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."