1. Developers Lose Again

Developers aren't only upset about the "linkage fee" (see this AM's Fizz report on a new policy the city council passed over developer objections yesterday to raise affordable housing funds by charging developers citywide for new construction).

Developers also object to the current way the City raises money for affordable housing—the "Incentive Zoning" policy which charges developers when they take advantage of incentives and build taller in certain zones such as South Lake Union.

Developers in fact challenged the city's incentive zoning policy on two fronts—in front of the Growth Management Hearings Board where developers argued the policy violated the city's Comprehensive Plan and thus the Growth Management Act. They lost that argument in August.

They also challenged the policy in federal court arguing that the policy is an illegal fee because federal law prohibits government from extracting permitting fees on development unless the government can show a relationship between the fee and the impact it's supposedly mitigating—and also show the math that determines the exact fee. 

They've now lost that one too. At least round one. 

The developers' missteps in court don't bode well for their fight against the "linkage fee."

In a court ruling yesterday, The U.S. District Court sent the case back to the state court rejecting the developers' claim on procedural grounds—upholding the City's argument that the developers—Urban Visions and Clise Properties—didn't have standing because they hadn't been hit with an incentive zoning fee yet. 

The developers' missteps in court do not bode well for their fight against the "linkage fee" where they've been making similar claims that the city is out of bounds. The city council is getting its advice from the city attorney's office which has now trumped the developers twice on developer tax and fee issues. 

[Full disclosure, Urban Visions' Greg Smith was an original investor in PubliCola. He is no longer involved in the web site, since PubliCola was purchased by SeattleMet in 2012.]  

2. Following an AP report on a $150,000 donation and a subsequent Fizz report that the donation was not accounted for correctly, a woman in Kent has filed a complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission against the NRA.

The complaint notes that the NRA of Washington Opposed to I-594,  the local group fighting this year's gun control initiative, waited a month to report a $150,000 donation to its cause from the national NRA.

The complaint states: 

The National Rifle Association of America Washingtonians Opposed to I-594 is alleged to have violated RCW 42.17A.235(2)(c) and RCW 42.17A.235(3). In clear violation of reporting requirements, the organization did not file reports with the Public Disclosure Commission between September 10, 2014 and October 14, 2014. This is an obvious and egregious violation and ostensibly an attempt to hide vital information from the public.





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