Toward Responsible Development files appeal against YarrowBay developments in Black Diamond | Read Document

Toward Responsible Development filed a land use petition act or LUPA appeal in King County Superior Court against the two YarrowBay master planned developments in Black Diamond, Lawson Hills and The Villages.

Superior court Judge Cheryl Carey has been assigned to the case. The court date for the appeal is March 21, 2011. The attorney who filed the document for the petitioners was David Bricklin of the Seattle firm Bricklin and Newman.

The petition asks for the court to invalidate the ordinances passed by the Black Diamond City Council approving the projects and remand the issue back to the city for further consideration. The appeal is also asking for the court to award “petitioners their damages and actual attorneys’ fees and cost for violation of their constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. (section) 1988.”

The appeal listed a series of errors in the process the petitioners believe led to the council approving the projects. Included in the list was the city used the wrong process, quasi judicial, which “deprived the petitioners of their opportunity to communicate with their elected officials.” The document also noted the ordinances violate the city’s comprehensive plan calling for preserving Black Diamond’s small town character.

Listed as petitioners on the court document are Cynthia and William Wheeler, Bob Edelman, Peter Rimbos, Mike Irrgang, Judith Carrier, Eugene May, Vicki Harp, Cindy Proctor, and the estate of William Harp.

The Black Diamond City Council unanimously passed the ordinances approving the master planned developments Sept. 20

YarrowBay, a Kirkland development company, plans to build 4,800 residences or dwelling units on The Villages property and 1,250 in the Lawson Hills project.

Open hearings on the projects before city’s hearing examiner, Phil Olbrechts, began in March and lasted more than two weeks. Olbrechts ruled the final environmental impact statements for the two projects adequate and recommended approval of the projects with conditions.

Closed record hearings before the City Council began in June and continued through September when the projects were approved.

The next step, unless court action halts the process, is the development agreements, which YarrowBay has filed with the city. Once the city approves the applications, they will be scheduled to go before the hearing examiner who will make a recommendation to the City Council on approval.

Edelman said Toward Responsible Development is a state not-for-profit corporation with about 50 members. Edelman described it as a loosely formed group that was started about two weeks ago.

He stated through the hearing process that has lasted nearly seven months he has “made friends that will last for life. There are really intelligent people involved in this.”

Edelman said the only requirement to join the group is to “support what we are doing.”

He stated the appeal is relying on considerable amount of volunteer efforts and funds raised by other groups. According to Edelman, Toward Responsible Development does no fundraising activities.

Edelman said groups like The Diamond Coalition and Save Black Diamond are raising funds for the effort.

Brian Ross, YarrowBay CEO, said by e-mail Wednesday, “We are still very happy with the city’s approval and the progress on these projects. This appeal is a normal and typical part of the process of permitting a MPD or any large project, and YarrowBay will work through the appeal in due course.”


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