MARCH 17, 1997
Canterbury Criers considers lawsuit against Woodinville
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
A $700,000 lawsuit may be filed by the Canterbury Criers Association against Woodinville to force the city into acting on its grid road ordinances. The Criers want the city to allow the mobile home park to develop 11 lots in the right of way of one of the proposed streets.
Attorneys for Canterbury argue they should be able to develop lots within the rights of way of NE 172nd Place and 138th and 133rd Avenues NE, just south and running parallel to NE 175th Street, Woodinville's main street. If development is not permitted, Canterbury should be compensated by the city for the property, attorneys contend.
"Development of the northern tier of properties in Canterbury Square [has] been stymied by the city's grid road ordinance in its current form," said David Bricklin, Canterbury's attorney, in a letter to the city dated Feb. 25. "We have attempted on multiple occasions to negotiate a resolution... My client has lost patience with the on-again, off-again negotiation process."
Canterbury alleges that the City of Woodinville has denied them economic use of the lots without compensation. Bricklin said, however, that his clients would like to avoid legal action and would withhold filing the lawsuit for another 30 days.
If the lawsuit is filed, the Canterbury Criers Association would ask damages caused by violation of their constitutional rights, the lost use and enjoyment of the property, and damages to the value of the property, in the amount of $700,000. The complaint would also ask for an injunction against the city to modify Ordinances 147 and 33 and "allow [them] to place mobile homes on the proposed ROW."
The lawsuit states that when Woodinville incorporated in 1993, the city passed Ordinance 33, "which adopted an official street map of Woodinville and established widths for 133rd Avenue Avenue NE, NE 172nd Place, and 138th Avenue NE. But Woodinville didn't create a legal description for the streets and didn't record descriptions of the proposed ROWs, the lawsuit states.
Canterbury Square was sold by the DeYoung family in January of 1996 with the agreement that the Canterbury Criers would not sell their land for four years and would put the property on the market after 2008.
Survey maps and plans for the area were recorded with King County, "showing no encumbrance created by Ordinance No. 33," according to the lawsuit, which also states that in April 1996, the city established an ROW for 133rd and ROW widths for 172nd and 138th, and dictated that no building permit would be issued for the stretches.
Meanwhile, the Canterbury Criers and the city have been trying to work out a settlement that would allow for through-access and development. A pedestrian easement running east-west has been suggested, as well as trades for access after Canterbury Square redevelops.
George Scrimshaw of the Canterbury Criers compared the delivery of the lawsuit to knocking the city with a two-by-four. "We had to bring things into focus, and that seemed the best way to go," he said. "We told the city simply that what we're talking about is $700,000. If you want to buy it, buy it."
Scrimshaw said Canterbury fundamentally owns the land. "We've been negotiating with the city for a year. Meanwhile, we are losing money," he said, referring to bank loans to purchase the property and the potential sale of the 11 lots.
City Attorney Wayne Tanaka said the city has been involved in negotiations with Canterbury for a year and said he is hopeful the situation can be handled without going to court. "The city wants to work with Canterbury Criers to come to a mutually beneficial solution," Tanaka said. But, he added, "The city has a responsibility to plan for the future."
Tanaka said location of proposed ROWs had been established by King County and had been re-established in 1993 at incorporation. "The location of the ROWs has been a matter of public record for years," he said.
Tanaka said the city has no interest in owning the ROW, but was concerned on placement of the lots. "There is no present need for a road there. We're not asking for Canterbury Square property," Tanaka said. "We believe that in the future there will be a need for a road in that section. It's sort of common sense to plan where (future) streets are and prevent people from building in ROWs. We aren't saying you can't develop property, just plan so you don't build in that section of road," he added.
While the lawsuit is threatened, both sides wanted to avoid litigation. Scrimshaw said, "We are willing to make concessions based on their concessions." Tanaka said that it was in the city's best interest to solve the situation before it went to court.