City Council agrees to listen to both sides in ongoing property dispute

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night agreed to allocate an hour during a future meeting — likely in January — to listen to the concerns of two neighbors involved in a long-running property boundary dispute.

The decision came after the City Attorney Scott Snyder made a detailed presentation on the issue and responded to criticism by supporters of property owner Ken Reidy, who has a shed on his property that is the focal point of the dispute with neighbor Eric Theusen. The conflict is focused on an alley right-of-way, which Theusen says he needs to develop a subdivision on his property.

Noting that there are complex legal issues surrounding the case — including civil and criminal complaints still before the courts — Snyder told the council he would not be providing a legal report on the dispute — but a summary of how the neighbors got to that point. Snyder also used his time to respond to citizens who had sharply reprimanded him at the Nov. 2 council meeting for not being responsive to Reidy’s request for an opportunity to talk to the council about the matter.

“These are serious allegations that deserve a serious response,” Snyder said as he defended his past directions to city staff and the council to not speak directly to Reidy or his wife about the dispute because of the ongoing legal battle.

The bottom line, according to Snyder, is that Thuesen has “a vested right” to use the alleyway access for construction of his subdivision, while Reidy’s tool shed was not built in accordance with city permit and also sits in a public right of way. Reidy and some of his supporters were in attendance again Tuesday night and waited until the end of the council meeting — at nearly midnight — to offer public comment on Snyder’s presentation and the council’s decision to listen to both sides of the story.

“There’s way more to this story than was presented, and I will be providing that to you,” Reidy told the council.

Past council discussion on the issue can be found in the Sept. 16, 2008 minutes here. City Council President D.J. Wilson also asked Snyder to post a summary of his presentation on the Council website. My Edmonds News will include a link to that information once it is posted.

In other action, the council:

– Voted to continue until the Dec. 15 meeting a public hearing on the Capital Facilities Plan Update for 2o10-2015 to the City’s Comprehensive Plan — involving City infrastructure improvements related to transportation, parks, stormwater, sewer and water systems — after council members and citizens voiced concerns about conflicting budget numbers and that there was not enough time to review the plan before the start of Tuesday night’s hearing.

– Approved by a 5-1 vote (Ron Wambolt dissenting) to rezone properties on 215th Street Southwest from multi-family to single-family residential, with the exception of two properties located on 76th Avenue West.

Citizens can watch the rebroadcast of this Council meeting daily on Comcast channel 21 and Verizon channel 39, at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

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