Judgeupholds Douglas appeal

Published on Thu, Apr 5, 2007 by Jack Kintner

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Judge upholds Douglas appeal

By Jack Kintner

“We hit a home run,” said developer Joel Douglas late last month after his successful appeal in superior court of a stop work order issued in the fall of 2005 by the city of Blaine on his Seascape Condominium project.

Whatcom County Superior Court judge Ira Uhrig overturned Blaine hearing examiner pro tem Michael Bobbink’s ruling that the city was correct to have issued a stop work order to Douglas since he did not have the required storm water plan approval to do work on the site.
Douglas insisted that he did have the correct permits and approvals, producing sheets with the signatures of city officials on them as proof. Bobbink agreed with the city, however, and upheld the stop work orders. In a verbal ruling, Uhrig agreed with Douglas.

Blaine city attorney Jon Sitkin said “we think the superior court made errors. They failed to recognize the lack of an approved stormwater plan on the site and that was the reason for the stop work order.”

“This may be moot anyway,” said Uhrig, noting that the condominium project is finished and occupancy has been granted.

Sitkin said that he expects Uhrig to issue a written ruling within 30 days. After that the city may take the matter to the court of appeals. No decision had been reached by press time but Sitkin said that such an appeal is standard practice. “Beyond that, there’s the state supreme court, and they have to agree to hear the case before you can take it that far,” Sitkin said.