Today, Citizen's Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) filed a legal action in San Juan Superior Court against the County of San Juan alleging both violations of Washington's Open Public Meetings Act and violations the Washington's Growth Management Act. All but one of the causes of action allege procedural and substantive errors in the County Council's deliberations during the County's revision of the Critical Areas Ordinance and the Shoreline Master Plan.
Simply, the goal of CAPR's legal action against the County of San Juan is to require the
County Council to follow the laws pertaining to openness and transparency of
government. This is essential in a functioning democracy.
The legal action alleges that members of the County Council have repeatedly met with
staff behind closed doors and have not allowed the public to observe their deliberations.
This is illegal. CAPR alleges that for more than a year, Council Members met as a
CAO/SMP Implementation Committee and discussed important policy issues without
allowing the public to observe the meetings as required by law. Similar behavior has also
been evident in other county committees working on issues such as the county budget.
CAPR has asked the Circuit Court to declare that these private meetings have been and
are illegal, and to nullify any action that was taken therein.
In addition, CAPR alleges that the Council has failed to follow substantive laws, which
provide how a county is to go about creating or revising a critical areas ordinance or
shoreline master plan. CAPR alleges that the Council has failed to follow the Washington
State Legislature's direction on what is to constitute "best available science".
While CAPR does not favor resorting to legal action, CAPR looks forward to the speedy
and just resolution of this matter.
You can download a copy of the original press release from here. The detailed complaint is here.