New Court Decision Clarifies Vested Rights Doctrine

In Potala Village Kirkland, LLC v. City of Kirkland (August 25, 2014), Division I of the state court of appeals issued a significant decision regarding the vested rights doctrine. The court held that the doctrine is entirely statutory, with the statutory doctrine replacing, rather than supplementing, the common law (court-made) vested rights doctrine. In the first sentence of its opinion, the court states: “Washington’s vested rights doctrine originated at common law but is now statutory.”

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Posted in Land Use and Zoning, Legal | Leave a comment

Airbnb: Regulation of Internet-Based Businesses


Courtesy of Flickr.

It’s always something. Cities and counties have been grappling recently with the regulation of rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, that have been competing for business with taxis and limousine services. The latest regulatory issue along these lines is the regulation of short-term rentals, including such popular services as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. These online person-to-person short-term rentals compete with hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, and often they don’t pay license fees or lodging taxes. The sharing, peer-to-peer commerce concept, which started with services such as Craigslist and eBay, has evolved into a broader “shared economy” with shared rides, homes, and “maker” workspaces. Continue reading

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August 2014 Primary Elections: Most Propositions Pass

iStock-Vote-YesThe votes are (officially) in! The results of the August 5 primary election were certified this week, and I’ve updated MRSC’s new local ballot measure database to include the latest local government propositions. Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Levies | Leave a comment

Marijuana Update: Litigation & Licensed Businesses Slowly Begin Operating

Marijuana plant courtesy of  Rusty Blazenhoff

Marijuana plant courtesy of Rusty Blazenhoff

It’s taken a while (over 19 months since I-502 became effective), but marijuana crops are being harvested and processed and more stores are opening, all against a backdrop of lawsuits challenging local prohibitions. Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Recreational/Medical Marijuana | Leave a comment

Using Lodging Taxes for Staff Support of LTAC (Updated)

Lodging taxCan you use lodging tax revenues to pay for staff support of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC)? It’s a good question that we’ve been getting lately. After conferring with the State Auditor’s Office, we’ve concluded that this is an allowed use of the lodging tax, as long as certain requirements are met. Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Governance, Legal | 1 Comment

MRSC Welcomes a New Web Writer

Steve-HawleyIt’s an exciting time to be at MRSC! We’re undergoing a lot of changes – we’ve got a new logo, some new faces, and we’re working on an extensive website redesign to make our material more user-friendly. I began working at MRSC last month as a web writer and research analyst – I’ll be helping to revise our online content and post new information, and I’m also responsible for updating our local ballot measure database. Continue reading

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Filling a Vacancy in a City or Town Council

With 281 cities and towns in Washington and with city and town councils typically consisting of five to seven members, there are bound to be vacancies in council positions on a fairly regular basis. Vacancies typically occur due the death, resignation, or loss of residency. If there is a vacancy, a replacement needs to appointed. This post addresses the requirements and process for doing that. Continue reading

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