Important announcement on Urban Growth Area Expansion Appeal process
Dear Glenrose Association Members and Residents:
As most of you will recall our Spokane County Commissioners approved a 4125 acre expansion of the Urban Growth Area (UGA) in July of 2013. This expansion was of great concern to the Glenrose Association since it would allow the county to rezone several parcels of rural land in Glenrose, zoned Urban Reserve to Low Density Residential (LDR). This move would pave the way for the elimination of these open landscapes, and their conversion to residential subdivisions. This attempt to rezone large areas of Glenrose to LDR was in direct contrast to TGA’s mission, which in part is to preserve the rural open spaces in Glenrose for the benefit of current and future generations.
The Glenrose Association (TGA) along with many other organizations and individuals throughout Spokane County opposed this expansion, since we felt it was unlawful, in part due to the counties adoption of a bogus population projection. The Glenrose Association joined a legal challenge in the summer of 2013 with a number of these organizations, including Futurewise, to seek invalidation of the commissioner’s approved expansion. We felt this expansion was in clear violation of Washington State’s Growth Management Act. We appealed the commissioner’s decision to Washington State’s Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB). In November 2013 the GMHB invalidated the commissioner’s expansion. Shortly afterwards Spokane County appealed this decision to the Washington State Court of Appeals (WSCA).
The appeals process through the WSCA has run its’ course and on June 18th 2015, the court upheld the invalidation of Spokane County Commissioner’s decision to expand the UGA. Since then we have been expecting Spokane County to appeal this decision to the Washington State Supreme Court. I’m very happy to report that last Friday we were informed that no appeal was filed during the appeal window, and the WSCA decision is now mandated. We and our partners have won this challenge and are hopeful it has sent a strong message to the commissioners! We believe this is a big win for the future of Glenrose, Spokane County and the future preservation of our rural lands!
Please see the correspondence I pasted below from our outstanding attorney Tim Trohimovich, weighing in on this new court decision. Also I attached a link to a Spokesman review story on the subject http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/jun/24/spokane-county-commissioners-lose-growth-boundary/ and attachments with the court decision. Last but not least please know that Tim, his colleagues at Futurewise including Kitty Klitzke and local attorney Rick Eichstaedt are responsible for doing most of the heavy lifting on this legal challenge. We thank them for their efforts on our behalf and feel very fortunate to have been able to partner with them on this important issue.
Finally, let us not be lulled into complacency as the war is far from over, since the forces that continue to target Glenrose for high density development continue to push hard against us. There will be more battles to fight, as we move forward in our efforts to protect and preserve our open spaces in Glenrose. Please consider getting involved with TGA as we need all hands on deck to enable us to continue to make a difference.
Thanks for your continued support:
Enclosed please find a copy of the mandate issued by the Court of Appeals in the Spokane County urban growth area expansion appeal. As you remember the Growth Management Hearings Board granted our motion and concluded that the county’s adoption of a new, higher population projection without notice to the public and an opportunity to comment violated the Growth Management Act (GMA). The county appealed that Board decision. Last month the Court of Appeals affirmed the Board’s decision in an opinion I sent you earlier. The mandate, enclosed, is a legal document that signifies that no appeals were filed and so the court of appeals decision is now final. So we have won that round.
This morning the Court of Appeals upheld our Growth Management Hearings Board win where the board decided that Spokane County violated the Growth Management Act when it increased its population projection without notice to the public and an opportunity for the public to comment in a failed attempt to justify its 4,125 acre urban growth area expansions. A copy of the decision is enclosed. Here is a short summary, which is hopefully suitable for our website and Facebook page.
Washington State Court of Appeals affirms decision finding Spokane County population projection increase violated the GMA
On June 18, 2015, the court of appeals, Washington’s second highest court, agreed that the Growth Management Hearings Board correctly concluded that Spokane County violated the Growth Management Act when the county increased its planned 20-year population growth projection from 113,541 to 121,112 people without any notice to the public and without any opportunity for the public to comment. As the court noted, the county adopted this secret population increase in an attempt to justify 4,125 acres of unnecessary urban growth area expansions. Not only are the expansions unneeded, the county has also not prepared a plan to pay for the roads, water systems, sewer systems, and schools to serve the urban growth area expansions. So Washington State and Spokane County taxpayers will be left holding the bag for these unnecessary expansions. Futurewise was joined in the appeal of the unnecessary urban growth area expansions by the State of Washington Department of Commerce, the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Glenrose Association, and many other local partners. You can find the decision on the Washington State Courts website at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/322408.pub.pdf