Appeals Court ruling on Satterlee House: Original decision affirmed


A major ruling late today in the long-running fight over whether William Conner, owner of the landmark Satterlee House – aka Beach Drive’s “Painted Lady” – can build three houses on its expansive lawn. The city Landmarks Board originally declined to approve the specific three-house proposal; Conner challenged the decision before the city Hearing Examiner, who upheld the ruling (here’s our April 2008 report); then he took it to King County Superior Court, where a judge upheld the city decision (here’s our October 2008 report); then he took it to the 1st Division Court of Appeals, which has just upheld the decision. Read their ruling here; our report on the arguments before the state court last June is here. We’ll add more to this report as we seek comment and read the full ruling. (As noted in earlier reports, these decisions have not been rulings against ANY construction on the Satterlee House lawn, but rather against the specific proposal Conner took to the Landmarks Board, which has jurisdiction over changes to landmarked property; here’s our archive of case coverage, newest to oldest.) Summary of the case/decision, from the ruling document:

William and Marilyn Conner purchased a designated historical landmark property in West Seattle known as the Satterlee House. The Landmarks Preservation Board rejected their proposal to develop the site because it did not preserve the protected historic features. The hearing examiner and the superior court upheld the Board’s decision.

The Conners’ principal contention is that the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance is unconstitutionally vague as applied. They also contend the landmark restrictions on the property constitute an unlawful tax, a regulatory taking, and deprived them of due process. We reject their arguments and affirm.

44 Replies to "Appeals Court ruling on Satterlee House: Original decision affirmed"

  • chas redmond December 21, 2009 (5:52 pm)

    Pretty interesting discussion on public landmark property preservation versus private property ownership rights. I commend everyone to read the summary judgment and the dozens of pages of cogent and relevant discussion about other cases of similar and disimilar nature. I walk by this property probably two or three times a month in all sorts of weather. The view to the beach has long been lost to the shoreline properties, but the scope and scale of what was once a prestigious property cannot be denied, even if the final view to the water’s edge is marred by the intrusion of today’s townhouses.

  • CB December 21, 2009 (6:55 pm)

    Welcome to the People’s Republic of Seattle, where YOUR property really isn’t yours.

  • mark c December 21, 2009 (7:22 pm)

    What’s with the communism comments????

    Was the property designated landmark before it was purchased? Yes.

    Did the owner have full knowledge of this before the purchase? Yes.

    Did the owner arrogantly assume he could weasel his way around a city approved preservation program?


    Caveat Emptor friends and neighbors!!!!

  • EyeLiveInWestSeattle December 21, 2009 (7:30 pm)

    Hmmmmm…. let me get this straight: this guy owns the house and the land in front of it, the land is in 3 parcels according to King County, but he can’t build on it? Even if he wants more condos on those parcels, why can’t he? Who is on the “other side” that sued to stop it? Does anyone understand? Please do not tell me the city of Seattle did, because I would think they would enjoy the additional tax revenue. Was it his neighbors?

    • WSB December 21, 2009 (7:43 pm)

      EyeLive, nobody sued. The Satterlee House is an official city landmark, a designation sought by a previous owner. Getting that status has potential tax benefits; it also means that there are stipulations to which the property owner agrees (“controls and incentives”) regarding Landmarks Board approval needed to make changes in the landmarked building/property. And those are all disclosed before a landmarked property changes hands.
      The court case thus far has affirmed that the landmark designation covers the whole site. Therefore, the Landmarks Board has to sign off on plans for development, as it’s charged with making sure for example that any such proposal doesn’t modify the landmark to affect its landmarked features.
      What originally happened here is that the Landmarks Board rejected the particular plan for three homes, while suggesting that smaller homes might win approval.
      Testimony at the various hearings and other proceedings we have covered along the way (see the archives linked above) indicated that instead of modifying the plan, the owner continued to seek approval for the plans he wants to build. That approval was denied; he took it to the Hearing Examiner, which is the city’s “court of appeal”; the examiner rejected the appeal; next step is the courts, and so far two levels of courts have affirmed the original city decision. At any time, for example, the property owner could have sought city approval for a different proposal – what this fight has been over is a very specific proposal, NOT the issue of whether the property can be built on at all … TR

  • Mike in Greenwood December 21, 2009 (7:36 pm)

    Well, it’s sort of a nice old house, but really, I could care less. I’d hardly call it a “landmark”.

    Seems like everything is a “landmark” in Seattle these days.

    • WSB December 21, 2009 (7:37 pm)

      Mike – that adjective refers to the fact it’s an official city landmark.

  • Justice Holmes December 21, 2009 (8:24 pm)

    And the Appelate Court Ruling’s this month from the Supreme’s in Washington?

    Classics in Legal Incompetance! The State where you even have to go to the Supreme Court to teach Traffic Law to a State Trooper!


    POSSESSION is a conception which is only less important than contract. But the interest attaching to the theory of possession does not stop with its practical importance in the body of English law. The theory has fallen into the hands of the philosophers, and with them has become a corner-stone of more than one elaborate structure. It will be a service to sound thinking to show that a far more civilized system than the Roman is framed upon a plan which is irreconcilable with the a priori doctrines of Kant and Hegel. Those doctrines are worked out in careful correspondence with German views of Roman law. And most of the speculative jurists of Germany, from Savigny to Ihering, have been at once professors of Roman law, and profoundly influenced if not controlled by some form of Kantian or post-Kantian philosophy. Thus everything has combined to give a special bent to German speculation, which deprives it of its claim to universal authority.

    Why is possession protected by the law, when the possessor is not also an owner? That is the general problem which has much exercised the German mind. Kant, it is well known, was deeply influenced in his opinions upon ethics and law by the speculations of Rousseau. Kant, Rousseau, and the Massachusetts Bill of Rights agree that all men are born free and equal, and one or the other branch of that declaration has afforded the answer to the [207] question why possession should be protected from that day to this. Kant and Hegel start from freedom. The freedom of the will, Kant said, is the essence of man. It is an end in itself; it is that which needs no further explanation, which is absolutely to be respected, and which it is the very end and object of all government to realize and affirm. Possession is to be protected because a man by taking possession of an object has brought it within the sphere of his will. He has extended his personality into or over that object. As Hegel would have said, possession is the objective realization of free will. And by Kant’s postulate, the will of any individual thus manifested is entitled to absolute respect from every other individual, and can only be overcome or set aside by the universal will, that is, by the state, acting through its organs, the courts.

  • Mike December 21, 2009 (8:42 pm)

    Funny how the right-wingers get all up in arms over this perceived violation of someone’s property rights. I thought the conservatives believed in personal responsibility? Shouldn’t someone who buys a piece of property knowing full well that it has legally binding encumbrances on it be responsible for their decision and expected to live with the consequences of that decision? How can you possibly reconcile the view that the owner is having his property rights violated with the notion of personal responsibility?

  • F16CrewChief December 21, 2009 (8:58 pm)

    Hey, the house has been for sale for like the last 4 or 5 years. If he drops the price half a million, I’ll buy it and leave the parcels alone. I’ll just throw up a fence, build a pool, create a basketball court and maybe even build an rv lot. Then I’ll call it a day:-)

    Just kidding!

    Nice house, but those property taxes have to be insane!

  • Teddy Roosevelt December 21, 2009 (9:08 pm)

    What right-wingers say and what they do can be as different as black and white. They will begrudge assistance to poor individuals (railing against ‘welfare queens’), but think nothing of full-tongue french kisses to wealthy corporations (Medicare drug benefit, no-bid contracts to KBR/Bechtel/Blackwater/et al anyone?).

    I have no quarrel with the wealthy. I would’nt mind being rich myself. But when the ‘haves’ and ‘have-mores’ use their wealth and influence to further stack the deck in their favor, I have a quarrel with that. The Connors knew EXACTLY what they were getting into when they bought the ‘Painted Lady’, but they had the hubris to think they could re-write the rules ‘ex post facto’. Such is the insolence of wealth and the arrogance of power. They made their bed, now they’d best learn to sleep in it.

  • Justice Holmes December 21, 2009 (9:26 pm)

    It’s always funny when the left wingers, who can’t write a city ordinance that’s enforceable, over Washington’s Individual Rights Concept of Article 1. Just read a few Supreme Court Reports, like the confused policeman, or social services worker, all confused with their public service job’s, and the simple English of their regulations, that could only confuse one educated by the WEA!
    Read this case, with your cop and Appelate Court on drugs?
    SANDERS, J. — Law enforcement officers arrested petitioner Dustin Warren Harrington after patting him down and finding a glass pipe in his pocket. The State contends the search was consensual and flowed from a valid social contact. Harrington asserts police officers unconstitutionally seized him, violating his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United StatesConstitution and article I, section 7 of the Washington Constitution. The trial court denied his motion to suppress the evidence, and the Court of Appeals No. 81719-7 affirmed.
    We conclude the officers’ actions, when viewed cumulatively, impermissibly disturbed Harrington’s private affairs without authority of law and therefore constituted an unlawful seizure. Article I, section 7 cannot
    tolerate the officers’ progressive intrusion into Harrington’s privacy. We reverse the Court of Appeals, suppress the evidence against Harrington, and dismiss.

  • Justice Holmes December 21, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.


    SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

    SECTION 2 SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

    SECTION 3 PERSONAL RIGHTS. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

    SECTION 4 RIGHT OF PETITION AND ASSEMBLAGE. The right of petition and of the people peaceably to assemble for the common good shall never be abridged.

    SECTION 5 FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

    SECTION 7 INVASION OF PRIVATE AFFAIRS OR HOME PROHIBITED. No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.

    SECTION 8 IRREVOCABLE PRIVILEGE, FRANCHISE OR IMMUNITY PROHIBITED. No law granting irrevocably any privilege, franchise or immunity, shall be passed by the legislature.

    SECTION 10 ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. Justice in all cases shall be administered openly, and without unnecessary delay.

    SECTION 12 SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED. No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

    SECTION 14 EXCESSIVE BAIL, FINES AND PUNISHMENTS. Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishment inflicted.

    SECTION 16 EMINENT DOMAIN. Private property shall not be taken for private use, except for private ways of necessity, and for drains, flumes, or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, domestic, or sanitary purposes. No private property shall be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation having been first made, or paid into court for the owner, and no right-of-way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation other than municipal until full compensation therefor be first made in money, or ascertained and paid into court for the owner, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation, which compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury be waived, as in other civil cases in courts of record, in the manner prescribed by law. Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such, without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public: Provided, That the taking of private property by the state for land reclamation and settlement purposes is hereby declared to be for public use. [AMENDMENT 9, 1919 p 385 Section 1. Approved November, 1920.]

    Original text — Art. 1 Section 16 EMINENT DOMAIN — Private property shall not be taken for private use, except for private ways of necessity, and for drains, flumes or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, domestic or sanitary purposes. No private property shall be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation having first been made, or paid into court for the owner, and no right of way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation other than municipal, until full compensation therefor be first made in money, or ascertained and paid into the court for the owner, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation, which compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury be waived as in other civil cases in courts of record, in the manner prescribed by law. Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public.

    SECTION 32 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES. A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual right and the perpetuity of free government.

    Fundamental Simplicity, to protect and maintain the Individual Right’s Since 1889!

  • on board December 21, 2009 (9:55 pm)

    My opinion is that if this property is of such high value to the City of Seattle, then the City should be obliged to own it and manage it as it sees fit, instead of expecting someone else to do so.

    The flip side of this are the nimbys who live in the immediate area who refuse to allow the idea that the place could be used as an entertainment facility for weddings and special events, which in my opinion, is the only way such a property can continue to play a valuable role in the community in current times.

  • jintz December 21, 2009 (10:21 pm)

    I agree with Mike and Mark C. However, I’m sure the county has assessed and has/is collecting property taxes as if the 3 lots were prime buildable parcels. I ran into this 23 years ago in SE King County – went to the board of arbitration, taxes were reduced – for one year, then right back up as if the whole arbitration process had never taken place. King Co – sucks!

  • JanS December 21, 2009 (11:22 pm)

    jintz…and you live here because?

    Seems like a few people on here have beefs that have noting to do with this situation. This gentleman knew exactly what restrictions were there when he bought it. He had a choice…buy it and live with the restrictions, or buy something else. That’s what life is about choices, and living with the ones we make. It seems pretty simply to me. No one is saying that he can’t build on that property…they’re just saying that he needs to revise the plans of what he wants to build on the property. He has made the choice to not work within the restrictions. That’s absolutely OK, again, his choice. He is now wasting the courts money to make a point, to be obstinate, to not be flexible, to not perhaps compromise a bit. That court money would be OUR money…yours and mine, even you two, Teddy and Justice. Time for this guys lawyer to tell him to get with the program, IMO.

  • uncle philthy December 22, 2009 (3:31 am)

    although i agree with the city in this case, i have been walking by this property for over forty years, and wondering why nothing was done.
    i also wonder however why when they had the same argument about the old sicks stadium site, they refused a locally owned smaller hardware store permission to build,but allowed eagles (now lowes) to build a much larger store.
    hmm could it be money?
    yes! seattle is going into a sh*t basket fast, and until we hold people accountable, it will only get worse!

    • WSB December 22, 2009 (3:45 am)

      Philth, it’s been landmarked for 25+ of those 40 years so that may explain part of “why nothing was done” if you mean why the lawn remained untouched.

  • mar3c December 22, 2009 (7:34 am)

    justice holmes: sounds like your cops searched harrington without probable cause. case closed.
    regarding the satterlee house, we, as a city, decided it was worth preserving as-is, for better or worse. we built in a mechanism to approve changes, and we appointed people to do that for us as a community. calling us – and yourself – names won’t change the facts.
    don’t like our ordinances or our taxes? get elected or move out. but enough with the sniveling.

  • Harpie December 22, 2009 (9:42 am)

    I haven’t been following this closely, but I do know this wasn’t what Connor Homes originally envisioned either. They’ve owned the property nearly a decade. When they initially bought the property, the plan was not for three largish houses but for a cottage-and-carriage house development, which was in keeping with the style of the Painted Lady and attempting to preserve the street view of the old house, which is one of the primary concerns of the landmarking restrictions on the site. That project didn’t pass design review in 2001.

    Nor did it pass “the court of public opinion.” The neighborhood was VERY outspoken about the possibility of cottage development in a McMansion area and the increased traffic, rights of way, etc.

    Like most people (I’d assume), I’d like to see the site preserved, cared for. Honestly, I’d be all for a B&B or reception hall on the site. Villa Heidelberg pulls it off with next to no parking in an even denser neighborhood, and Hainsworth House did for years as well.

    But I’m also a realist. Connor owns the property; he’s tried to sell but nobody’s buying. And he’s a developer. I’m sure he’s done nothing but lose money on that property for nine years. Build and build big is the only thing that will turn a profit, I’d imagine. So unless Daddy Warbucks materializes out of thin air and rescues the ol’ girl’s property en masse, one of these days Connor’s going to find a way to build something on that lawn, and it ain’t going to please a lot of people.

  • AM December 22, 2009 (9:46 am)

    well all laws and political arguments aside, it makes me so happy that the house will remain at least for now, as is. I love seeing that beautiful property and that amazing lawn…. Thank you king county/city of seattle :)

  • Herman December 22, 2009 (9:59 am)

    The previous owner voluntarily placed the house into landmark status. It was voluntarily restricted before Connor bought it. (Some say he did it to block a neighbor’s attempt to modify the shared driveway, but I have not verified this).
    Connor assumed that he could steamroll the Landmarks board, and make a LOT of money. He subdivided the lot himself on anticipation of his victory. Meanwhile, he was trying to sell the main home for a wild price, and in my opinion he was not up front with prospective buyers about his plans for the front of the lot. (I was a prospective buyer – his price was insane given the condition)
    When the landmarks board rejected his plans and suggested modifications, the matter turned to one of ego. I attended one of the landmarks review meetings – the board was quite reasonable, but Connor’s cadre of lawyers and builders was appalled that the board would not rubber stamp their plans. Connor took this as far as he could.
    He has kept the house on the market, tragically overpriced, to claim damages in that he made an effort to sell it but was thwarted.
    This is a victory for the people of Seattle, over developers and big money influence.
    If he’s smart, he’ll reduce the price now to what it’s worth and be done with this; maybe the Historic Seattle org would buy it. But if he’s still driven by ego, he’ll probably bitterly hold on to it until the house literally collapses.
    By the way, this is the same guy who owns the property at the SE corner of the WS Junction, the Rocksport etc. You can expect that his focus will be on cash extraction, with no consideration to character or quality of the neighborhood.

    • WSB December 22, 2009 (10:33 am)

      Correction to Hermie.
      William Conner, who owns the Satterlee House, founded Conner Homes, which owns the Junction property in question.
      However, he is retired and the company is now run by his son Charlie Conner.
      Lots of great background in some of these comments but I also highly recommend anyone interested to read the links we have provided inline. While we weren’t in operation during the original “cottage” proposal, I have been covering this whole chapter closely, including multiple days spent sitting in hearings and court proceedings, over the course of events that have led to this point.
      I will write a separate followup later when I have official city reaction as well but in the short run, I have heard back from Conner’s lawyer Rich Hill, who says they have not decided yet whether to take this to the next level, which would be to request a “discretionary review” from the state Supreme Court.

  • Mark December 22, 2009 (10:18 am)

    The current owner bought the property knowing fully what restrictions were in place. Period. End of story.

    People who put 1000-word posts doesn’t make you right or logical, it just means you can type. (Good for you).

    For the people who trash Seattle: Boo hoo. They’re called laws and we live in a democracy. If you really want to live out the fantasy of a liberatarian society with no taxes, no government interference and a free market, there’s a place for you. It’s called Somalia. I hear things are working out great there.

  • Mike Satterlee December 22, 2009 (10:19 am)

    Didn’t know there was a Satterlee House in W Seattle. I’m told there’s a castle and town in Norway that the Satterlee’s lost after backing the wrong side in the War of the Roses. I’ve also visited the Satterlee chapel in England in or near Devonshire after meeting w/Vicor Satterlee. I will have to do a drive by & check this one out. I’m not for gov’t takings or abuse of eminent domain – this particular case seems however to be neither of those things. No sympathy here.

  • AnotherIdiotInWS December 22, 2009 (10:42 am)

    Soooo… I am not sure if Harpie is an authority, but if so, then I’m starting to think most of the crying came from Conner’s neighbors some time ago. Nice of them to make sure someone else’s house is maintained the way THEY want it. I understand people can’t be left to make their own decisions – else we would have drained and filled in those polluted lakes long ago so we can build more roads and get to work on time. That’s why we have courts – to make those decisions for us. And JanS… I love how your opinion sounds like fact – how do you know if the owner is “obstinate”?

  • dawsonct December 22, 2009 (12:18 pm)

    I don’t remember the whole Sick’s Stadium controversy, Uncle Philthy, but Eagle was a local hardware store started by David Heerensperger after he was forced out as the CEO of Pay ‘n’ Pak. He reportedly was fairly bitter the way his “retirement” was handled and swore to destroy Pay ‘n’ Pak, which he did within a few years of starting Eagle.

    If you think you “own” your land, go ahead and try to not pay your rent, I mean lease, errr, taxes some time. I doubt you maintain possession of it for long.
    The land in this country is owned collectively, by “we, the people.” Any time we “own” land in America, we do so accepting that we must use it within the parameters of public trust. I am certain if I bought land next to ANY property rights activist and started operating a rendering plant, stacking carcasses and boiling their bones in a quite vile and stinky process, they would suddenly become strong advocates for governmental intrusion.

  • Herman December 22, 2009 (3:19 pm)

    AnotherIdiotInWS, are you deliberately failing to understand this basic situation?
    The property owner, the owner of the house prior to Conner, voluntarily and of his own free will assigned eternal protection of certain historic aspects of the house to the Landmarks Board. His motivations are unclear. He may have received reciprocal compensation for it (e.g. there can be tax advantages for putting your home into landmark status). He may have wanted the history of his home to endure. His neighbors and the city didn’t force him to do it.
    The Board is carrying out its charter to enforce this protection.
    Conner bought the home knowing that this protection was in effect. He just doesn’t like how it’s being enforced; he’d rather it was more or less ignored. When his preferred plans were rejected, he refused to consider the Landmark’s suggestions and pushed ahead with litigation (that you are paying for).
    It’s similar to buying a property that has a covenant attached to it by a prior owner. For example, many properties in WS have convenants that forbid the owner from obstructing the view of a nearby property.
    These protections are not imposed by the state, they are imposed by citizen owners, and enforced by the state under contract law.

  • JanS December 22, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    Anotheridiot. It is my opinion…we all have them..most are worth nothing…if you take it as fact, I can’t help that..truly, it’s purely opinion…the way it sounds to me. No one has to agree. Actually, people don’t agree with my opinion a lot of the time :)

  • fluorescent carl December 22, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    Let’s see if we can use that big front lawn for a day of dueling with pistols between the lefty’s and righty’s… so much love in are small town.

  • AnotherIdiotInWS December 22, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    Ok, I think I get it now… I was a bit confused.

  • Justice Holmes December 22, 2009 (4:47 pm)

    “The land in this country is owned collectively, by “we, the people.” Any time we “own” land in America, we do so accepting that we must use it within the parameters of public trust.”

    Do you even know what the “Public Trust Doctrine” “is” dawsonct?

    “The ancient laws of the Roman Emperor Justinian held that the seashore that were not appropriated for private use were open to all. This principle became the law in England as well. In the Magna Carta in England centuries later public rights were further strengthened at the insistence of the nobles that fishing weirs which obstructed free navigation be removed from rivers…”

    Still Fishing for Tuition, dawsonct, like Mark’s comment? For the people who trash Seattle: Boo hoo. They’re called laws and we live in a democracy.

    They are laws and we live in a Republic, of course attending that WEA facility is also obvious by many posters here.

    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and
    the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”
    Justice Joseph Story
    (1779-1845) US Supreme Court Justice

  • Justice Holmes December 22, 2009 (5:11 pm)

    For the people who who trashed Seattle? Boo; Hoo?

    The Battle of Seattle was a January 26, 1856 attack by Native Americans upon Seattle, Washington.[1] At the time, Seattle was a settlement in the Washington Territory that had recently named itself after Chief Seattle (Sealth), a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish peoples of central Puget Sound.

    Trashing Seattle since 1856! The Chief, who’s picture was taken in 1865, the same year Lincoln, shoved that Republic, up your democracy!

  • grr December 22, 2009 (5:13 pm)

    the other issue that nobody seems to talk about it that the Painted Lady is in a pretty sad state of disrepair (especially its foundation), and need a LOT of money to be fixed. I took a tour when it first went up for sale.

    Thought there was a rumor that the ‘This Old House’ people or someone like that was interested in it, but the repair estimates were just too high.

    This reminds me a ‘little’ of that god awful Denny’s in Ballard. If the ‘historic preservation’ people want it so badly, they should pay to fix it.

    and, yes…Connor had multiple opportunities to come up with an alternate development (small B&B Cabins maybe?) that the board might have approved..but, then again..same situation..cost too much to build, and not enough profit to do it.

  • Been here a long time December 22, 2009 (5:52 pm)

    Justice Holmes,
    How in the world does that above statement tie in to the fact that the specific plans that were presented didn’t meet the review?
    They can revise the plans and try again. Nothing in the ruling in this story says they can’t.
    Please… What does the above statement even mean???

  • dawsonct December 23, 2009 (12:02 am)

    I could also cut-and-paste from Wiki as well JHolmes, if that were the only way for me to make a point.
    Certainly their bare-bones definition of “public trust doctrine” is correct, but I am using it in the more evolved, modern context.

    Ran out of room for footnotes, acknowledgments, I guess?

    Again, I am looking forward to opening my explosives factory next door to you, as soon as I can figure out where you live. Maybe a bio-hazard incinerator. I promise not to physically intrude on “your” property.

  • Justice Holmes December 23, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    2 more houses, in a residential neighborhood, isn’t a explosives factory or bio hazard incinerator dawsonct lost in the fog!

    Coming down to the case before us, I think, as I intimated in Adkins v. Children’s Hospital, 261 U.S. 525, 569, that the notion that a business is clothed with a public interest and has been devoted to the public use is little more than a fiction intended to beautify what is disagreeable to the sufferers. The truth seems to me to be that, subject to compensation when compensation is due, the legislature may forbid or restrict any business when it has a sufficient force of public opinion behind it. Lotteries were thought useful adjuncts of the State a century or so ago; now they are believed to be immoral, and they have been stopped. Wine has been thought good for man from the time of the Apostles until recent years. But when public opinion changed, it did not need the Eighteenth Amendment, notwithstanding the Fourteenth, to enable a State to say that the business should end. Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623. What has happened to lotteries and wine might happen to theatres in some moral storm of the future, not because theatres were devoted to a public use, but because people had come to think that way.

    And the modern Public Trust Doctrine, in Washington State is the same as the Roman Model, it relates to Navagation, and Water; NOT ANTGHING ELSE!

    SEA Program Home > Shoreline Management Home > The Public Trust Doctrine

    The Public Trust Doctrine
    The Public Trust Doctrine is a legal principle derived from English Common Law. The essence of the doctrine is that the waters of the state are a public resource owned by and available to all citizens equally for the purposes of navigation, conducting commerce, fishing, recreation and similar uses and that this trust is not invalidated by private ownership of the underlying land. The doctrine limits public and private use of tidelands and other shorelands to protect the public’s right to use the waters of the state. (Visit the MSRC Web site and search for the State Supreme Court case Caminiti v. Boyle, 107 Wn. 2d 662, 732 P.2d 989)

    The Public Trust Doctrine does not allow the public to trespass over privately owned uplands to access the tidelands. It does, however, protect public use of navigable water bodies below the ordinary high water mark.

    Protection of the trust is a duty of the State, and the Shoreline Management Act is one of the primary means by which that duty is carried out. The doctrine requires a careful evaluation of the public interest served by any action proposed. This requirement is fulfilled in major part by the planning and permitting requirements of the Shoreline Management Act. (Court case: MSRC Web site and search for Portage Bay v. Shorelines Hearings Bd., 92 Wn.2d 1, 593 P.2d 151)

    Local governments should consider public trust doctrine concepts when developing comprehensive plans, development regulations and shoreline master programs. There are few “bright lines,” however, as the Public Trust Doctrine is common law, not statutory law. The extent of its applicability can only be determined by state court decisions. The document below is a good introduction to the case law in Washington State.

    The Public Trust Doctrine and Coastal Zone Management in Washington State, Johnson, Ralph W., Craighton Goepple, David Jansen and Rachel Pascal, 1991.

    Where do you people go to school atdawsonct?

  • Justice Holmes December 23, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    You should move to Washington State, and learn about the Roman Emperor Justinian’s Public Trust Doctrine.

    It truly dosent confuse anyone living in Washington State!

    684 VVEDEN v. SAN JUAN COUNTY July 1998
    135 Wn.2d 678

    JOHNSON, J. – In January 1996, San Juan County passed an ordinance that banned the use of motorized personal watercraft, subject to certain limited exceptions, on all marine waters and one lake in that county. We are asked to determine whether that ordinance is unconstitutional or violative of the public trust doctrine. We conclude that it is neither and, consequently, reverse the Whatcom County Superior Court’s judgment that the ordinance is void and of no force and effect and remand for entry of an order granting San Juan County’s motion for summary judgment.


    The Board of Commissioners of San Juan County (Board) held public meetings on September 18 and 19, 1995, for the purpose of discussing what some citizens had identified as a growing problem with the use of motorized personal watercraft (PWC) in San Juan County waters.«1» Following those meetings, the Board conducted a workshop with the San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney “regarding drafting of proposed regulations regarding the use of Personal Watercraft in San Juan County . . . .” Ex. 249, at 2 (Ordinance No. 3-1996). On January 23, 1996, the Board conducted a public meeting on a proposed ordinance that was developed at the workshop. One week later, the Board adopted Ordinance No. 3-1996 (the Ordinance). The Ordinance prohibits the operation of PWC on all marine waters of San Juan County, except:…

    And I suppose Justice Johnson, is on the Alabama Supreme Court too?

  • AnotherIdiotInWS December 23, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    Justice Holmes and Dawsonct should go to dinner and talk it out. If you do – I want to be there. It will be entertaining.

    • WSB December 23, 2009 (1:34 pm)

      “Commenter Conversations.” We can roll video and post episodes. :) We do appreciate thoughtful discussions of issues. But Ms./Mr. Holmes, please do include links for any future cut/paste or else we will have to disallow them – we have a policy against posting copyrighted material and need to know that this is not copyrighted – thanks – TR

  • Been here a long time December 23, 2009 (2:40 pm)

    Justice holmes,
    Please expand on the comment about the settler/ Native American skirmishes, Chief Sealth, and what that has to do with revising some building plans?
    As far as quoting
    “The ancient laws of the Roman Emperor Justinian” and British law from the 1800s and saying “It doesn’t confuse anyone living in Washington”
    I’m sorry to say…. Yes it does.
    Thank you

  • dawsonct December 24, 2009 (12:44 am)

    –2 more houses, in a residential neighborhood,
    –isn’t a explosives factory or bio hazard
    –incinerator dawsonct lost in the fog!

    –Where do you people go to school atdawsonct?

    After writing those two barely comprehensible sentences I find it hard to believe you have the nerve to ask me about my education.

  • mar3c December 24, 2009 (7:11 am)

    justice holmes: why do you confuse nobles from england and ancient rome with us publicly-educated left wing socialists? i think it’s intentional, and it’s wrong.
    to use your case laws and other legal texts in a direct analogy, conner is the noble in this case who is trying to have the public fishing weirs removed to benefit himself.
    but i’m sure that some rich person will gladly give you a lucrative job in exchange for your loyalty to them. after all, the landed gentry are the minority, and when they can’t buy the local shire-reeve, the only move they have is to buy the serfs’ loyalties and try to turn them against each other.
    i’m sorry to disappoint you, but this is a socialist country, and it always has been. it was founded, by design, to end feudalism.

  • dawsonct December 24, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Why are you wasting your time in America, JH? Your Hobbesian paradise awaits in Somalia.

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