Local News

Growth Management Hearings Board reverses decision on UPDs

UPDs decision The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board issued an order Saturday stating that the King County Comprehensive Plan contained "insufficient reasons" for designating a large "island" urban growth area between Redmond and Duvall "totally surrounded by rural lands."
   The conclusion reversed an earlier decision of the board that had sharply criticized the Blakely Ridge and Northridge UPD projects but had held that it was too late for them to be challenged.
   The board issued its new ruling Dec. 2 on a Motion for Reconsideration filed by Friends of the Law.
   The King County Council was itself scheduled to hear appeals to the Blakely Ridge approval on Dec. 4 (after press time).
   In its original decision, the Growth Management Hearings Board held that the county was required to designate the Blake Ridge and Northridge sites as an "island" urban growth area (UGA) due to certain language in the Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs).
   In the new decision, the board held that the language in the CPPs is "internally inconsistent" and "ambiguous" and could not bind the county to establish the island UGA.
   The decision states: "The Board concludes that CPPs...did not bind the county to include the Bear Creek MPD sites within the Final Urban Growth Area... The Bear Creek island UGA will be remanded to the county with instructions to delete it, or to make it a fully contained community provided that it meets the requiements of [the GMA], or to justify it consistent with the requirements of [the GMA] and consistent with the board's final decision and order in this case."
   According to Joseph Elfelt, of Friends of the Law, that group "is ready to intervene in any lawsuit the developers and/or the county file in an attempt to overturn the Board's decision."
   Michael Costello of Redmond called the board's decision "a major victory" for the UPD opponents. He urged the county council to deny the permit to Blakely Ridge and return Novelty Hill to a rural designation.