Washington Law Review


Appellant, a fraternal lodge owning a parcel of real estate including tidelands on Shilshole Bay in Seattle, Washington, applied to the City for a substantial development permit pursuant to requirements of the Washington Shoreline Management Act (SMA). The initial application proposed an over-the-water lodge building, constructed entirely on filled tideland, exceeding the SMA's 35-foot height restriction. A second, modified application reduced the building's height, provided an easement for public access to the water's edge, and proposed construction of the lodge building over the water on pilings rather than on filled tidelands. The area selected for construction was one of relatively heavy commercial and high-density residential development. The City, acting on the later application, granted a conditional permit that substantially altered the lodge's plan. Pursuant to the appeal provisions of the SMA, the lodge thereupon sought review by the Shorelines Hearings Board (Board). The review was duly certified, with the State Department of Ecology, (DOE) and the Attorney General intervening in support of the conditional permit. After receiving evidence, hearing arguments of counsel, and viewing the premises, the Board issued an order directing the City of Seattle to grant a permit less restrictive than the City's conditional permit. The DOE and the Attorney General sought superior court review of this decision. Upon review of the Shorelines Hearings Board record, the superior court reversed the Board's decision and reinstated the City's conditional permit on the ground that the Board's findings were "clearly erroneous in view of the entire record . . . and the public policy contained in the Shoreline Management Act. . . ." On appeal, the state supreme court reversed and reinstated the findings, conclusions, and order of the Shorelines Hearings Board. Held: Under the unique circumstances of the case, the Board's decision was not "clearly erroneous." Department of Ecology v. Ballard Elks Lodge No. 827, 84 Wn. 2d 551, 527 P.2d 1121 (1974).

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