the land. The property is currently owned by Barb Hutchison.