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Cathcart-Maltby-Clearview Community Council v. Snohomish County

Citation: 12 ELR 20167
No. No. 47493-1, 634 P.2d 853/96 Wash. 2d 201, (Wash., 10/08/1981)

The court upholds an environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared for a proposed residential development in Snohomish County, Washington, pursuant to Washington State Environmental Policy Act requirements and rules that "piecemeal" EIS preparation is appropriate for the project. Despite the failure to join an indispensable party, the court agrees to review the case because it presents an issue of continuing and substantial interest that requires authoritative determination for the future guidance of public officials. While the EIS for the project failed to evaluate its secondary impacts on the surrounding area, the court approves the deferral of such evaluations to the stage when the developers seek sector and subdivision approval. It holds that piecemeal environmental review is appropriate since the consequences of the ultimate development cannot be initially assessed and the county's decisionmaking body does not routinely approve all subsequent development plans. The court finds the initial EIS adequate since it identifies the potential impacts and provides a framework for further EIS preparation. Finally, the court rejects a contention that the county's actions constitute impermissible spot zoning. It finds that the rezoning conforms with comprehensive plans for the area and serves the public welfare.

A concurrence would not reach the merits of the case since the court lacks jurisdiction over all necessary parties.

Counsel for Appellants
Thomas H. Brucker, Lynn D. Weir
Smith, Brucker, Winn & Ehlert
1411 4th Ave., Seattle WA 98101
(206) 624-8901

Counsel for Appellees
Edward E. Level, Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor
Snohomish Cty. Cthse., 3000 Rockefeller St., Everett WA 98201
(206) 259-9333

Robert Terwilliger
Breskin, Robbins, Bastian & Cohen
Suite 803, Hoge Bldg., 705 2nd Ave., Seattle WA 98104
(206) 624-3443