The week started off with a major ruling from the Court of Appeals striking down the clearing limits provisions of King County’s Critical Areas Ordinance.
After consulting with the Prosecutor, I’ve decided to appeal the decision to the Washington Supreme Court. This decision undermines long-standing local government authority to regulate land use and zoning. It’s important to note that the court didn’t dispute the science we use in making the determinations on properties or dispute the link between the amount of native trees and vegetation on a property and the health of nearby streams.
What’s interesting is that despite all the rhetoric criticizing the CAO, the fact is people can do whatever the zoning allows for their property. The regulations also allow folks to clear their land to make productive use of it for forestry or agriculture.
This law has not proved to be the burden its opponents would have you believe. The additional flexibility it provided has allowed property owners to avoid the expensive variance process. It has not prevented folks from building on or making use of their property.
What we want to prevent is massive removal of trees that harms people’s well water and increases stormwater runoff into streams and neighboring property. The rules protect everyone’s property rights as well as the environment. We hope the Washington Supreme Court agrees.
Read more here.