21Feb
2014

Ding Dong! Washington Impact Fee Deferrals Bill Dead

Last year, 2013, the Washington legislature approved with overwhelming support (83 to 11 in the House and 34 to 14 in the Senate) a bill that would have allowed the deferral of impact fees with the signing of a covenant.  When it landed on the Governor’s desk he vetoed the bill citing his belief that it benefitted large builders in the state.  The Seattle Times ran an editorial over Memorial Weekend calling on the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.  […]

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20Feb
2014

Metro Urban Reserves – Strike One

The Oregon Court of Appeals decided today that Metro’s urban and rural reserves have four legal defects and large parts must be done over. The Metro urban reserves is by far the largest and most comprehensive land use planning project in Oregon history.  It included enough PowerPoints to keep In Focus in business and kept hundreds of public officials working tirelessly for several years to shape a firm compromise, which was respected by dozens of local governments.  The state land […]

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February 19, 2014

Beware! Builders Targeted by Patent Trolling Company

Last week, several Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area home builders received a demand letter from Savannah IP, Inc (“Savannah”) asserting patent rights over certain commonly used moisture removal processes.  The letter references what appears to be a validly issued patent number (Patent No. 8,567,688, linked here at http://www.google.com/patents/US8567688) and bombards the recipient with a number of requests, including a ten day response deadline, the signing of a very overbearing patent license, and, of course, payment for the privilege of using the license. Savannah appears […]

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February 13, 2014

“THINK”ing About Construction

A surprising resource in Clark County is the “THINK!” program, which is a collaboration between the Building Industry Association (BIA) and Clark County. It aims to educate existing and potential home buyers about the permitting process, the importance of obtaining development and building permits, and it provides information about green or energy efficient programs and the importance of hiring licensed, bonded and insured contractors. It also provides awareness of unscrupulous practices favored by unlicensed contractors. The THINK program provides resources […]

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February 11, 2014

Stuck Between a Rock and a Crusher

In a tough aggregate case, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against Kittitas County, for two reasons.  First, when the county SEPA approval was appealed, the county board did not allow testimony or evidence to be provided at the appeal hearing.  The court ruled that because the county procedure failed to provide an opportunity for project opponents to submit evidence and testify, it violated state law.  It also faulted the county for not combining the SEPA appeal hearing with the scheduled […]

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January 23, 2014

NPDES Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit Decision Coming Soon!

A decision will be issued on or around February 28 regarding PCHB NOS. 12-093c. We’ve previously blogged about this particularly impactful case (here, here, here, and here) and are eagerly awaiting the decision. The challenge to the 2013-18 Phase I NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit (“the Permit”) was supported by numerous cities, counties, the Building Industry Association of Clark County, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The appellants have argued that multiple provisions in the Permit may be “unlawful, unjust, […]

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January 15, 2014

Washington House Bill 2293

Representative Pike and others just dropped House Bill 2293, which would create triggers for the review of rules, permits, or guidelines by the joint administrative rules review committee.  The triggers would be based on (1) an economic impact of ten million dollars or more; (2) signatures of fifteen legislators or more; or (3) a petition of five or more local governments representing collectively 50,000 Washington residents. The Bill was requested by the economic development and trade organizations in SW Washington […]

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January 14, 2014

Is Household Formation Coming? And What Does it Look Like?

Here is an interesting paper just issued by the Kansas City Federal Reserve regarding the state of household formation in the United States, one of the largest drivers and predictors of future housing growth.  The paper suggests that the robust growth that occurred in the 1990s and 2000s tailed off as population growth slowed in this country due to less migration and fewer births.  But even with a reset baseline based on new Census Bureau information, there is still a […]

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January 10, 2014

Woodburn UGA – Strike Two

The Oregon Court of Appeals kicked off the new land use year with a reprise of its 2010 opinion rejecting the City of Woodburn’s urban growth boundary expansion.  In 2005, the city decided to expand its urban growth boundary to include 409 acres for industrial uses, which equates to 362 net buildable acres after deducting right-of-way.  The city relied on its economic consultant, ECONorthwest, which provided an economic opportunities analysis and related work pursuant to state planning regulations. Traditionally, cities forecast […]

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November 11, 2013

The Third Special Session—A SEPA Reform Bill Got Introduced Amongst All the Jet Engine Noise

Governor Inslee called a third special session in Washington this past week to assist Boeing.  Measures include aircraft tax incentives, set to expire in 2024, getting a 16-year extension to 2040, money for aerospace training, and a streamlined permitting system to help get construction permits faster. But an interesting bill, House Bill 2090, which adds more categorical exemptions to SEPA, also got introduced on Saturday.  This bill seeks to reduce redundant permitting by essentially stating that if you are doing […]

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Beware! Builders Targeted by Patent Trolling Company

February 19, 2014 2 comments

Last week, several Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area home builders received a demand letter from Savannah IP, Inc (“Savannah”) asserting patent rights over certain commonly used moisture removal processes.  The letter references what appears to be a validly issued patent number (Patent No. 8,567,688, linked here at http://www.google.com/patents/US8567688) and bombards the recipient with a number of requests, including a ten day response deadline, the signing of a very overbearing patent license, and, of course, payment for the privilege of using the license. Savannah appears […]

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NPDES Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit Decision Coming Soon!

January 23, 2014 2 comments

A decision will be issued on or around February 28 regarding PCHB NOS. 12-093c. We’ve previously blogged about this particularly impactful case (here, here, here, and here) and are eagerly awaiting the decision. The challenge to the 2013-18 Phase I NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit (“the Permit”) was supported by numerous cities, counties, the Building Industry Association of Clark County, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The appellants have argued that multiple provisions in the Permit may be “unlawful, unjust, […]

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A Little Relief from the Storm(water)

April 13, 2012 0 comments

Washington’s legislature finally adjourned early Wednesday morning.  With the passage of the budget came a bill critically important to local jurisdictions and the business community.  Senate Bill 6406 passed both houses and it has been delivered to Governor Gregoire for signature. As this is a lengthy bill that does many things, it warrants more than one post.  What is critically important in this post is to note what the law does for the requirements of the forthcoming NPDES municipal stormwater […]

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Friday Fun Post

February 15, 2013 2 comments

I attended the dinner for the conference by the  International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights held here in Portland, Oregon last evening.  As any land use geek might imagine, I had a fabulous time talking about land use systems throughout the world.  But the most interesting thing to me was that some of our international guests had come to the conference with preconceived notions about how planning is done in this country, thinking it was more like Houston […]

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