Star Valley Council 'Protects Water' With Ordinance

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An ordinance that puts restrictions on water withdrawals from publicly or privately owned wells in Star Valley and establishes penalties for violation of the term set forth in the ordinance was passed 6-0 by the Star Valley Council at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Councilor Art Lloyd was not in attendance.

Councilor Bill Rappaport recited the ordinance, which prohibits entities outside of Star Valley from withdrawing water, if the withdrawals drop the static water level of any Star Valley wells by 10 feet in a five-year period. The town's well monitoring equipment will be used to evaluate water levels.

The town's safe yield study will be the basis for acceptable water levels.

The ordinance includes a penalty of a class one misdemeanor for each day of withdrawal that violates the terms.

"It was something put in place to protect our aquifer in the future," Mayor Chuck Heron said. "It gives us control of our water."

Chris Benjamin, chair of the town's water task force, expressed his approval of the ordinance.

"I'm completely behind it," he said.

The council also adopted a resolution establishing penalties for failure to obtain a building or manufactured home permit.

Penalties for violation of the new code include a class one misdemeanor as well as a fee of up to twice the building permit or manufactured home permit fee.

Heron said that there are several levels of appeal in the process.

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