Superior court judge grants YarrowBay's motion to stay in Black Diamond master planned developments case
By DENNIS BOX
Covington Reporter Editor
April 18, 2011 · 6:29 PM
Another ruling has been issued in the legal labyrinth surrounding the YarrowBay master planned developments in Black Diamond, The Villages and Lawson Hills.
The state superior court Judge Cheryl Carey granted a motion to stay or stop the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board’s compliance schedule set down for the city.
The board had issued an order giving the city until May 27 to complete a legislative process regarding the two master planned development ordinances.
The city used a quasi-judical process for approving the ordinances, which was passed unanimously by the City Council in September 2010. The growth board ruled the quasi-judical process prevented the public participation procedures required in the city’s code.
The motion to stay was requested by Kirkland-based developer YarrowBay.
The Growth Board Ruling
The growth board issued the ruling Feb. 15 sending the ordinances approving the developments back to city for compliance with the Growth Management Act. The board stated the city should use the legislative process.
The ruling initially gave the city until April 29 to comply, which meant public hearings before the Planning Commission, followed by a recommendation to the City Council concerning whether to approve the master planned development ordinances.
The city requested an extension of the compliance schedule from the growth board to Aug. 12. The board denied the request and granted a 30-day extension to May 27.
Carey wrote in the April 8 document granting the motion to stay, “Any compliance schedule issued by the GMHB (Growth Management Hearings Board, including the schedule requiring compliance by May 27, 2011 (as set by the GMHB in its March 24, 2011 Order on Limited Extension of Time Regarding City of Black Diamond’s Motion to Extend Time to Complete Compliance Schedule), ....., is hereby stayed pending the outcome of this appeal of the Board’s February 15, 2011 decision.”
The appeal referred to by the judge was filed by YarrowBay.
The stay effectively stops any legislative process planned in the city regarding hearings before the Planning Commission and recommendations to City Council concerning the master planned development ordinances.
Megan Nelson, director of legal affairs for YarrowBay, stated by e-mail that, "YarrowBay is very pleased that the Superior Court granted its request for a stay of the growth board’s order. The stay will save the city of Black Diamond and all other parties from spending substantial time, money and resources on a legislative process that will be rendered moot if YarrowBay’s growth board appeal is successful. Most importantly, the stay allows the parties to focus on processing the development agreements for the MPDs and getting new jobs, homeowners, schools, community amenities and businesses into Black Diamond."
David Bricklin, attorney for Toward Responsible Development, said by phone Friday, April 15, "The main show is with the (Black Diamond) City Council. The City Council needs to decide whether it's going to take control of its own city. They have the opportunity to respond to the hearings board decision. The worst thing would be to make a decision that will not look so good if the hearings board decision is affirmed. YarrowBay is pushing for the opposite. YarrowBay wants everything cast in concrete now."
The Black Diamond group Toward Responsible Development filed a petition with the growth board asking for a review of the developments. The group also filed a Land Use Petition Act or LUPA appeal in superior court regarding the two developments.
Following, finding and figuring out the scorecard on all the court filing from the various sides is both challenging and confusing.
After the City Council passed the ordinances approving the two master planned developments in 2010 Toward Responsible Development filed the petition with the growth board asking for a review of the developments and filed the LUPA appeal.
Once the growth board issued its ruling Feb. 15 remanding the ordinances back to the city, YarrowBay appeal the decision to the superior court.
Bricklin then filed an application with the growth board asking for a direct review by the state appeals court of the Feb. 15 growth board decision. This request would bypass the superior court, jumping directly to the appeals court.
A decision on the request for a direct review is this week.
March 17 the growth board denied a motion filed by Bricklin asking the members to reconsider invalidating the ordinances.
The board’s Feb. 15 ruling remanded the process leading up to approving the ordinances back to the city, but the board members did not to invalidate the ordinances approving the projects. This has caused considerable confusion among the various parties and the public on how to go back and begin a legislative process to consider ordinances that have been and are still approved.
Bricklin stated the board decision denying the motion to invalidate would also be appealed.
The appeal was filed with the superior court Friday, April 15.
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