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Supreme Court approves Island Crossing appeal

The pastoral view of the Stillaguamish River Valley from I-5 may change as Dwayne Lane’s 15-year effort to build a car dealership there won in the state supreme court. -
The pastoral view of the Stillaguamish River Valley from I-5 may change as Dwayne Lane’s 15-year effort to build a car dealership there won in the state supreme court.
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ARLINGTON — Washington state’s “court of last resort” voted in favor of Dwayne Lane Oct. 9 in a 6-3 vote.

“It’s not so much about Dwayne Lane,” said the current president of the business, Dwayne’s son Tom Lane.

“We see it more as a win for the city. It’s about the city making its own decisions. We hope this will give local officials more control.”

Over the past 15 years, Lane followed the legal circuit to the top to get permission to build a car dealership at Island Crossing.

When the city created its first comp plan for the Growth Management Act, Island Crossing was included as Arlington’s Urban Growth Area — until several environmental and flood control groups appealed the zoning.

“We’re very disappointed about this decision,” said Kristin Kelly with Futurewise, one of those appellants.

Representing Arlington through the years, city attorney Steve Peiffle said the procedure from this court decision involves a ride back down the process.

The decision will be returned to the Puget Sound Growth Hearings Board for approval and then sent to the County Council for an ordinance putting the 110.5 acres back into Arlington’s Urban Growth Area.

The Supreme Court decision affirms an appellate court ruling from April 2007, which reversed a 2005 Snohomish County Superior Court decision finding that a movement by landowners and the city of Arlington to annex and urbanize Island Crossing violated the state’s Growth Management Act.

Arlington, Snohomish County and Lane all appealed the decision and won.

Because the case involved state issues and didn’t rely on federal law, Thursday’s decision can’t be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Peiffle said the opponents could ask the court to reconsider, but he felt it wasn’t realistic considering the 6-3 vote.

“If it was 5-4 then maybe they would try.”

Back in town, the city of Arlington is anxiously waiting to annex the area.

Arlington already provides water and sewer services, said City Administrator Allen Johnson

“The City Council has been wanting to take advantage of the I-5 corridor,” he said.

“We are already out there serving [the businesses there],” he said. “It’s already a commercial area serving Arlington.”

He noted the irony of Mayor Margaret Larson’s campaign to save agriculture in the valley through the TDR program while squabbling about this 110 acres.

Futurewise still feels as strong as ever, however.

“We will still appeal whenever possible,” she said. “It’s a different County Council now. We believe that land should be protected. It’s a bad time to rezone agriculture land to urban use,” Kelly said.

For the Lanes however, it’s a time of celebration.

“Some of the happiest things in life are closure,” Lane said on Monday. He said the slow economy will not slow their progress.

“We would build tomorrow if we could,” Tom Lane said.

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