Island Crossing heads to state Supreme Court

ARLINGTON — The 18-year land-use dispute over Island Crossing might finally be heading toward a resolution.

ARLINGTON — The 18-year land-use dispute over Island Crossing might finally be heading toward a resolution.

The Washington State Supreme Court is seeking to schedule oral arguments for its review of the case between the end of May and the end of June this year.

Representatives for Futurewise, the Stillaguamish Flood Control District and the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development all petitioned the state Supreme Court to review the case last year. This came after the state Court of Appeals ordered to deny motions for reconsideration of its previous ruling, in favor of allowing the development of 110 acres of largely unused farmland bordered by Interstate 5 and Smokey Point Boulevard, northwest of Arlington.

Futurewise advocates control of growth and has represented the Pilchuck Audubon Society and Agriculture For Tomorrow in previous litigation of this issue. Keith Scully, legal director for Futurewise, has argued that the Court of Appeals had superseded the proper authority of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.

Henry Lippek, attorney for the Stillaguamish Flood Control District, has echoed the concerns of Tim Trohimovich, planning director for Futurewise, about the risk of flooding from filling in the flood plain with urban development.

Washington State Assistant Attorney General Alan Copsey, speaking on behalf of CTED, has explained that CTED’s primary concerns are not with Island Crossing itself, but with the precedents it could set regarding how agricultural lands are designated under the Growth Management Act. He has argued that such designations must be area-wide, rather than parcel-by-parcel, to carry out the GMA’s intent of preserving the needed amount of agricultural lands within Snohomish County.

On the other side of the debate, Dwayne Lane’s auto centers have sought to set up a car dealership on the contested site for more than a decade. Lane’s lawyer, Todd Nichols of Everett, has asserted that the site’s water and sewer capacities correspond to the GMA’s characteristics of an urban growth area.

Steve Peiffle, attorney for the city of Arlington, has asserted that previous decisions had second-guessed evidence supplied by Lane, and cited the state Court of Appeals’ ruling as reflecting this view.

“We can’t really say for sure what this will mean yet,” said Peiffle, when asked for comment about oral arguments for the case being heard by the state Supreme Court later this year. “Hopefully, though, this will bring it to a conclusion.”