Sumner Files Orton Appeal, County Council Tables Emergency Ordinance

Sumner has formally filed an appeal of the Growth Management Hearing Board ruling against Orton Junction and Pierce County leaders are working to buy more time to stay the GMHB from cutting local grant funding.

The wheels are in motion at the city and county level to curb the Growth Management Hearing Board (GMHB) rulings against Orton Junction and Pierce County growth.

filed last Wednesday, details the city’s argument that the GMHB “erroneously interpreted” the law in regards to de-designation criteria for agricultural land use, and that the board acted outside of it’s jurisdiction with an “arbitrary and capricious” ruling against Orton Junction.

When it comes to agricultural land protection, the city argues in the location of the proposed mixed-use development proves it is eligible for de-designation, as it is adjacent to two freeway interchanges with auto dealerships and WINCO as neighbors. The appeal cites the creation of the 7 Principals Agreement as evidence that Orton Junction will be sustainable and create a “complete, compact community."

The appeal also states that the Board didn’t take into consideration the fact that by allowing East Hill to be removed from the city’s Urban Growth Area but denying Orton Junction, it leaves little room for economic growth to keep the city sustainable in the future.

At the county level, the Pierce County Council decided Tuesday to postpone the that would revoke county approval of Orton Junction and other development projects to keep up to $31 million in grant funding.

This buys times for Pierce County to formally request that the state stay the GMHB ruling that the county was out of compliance with state law when it approved the comprehensive plan amendments. The county will know by next month if the request will be granted or not. If not, the County council will be able to reexamine repealing the amendments in September.

The GMHB has given the county until Dec. 10 to take corrective action.

Kathleen August 15, 2012 at 05:55 PM
As an East Hill resident I would love to be baqck in the Sumner growth area. We were identified for decades as such and were removed by Sumner under protest. The 7 Principles were written by Ryan Mello, a politician who sits on the Tacoma Council now...It certainly was not developed by environmental or growth management groups. The Orton Junction plan is a bad plan to line the pockets of developers and at the cost to taxpayers. I hope the GMHB stands firm to whaqt to what is only right. The GN Plan was developed and distributed and Sumner had a chance to protest it then,ot to ask to revise it for developers.
CoreyAnn August 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Is there any way for East Hill residents to petition to the State to have the Orton Junction amendment taking us out of the UGA/GMA reversed? Or any other recourse at the County level? I think I'll be contacting the GMHB and reminding them that the East Hill residents DIDN'T WANT their properties taken out of the Urban Growth Area and for the City of Sumner to now use us as fodder for their appeal is just shameful!
CoreyAnn August 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I think East Hill residents should all talk to their neighbors about writing the GMHB. We fought the downgrade in our property designations. Now's the time to let the State know that we were NOT in agreement with the City of Sumner or the Pierce County Council.
Lauren Padgett August 17, 2012 at 08:17 PM
CoreyAnn, I called the GMHB and they said the best way to comment on this issue is to email them at central@eluho.wa.gov
CoreyAnn August 21, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Thank you Lauren for that email!


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