Land Use

The timelines for land use cases are extremely short and inflexible. Missing a comment or filing deadline can often mean that you have lost your case. Similarly, if you fail to raise a legal argument in your comments, you may have waived it forever. Please, consult with a land use attorney right away!

Smith & Lowney represents communities across the state who are fighting to protect their local environment and quality of life. We treat these land use cases as the emergencies they are. We help communities to form non-profit corporations and to develop legal, political, grassroots, and media strategies to oppose harmful land uses. 

The following are representative cases: 

Thornton Creek Legal Defense Fund v. City of Seattle. After years of litigation, we defeated proposal to construct a multi-million dollar addition to Northgate Mall directly over Thornton Creek. Successive litigation resulted in decision by Northgate's owners, Simon Property Group, to sell the creek corridor to the City of Seattle. We assisted clients to develop and implement long-term legal and political strategy. As part of this strategy, we assisted client to run citywide initiative campaign on creek restoration. Ultimately, City of Seattle agreed to fund a project to "daylight" Thornton Creek through Northgate Mall, representing a 100% victory in one of the hardest-fought land use battles in recent Seattle history. 

Friends of Grays Harbor v. City of Westport. We represented FOGH and Washington Environmental Council in a series of appeals and lawsuits to prevent the building of an 18-hole golf course, luxury resort, and 200 condominiums in Westport, Washington. The development would destroy more than 56 acres of rare interdunal wetlands and buffers, would pollute critical estuarine habitat, and would lead to hardrocking of the public beach. The applicant has credited our firm with delaying the harmful project for years and costing them over $4 million in the process. 

Friends of Grays Harbor v. Department of Corrections. Successful litigation concerning the siting of Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Grays Harbor Washington. Settlement saved 17 acres of intertidal wetlands and delivered millions of dollars of improvements to the Aberdeen sewage treatment plant, helping to reduce pollution entering the Grays Harbor estuary. 

Everett Shorelines Coalition v. City of Everett, CPSGMHB no. 02-3-0009c. We represented ESC in successfully appealing Everett's update to its Shoreline Master Program to the Growth Management Hearings Board. Settlement of appeal resulted in improvements to shoreline protection practices and regulations. 

Citizens against SeaTac Expansion, et al. v. Department of Ecology, et al. On behalf of long-term clients Citizens against SeaTac Expansion and the Airport Communities Coalition, our firm challenged the Clean Water Act' 401 certification for the proposed third runway at Sea-Tac airport. After a ten-day trial, the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) imposed sixteen new conditions on the project. 

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