Everyone is appealing

This writer was finally able to find further information on who is appealing the hearing examiner’s decision on the permit needed to begin work on the South Sammamish Segment 2A of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. It appears that the City was first via a closed executive session of City Council on March 1st. Then, the homeowners’ group, SHO, submitted their appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board on March 7th and the County appealed on March 8th. It appears the County is asking that most of the conditions placed on the permit by the City be voided including all the items the City and County had negotiated an agreement on at the hearing examiner level. It seems that we are back to square one.

Here are links to the two latest newspaper articles on the appeal, one from the Issaquah Reporter and the Sammamish Review

Although the Sammamish Review states a hearing has been scheduled in front of the Shoreline Hearings Board on March 30, it appears to be a pre-hearing conference call that will last one hour in front of the Presiding Officer (Judge) and all the parties (and their attorneys) to discuss the case, set the hearing schedule, and determine the issues raised by the appeal.

What does seem odd is that neither paper ever seems to mention the homeowners association and the fact they were denied their appeal by the hearing examiner and are also appealing to the Shoreline Hearings Board. In fact on their web page from December they noted “Regardless of the outcome of the current appeal to the Hearings Examiner, SHO will continue to appeal the SSDP based on these ownership issues. Meanwhile construction cannot begin on South Segment 2A.” More recently they said “So our next step is to appeal the South Segment 2A permit to the next higher authority, in this case, the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB). We anticipate that we will get the same answer from the SHB in that they are not chartered to rule on ownership issues. If that does happen, the next higher authority to appeal to is State Superior Court where our Count 2 issue now resides. This court is capable of ruling on whether the County provided to the city adequate ownership documentation. To our advantage, our current ownership case is in front of Judge Oishi in this same court.” (Per their web page, “Count 2 is focused on a specific set of 66 lots where no deed or easement agreement was ever executed before the railroad laid track. King County is claiming fee title ownership of the corridor across these 66 lots through “adverse possession”. The SHO Complaint says all King County acquired was a prescriptive surface easement based on what the railroad actually used. In Count 2, SHO will argue that the width of this prescriptive easement is the width used by the railroad and the current interim trail width of 12 feet.”)

Obviously, if ruled in their favor, this would eliminate any shoulder on the trail. A trial date of August 2016 has been scheduled for this Count 2 complaint. As far as this writer knows, no date has been set for their Count 1 ownership trial in federal court.