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County appeals critical areas decision to supreme court
Kitsap County has filed an appeal to the State Supreme Court to overrule a September Court of Appeals decision regarding the application of the county’s Critical Areas Ordinance as it pertains to shoreline setbacks.
The appeal delays the ratification of the mandate from the Court of Appeals, which is necessary before the decision can become effective.
The Supreme Court must first decide to accept or decline the case, after which time arguments will begin.
Court spokesperson Lorrie Thompson said there is no way to determine how long the process will take, but will be at least several months.
Meanwhile, the county’s Department of Community Development will continue to process permits using current Critical Areas Ordinance provisions.
In a press release, South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said a previous decision by the Supreme Court created enough confusion to warrant another review, and she hoped that the Supreme Court will provide clearer direction.
The original action resulted from a suit filed by the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO).
The original decision was handed down on Sept. 9. On Sept. 29 the county filed a motion for reconsideration, calling the decision “ambiguous.”
This was denied on Oct. 15.
Patty Charnas of the Department of Community Development said the appeals court’s refusal to reconsider the matter was not necessarily a setback.
“We don’t know why the Appeals Court turned us down,” she said. “Either they didn’t think we were right, or they agreed with us that the matter needs clarification.”
KAPO Executive Director Vivian Henderson said she looked forward to the Supreme Court’s deliberation, but added “We’re disappointed the commissioners are favoring the most stringent limits possible,” she said. “We hope property owners will remember that come election time.”
Charnas declined to predict the outcome, comparing the situation to a baseball game.
“We are in one inning,” she said, “and it’s impossible to know what will happen in the next inning.”