News

Black Diamond vetoes Maple Valley request

By Dennis Box

For The Courier-Herald

The Black Diamond hearing examiner has denied the city of Maple Valley’s request to participate in the final environmental impact statement appeals hearing scheduled for March 6.

Maple Valley is concerned about the traffic impact on the city from two YarrowBay developments in Black Diamond, The Villages and Lawson Hills.

The FEIS document, among other issues, outlines how YarrowBay will remedy the impact of traffic from the development.

The FEIS appeals are directed at a document filed by YarrowBay Dec. 11.

Anyone interested in appealing the FEIS had 14 days to file. Black Diamond received three appeals by Dec. 28.

A letter was sent to Maple Valley when the FEIS was filed, but Maple Valley did not file appeals by the deadline.

Maple Valley sent two appeal documents Feb. 10 to the city of Black Diamond and the hearing examiner requesting to be included in the hearing, known as a motion to intervene.

The appeal documents noted Black Diamond’s city code conflicts on hearing appeals on the FEIS and it challenged the “hearing examiner’s jurisdiction to conduct a SEPA appeal proceeding.”

It stated the city had intended to wait for the recommendation from the hearing examiner on the master plan development for two developments, and then file an appeal with the Black Diamond City Council.

Michael Kenyon, one of the Black Diamond city attorneys from the Issaquah firm Kenyon Disend, rejected the appeals Feb. 11 stating they were “untimely” because the deadline for filing has passed “late last year.”

Maple Valley also asked Phil A. Olbrechts, the hearing examiner, to allow them to be heard as an appellant in the March 6 hearing.

Olbrechts wrote in an Friday e-mail: “The Maple Valley request for intervention will be denied. In addressing jurisdiction in a prior email, the Examiner has ruled against all the grounds cited by Maple Valley for participation in the SEPA appeals. Maple Valley has no basis to participate in the SEPA appeals before the Examiner. It is welcome to assist the other SEPA appellants within the scope of their appeals. Also, as pointed out by Maple Valley, the master plan review criteria also provide an opportunity for Maple Valley to address its concerns.”

At the Feb. 11 Maple Valley City Council special meeting City Manager David Johnston stated the city may seek a writ of mandamus, which would be an order from a superior court judge forcing the Black Diamond City Council and/or the hearing examiner to hear the appeal.

The appeals hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 6 at the Black Diamond Elementary School and 7 p.m. March 8 in the Black Diamond City Council chambers.

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