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Loggerheads

Washington courts The key line in today’s Twin Bridge Marine Park v. Department of Ecology Washington Supreme Court seems so self-evident that you almost wonder how a serious court case could develop around it: “When disagreements over property development arise between these two entities that exercise regulatory powers under the SMA [the Shoreline Management Act], private citizens must not be forced to choose between conflicting edicts.” Even if the law in question is something other than the SMA.

This one has to do with a turf battle between Skagit County and the Department of Ecology; a marina developer has been caught in the middle. The Supreme Court noted that “Twin Bridge is a dry-storage marina that has been properly permitted by local, state, and federal agencies after years of litigation. At argument, Ecology conceded there were no continuing environmental concerns.” But the battle has gone on, at some length.

This might be reasonable grounds for a task force: To find areas of overlap or conflict in the laws, so that citizens aren’t caught between. Or, of course, we could all just litigate.

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