Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Belcher v. Kitsap County

March 18, 1991; As Amended April 23, 1991.

TOM BELCHER, ET AL, APPELLANTS,
v.
KITSAP COUNTY, ET AL, RESPONDENTS



Worswick, C.j. Alexander and Morgan, JJ., concur.

Author: Worswick

We affirm the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners' denial of Tom and Ann Belcher's application for a rezone and preliminary planned unit development.

The Belchers owned a 10-acre parcel in central Kitsap County that was zoned R-3 (three units per acre) at the time of the application. The area in which the property was located had a "Semi-Urban" designation under the Central Kitsap Comprehensive Plan. The Belchers sought rezone to R-18 so they could build 180 multi-family units on the property. Immediately adjacent properties were zoned R-3 and R-5. Most property with densities greater than R-5 were on the far side of an arterial near the Belchers' property. Fairgrounds Road, on which the Belchers' property is located, is heavily traveled and is particularly congested at certain times of the day, especially during events at the county fairgrounds.

The County Department of Community Development issued a declaration of nonsignificance pursuant to WAC 197-11-340, and it recommended approval of the application, subject to nine conditions. The hearing examiner heard the Belchers' engineer testify in favor of the project and also received testimony from 25 citizens opposed to the project; many were residents of the area.

The hearing examiner entered findings of fact and conclusions of law, recommending denial of the rezone request. The Belchers "appealed"*fn1 to the Board of County Commissioners, which conducted a hearing on the application and

established a period during which written comments could be submitted. The record of the examiner's hearing was before the Board, and the Board also heard testimony of many who spoke at the earlier hearing. The Board ultimately denied the rezone, adopting the hearing examiner's findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Belchers come to us following the Superior Court's affirmance of the Board's action.*fn2

The Belchers contend that the Board's decision was arbitrary and capricious, and that its procedures violated both a Kitsap County ordinance and the appearance of fairness doctrine. We hold that the decision was not arbitrary and capricious, that the Board followed proper procedures, and that the appearance of fairness doctrine does not apply to this case.

[1-3] We review rezoning decisions under the arbitrary and capricious standard. Parkridge v. Seattle, 89 Wash. 2d 454, 573 P.2d 359 (1978). An administrative decision is arbitrary and capricious only if it is made without consideration of and in disregard of facts. Maranatha Mining, Inc. v. Pierce Cy., 59 Wash. App. 795, 804, 801 P.2d 985 (1990). In the consideration of a rezone application: (1) there is no presumption favoring the rezoning; (2) the rezone proponents must prove that conditions have substantially changed since the original zoning; and (3) the rezone must bear a substantial relationship to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare. Parkridge v. Seattle, 89 Wash. 2d at 462.

The Belchers claims initially that their proposed project conformed to the Kitsap Area Subplan, and that the Board erred in its conclusion of law that the project was inconsistent with plan policies related to density of single-family residential housing in Semi-Urban areas. We disagree.

[4] While it is true that the Semi-Urban designation permits densities as high as R-30, the examiner here attached to her decision an excerpt from the Central Kitsap Subarea Plan, entitled "Discussion," that states:

In this [semi-urban] designation a large range of densities and types of dwelling units will be encouraged. Residential development is typified by single-family housing of four to eight units per acre. The Semi-Urban area will also include some higher density developments in the range of 8 to 30 units per acre where services, amenities and natural factors allow. It is important that residential ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.