The Washington Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed an earlier decision in a legal fight between the city of Spokane and Spokane County over whether state law requires the two entities to set up a “joint planning area” north of the city limits.
The county established a joint planning area in some, but not all, of the property it labeled the North Metro Urban Growth Area along U.S. Highway 2. The city complained, and in 2002 the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board sided with the city, ruling that the county should engage in joint planning with the city in the area in question.
The decision was appealed to Spokane County Superior Court, and Judge Maryann Moreno sided with the city. But on Tuesday, the state Court of Appeals reversed the two earlier decisions, saying the Hearings Board had no authority under the Growth Management Act.
Dave Hubert, the deputy civil prosecuting attorney who argued for the county, said the decision may not have much of an impact.
“The county and the city are already cooperating fairly well in land-use issues,” Hubert said. “So this may just be a paper victory. I don’t think the county is going to take a hard line with the city.”