No Progress on DEIS
BSRE spent the next 4 years working to complete a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed development. The draft (or portions of the draft) were submitted several times, but each time it was rejected by the County as incomplete, inaccurate, or inconsistent. The County sent a Review Completion Letter to BSRE on October 6, 2017 listing many remaining instances where the submitted material was still inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent. The letter also set a date of January 8, 2018 for BSRE to submit the requested corrections and missing material.
Public Hearings and Decision
BSRE did not respond by the January 8th deadline so on January 9th the County notified BSRE that the County was going to proceed with a decision on the application and would likely recommend that the application be denied.
As expected, the County’s Staff Recommendation was to deny the application because the amount of incorrect, inconsistent, or missing information made it impossible for the County to determine if the project met all the standards in County codes and regulations. The County Hearing Examiner held a public hearing from May 16th to May 24th where BSRE presented evidence to show they had resolved the main problems identified by the County while the County presented evidence to show that many of those problems were still not completely resolved. Members of the public also testified either in favor or against the project. You can view the material submitted at the hearing on the Hearing Examiner’s Point Wells Exhibits web page.
On June 29th the Hearing Examiner issued his ruling which upheld the County’s recommendation, refusing to grant BSRE any further extensions and denying the application.
The County Appeal Process
BSRE quickly submitted a motion to reconsider asking the Hearing Examiner to reconsider his decision citing numerous instances where the Examiner mis-applied the law, or got the facts wrong, or that BSRE now had more information the Examiner should consider because it couldn’t be made available for the May hearing.
The Hearing Examiner issued his ruling on the motion to reconsider on August 3rd, upholding his original ruling with two exceptions: 1) he originally ruled the next level of appeal would be to Superior Court, but on reconsideration he agreed with BSRE that the next level of appeal is to the County Council, 2) he clarified that his ruling denied the application without prejudice.
BSRE submitted their appeal to the County Council on August 17th. By Snohomish County Code, this appeal could only focus on issues already raised in the previous motion to reconsider. BSRE was required to prove that the Hearing Examiner did not follow the facts entered into the record during the public hearing, or mis-applied the law, or that BSRE now had additional information that could not have been introduced at the public hearing.
The County Council held a public hearing on the appeal on October 3, 2018. BSRE made a short presentation summarizing their most critical arguments. The County submitted a staff report that clearly identified the 16 issues BSRE was appealing. Sno-King Coalition and local Pt. Wells expert Tom McCormick organized a group of almost 20 Richmond Beach, Innis Arden and Woodway residents to offer specific testimony refuting many of BSRE’s claims. At the end of the public testimony the Council voted on each of the 16 issues and for each one unanimously agreed to uphold the Hearing Examiner’s decision.