Kennewick prevails in Futurewise urban expansion challenge

The city of Kennewick has prevailed in its legal battle with Futurewise over the future of its efforts to expand its inventory of land available for, among other things, industrial development.

Benton County approved the city’s new urban growth boundary, but Futurewise, a Seattle environmental nonprofit, succeeded in getting it overruled when it challenged it to the Growth Management Hearings Board.

The city appealed the board’s decision to the Washington Appeals Court, Division Three.

In an unpublished opinion filed March 8, the three-judge appeals court said the Hearings Board erred when it applied a “show your work” requirement when it ruled Benton County violated the Growth Management Act when it approved the expansion.

“Even if (Benton) County had failed to show its work – and we have concluded that no duty to show its work was triggered – that would not, in itself, equate to promoting sprawl. The (Growth Management Hearings) Board’s conclusion that the county failed to comply with (the Growth Management Act) is not supported by its (own) findings,” the court wrote in a decision signed by Judges A.C.J. Siddoway, J. Lawrence-Berrey and J. Staab. 

A spokesperson for Futurewise said it was disappointed by the decision but appreciated the deep review by the appellate court. No decision has been made about a possible appeal.

Futurewise has 30 days from the March 8 ruling to seek review by the Washington State Supreme Court.

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