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From: Brian T. Hodges
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:49 AM
To: All PLF
Subject: Another GMA/Property Rights Victory for PLF
We scored another great victory in Washington’s Supreme Court
today. The issue: a jurisdictional turf war between two statutes that take
substantively different approaches to balancing development and the
The Shoreline Management Act purports to balance use and
protection while mandating that certain development must be allowed.
By contrast, the Growth Management Act mandates that government
protect critical areas based on "best available science." (As the
court noted, "a benign term with often a heavy price tag.").
In 2003, Washington’s Legislature amended the GMA to clarify that
shorelines are regulated under the SMA, while critical area regulations are
governed by the GMA. The legislature also made it explicitly clear that
shorelines are not considered critical areas under the GMA unless
the areas qualify for such a designation based on the definition of critical
areas under the Act.
Undeterred by the law, environmentalist group Futurewise
challenged Anacortes’ GMA update for failing to adopt critical area regulation
for the shorelines. We participated as amicus before the Supreme Court. The
issue before the Court was whether Legislature meant what is said –
specifically, whether County’s could continue to adopt GMA critical area
regulations until such time as they updated their SMA regulations.
This morning, the Court issued its decision: "Critical areas
within the jurisdiction are governed only by the SMA."
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