By Keri Brenner | The
In a landmark decision, the state Supreme Court today unanimously
ruled that GMA (state Growth Management Act) clearly does not require a county
to reenact a new comprehensive plan every seven years.
The five-judge panel, in a 40-page decision, reverses, in part, a
Court of Appeals ruling and remands the decision back to the Western Washington
Growth Management Hearings Board regarding its July 2005 ruling on Thurston
County's 2004 update of its comprehensive plan.
The decision means that third parties, such as land-use watchdog
group Futurewise (formerly 1000 Friends of Washington) -- which filed the original
challenge against Thurston County's plan update -- may only challenge new or
amended elements of a county's plan update, and not the whole comprehensive
"We're very satisfied with this decision," said Don
Krupp, Thurston County's chief administrative officer. "The central issue,
that the GMA does not expect or require a county to revise every aspect of its
comprehensive plan when it does its seven-year update, was the key issue we
were asking the court to examine.
"We think the decision was well-thought-
"Most importantly," he said, "it restores to local
government and the citizens they represent the ability to choose how best to
manage growth within their own communities."
Tim Trohimovich, planning director for Futurewise, was not
immediately available for comment.
For more on this story, see Friday's Olympian.
Political editor Brad Shannon is writing about the ruling at The Politics Blog.
posted 12:21 PM 08/14
Link this article here.
state Supreme Court has sent Thurston County’s much disputed 2004
amendments to a comprehensive land-use plan back to a regional state hearings
board to reconsider aspects of it.
Mary Fairhurst penned the unanimous ruling today. The 9-0 decision appears to
have many ramifications — because the question of the county’s
conformity with the Growth Management Act has been in dispute a great many
years. This only prolongs the debate.
Go here to read the ruling.
Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board previously found the plan
updates did not conform with act requirements for rural densities and urban
remand, according to the court, asks the board “to determine whether a
market factor was employed by the County in revising its UGAs and whether the
County's designations were clearly erroneous. We also remand the case to the
Board to determine whether it was clearly erroneous for the County to include
densities greater than one dwelling unit per five acres in its rural element
and whether the County provided for a variety of rural densities by the use of
innovative zoning techniques. “
Brenner of The Olympian is working on this story and will be gauging its
The free-market advocating Washington Policy Center in Seattle called the
decision a “small victory” for property owners and property rights.
The Building Industry Association of Washington and environmental group
Futurewise (formerly 1000 Friends of Washington) intervened or were parties in