The Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) has denied a recent request from Heritage Baptist Church to extend the compliance deadline on the matter of the east Monroe rezone to accommodate its appeal filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.
The Motion for Stay was filed on April 8, about a week after the GMHB remanded the east Monroe rezone ordinances back to the city with a determination of invalidity. East Monroe opponent Misty Blair filed an objection to the Motion for Stay on April 11, which was followed by two additional objections filed on April 15, one by opponent Doug Hamar and another by the city of Monroe.
If the ordinances are left in limbo pending a decision by the court, it removes the city from the process, Blair told councilmembers on April 12. Currently, the ordinances are invalid based on the GMHB's order of continuing noncompliance, but the city could seek compliance by repealing them.
If they were left pending and the court eventually decided in favor of Heritage, they would suddenly be valid again, without any public participation. It would render the city powerless on an important land use matter, Blair said.
"I don't think that the city wants to put themselves in the second seat on decision-making for planning for our city,GÇ¥ Blair said.
So far, the city has not issued a decision regarding how it will seek compliance with the board. -á -á
Washington code offers a set of guidelines to determine if a stay should be granted, such as if the GMHB finds that an in-progress appeal could render the outcome of the case moot or that a delay in application of the board's order will not substantially harm other stakeholders.
The city's objection to the GMHB stated that "prolonged noncompliance with the GMA impedes the city's eligibility for state grant funding and thus may substantially harm the city's interest.GÇ¥
It urged the board to deny the Motion for Stay.
The city has already been impacted by its inability to receive grant funding in certain circumstances.
During the April 12 council meeting, the Monroe City Council had to rescind acceptance of grant funding from the state, because being in compliance with the GMHB was a requirement of the grant.
The Washington State Department of Ecology funding would have helped the city purchase a specialized sweeper to maintain the new pervious concrete installed in the downtown corridor. The sweeper was selected for its effectiveness at cleaning and caring for pervious concrete surfaces.
The GMHB sided with the city and the petitioners on the matter, stating "the board has no authority to insist the city join with, or await the outcome of, Heritage's appeal.GÇ¥ -á -á