What to Look Forward to
In the waning hours of the third special session, the 2017 legislature passed three pieces of GMA-related legislation: HB 2243 (School Siting), SB 5517 (Rail Dependent Uses), and SB 5254 (Land Capacity Analysis). At this year's conference, we'll start with a detailed look at the legislation and agency implementation plans.
The most significant change is the buildable lands provisions in SB 5254. We'll explore what it means and the long-range planning implications of what appears to be a largely procedural change to the GMA.
The legislature considered, but did not pass, "Hirst fix" legislation to address the Supreme Court's ruling that counties must comply with the GMA and decide whether enough water is available for existing users before approving rural projects that need new wells. Different counties are addressing the requirement in different ways and we'll explore the options available to landowners.
There are new developments in Flood Plain Regulation, including recent FEMA Flood Hazard Map updates, affecting development of low-lying areas. Following the first round of shoreline plan updates, the Department of Ecology has made changes to involving No Net Loss provisions and other key elements. We'll explore what is about to come down the path for builders and jurisdictions that must review shoreline projects.
In the judicial front, we've had significant developments involving the Endangered Species Act and Tribal fishing rights. We'll have a panelists discuss the recent development and offer tips for engaging with Tribes to avoid unnecessary litigation for off-reservation projects that impact those rights.
New to the conference this year will be a discussion of the Public Trust Doctrine and how it applies to shoreline regulations and development projects that interfere with public use of waters of the state.
We'll also discuss local government obligations under the GMA to address low probability - high consequence events like landslides and tsunamis. The Oso disaster brought to light developments in the science for predicting landslides and seismic events, and for quantifying consequences. Panelists will address the implications for local government establishment of tsunami zones and changes to building codes.
A perennial favorite at this conference is the annual update on trends at the Pollution Control Hearings Board, the Shoreline Hearings Board, Growth Management Hearings Board, and land use decisions in the state courts. You'll also be able to pick up an ethics credit with information focusing on the current issues of greatest relevance for land use practitioners.
Mark you calendar because you won't want to miss this opportunity to come up to speed on all these issues and developments. We hope to see you there.
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Tadas A. Kisielius, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Van Ness Feldman LLP. He counsels public and private clients on land use, water resources, and environmental law matters. He helps private clients and public port districts secure and defend state and federal environmental permits and local land use approvals for development projects throughout the state, including complex marine terminal development projects.
Duana T. Kolouskova, Program Co-Chair, is a named partner at Johns Monroe Mitsunaga Kolouskova PLLC. She represents clients in all stages of land development. Before she entered private practice, she was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Snohomish County, representing the Planning and Development Services and Public Works Departments, the Hearing Examiner and the County Council on land development issues.
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