GRANT CTY. FIRE PROT. DIST. v. City of Moses Lake, No. 70090-7

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtBRIDGE, J.
Citation83 P.3d 419,150 Wash.2d 791
Decision Date29 January 2004
Docket Number No. 70499-6, No. 73589-1., No. 70090-7
PartiesGRANT COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO. 5, a municipal corporation; Wyatt D. Hanks and Annette Hanks, husband and wife, Appellants, v. CITY OF MOSES LAKE, a municipal corporation, Respondent. Busby International, Inc., a Washington corporation; D & L Foundry And Supply, Inc., a Washington corporation; Hanson Processing LLC, a Washington limited liability company; Eka Chemicals, Inc., a Delaware corporation; Pacific Northwest Sugar, L.P., a Washington limited partnership; Inland Terminals, Inc., a Washington corporation, Agri Beef Co., an Idaho corporation, Defendants. Yakima County Fire Protection District No. 12, a municipal corporation; Lyle E. Gapen and Max Seal, Appellants, v. City of Yakima, a municipal corporation, Respondent. City of Snoqualmie, a municipal corporation; and Gateway Cascades, Inc., a California corporation, Appellants, v. Washington State Boundary Review Board for King County, a Washington agency, Respondents.

83 P.3d 419
150 Wash.2d 791

GRANT COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO. 5, a municipal corporation; Wyatt D. Hanks and Annette Hanks, husband and wife, Appellants,
v.
CITY OF MOSES LAKE, a municipal corporation, Respondent.
Busby International, Inc., a Washington corporation; D & L Foundry And Supply, Inc., a Washington corporation; Hanson Processing LLC, a Washington limited liability company; Eka Chemicals, Inc., a Delaware corporation; Pacific Northwest Sugar, L.P., a Washington limited partnership; Inland Terminals, Inc., a Washington corporation, Agri Beef Co., an Idaho corporation, Defendants.
Yakima County Fire Protection District No. 12, a municipal corporation; Lyle E. Gapen and Max Seal, Appellants,
v.
City of Yakima, a municipal corporation, Respondent.
City of Snoqualmie, a municipal corporation; and Gateway Cascades, Inc., a California corporation, Appellants,
v.
Washington State Boundary Review Board for King County, a Washington agency, Respondents

Nos. 70090-7, 70499-6, 73589-1.

Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.

Argued March 25, 2003.

Decided January 29, 2004.


83 P.3d 421
Snure Law Offices, Clark Snure, Brian Snure, Des Moines, Patrick B. Anderson, Snoqualmie, Richard M. Peterson, Brian D. Todd, Hillis Clark martin &Peterson, P.S., Seattle, for Appellants

Hugh Spitzer, P. Stephen DiJulio, Ramsey E. Ramerman, Seattle, James A. Whitaker, Ephrata, Robert C. Kaufman, Bellevue, for Respondents.

Thomas Kelly, Elizabeth Thomas, Matthew J. Segal, Seattle, Roger D. Wynne, Seattle City Attorneys Office, Lawrence A. Peterson, Yakima County Deputy Prosecutor, Raymond L. Paolella, Yakima, Narda Pierce, Solicitor General-AG's Office, for other Parties.

Greg A. Rubstello, Joseph Z. Lell, Seattle, William B. Collins, Cameron G. Comfort, Asst. Attorneys General, Daniel Brian Heid, Auburn, Kristopher I. Tefft, Philip A. Talmadge, Tukwila, Amicus Curiae.

83 P.3d 420
BRIDGE, J

In Grant County Fire Protection District No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake, 145 Wash.2d 702, 42 P.3d 394 (2002) (Grant County I), this court held that the petition method of annexation affords an impermissible privilege to owners of highly valued land, and therefore violates article I, section 12 of the Washington State Constitution. Motions for reconsideration were filed by the cities of Moses Lake and Yakima. After review, we granted the motions and ordered a rehearing. For the rehearing, we consolidated City of Snoqualmie v. Washington State Boundary Review Board, No. 73589-1, with the two original cases. We now conclude that the petition method utilized by the cities of Moses Lake and Yakima is not unconstitutional and that the petition method of annexation employed by the city of Snoqualmie is constitutional.

I

These consolidated cases present challenges under article I, section 12 of the Washington State Constitution to the petition method for property annexation.1 The primary distinction between the city of Moses Lake's case and the city of Yakima's case is the statute involved. Moses Lake is a "code city" that chose to be incorporated under chapter 35A.14 RCW, whereas Yakima is a "noncode city" operating under chapter 35.13 RCW.

City of Moses Lake Annexation2

Because Moses Lake is a code city, chapter 35A.14 RCW requires two steps for the petition method of annexation. First, the owners of at least 10 percent of the assessed value of the property in the proposed area of annexation must sign a notice of intent to petition. If the city council accepts the notice, owners of at least 60 percent of the assessed value must sign a petition in order for the annexation to proceed. The municipality has final control over whether annexation is granted.

On May 11, 1999, the city manager, acting as attorney in fact for at least 10 percent of the Wheeler Corridor property owners, filed a notice of intent to petition the city council for annexation pursuant to chapter 35A.14 RCW. The city council accepted the notice, and on June 8 the council directed the city manager, as attorney in fact for 60 percent of the Wheeler Corridor property owners, to sign an annexation petition. Some property owners protested this annexation; however, the city council approved the petition for annexation and published the ordinance in April of 2000.

83 P.3d 422
Several property owners and the Grant County Fire Protection District No. 5 filed an application for writ of review and a complaint for declaratory judgment contesting the constitutionality of the petition method of annexation. The Grant County Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of Moses Lake, ruling that the petition method of annexation is constitutional. Plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. Plaintiffs timely appealed to Division Three of the Court of Appeals, and the appeal was transferred to this court

City of Yakima Annexation

Because Yakima is a noncode city, annexation is governed by chapter 35.13 RCW, which parallels the procedure for code cities, but with some differences. Specifically, the initial notice of intent to petition under chapter 35.13 RCW may be signed either by the owners of at least 10 percent of the assessed value of the proposed annexation area or by at least 10 percent of the property owners. The property owners must also file a notice of intent to annex with the Washington State Boundary Review Board (BRB) which then approves, disapproves, or modifies the proposed annexation. If the city council accepts the notice of intent, owners of at least 75 percent of the assessed value must sign a petition conforming to the requirements of the BRB before annexation may proceed. The ultimate determination to annex lies with the municipality.

Yakima initiated annexation proceedings in June of 1999. The BRB modified the proposed annexation, and despite opposition from the Yakima County Fire Protection District No. 12 (YCFPD12) and a property owner, the city adopted an ordinance annexing the area as modified by the BRB.

Several property owners and the YCFPD12 filed suit seeking a declaration that the petition method of annexation is unconstitutional. The Yakima County Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of the city of Yakima, finding that the petition method was constitutional. The plaintiffs filed a timely notice of appeal.3

This court heard oral argument in these consolidated cases on March 20, 2001. The majority opinion, which was filed on March 14, 2002, held, in pertinent part, that Washington State's privileges and immunities clause should be analyzed separately from the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution. Using that independent analysis, we concluded that while the petition method did not violate the equal protection clause, the petition method did violate article I, section 12 of the Washington State Constitution because it granted an impermissible privilege to owners of highly valued land. The cities of Moses Lake and Yakima filed motions for reconsideration asking this court to clarify and reconsider several issues in light of the potentially unsettling implications of the opinion. This court granted the motions for reconsideration and ordered a rehearing on October 11, 2002.

City of Snoqualmie Annexation

On February 23, 2003, we granted a request to consolidate City of Snoqualmie v. Washington State Boundary Review Board, No. 73589-1, with the two cases at hand. The main issue in City of Snoqualmie is whether Grant County I declared the petition method facially unconstitutional or unconstitutional as applied.4

The city of Snoqualmie, like the city of Moses Lake, is a noncharter code city, and is therefore governed by Title 35A RCW. In dispute is the annexation of 40.3 acres of undeveloped land. This property is owned by Gateway Cascades, Inc. (Gateway), and is located in unincorporated King County within the Snoqualmie Falls planning area as defined by the 1994 Snoqualmie Vicinity Comprehensive Plan and within the city's urban growth area. There are no other owners of lesser-valued property within the area proposed for annexation by Gateway. Further, there are no voters or persons residing within the area proposed for annexation.

83 P.3d 423
On April 23, 2001, the city of Snoqualmie and Gateway entered into an annexation process agreement by which the city of Snoqualmie accepted Gateway's notice and authorized the filing of an annexation petition. On January 22, 2002, Gateway submitted its annexation petition to the city of Snoqualmie, which was certified by the King County assessor as required by RCW 35A.01.040. RCW 36.93.090 requires the city of Snoqualmie to file a notice of intention to annex with the BRB before annexing the property. On May 20, 2002, the BRB wrote a letter to the city of Snoqualmie stating that the BRB lacked authority to accept and process a notice of intention to annex in light of this court's decision in Grant County I. The city of Snoqualmie requested the BRB to reconsider its decision, but it declined.

Because of the BRB's refusal to commence the annexation process, the city of Snoqualmie and Gateway filed suit and moved for summary judgment, seeking an order declaring that the petition method of annexation is not facially unconstitutional under Grant County I. In an order dated February 17, 2003, Judge Michael J. Trickey, also citing Grant County I, denied the summary judgment motion and found for the BRB. The city of Snoqualmie and Gateway, jointly with the BRB, petitioned this court for direct review and to decide the matter concurrently with its reconsideration of Grant County I.5 We granted the petition and consolidated City of Snoqualmie with this reconsideration of Grant County I.

II

Standing

In Grant County I, this court held that the property owners as well as the fire districts had personal standing to bring these challenges. On reconsideration, we conclude that the fire districts have neither personal nor representational standing.

To...

To continue reading

Request your trial
123 practice notes
  • City of Longview, Mun. Corp. v. Mike Wallin, an Individual, Bancams.Com, an Unknown Entity, Wa Campaign for Liberty, Non-Profit Corp., No. 43385–1–II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 30, 2013
    ...192 P.3d 306 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (quoting Grant County Fire Prot. Dist. No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake, 150 Wash.2d 791, 802, 83 P.3d 419 (2004)). “Where a controversy is of serious public importance the requirements for standing are applied more liberally.” City o......
  • Woods v. Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, No. 96132-8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 4, 2021
    ...independent of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id . at 776, 317 P.3d 1009 (citing Grant County Fire Prot. Dist. No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake , 150 Wash.2d 791, 83 P.3d 419 (2004) ). ¶ 18 We apply a two-pronged test to determine the constitutionality of the religious employer exemption under our ar......
  • Andersen v. King County, No. 75934-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 26, 2006
    ...whether DOMA violates the privileges and immunities clause. Relying on Grant County Fire Protection District v. City of Moses Lake, 150 Wash.2d 791, 83 P.3d 419 (2004) (Grant County II), the State argues that the only cases where the privileges and immunities clause provides broader protect......
  • State v. Brelvis Consulting LLC, No. 50235-6-II
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • November 20, 2018
    ...to all citizens, or corporations. WASH. CONST. art. I § 12. In Grant County Fire Protection District No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake , 150 Wash.2d 791, 807-08, 83 P.3d 419 (2004), our Supreme Court described the background of the clause: Article I, section 12 of the Washington State Constitutio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
123 cases
  • City of Longview, Mun. Corp. v. Mike Wallin, an Individual, Bancams.Com, an Unknown Entity, Wa Campaign for Liberty, Non-Profit Corp., No. 43385–1–II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 30, 2013
    ...192 P.3d 306 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (quoting Grant County Fire Prot. Dist. No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake, 150 Wash.2d 791, 802, 83 P.3d 419 (2004)). “Where a controversy is of serious public importance the requirements for standing are applied more liberally.” City o......
  • Woods v. Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, No. 96132-8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 4, 2021
    ...independent of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id . at 776, 317 P.3d 1009 (citing Grant County Fire Prot. Dist. No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake , 150 Wash.2d 791, 83 P.3d 419 (2004) ). ¶ 18 We apply a two-pronged test to determine the constitutionality of the religious employer exemption under our ar......
  • Andersen v. King County, No. 75934-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 26, 2006
    ...whether DOMA violates the privileges and immunities clause. Relying on Grant County Fire Protection District v. City of Moses Lake, 150 Wash.2d 791, 83 P.3d 419 (2004) (Grant County II), the State argues that the only cases where the privileges and immunities clause provides broader protect......
  • State v. Brelvis Consulting LLC, No. 50235-6-II
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • November 20, 2018
    ...to all citizens, or corporations. WASH. CONST. art. I § 12. In Grant County Fire Protection District No. 5 v. City of Moses Lake , 150 Wash.2d 791, 807-08, 83 P.3d 419 (2004), our Supreme Court described the background of the clause: Article I, section 12 of the Washington State Constitutio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT