State Court of Appeals and Growth Management Hearings Board Rule in Favor of City of Kirkland in Parkplace Redevelopment Challenges
In late January, the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that the King County Superior Court properly dismissed several challenges to the ordinances enacted by the City of Kirkland to allow for the proposed redevelopment of the Parkplace commercial retail center in Kirkland. The Court of Appeals ruled that claims based on the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) can only be raised before the Growth Management Hearings Board. Further, the State Court held that SEPA review was not required to enact the planned action ordinance which provides for the permit and project review of the proposed development. However, the Court of Appeals also concluded that the Superior Court erred in granting summary judgment regarding the challenger’s claim of spot zoning, because Touchstone, the Parkplace developer, and the City did not raise the spot zoning issue in a timely manner during the summary judgment proceeding. The spot zoning issue will be remanded back to Superior Court.
In a separate decision issued last week, the State’s Growth Management Hearings Board found the City’s 2008 ordinances which amended the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code to allow for the Parkplace redevelopment were in compliance with the Growth Management Act. In 2009, two adjacent property owners filed petitions for review with the Hearings Board challenging the enactment of the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code amendments. In its original decision issue in October 2009, the Hearings Board upheld the ordinances with respect to a number of the neighboring property owners’ objections, but determined amendments to the Capital Facilities and Transportation Elements of the City’s Comprehensive Plan were necessary and further study was needed on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In response, the City completed a supplemental EIS in August, 2010. The recent decision by the Hearings Board closed the case and dismissed a second case filed by the same neighboring property owners challenging the adequacy of the supplemental EIS and the amended Transportation Element.
The redevelopment of the existing Parkplace center proposes a 1.8 million square foot mixed-use project that includes 1.2 million square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of retail. Other planned uses include a hotel and athletic club. The proposal has been under review by the City’s Design Review Board (DRB) which gave its final approval for design in December 2010. The City and developer are working on a Development Agreement which will address permit vesting and review, project phasing, easements and land use dedications, street improvements, utilities and pedestrian connectivity. The Agreement is also to identify financial contributions to and from the City. To view the DRB’s decision and approved conceptual plans, go to www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/planning (Search: Design Review Board).