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Citizen group opposes plan for Black Diamond
Last September, the Black Diamond City Council approved two YarrowBay Developments that would add over 6,000 densely packed houses and apartments to our small community, thereby increasing the population to five times present size. This oversized development threatens to create a traffic nightmare, seriously damage our lakes and cause our taxes, especially school taxes, to go sky high. As a consequence a number of citizens filed a court appeal in October. I am one of those appellants.
Our appeal includes a civil rights claim because of the manner in which the city prohibited free access to our elected representatives. Two months ago, the city moved the appeal to federal court, not out of necessity but because they apparently believed that they could get better treatment on the civil rights claim. On Monday, after several trees worth of paper had been sacrificed, District Court Judge Robart decided to send the land use appeal back to King County Superior Court. He explained that land use is a state issue and land use appeals have no place in federal court.
The net result of these maneuvers by the city and Yarrow Bay is to delay the review of the city’s action by a court, even though they claim that expedited review is vital to the plan to begin clearing property this summer.
At nearly the same time that the city moved the case to federal court, we filed a separate appeal with the Growth Management Hearings Board. We believe that the board has jurisdiction because the ordinances that authorize the developments are actions that impact the city’s growth management plan. That appeal has progressed on schedule and a decision on the jurisdiction issue is expected on Feb. 7. We are optimistic that the board will invalidate the ordinances.
Success with the Hearings Board will send YarrowBay and the city back to the drawing board. Maybe the next time around the citizens of our community will be listened to and growth in Black Diamond will be more in tune with the city’s expressed growth concepts – “rural by design” and “growth pays for growth.”