A state Supreme Court ruling issued yesterday has brought to an end 10 years of land-use litigation over Redmond Ridge, a three-part, 4,500-home...
A state Supreme Court ruling issued yesterday has brought to an end 10 years of land-use litigation over Redmond Ridge, a three-part, 4,500-home subdivision under construction between the city of Redmond and the farms and forests near Duvall.
The unanimous decision, in favor of King County and developer Quadrant Corp., could make it easier for expansion to continue at Redmond Ridge.
“This finally brings everything to a closure,” said Stephanie Warden, director of the county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services. “It vindicates the county.”
Some nearby neighbors have been battling Redmond Ridge for a decade, arguing that King County’s decision to set an urban-style development afloat in a rural sea violates state growth-management rules.
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The justices, however, ruled that the county was within its rights to designate the unincorporated area as a “Fully Contained Community” — a district of development outside of urban regions that includes, among other features, a mix of jobs, housing and services; transit and traffic planning; and environmental-protection measures.
Furthermore, the justices said it is acceptable for counties and cities planning under the state’s Growth Management Act to take into account vested development rights — development approved but not built before new planning rules go into effect. Portions of Redmond Ridge were permitted years before King County adopted its countywide planning blueprint, and opponents said the proposals should not be grandfathered in.
“It’s clearly a done deal, and that’s disappointing,” said Steve Shifton, director of the opponent group Friends of the Law, of the court’s ruling. “We can’t just let the rural areas get mowed down, and that’s what happened here.”
David Bricklin, attorney for Friends of the Law, said that yesterday’s decision could not be appealed any further.
The group, however, is not finished fighting Redmond Ridge, which encompasses a main subdivision that is nearly built out, a retirement community called Trilogy that is still being developed, and the planned Redmond Ridge East, which has not been permitted for construction yet. Total residency, so far, is close to 5,000 people.
As a nod to the open, natural environment it moved into, the development carries the slogan “Inspired by Nature” and boasts a system of trails and parks winding among its multicolored houses.
Friends of the Law is challenging Redmond Ridge East, which could include as many as 800 new homes. Quadrant is awaiting a ruling by King County Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith on whether the Redmond Ridge East proposal meets the planning criteria on such issues as traffic management and critical services.
The legal challenge of Redmond Ridge wound its way through several boards and courts over the past decade, a costly fight that Shifton, of Friends of the Law, says was waged with donations.
Since Redmond Ridge began construction, neighbors in the area have complained of negative impacts. Traffic volumes on Novelty Hill Road, which links Redmond Ridge and other rural residents to downtown Redmond, rose from an average 14,700 vehicles a day in 1999 to 20,500 in 2003.
Some say the rural feel of the place has been lost and that, though Redmond Ridge was planned as a fully contained community, the retail and business components have lagged residential development.
The development’s planned 1.2 million-square-foot business park hasn’t been built as fast as the homes, acknowledged Bonnie Geers, vice president and general manager of Redmond Ridge. But, she said, “the permit doesn’t specify an order for the components.”
“The market will lead that, and we’re starting to see the economy turn around.”
Retail, however, has finally picked up. In addition to the gas station, bank and restaurants already open inside Redmond Ridge, a QFC grocery and an additional 20,000 square feet of retail space are under construction, slated to open in the fall.
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or firstname.lastname@example.org