Wright’s fight heads to Thurston County

Wright’s Crossing LLC is continuing its fight against the Board of Island County Commissioners by filing a petition for judicial review in Thurston County Superior Court.

The developer is challenging the decision of the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board to dismiss two motions filed by the developer.

Wright’s Crossing is challenging the commissioners’ decision to exclude the developer’s application from the 2018 planning commission docket. In March, the hearings board dismissed the developer’s appeal as well as its motion for reconsideration.

The new petition states the hearings board “focused on the discretion related to granting an application, not the non-discretionary requirements” to docket the application. The attorney representing Wright’s Crossing argues the commissioners had an obligation to docket the application, which asked for an expansion of Oak Harbor’s urban growth area (UGA).

The expansion of the UGA would be one of many steps required to allow for the needed density to build the proposed 1,500-home development. Inclusion of the developer’s application would require the county to do a buildable lands analysis; one completed in 2016 determined there was enough vacant property within Oak Harbor’s UGA to allow for 20 years of growth. The 2016 analysis was one of the reasons the commissioners gave for excluding the application.

The petition argues that the Growth Management Act requires the county to re-evaluate the buildable lands analysis because it claims the previous one used “an unrealistically low market factor” and thus was inaccurate. Commissioners have said the state is in the process of releasing new guidelines for performing buildable lands analyses, and this contributed to the decision to not docket in 2018.

“The docketing delay allows the housing crisis to get worse,” the petition states.

Wright’s Crossing is also appealing a decision by Skagit County Superior Court to dismiss its complaint for statutory and constitutional writ of review and the alternative complaint for declaratory relief.

The judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

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