PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County Superior Judge Sally Olsen has ruled that the appeal of two Jefferson County decisions concerning the proposed Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort near Brinnon should be heard as two different appeals to two different entities.
Olsen ruled Monday in favor of Jefferson County and the Statesman Group of Companies of Calgary, Alberta, Canada — the developer of the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort — in an appeal brought by The Brinnon Group, a nonprofit organization opposed to the development.
The Pleasant Harbor Resort is planned to be on 252 acres on the Black Point Peninsula, 2 miles south of Brinnon.
The Brinnon Group’s appeal centered on two ordinances passed by Jefferson County commissioners June 4.
The first ordinance approved development regulations that the county believed could be appealed only to the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB).
The second ordinance related to the approval of a development agreement between the county and the developer that the county believed could be appealed to a superior court.
“The decision means that the appeals of each ordinance will be decided where each appeal is supposed to be decided,” said Philip Hunsucker, chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney of Jefferson County.
Said attorney Rick Aramburu, representing The Brinnon Group: “We think it is preferable to have one group review the entirety of the project.”
Hunsucker said there were two appeals, one to the Kitsap County Superior Court under the Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) and one to the GMHB under the Growth Management Act.
“The Brinnon Group appealed both ordinances to the Kitsap County Superior Court and to the GMHB,” Hunsucker said.
“The Brinnon Group filed a motion for a stay of the Kitsap Superior Court case, in favor of having both ordinances reviewed by the GMHB,” he continued. “The developer filed a motion in Kitsap Superior Court (joined by the county) to dismiss the development regulations ordinance from the LUPA appeal.”
Appearing for the Statesman Group was attorney J.T. Cooke.
The Brinnon Group lost its motion for a stay of the LUPA case; the county and Statesman Group opposed the motion to stay. Olsen ruled in favor of the county and the developer.
Judge Olsen also granted Statesman Group’s motion to dismiss the appeal of the development regulations from the LUPA case. The parties agreed, and Olsen ruled that the GMHB has jurisdiction over the appeal of the ordinance adopting the development regulations.
Olsen said the proper forum for the development regulations is the GMHB and the proper forum for the development agreement is Superior Court.
Mark Rose, a spokesman for The Brinnon Group, said the rulings were “confusing” and felt the decision was “procedural.”
The Brinnon Group hoped to invalidate the development agreement for the resort, saying that “the decision is a clearly erroneous application of the law to the facts,” according to a news release.
The group also believed that the “Master Plan was approved before the environmental impacts of the resort had been fully evaluated,” the release said.
Hunsucker said Olsen set a schedule on a very fast track, with reviews to be done at the end of October, briefings to be submitted in November and a hearing on the merits of the case Dec. 19.
The GMHB schedule includes dates for motions and briefs through Dec. 6, a hearing Dec. 13, and a final decision and order Jan. 30.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]