City Loses Surface Transportation Board Petition

On March 28th, the Federal Surface Transportation Board denied the City of Sammamish’s petition to issue a declaratory order that the construction and use of a railbanked corridor for interim trail use by King County, Wash. (County), “is not exempt from the City’s local land use and development regulations,” and that neither 49 U.S.C. § 10501(b), nor the National Trails System Act (Trails Act), 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d), authorizes the County to override these local public health and safety regulations in order to operate the trail. (Pet. 1.)

However, while the District Court included some discussion of the County’s preemption arguments and preemption law, it ultimately granted the preliminary injunction on grounds that the City lacked a sufficient property interest under state law to impose any regulation on the Intersections, and expressly declined to reach the federal preemption issue.

Given that the dispute between the parties rests on a matter of state property law and may ultimately be resolved by the courts on state law grounds, the request for a declaratory order was denied. The detailed document can be found here