State Supreme Court Decides Unanimously in Favor of City and Wellington

The ruling strikes down a lower court’s decision that favored Phoenix Development in a case to rezone areas of Woodinville to allow higher density.

The Washington State Supreme released a ruling Thursday 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.

“This is the State saying local cities and communities decide development in their communities, not the developers,” said Councilmember Scott Hageman. “That’s what it’s all about.”

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.  

"We are very pleased with the ruling because it affirms that the City and the citizens of Woodinville have the right to plan for growth in our city, according to our own vision" said Matt Schultz of CNW. "This is a victory for all of Woodinville."

Al Taylor June 17, 2011 at 04:41 AM
Hats off and thank you to all of my neighbors who did not simply roll over when adversity was handed to them. The CNW did a great job in its fighting to overcome the early inertia at City Hall and making the City of Woodinville stand up to do its job of protecting the interests of its residents. I am proud of the CNW's work and its leadership that spawned a new generation of awesome new council leaders such as Jeff Glickman, Hank Stecker, Mike Roskind, Susan Boundy-Sanders and Bernie Talmas.
Ronald Long June 17, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Did I get moved to a different country while I was asleep? The local community actually have a bigger say than "build and run" developers! Amazing!
Dave Henry June 17, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Al; totally agree. Jeff glickman, Hank Stecker, Susan Sanders, Bernie Talmas, Mike Roskind and many other very, very dedicated ordinary citizens, stepped up to take on the City of Woodinville and its Planning Department. A great victory for just regular tax paying folks. Thanks to you and the many others, the 90 or so acres are now safe, for now, can remain open, clean, fresh, green and a tribute to the hard work the CNW donating thousands of hours and its volunteers, accomplished. Addditionally, you Al Taylor, were also instrumental in securing this victory for the community, active in promoting council candidates that would look out for the best interest of the community, candidates that would bring integrity and ethics to the council chambers and especially insisting on the retention of the Residential R-1 building code, in our rural communities. Your presence at regular council meetings, insisting on fiscal responsibility, less government intrusion and keeping the pressure on the city to address its traffic problems speaks well for you. Your involvement as a commissioner with the Emergency Prepardness Commission in the City of Woodinville has assisted the commission in adopting many approaches to community safety and community well being. Dave Henry


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