I would like to express my opposition to the proposed Cottonwood development (Bachtold property). I oppose the proposal because I do not think that adequate planning has been done.

I understand that affordable housing is critically important to a growing city, but as a practicing geologist with experience in engineering, and a long tenure in the Valley (35-plus), my view is that the city should proceed more cautiously.

The topographic map (supported by my own personal observation) shows two intermittent streams within the property. Intermittent streams do not contain water all the time. Water only shows up when severe weather conditions exist (for example, rapid warming and heavy rainfall on snow; winter and spring Chinook conditions.) During these times, the water table rises, limiting infiltration of increased surface runoff.

Road paving exacerbates this effect. I can remember about a decade ago in the spring, seeing a couple of boys (on a makeshift raft) floating the intermittent stream on the Bachtold property. A person buying a home might not be aware of the potential for flooding. No information about flood potential shows up in any of the documents that I have seen related to this development.

If Hayden Homes has such information, I doubt they have plans to share it with potential home buyers. Has that information even been collected? Has a long-term study even been undertaken?

Some years ago, the property to the north of my own home (about half a mile from and at the same general elevation as the proposed development, and along an intermittent stream) was proposed for development (Wheatcrest Road development).

At my own expense, I undertook a sediment and water level study of an adjacent property at the same elevation (the county should have that report on file). Briefly summarized, I found that the area was prone to periodic flooding, and during spring runoff, the water table rose to within a foot or so of the ground surface.

As a result of that study, county commissioners restricted development. On appeal, a judge (in Skagit County on the west side!) approved the proposal. Within a couple of years, at least two of the homes suffered severe damage resulting from a rising water table.

Meanwhile, the developer was long gone and the homeowners were stuck with expensive home repairs. The city should protect its citizens and potential home buyers and proceed more cautiously.

Patrick Spencer

Walla Walla

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