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CLE ELUM, WA-A Kittitas County land use permit that allows infrastructure work begin on a 6,225-acre resort near here is being appealed by RIDGE, an environmental group based in Roslyn, WA, another nearby town.

The permit, issued recently by county officials after nearly four years of work, has enabled Redmond, WA-based Trendwest Resort to begin construction on the resort’s roads and first golf course. When complete, the resort will include 4,100 residential units, at least two golf courses, a 500-room hotel, an equestrian center and 100,000 sf of retail space.

RIDGE, long opposed to the resort, filed a suit with the Yakima Superior Court. The suit challenges the project’s environmental impact study, accuses the project of violating the state’s Growth Management Act, and calls into question a 30-year development agreement between the county and Trendwest.

Kittitas County Commissioner Perry Houston says the development agreement between the county and Trendwest simply enables the company to develop the resort according to the strict specifications and plans that have been approved. “If they deviate from the plans they’ve submitted, or if regulations change, we can get back into the agreement and make it reflect the current scenario,” says Huston.

The suit also questions Trendwest’s plan to transfer water rights it owns from the Yakima River to the resort. Trendwest is still waiting for Department of Ecology to approve the water transfer and cannot begin construction on the resort’s buildings until the go ahead has been given.

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