Thurston County v. Futurewise: Immediate Comments

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thurston County had not updated its Comprehensive Plan in over a decade years. When the County expanded the the UGA by 200+ acres in 2004 despite Futurewise's on record comments that the local circumstances did not warrant the expansion (and in fact, a reduction was in order), Futurewise sued. Before the Western Board and Court of Appeals, Futurewise won on (1) section 130 arguments that the County failed to "review and, if necessary, revise" its Comp Plan and UGA, (2) failed to use a market factor to justify the over-size, (3) failed to protect agricultural lands, and (4) failed to appropriately designate rural lands, among other issues.

The arguments before the Supreme Court principally centered on whether the hearings boards had jurisdiction to review noncompliant UGAs under section 130's "review & revise" requirement. Thurston County argued the boards don't have jurisdiction because the section 280 only permits review of "acts" that are noncompliant, hence, only Thurston County's expansion of the UGA, not failure to reduce its UGA, would be subject to board review. Futurewise argued the boards do have jurisdiction because in Skagit County Land Surveyors (the first GMA case decided by the Supreme Court), explicitly held that hearings boards have jurisdiction to review both acts and failures to act.

Most members of the Court seemed unpersuaded by the County's arguments. If the Court were to rule otherwise, hundreds of decisions by growth boards could be overturned as they have relied on Skagit County Land Surveyors. Board review of both acts and failures to act is important to ensure that comprehensive plans remain compliant throughout time with the goals and requirements of the GMA. Petitions to growth boards are the only mechanism for enforcing the GMA goals and requirements. Washington does not have a statewide agency to approve local actions. Thus, if the Court were to rule against Futurewise, counties need only never adopt substantive changes to their comprehensive plans in order to obfiscate the GMA goals.


Thurston County v. Futurewise

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On March 20, 2008, the Washington Supreme Court will hear arguments in Thurston County v. Futurewise. This case is important in setting precedent for the review & revise requirements, the presumption of validity, UGA sizing and agricultural land designation. I will report on the arguments when the time comes.


Statewide News, March 2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ag advocates ask Gregoire to see big picture, Yakima Herald, March 31
State lawmakers set aside more than $1 million to save local farmland, The News Tribune, March 27
High Court Hears Growth Appeal: Justices evaluate plan to review-and-revise provision every 7 years, The Olympian, March 21
Managed Growth Good for Economy, Tony To, Exec. Dir., of HomeSight, Seattle P-I, March 19
Legislature approves four earth-friendly bills, The Olympian, March 18
Big strides vs. baby steps: Parties put their spin on session, The Olympian, March 14


King County News, March 2008

Density and traffic taunt 365th St, Federal Way Mirror, March 26
Seattle's Historic Contradictions, Crosscut, March 25
Landmark process fairness question, Ballard News-Tribune, March 25
At City Hall, a showdown over historic preservation, Crosscut, March 19
Letter to the Editor: Anti-Seattle Group Faulted, West Seattle Herald, March 15
Wanted: Your feedback on public parks, Federal Way Mirror, March 14
Interbay height increase eyed, Ballard News-Tribune, March 13
Public hearing set on county, hospital plan, Snoqualmie Valley-Record, March 12
New figures confirm Seattle's housing affordability woes, Crosscut, March 12
Editorial: Community hearing a chance to be heard, Larry Gossett, Snoqualmie Valley Record, March 12
Anti-Glacier bills appear doomed, Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, March 12
Neighborhood plan update to be less stringent, says city, Ballard News-Tribune, March 3


Kitsap County News, March 2008

Poulsbo opens annexation discussions, North Kitsap Herald, March 26
Editorial: Another Step Toward SKIA, Kitsap Sun, March 21
Letter to the Editor: Port Orchard Has Shown Its Commitment to SKIA, Mayor Larry Coppola, Kitsap Sun, March 18
Hearing Examiner to Review Permit for McCormick West, Kitsap Sun, March 16
Kitsap Caucus: Port to Put Annexation Petition on Agenda, Kitsap Sun, March 13
Port Votes to Consider Bremerton Annexation, Kitsap Sun, March 13
Newly Approved Sewer Plans Will Allow More Growth in CK, SK, Kitsap Sun, March 10
Kitsap Caucus: Bremerton and SKIA Update, Kitsap Sun, March 5
Poulsbo takes preemptive strike at future challenges, North Kitsap Herald, March 1


Pierce County News, March 2008

Big apartment complex planned in Bonney Lake, The News Tribune, March 25
Growth on Hold While City Works on New Rules, The Courier-Herald, March 19
Development forces eviction at County Aire Manor mobile home park in South Hill, The News Tribune, March 13
Master park plan will be looked over, The Puyallup Herald, March 13
Mobile park's impending closure spells trouble for residents, The News Tribune, March 12
Gig Harbor City council approves connection fee increases, Peninsula Gateway, March 12


Snohomish County News, March 2008

Snohomish wants to add to its urban growth area, HeraldNet, March 31
Lake Stevens close to decision on building limits for streams, wetlands, HeraldNet, March 31
Our Towns: North county update: Darrington: Housing Hope requests rezone to build houses, HeraldNet, March 28
Opinion: Helping working families buy - and keep - their homes, Kristin Pula of HomeSight, Seattle Times, March 26
Letter: Perfect world of FFCs doesn't exist, Jeff Riechel, HeraldNet, March 25
Public Meetings, HeraldNet, March 25
Birthplace of Snohomish County's next city?, HeraldNet, March 25
Lake Stevens weighs no building zones, HeraldNet, March 24
Our Towns: Around the County / Bothell: North Creek area gains city protection / Lake Stevens: Cavalero planning meeting Wednesday, HeraldNet, March 18


Clallam County News, March 2008

Growth Areas Stir Debate in Clallam County, Peninsula Daily News, March 14
Sequim Grows By 12.93 Acres: Annexation includes Gerhardt Park, Sequim Gazette, March 11
State board to take up pocket growth area in Clallam County, KONP, March 11


Clark County News, March 2008

Clark County Sets Public Hearing on Casino Deal, The Oregonian, March 20
Cultivating plans for county farms, The Columbian, March 5


Cowlitz County News, March 2008

Longview Council doubles commercial district near Wal-Mart, The Daily News, March 18


Island County News, March 2008

Island tackles affordable housing, Whidbey News-Tribune, March 12


Jefferson County News, March 2008

Counties Begin Programs to Tackle Climate Change, Kitsap Sun, March 30
Jefferson County's long-debated environmental protection ordinance adopted, Peninsula Daily News, March 18
Jefferson commissioners fine-tune critical areas ordinance for passage, Peninsula Daily News, March 10
Jefferson County commissioners doing critical thinking on proposed areas law, Peninsula Daily News, March 8
Long-awaited Port Hadlock sewer project in preliminary design phase, Peninsula Daily News, March 3
'Small town character': Residents to give report card on city planning, Port Townsend Leader, March 5
What's right, wrong with Port Townsend to be topic of town meeting, Peninsula Daily News, March 4


Skagit County News, March 2008

Almost all of Deer Harbor Hamlet plan upheld by hearings board, San Juan Islander, March 26
City attorney milks sheep in spare time, Whidbey News-Times, March 15
Consulting group’s ties questioned: Legacy Project panel linked to nonprofit activist organization, Bellingham Herald, March 10


Skamania County News, March 2008

Lawsuit aims to stop wind farm near Columbia River Gorge, The Columbian, March 7


Thurston County News, March 2008

Residents Wary of Proposals to Raise Skyline Height Limits, The Olympian, March 23
Residents Object to Land Rezoning, The Olympian, March 22


Whatcom County News, March 2008

Urban growth limits challenged: Council decision blocks Larrabee Springs developer, Bellingham Herald, March 15


Chelan County News, March 2008

Comprehensive plan amendments due March 31, Wenatchee World, March 10
County to hear rezone applications opposed by the city, Wenatchee World, March 6


Douglas County News, March 2008

Commissioners approve trail extension, Wenatchee World, March 26


Yakima County News, March 2008

Moxee requests change to hearing date, Yakima Herald, March 22


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