King County Superior Court Judge Oishi hears land-use appeal case of Black Diamond YarrowBay master planned developments

King County Superior Court 3B was packed Friday morning as the LUPA or land use petition act appeal of the Black Diamond YarrowBay master planned developments was argued before Judge Patrick Oishi.

For the nearly three hours the parties presented their arguments for and against the development, The Villages and Lawson Hills, which would add about 6,250 residences along with commercial, retail, schools, open space and parks.

At the close of the hearing the judge stated he would take the matter “under advisement” and render a decision later. He did not give a specific date.

The attorney speaking for the city was Bob Sterbank of the Issaquah-firm Kenyon Disend. Nancy Rogers of Cairncross & Hempelmann in Seattle represented the Kirkland developer YarrowBay.

David Bricklin of the Seattle-firm Bricklin & Newman presented the case for Toward Responsible Development, the group of community members who filed the LUPA appeal in Oct. 2010.

The judge complemented the attorneys at the close of the hearing for their well presented arguments.

For anyone not familiar with the case the arguments may have seemed complex and tedious, but for those in the room on each side of the case that have lived with this case for years and wrestled with the ramifications of the development in the community, it was a well presented summation of the arguments and the basic facts of the case.

There were moments of intensity, humor and high rhetoric for all the attorneys.

Oishi asked pointed and probing questions of the attorneys, pushing them to clarify their arguments and the points of law.

At the close of the hearing the judge said,  “This is a case that is important to a lot of folks. It’s important to the city of Black Diamond, it’s important to the citizens that live there, it’s important to the developer. I want everyone here to rest assured I don’t take any of these issues lightly…. What I want you to feel at the end of the process is you’ve been heard, that I’ve looked at things critically, I looked at all the appropriate information and I was fair. And if I can make one assurance, I am going to be absolutely fair and thorough during the process.”

Editor’s Note: This story will be expanded with further excerpts and comments.