Snohomish County faces state sanctions because of "unwillingness to comply" with hearings board

December 29, 2004

Associated Press
King 5 News

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Gary Locke plans to impose sanctions on Snohomish County for its unwillingness to comply with the orders of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.

Locke sent a letter state Treasurer Mike Murphy and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon outlining his plans should Snohomish County not comply by March 1.

The annoucement was no surprise to Reardon, who asked Locke in July not to impose sanctions.

At issue is the county's attempt to include farm land in the Island Crossing area in northern Snohomish County as part of the Arlington Urban Growth Area. The area has been the focus of legal challenges since 1996 and in 1998 the state Court of Appeals ruled the county could not change the protected status of the agricultural lands in the Island Crossing area.

The Growth Management Board recommended in June 2004 that Locke impose sanctions on Snohomish County for noncompliance.

According to the letter, the sanction would be the withholding of the county's portion of the state's motor vehicle fuel tax. Last year, that amounted to $8.8 million. It's expected to exceed $9.2 million next year.

The county planned to use the money for road construction, repair and maintenance.



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