City of Shoreline response to Point Wells decision

Friday, April 29, 2011

Growth Management Hearings Board issues decision on Point Wells
On April 25, 2011, the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board (Growth Board) issued a Final Decision and Order (FDO) in two cases involving legal challenges to Snohomish County's designation of Point Wells as an "Urban Center." The City of Shoreline, the Town of Woodway, and the citizens group Save Richmond Beach jointly filed appeals against two County actions. The appeal argued that the County had violated both the GMA and the SEPA when it amended its Comprehensive Plan to designate Point Wells as an Urban Center and adopted a Point Wells Urban Center Code.

In its decision, the Growth Board ruled that both of the County’s actions failed to comply with the goals of the GMA. It also found that because the Urban Center Plan Amendment also violated specific requirements of the GMA, the County’s action was invalid. The Growth Board agreed with Shoreline that the County’s SEPA documents were inadequate because the County did not evaluate sufficient alternatives and did not describe the impacts of new information later introduced into the County’s record. The Board ordered the County to amend its Urban Center Plan to bring it into compliance with the GMA and to do additional SEPA analysis to describe additional alternatives and likely impacts of the Urban Center Plan and Code designations.

In addition, the Growth Board rejected the County’s assertion that the Point Wells Urban Center is “served by transit.” The Growth Board pointed out that transit service does not now exist in any transit agency’s plans and rejected the County’s argument that transit is available to Point Wells simply because the Sounder commuter train passes through the site. Acknowledging that the only road access to Point Wells is through Shoreline’s Richmond Beach neighborhood, the Growth Board ruled that the County has a GMA duty to make its Point Wells land use decisions consistent with Shoreline’s existing road level of service standards.

Snohomish County has until May 9, 2012 to submit a statement of actions taken to comply with the Growth Board’s order.

City of Shoreline staff will continue to coordinate and communicate with Snohomish County staff regarding actions the County may take to comply with the Growth Board’s order, potential future interlocal agreements between the City and the County, and future steps the County will take in processing the Urban Center Development Permit that was submitted to the County by Blue Square Real Estate Point Wells (BSRE), the Point Wells property owner.

Consistent with City Council direction, the City staff will also continue to meet with representatives of BSRE to attempt to negotiate a “municipal agreement” between the City and the developer which would address the City’s concerns.

The full decision is linked on the City's webpage on Point Wells.

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