Appeals filed in response to recent ruling on Island Crossing
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:40 PM
ARLINGTON The one thing that both sides of the ongoing legal battle over Island Crossing can agree on is that its gone on too long. Where they disagree is when it should have ended.
The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled March 26 in favor of allowing the development of 110 acres of largely unused farmland bordered by Interstate 5 and State Route 530, north of Arlington. Lawyers for Futurewise, the Stillaguamish Flood Control District and the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development responded April 16 by filing motions with the Court of Appeals, asking its judges to reconsider the case.
Futurewise advocates control of growth and has represented the Pilchuck Audubon Society and Agriculture for Tomorrow in previous litigation of this issue. Keith Scully, the groups legal director, echoed the opinion of Washington State Assistant Attorney General Alan Copsey, speaking on behalf of CTED, who argued that the Court of Appeals had superseded the proper authority of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.
The growth board is meant to act as a check on the county, said Scully, who explained that the board is intended to examine the entire record to see if Snohomish County made clear factual errors in its decision. According to Scully, the Court of Appeals is then authorized to review the boards factual findings on the basis of substantial evidence, but it is not supposed to start fresh, by conducting the same level of evidentiary review as the board.
They took away the boards authority to perform an independent review, Scully said. This area has historically been agricultural land and we hope it can remain that way.
Dwayne Lanes auto centers have sought to set up a car dealership on the contested site for more than a decade. Lanes lawyer, Todd Nichols of Everett, doesnt believe the Court of Appeals March 26 ruling will be reversed.
Its completely within the Growth Management Act, as interpreted by the State Supreme Court, said Nichols, who pointed out that the site is bounded by the busy highways. Its at an interchange where urban growth is already occurring.
Nichols asserted that the sites water and sewer capacities correspond to the GMAs characteristics of an urban growth area. He went on to cite the State Supreme Court decision from last summer that bottom-up land use should defer to local governments.
The Court of Appeals really took their time and dealt with every aspect of this case, Nichols said. This has been a long case that needs to be resolved. In our opinion, its already been resolved.