Wednesday, December 11, 2013
MAZAMA The state Court of Appeals has decided not to consider an appeal brought by Arthur Gresh against Okanogan County and Mazama Properties.
Gresh appealed an Okanogan County Superior Court decision that the county acted properly when it authorized a rezone based on an earlier land use decision that had not been appealed. He brought his action under the state Land Use Petition Act.
The court upheld the Superior Court decision “because our Supreme Court has already determined that (the act) does not permit such untimely collateral attacks.”
Mazama Properties, developer of the Nordic Village subdivision in Mazama, was awarded attorney fees.
In an unpublished opinion, the appeals court said that in 2007, the county approved the company’s plan for a four-lot short plat. The company then sought permission to divide one of the lots into a 12-lot long plat.
In July 2010, the county issued a mitigated determination of non-significance for the long plat under the State Environmental Policy Act, with the condition that water use be limited. Final approval of the long plat came March 14, 2011, and went unchallenged.
In a footnote, the court noted the adequacy of Nordic Village’s well water supply has been an issue throughout development.
“Like Mr. Gresh, this court has a hard time understanding how the 12 lots hope to subsist on only 2,880 gallons of water per day combined, especially when the Okanogan County Health District requires each of the six residential lots to be allocated a minimum of 360 gallons per day.”
The point was not challenged at the earlier mitigated determination of non-significance stage, the court said.
After approval of the long plat, Mazama Properties asked the county to rezone six of the 12 long plat lots. The county issued a determination of non-significance and on Aug. 23, 2011, approved the rezone.
On Sept. 9, 2011, Gresh, a neighboring property owner, challenged the rezone. He argued the determination of non-significance should not have been issued and needed to be withdrawn because Nordic Village did not have an adequate and legal water supply.
Because the determination of non-significance was premised on the earlier mitigated determination, which found an adequate and legal water supply existed, his petition “necessarily challenged” the mitigated determination, the court said.
Okanogan County Superior Court dismissed Gresh’s petition in January 2012. It ruled the mitigated determination could not be reviewed because the Land Use Petition Act has a 21-day statute of limitations.
The court said the county acted within the law in relying on the mitigated determination when issuing the determination of non-significance for the rezone. The appeals court agreed.