Northwest NEWS

June 19, 2000

Editorial

Majority of GMA Board sides with King County and Quadrant

   Here is a quote from the ruling on Redmond Ridge by the presiding Board member Joe Tovar. He was outvoted by members Ed McGuire and former King County Councilwoman Lois North, who was appointed to the Board by former King County Executive Gary Locke just in time to participate in the Redmond Ridge ruling.

   The "Board" found Redmond Ridge in compliance with FCC requirements in a 2-1 vote. But as you'll read, Mr. Tovar had a rather strongly-worded difference of opinion. He just happened to agree completely with the citizens and opponents of the project who waited five years to get screwed one more time.

   The Board ruled "again" that the Urban Growth Area violated the Growth Management Act, but it has allowed the county to get away with reversing its policies on Fully Contained Communities (FCC) to save Quadrant's developments.

   In 1996, the county actually reversed a policy that prohibited all FCCs in King County just so Quadrant's project could survive being ruled in violation of Urban Growth Area requirements. That UGA ruling was affirmed today by the Board, but two of the three members have allowed the county to get away with reversing its FCC policy for one developer.

   We have only read parts of the decision, but given Tovar's dissent, which took up nearly a third of the entire ruling, I expect that Tovar was the only member with the courage to do the right thing.

   In retrospect, Lois North did exactly what we feared when Locke appointed her to the Board at the last minute. She apparently has saved policies ruled illegal today that she was involved with nearly a decade ago.

   I wish I could say that I was shocked.

   Board Member Tovar's Dissent regarding RCW 36.70A.350:

   "For the reasons detailed below, I respectfully dissent from my colleagues. I do not agree with the majority's conclusion that the County's designation of the Bear Creek FCC complies with the goals and requirements of the Act, specifically and most fundamentally, with RCW 36.70A.350(preamble).

   "Quite to the contrary, I believe that the County's designation of the Bear Creek urban island as an FCC is a brazen flouting of the spirit of the Growth Management Act and an egregious violation of its requirements. I would have entered a determination of invalidity.

   "To label this land use designation as a "fully contained" community is an artifice belied by the facts. At its core, this land use decision is rooted not in a sustainable future, but in an expedient past.

   Far from being fully contained, this is classic leapfrog sprawl on a grand scale, the likes of which has hastened the demise of rural and resource lands throughout this country over the past fifty years. In my view, the majority has interpreted the Act in a way that eviscerates the statute."

Michael Costello, Coalition for Public Trust (What public trust?)