Wetlands Issue Upsets Yakima Neighbors - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wetlands Issue Upsets Yakima Neighbors

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YAKIMA, Wash.- Yakima neighbors are speaking up against a company who started construction too close to a wetland and without proper paperwork.

Glen Johnson bought his home 5 years ago.  Two years ago, he found out part of his backyard was considered county wetlands.  And there are restrictions about how close his home could be to it.

"Putting up this fence 25 feet away, we were 15 feet too close, they took over one-third of our acre," said Glen Johnson. 

Johnson was upset he lost so much of his land. Then, last summer, the news got worse. Johnson took video when he saw Columbia Reach trucks driving into the wetlands and starting construction.

"Our jaws dropped. Some of the neighbors some of them were flat our crying," said Johnson.     

Columbia Reach started laying a foundation for a storage area for fruit bins.

Neighbors immediately signed a petition, sending it to County Commissioners.   Weeks later, after finding the company didn't have a permit, County Commissioners released a stop-work order.  The storage area was already built.

"Legally they shouldn't have even had their fence stuck that close to a wetland," said Johnson.

Johnsons says the company isn't just breaking the rules, they're taking away from his backyard.

"You could barely see any of the mountains there. I couldn't see any of the houses except the ones to the right. Now, you can see I have no privacy whatsoever," said Johnson.  

For some neighbors, the concerns are bigger than just privacy; it's safety. 

"Bins put off a toxin after used with chemicals and everything will drain into there into my driveway and it's going to be a problem," said

County Commissioner Mike Leita said Columbia Reach is being investigated for starting work without a proper permit. The company may have to repair some of the wetland area.

Neighbors say they want action and think the company should have to face a consequence.
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