Appeal from Superior Court of Walla Walla County. Docket No: 94-2-00304-7. Date filed: 06/09/95. Judge signing: Hon. Yancey Reser.
Authored by Stephen M. Brown. Concurring: Dennis J. Sweeney, Frank L. Kurtz.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brown
BROWN, J. The Board of County Commissioners of Walla Walla County (Board) appeals the superior court's modification of a condition imposed on a developer. The modification required the Board to exercise its power of eminent domain to obtain rights-of-way over property adjoining Two Acre Lane. The Board contends that the original condition was not arbitrary and capricious and therefore should be reinstated. Further, even if the condition was arbitrary and capricious, the court did not have the authority to require the Board to exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn third-party property. Daniel Snider cross-appeals, contending that the original condition amounts to an unconstitutional taking because, without the power to obtain rights-of-way over third-party property, he has been denied the use of his property. We reverse in part and affirm in part.
Mr. Snider applied for a preliminary plat approval of a 21-lot subdivision known as Mountain Springs Development. This plat was located in Walla Walla County between the Old Milton Highway and Two Acre Lane.
The Board approved the preliminary plat but imposed six conditions on the development. Mr. Snider petitioned the superior court for a writ of review challenging two of the conditions. The only condition at issue on appeal, referred to as condition five, required Mr. Snider to improve Two Acre Lane from its current 12-foot width to the Board's minimum standard of 50 feet.
This would require Mr. Snider to obtain rights-of-way from adjoining property owners of Two Acre Lane.
The trial court found there was sufficient evidence to support the Board's Conclusion that Two Acre Lane was not adequate for the development.
The trial court concluded, however, that requiring the developer to acquire rights-of-way over property owned by third parties was arbitrary and capricious. Therefore, the trial court modified this condition to provide that the developer deposit with the Board an amount to pay for the costs of the right-of-way acquisitions and improvements. This modification required the Board to exercise its eminent domain power to acquire the rights-of-way. Both the Board and Mr. Snider appeal.
The Board contends that the trial court erred by modifying condition five which required Mr. Snider to improve Two Acre Lane. First, the superior court should not have modified the condition because the Board did not act in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it imposed condition five as a proviso of approving the preliminary plat. Second, the trial court exceeded its authority by modifying that condition to require the Board to exercise its power of eminent domain to obtain rights-of-way over third-party property.
The original condition five provided:
Per Walla Walla County Code 16.20.040 and RCW 58.17.110 which address appropriate provision of streets, Two Acre Lane shall be improved to the minimum County standards for a public road prior to Final Plat Approval or bonded for. The cul-de-sac at the south end of Donna Way shall be eliminated.
The trial court agreed with the Board's finding that Two Acre Lane is not adequate to support the Mountain Springs Development. However, the trial court concluded that this condition was not reasonable because it required the developer to acquire rights-of-way over property owned by third ...