County sues city — Court issues restraining order on action in Island Crossing

EVERETT — Snohomish County has decided to sue Arlington for annexing Island Crossing, said Martin Rollins, assistant to the assistant chief prosecuting attorney in land use issues for the county, John Moffat.

"We filed our petition in Superior Court and the Superior Court Commissioner issued a temporary restraining order," Rollins said Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 10.

"The city is prohibited from issuing any land use permits in the Island Crossing area, north of 200th Street," Rollins added.

A preliminary injunction hearing will be scheduled to extend the temporary restraining order, Rollins said.

"We are asking the city of Arlington to repeal its annexation ordinance with respect to Island Crossing," Rollins said.

"And we asked the court to rescind any permits, north of 200th."

The annexation area includes land from 188th to north of SR 530, but the county is only concerned with the lowland area which is zoned commercial agriculture.

"We are not challenging the part south of 200th," Rollins added.

Rollins said that the Growth Management Hearings Board needs to take action on the Supreme Court decision which ruled in favor of Arlington in October this year. Once the GMHB takes action, then the county will only then be able to take action on whether to put Island Crossing into Arlington's Urban Growth Area.

"The Supreme Court decision invalidated the county's ordinance," Rollins said, referring to a 2004 Snohomish County ordinance 04-057 that put Island Crossing into the UGA.

"In our view, it [Island Crossing] has been removed from the UGA," Rollins said it's up to the county to put it back into the UGA and reflect that decision on its land-use map.

The city's assistant administrator, Kristin Banfield said that Mayor Margaret Larson is very disappointed that the county would take such action without any formal conversations. Although they have communicated with some county council members, they had no formal call from the council chair, Banfield said.

She added that the city has not issued any permits north of 200th Street, although they have issued four permits for tenant improvements south of 200th.

"These property owners were waiting for permits from the county," Banfield said.

"It's just amazing, all those years working side by side with Moffat on this issue, and now he's suing us," said Allen Johnson, city administrator.

The city's attorney, Steve Peiffle said a court date is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 with Judge Ellen Fair.

"Judge Fair will decide whether or not the court should issue a more permanent injunction or court order that directs the city to do or not do something," Peiffle explained.

"I find it interesting that the county's lawsuit is focussed on the 110 acres of the lowlands and they are not concerned with the other 100 acres on the bluff," Peiffle said.

"It raises some real interesting questions," he said, adding that the judge could make a decision immediately or she may want additional briefings.

Planning Commission reviews proposals

In the meantime, the city's Planning Commission, acting as Design Review Board, is scheduled to review a proposal from Dwayne Lane for his property at 59th Street and SR 530, four miles east of Island Crossing.

Lane is proposing a 8,654 square foot single story automobile dealership with service bays and a showroom on an approximately 8.75-acre site. The site is zoned general commercial.

The Planning Commission will also continue it's public hearing on the "Cedar Stump Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Concurrent Rezone. A city-initiated rezone, they are considering changing the zoning of approximately 116 acres in the City’s UGA located east of I-5 and north of 188th Street Northeast from the city limits to the 200th Street Northeast overpass. They are planning to amend the zoning from light industrial to highway commercial and high density residential.

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