Update (Correction) on New Laws that Affect City/Town Annexations

In my June 10 blog post, New Laws that Affect City/Town Annexations, I discussed the implications of 2013 legislation, SSB 5444, which amended RCW 84.40.175 to eliminate the requirement that county assessors annually value tax-exempt government-owned properties. I interpreted the practical result of this legislation as being that government-owned property will no longer count towards the 100 percent of assessed value of the area proposed for a petition method annexation by a city or town. But it appears my interpretation may have been incorrect. Continue reading

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Wenatchee and Centralia Sued on Recreational Marijuana Issues

It took a while, but it looks like the courts in Washington are going to start tackling some of the difficult issues raised by conflicts between state, local, and federal laws regarding recreational marijuana. Continue reading

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The Greening of Main Street

Downtown Walla Walla

Downtown Walla Walla. Courtesy of Downtown Walla Walla Foundation.

With the recent publication of Older, Smaller, Better: Measuring how the character of buildings and blocks influences urban vitality, there is increasing evidence that green development on main streets and in downtowns has a positive influence on urban vitality. This report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Green Lab (which is based in Seattle) has heightened interest in sustainable, green development on older main streets as well as in developing downtowns. Continue reading

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Update: Washington Court of Appeals Publishes Important OPMA Decision Relating to Committees

On May 15, 2014, in my blog post (“When are Meetings of Committees of a Governing Body Subject to the Open Public Meetings Act?”) I wrote about an unpublished decision by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights Legal Fund vs. San Juan County, that sheds light on a particularly important topic under the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) (chapter 42.30 RCW) – determining what it means for a committee to “act on behalf of” the governing body for the purposes of the OPMA. That decision has now been published. Continue reading

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Frogs – A Looming Climate Change Casualty?


Office Frogs by John Capita.

“So, Nicole. How many frogs did you have for breakfast today?” Ewwwwwwwwwww!

“Angel, want to go catch some frogs for supper?” Ewwwwwwww!

I admit that I tease my grandkids about frogs. For years I’ve been the “frog” grandfather, and they have given me all sorts of frog “stuff,” including my coffee cup at work. Continue reading

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New Laws that Affect City/Town Annexations

Washington cities and towns should be aware of the one law affecting annexation of territory that was enacted by the 2014 Legislature and that will be effective on June 12, as well as one enacted by the 2013 Legislature that may have escaped notice.  The former has to do with the notice of an annexation, and the latter has to do with the valuation of publicly-owned property. Continue reading

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