Lawyer Liam Michael Golden Takes on GMA for Ferry County

Little over 2 years after I called it quits on GMA, Ferry County Commissioners have found a new (permanent) attorney to handle their GMA cases.  That attorney is Liam Michael Golden, who more recently has been fighting in the criminal realm, see here, here and here.  Michael Golden’s background includes a lot of civil cases, and so I went backed and looked at some of the big growth management battles he was involved in when he was at Lewis County.  Here they are a couple of subjects he battled:

Agricultural Lands

Under the GMA, counties are required to designate and protect agricultural lands, and this usually means by preventing farmers from subdividing their land or otherwise converting the land to non-agricultural uses.  Lewis County took this issue to the State Supreme Court where the judges ruled that the definition of “agricultural land” designated for conservation under the Growth Management Act (GMA) is properly based not only on soil and land characteristics, but also on farm industry’s projected needs.

Urban Growth Areas

The GMA requires cities to establish urban growth areas that limit urban growth to limited areas surrounding a city.  When three Lewis County cities had their urban growth areas expanded, a conservation group sued, and the Growth Board held that the boundaries were too large because the boundaries exceeded the cities’ 20-year population growth forecast.

There are many similariies between Lewis County and Ferry County. Both counties did not traditionally have any zoning regulation prior to the GMA.  In both counties, the GMA has been very controversial and hotly contested.  Here is an excerpt from a Growth Board decision discussing a member of the Lewis County Planning Commission:

 The Planning Commission member reviews the written submission of the Petitioners and states that he believes the Petitioners are “speaking with forked tongue”. Then he begins what he calls “the sarcastic part” of his comments: The goal of the Petitioners, he says, is to stop the capitalist way of life. He goes on to say that they would like to make the county into a park and make themselves park rangers. The Petitioners are said to be promoting the reversion of all lands back to nature and horse-drawn vehicles.

 Sound familiar?

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Photo of Steve Graham Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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