Lawsuit Filed against City of Arlington over Island Crossing Development – The Everett Herald story on December 16th by Chris Winters says the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Stillaguamish Flood Control District have filed a lawsuit, “…after (an Arlington) city hearing examiner (decided) to give Dwayne Lanes’ Arlington Chevrolet a conditional use permit to built (sic) a new 4.5-acre lot on land adjacent to I-5.”
The story says the objectives of the two plaintiffs are not the same. WSDOT has technical issues concerning projected flood levels, i.e., potential flooding of I-5. The flood control district seeks to extinguish the original permit granting decision. The district asserts the potential flooding of I-5, and failure to consider adverse effects upon fish habitat, public health and safety. For more information, one should read the story on the Everett Herald’s website.
PAS, along with Futurewise, the Flood Control District, and farmers in the area, tried for decades to stop the conversion of this prime agricultural land into commercial development. This began in 1995 when the county was adopting the first ever Comprehensive Land Use Plan under the Growth Management Act. Rezoning of upland farmland to residential and commercial use occurred in exchange for keeping the river valley farmland as is. Island Crossing was part of the mix to be rezoned to commercial, but was stopped for 15 years through appeals at the Growth Management Board through efforts of PAS and others, including trips to the Superior Court and Court of Appeals.
With changes by election to the County Council some years ago, the original decisions retaining the valley farmland were reversed by the council and courts, and Arlington annexed the area. Dwayne Lane sought a rezone which was appealed to the Arlington Hearing Examiner by the Flood Control District, PAS and others. The hearing examiner ruled in Dwayne Lane’s favor, and it is that decision now appealed to the Superior Court by the Flood Control District and WA Dept. of Transportation. PAS is not party to the lawsuit.
Thanks to Kristin Kelly for providing the information in the previous two paragraphs.
WSACC News – The top priorities for the 2014 legislative session, selected by the Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC), of which Audubon Washington is a member, are, 1) to Close the Oil Tax Loophole which would eliminate a discount received by oil companies; and 2) in light of new proposals for expanded oil transport by trains and barges, develop additional Oil Spill Prevention planning and capacity, including tug escorts in Grays Harbor.
Legislative News – Nick Harper’s abrupt resignation as state senator from the 38th legislative district produced a domino tilting which has come to conclusion. Representative John McCoy was appointed to fill out Harper’s term. June Robinson has been appointed to fill out McCoy’s term. Both seats are up for election in November 2014
Leque Island – Kathleen Snyder and Allen Gibbs have been invited by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to join the Leque Island Stakeholder Committee. The working group’s task will be to provide input on design alternatives. First meeting will be January 8th.
Snohomish County Legislators Directory – An updated directory will be posted on the PAS website, when the State Legislature publishes contact information.
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF – The last of eight public meetings concerning the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest road system was at Everett Community College on October 9th. Jennifer Eberlien, forest supervisor, recently said there were slightly more than 1800 online participants and 300 people at the public meetings. Analyses will be reported next spring.
Elsewhere - Sad news from the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Due to frozen and broken water pipes, the center was flooded by a burst fire sprinkler pipe. It seems the large taxidermy collection of birds and other wildlife has been rescued with minimal damage, but center Director Powell Jones says in a December 15 Peninsula Daily News story that some of the nature mural has been removed to aid in moisture reduction in walls. The mural is by artist Tim Quinn, completed several years before his death in 2009. Some of the taxidermy collection is on loan from WDFW and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Damage assessment continues, to determine repair and restoration costs.