Water Law Category

What’s Next for Exempt Wells in Whatcom County?

Many Whatcom County landowners are wondering “what’s next” in wake of the Hirst ruling on permit-exempt wells. Since the State Supreme Court’s October 2016 decision, landowners have faced uncertainty in their ability to rely on an exempt well to develop … Read More

Vested Rights and Marijuana Businesses in Washington State

On December 29, the Washington State Supreme Court issued its ruling in Snohomish County, et. al. v. Pollution Control Hearings Board, et al., holding that the vested rights doctrine does not apply to storm water control ordinances. This ruling … Read More

Whatcom County Council Introduces Ordinance Making Interim Amendments to Comprehensive Plan Following Hirst Ruling

At its November 22 meeting, the Whatcom County Council introduced a draft ordinance making interim amendments to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and Whatcom County Code. The proposed interim amendments are the County’s response to the Washington State Supreme Court’s … Read More

Building Permits and Exempt Wells in Whatcom County: What Rural Landowners Should Know

Since the Whatcom County v. Hirst decision came down in October, many rural landowners have questions regarding their ability to develop land in Whatcom County using an exempt well. Under Hirst, which is discussed in our earlier blog post … Read More

Changing Course in Washington Water Law

Two recent Washington State Supreme Court cases have significantly altered the course of Washington water law: Swinomish v. Ecology and Foster v. Ecology. These court cases have interpreted the statutory exception to instream flow rules––the “overriding considerations of the … Read More