County Executive Ron Sims will ask the state Supreme Court to review an
appeals-court ruling that struck down a tough critical-areas ordinance limiting
land-clearing in rural areas.
Times staff reporter
County Executive Ron Sims and the Metropolitan King County Council's Republican
minority moved in opposite directions Thursday in response to an appeals-court
ruling that struck down the county's tough restrictions on land-clearing in
a Democrat, announced the county will ask the state Supreme Court to review a
Court of Appeals decision that said the county can't require landowners
throughout the rural area to keep native vegetation on 50 to 65 percent of
this ruling stands, it will have far-reaching and negative impacts on local
governments' ability to regulate land use to protect people, their property and
their quality of life," Sims said in a prepared statement.
four Republicans on the County Council meanwhile introduced legislation to
repeal the clearing and grading ordinance that is part of a 2004 package of
laws restricting development around critical areas such as rivers, wetlands and
Dunn, chairman of the council's Republican caucus, said the ordinance "was
rammed down the throats of rural landowners in a very close vote, and it did
not involve a very effective public process."
acknowledged the Democratic majority won't like the ordinance, but he urged
work toward a compromise.
three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled Monday on a lawsuit brought by the
Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights. The judges ruled that the clearing
ordinance violated a state law prohibiting local governments from imposing
"a tax, fee, or charge" on development under most circumstances.
the county restricts how much land a property owner can clear for lawn or
pasture, the court said, it must show that clearing a particular property would
cause some kind of harm.
ordinance remains in effect during the appeal.
Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes