Editor's Note: Pervious versions of this story erroneously stated that Phoenix developers were asking for a rezoning of property in the Wellington neighborhood.
The Woodinville City Council will discuss whether to impose a temporary moratorium on single-family residential development which exceeds the base R-1 density of one house per acre at Tuesday night’s meeting. Residents in the Wellington area are concerned their neighborhood is being targeted for new increased-density development by the company that lost a Supreme Court case last year.
Currently, Woodinville’s municipal code allows developers to put more houses than the R-1 zone allows, with subdivision approval. "The city planning commission has been studying this issue as part of the moratorium established by the City Council to study transfer of development rights and density transfers in the single-family zones", according to a staff report.
Phoenix Development Again Considering to Development in Wellington
After the state Supreme Court ruled against the developer last year, Phoenix is once again inquiring about subdividing in the Wellington area. So far, Phoenix has only met with the city, not filed an application, according to Alexandra Sheeks, assistant to the city manager.
The history of the city, Phoenix Development, Inc. of Lynwood, and residents in Wellington is a long and contentious one.
The , favoring the City of Woodinville and Concerned Neighbors of Wellington (CNW) in a land rezone case. In a 9-0 vote, the court agreed that the city was within its rights to deny Phoenix Development a zone change that would have increased the number of houses allowed in the Wellington neighborhood.
The case started when , which owns two undeveloped properties in the northeast area of Woodinville known as Wellington, requested a zone change from R-1 (meaning one house per acre) to R-4 (four house per acre) in 2004. According to court documents, the developer wanted to build 66 houses on 38.7 acres (1.7 houses per acre) as one subdivision and 66 houses on 16.48 acres (4.005 houses per acre) as a second development.
After CNW raised objections to the developer’s plan, the city looked more closely at the proposed zone change. After two years of reviewing the proposed development for environmental impacts and its compliance with the city’s growth plan and codes, the city denied the rezone. Phoenix sued the city and in 2008, Superior Court Judge Dean Lum ruled in favor of the city. Phoenix Development appealed to the Court of Appeals, which overturned the previous decision, ruling in Phoenix Development’s favor. The case was then appealed to the state’s highest court by the city and CNW.