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Dungeness flood plan wins approval

The Clallam County commissioners unanimously approved the Dungeness River Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan on June 23.

The plan is nonregulatory and strictly advisory, said Hannah Merrill, natural resources officer for Clallam County.

Commissioner Steve Tharinger said the flood plan would act as policy for the Shoreline Master Program, which the county is required to update by December 2011.

"(This) allows the county to apply for grants through the Washington State's Flood Control Assistance Account Program," Merrill said.

These grants would be used to buy property along the Dungeness River to coordinate with the plan's goals of purchasing high-risk flood hazard areas and high-value habitat areas.

The plan originally was set for a vote on June 9 but during the State Environmental Protection Act's public hearing process, no comments were received.

Commissioners allotted more time, and three comments then were made on the plan.

Kevin Farrell with the Washington State Department of Ecology and Scott Chitwood, the natural resources manager for the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe commented in favor.

Edward Sumpter, who lives near the river, wrote a letter in opposition.

"Why does a minority carry the burden for everyone else?" Sumpter asked.

He said his "property has been downsized twice, critical areas redefined and expanded, wells restricted and controlled ..." because of over-regulation, thus making two of his riverfront parcels no longer buildable.

Sumpter also asked why the Jamestown Tribe would not be included in the plan, citing the Railroad Bridge as a specific example.

Tharinger said that different areas have different functions.

"There was an advisory committee of a good sampling of people on and around the river, so some good thought was put into this all," Tharinger said.

"The plan is in place to help prevent people from flooding."

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