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Real Property & Development Review

Tag Archives: Decisions

5th Circuit Upholds “Shot Clock” Ruling: FCC’s Time Limits for Processing Wireless Facility Siting Applications Remain in Force

Posted in Land Use

In the first major challenge to the FCC’s November 18, 2009 Declaratory Ruling establishing timelines for state and local government to act on wireless facility siting applications, commonly known as the “Shot Clock” ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied and dismissed petitions for review brought by two Texas cities, Arlington and San… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court: Statute Limiting Developer Charges Does Not Apply to Local Shoreline Master Programs

Posted in Land Use

The Washington Supreme Court recently removed one vehicle for developers to challenge requirements imposed under local governments’ shoreline regulations. In Citizens for Rational Shoreline Planning (CRSP) v. Whatcom County, the Court considered whether regulations in the County’s Shoreline Master Program (“SMP”) could be challenged under a provision of RCW 82.02.020 which generally prohibits any local government… Continue Reading

Nonconforming Use Will Not Be Recognized if Established by a Trespasser

Posted in Land Use

A recent Court of Appeals decision has limited the situations in which courts will allow a “nonconforming use”—that is, a use that was legal when it was established but is no longer permitted under current local land use regulations (sometimes referred to as “grandfathered”).  Many local land use codes allow nonconforming uses to continue subject… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds that State Statutes of Limitations Do Not Apply in Arbitration

Posted in Real Estate

Authored by:  Jonathan Lloyd, Stephen M. Rummage, Daniel M. Waggoner, and Maya Yamazaki Yesterday, in a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Washington state statutes of limitations do not apply to claims brought in arbitration, absent specific contractual language to the contrary. In particular, the Court found those statutes, which specifically require that… Continue Reading

Department of Ecology Releases Guidance on Climate Change and SEPA

Posted in Environmental

Authored by:  Craig Gannett, Lauren Giles, and Clayton P. Graham On May 27, the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) released draft Guidance regarding the analysis of climate change impacts under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”). The Guidance, which will be open for comment until June 25, proposes extensive analysis of both direct and indirect greenhouse… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Raises the Bar for Establishing Boundary by Acquiescence

Posted in Land Use

When a boundary line dispute arises between neighboring property owners, one claim that is commonly asserted—along with adverse possession, estoppel in pais, and a few other legal bases for boundary adjustment—is “mutual recognition and acquiescence” in a common boundary. A recent opinion from the Washington Supreme Court (Merriman v. Cokeley) has refined the standard that… Continue Reading

Local Development Standards to Be Modified to Comply with Endangered Species Act

Posted in Land Use

Authored by Clayton P. Graham and James A. Greenfield In a development of great interest to owners of property in or near floodplains, many local jurisdictions in Washington state will soon begin updating their floodplain development regulations to comply with new federal requirements. As discussed in a post on Davis Wright Tremaine’s Real Estate Blog,… Continue Reading

FEMA’s Revised Flood Maps to Affect Development, Availability of Flood Insurance in Western Washington

Posted in Land Use

Authored by:  Craig Gannett and Clayton P. Graham Landowners and developers across Western Washington will be affected by floodplain map revisions that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to carry out in the coming months. These map updates are part of FEMA’s administration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and changes in map… Continue Reading

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance Survives Constitutional Challenge

Posted in Land Use

Authored by: Jim Greenfield and Clayton Graham This week, the Division One Court of Appeals filed its opinion in the case of Connor v. City of Seattle, which addressed a challenge to the application of Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (LPO) to certain homeowners’ (the Connors) residential property in West Seattle.  When the Connors bought the property,… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court: Vested Development Rights Not Triggered by Site Plan Application

Posted in Land Use

The scope of Washington’s vested rights doctrine—which has constitutional, common law, and statutory underpinnings—has been the subject of a longstanding debate. Under this doctrine, certain development projects may be subject to the land development laws in effect on the date that a complete building permit application is submitted, despite later changes in the law. Whether… Continue Reading

Specific Height Restriction Limits Approval Authority of Architectural Review Committee

Posted in Construction

In a dispute relating to the height of a residential addition, the Division Three Court of Appeals has provided additional guidance on when specific building restrictions in community covenants (CCRs) might limit the authority of an architectural approval committee. In Mack v. Armstrong, the court heard a challenge to a trial court order requiring the… Continue Reading

Federal Building Codes?: Proposed Federal Legislation Could Require Changes to Energy Efficiency Provisions of City and State Building Codes

Posted in Construction

This post was authored by Lloyd Chee & Clayton Graham The latest version of a house bill entitled America’s Clean Energy Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454—click here for full text of the May 15th Version), which was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21, contains provisions that could potentially affect… Continue Reading

Residential Rescue: Stimulus Help for Homeowners

Posted in Real Estate

Recent federal legislation to provide financial relief to current and prospective homeowners through refinancing, mortgage payment modification, changes in bankruptcy law, and tax credits for first-time homebuyers, addresses four critical consumer issues in today’s real estate market: (1) troubled ownership; (2) imminent default; (3) imminent foreclosure; and (4) first-time purchase. This advisory provides a brief… Continue Reading

Permit for Day Care Center Denied Based on “Noise Generated by Laughter and Screaming of Young Children” and Traffic

Posted in Real Estate

In this March 3, 2009 decision, the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner denied a Conditional Use Permit for a day care center and school in a rural area near Port Orchard based on the Examiner’s finding that "[t]he proposal would be materially detrimental to uses or property in the immediate vicinity, and would not be compatible… Continue Reading

President Obama’s Response to Bush Consultation Rules under Endangered Species Act

Posted in Environmental

In December, we discussed a rule finalized during the final weeks of the Bush administration which limited agencies’ consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In a March 3, 2009 memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies, President Obama requested that the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce “review the regulation [and] determine… Continue Reading

Exempt Well Emergency Rule Will Complicate Residential Development in Upper Kittitas County

Posted in Real Estate

Effective, July 8, 2008, the Washington Department of Ecology has adopted an emergency rule regulating and restricting the use of so-called “exempt” wells for domestic water supply within Upper Kittitas County. Ecology’s emergency rule institutes a partial withdrawal and restriction on use of ground water via exempt wells in the upper portion of the County in… Continue Reading

Ballard Denny’s Demolition Decision

Posted in Real Estate

The owners of the Ballard Denny’s site in Seattle have acted quickly now that the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board has cleared the way for demolition of the building (Discussed in the June 3rd entry on this blog).  On June 24, The Seattle Times reported that the building was demolished to make way for a planned… Continue Reading