Point Edwards developer sues Edmonds City Council over Building 10 decision

Existing Point Edwards building.

Existing Point Edwards building.

Stating that the Edmonds City Council “acted outside of its authority,” the developer of Point Edwards has sued the City of Edmonds, Edmonds City Council President Lora Petso, the Town of Woodway and numerous individual citizens following the council’s decision to reverse the City Architectural Design Board’s approval of plans for Building Number 10, a five-story, 85-unit multi-family residence proposed for Point Edwards.

The lawsuit was filed by Edmonds Pine Street LLC and Weber Thompson Architects in Snohomish County Superior Court Dec. 3. Edmonds Pine Street owns the Point Edwards property and Weber Thompson is acting as the project agent, the lawsuit said. You can view the document here.

Following the Architectural Design Board’s decision, the City Council served as a quasi-judicial body in hearing the appeals of several citizens — including those with private property near the proposed building as well as current Point Edwards residents — plus representatives of the Town of Woodway. Those opposing the board’s decision as part of an official “closed record appeal” before the council, said that proposed structure — known as Building 10 because it is the final of 10 to be built in the development — not only doesn’t fit the character of Edmonds, it also is out of scale with the remaining nine Point Edwards buildings.

The lawsuit claims that Council President Petso “personally orchestrated the council review, forcing the council to consider issues not properly raised in the appeals, introducing and then relying on speculation and facts outside the closed record and exhibiting prejudgment bias.” The suit also said the city council “engaged in unlawful procedure, acted on an erroneous interpretation of the law, rendered a decision not supported by substantial evidence, made a clearly erroneous application application of the law to the facts,” and also acted outside of its authority. In addition, the suit says the council violated the plaintiffs’ rights under the Washington State Constitution.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to reverse the city council’s decision and uphold the ruling of the Architectural Design Board and are also seeking attorney fees and costs from the City of Edmonds.  The action was filed following the city council’s Nov. 12 oral decision but prior to its most recent action Dec. 17 to approve the written findings of fact and conclusion. The lawsuit did request permission from the court “to amend this petition upon any adoption of a written decision,” so an amended filing may be forthcoming.

During the first part of the closed-record review, on Oct. 16, Rick Gifford, land use attorney for Pine Street LLC, told the council that “it has been planned and known since 2002 that there would be a large multi-family building on this project.” The Architectural Design Board followed the city’s own design guidelines in unanimously approving the building, Gifford added.

 

 

 

 

 

If you like what you are reading, please consider a weekly, monthly or one-time voluntary donation of any amount to support our work. You can donate via the form to the right.

9 Comments

  1. The good citizens of Edmonds need to make sure the next time elections come up for ANYBODY at town hall, that people are VOTED FOR that have NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST they would be carrying on board while serving (or not serving) this city.

    At a time when so many cities are struggling to stay afloat right now, this seems shameful.

  2. While I understand that a developer has the right to appeal a city council’s decision to the Snohomish County Superior Court, I am quite perplexed about his / her / their decision to sue Edmonds Council member Lora Petso and a number of private citizens.

    I was surprised by his / her / their allegation that Mrs. Petso “orchestrated” the council’s hearing and engaged in an “erroneous interpretation” of relevant laws. First of all, Mrs. Petso has the official role as council president, a leadership position. Second, Mrs. Petso is an attorney. From personal experience, I know that laws can and always will be open to interpretation. It happens all the time.

    And why is the plaintiff naming a group of citizensin the lawsuit? Do they not have Constitutional rights to comment and express their opinions?

    Please, will someone explain the developer’s audacious behavior?

    • Ms. Tipton:

      1. Greed

      2. Petulant Spite.

  3. From the time that the woods on the hillside were being cleared to when I look up to that developement today it is an eye sore to me. The design appears out of place to me. It might look good in California tho……I am sorry to friends that i might know living there.

  4. The city’s own senior planner stated for the record that the current proposal for Bldg. 10 was not consistent with the Point Edwards Master Plan or the Edmonds City design codes. The ADB was clearly erroneous in approving the proposal and the city council had the legal right to reverse that bad decision and protect the values and design codes of the city of Edmonds.
    If the developer would have followed through on the original 2002 plan for building 10 it would have sailed through the decision process without opposition . He merely is interested in maximizing profit at the city’s expense with a visually unattractive oversized building.

  5. On the same day, we see the following two Headlines:

    1. Point Edwards developer sues Edmonds City Council over Building 10 decision

    2. Here’s your chance to serve on the Edmonds City Council: Deadline to apply Jan. 17

    Hopefully, headline #1 won’t discourage citizens from applying to serve on the Edmonds City Council.

  6. As a second year law student, I’d like to offer an opinion concerning the likely explanation to Ms. Tipton’s question about why the plaintiff named the group of citizens as additional party defendants. As outlined in the complaint, the citizens were named pursuant to RCW 36.70C.040(2)(d). This statute provides that a land use petition action to the Superior Court is barred and may not be reviewed by the court unless a specific group of individuals is named as parties in the petition. In relevant part, the statute provides that the parties that must be named include “Each person named in the written decision who filed an appeal to a local jurisdiction quasi-judicial decision maker regarding the land use decision at issue.” Therefore, in order for plaintiff’s petition to even be granted review, the citizens who either filed an appeal or signed onto an appeal of the ADB decision must be named in order for the petition to proceed.

    Ms. Tipton, you are absolutely correct in saying that the citizens have, and did exercise their Constitutional rights to comment on and appeal the ADB’s decision to the City Council. Now the petitioner is exercising its right to a further appeal, and in doing so, is naming the citizens that have participated as parties of record to the appeal of the ADB decision pursuant to state law. Far from being audacious behavior, the appeal is merely following the state law’s established procedure for this type of claim.

    Regardless of a person’s opinion about the validity or persuasiveness of the developer’s claims, we should defend its right to appeal to Superior Court just as we should defend the citizens’ right to appeal the ADB’s decision to the City Council. The administrative and judicial processes are in place to decide issues upon which the parties are unable to agree.

  7. Thank you, Alex, for your clearly written explanation regarding the naming of individuals listed in the complaint. I also appreciate you citing the relevant RCW.

    By the way, I know your dad Bruce as we worked together on a citizens’ committee charged with studying the possibility of forming a Metropolitan Parks District within the boundaries of the city of Edmonds.

    I know that your dad is proud of your achievements and rightfully so. I am pleased to read commentary from a young, intelligent person. So many of us who serve on committees / boards, write letters to the editor, comment on blogs and so forth are retirees. Thank you, again, for taking the time to write.

    Please send my regards to your dad.

  8. why would I want to be on the city council so I can make a decision and get sued over it, Ive heard its hard to get a building permit in edmonds I guess they should have built when they had one. Boy the seahawks sure sucked sunday i hope they get it together for the rams

Leave a Reply