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.