Washington Law Review


In Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights v. Sims, the Court of Appeals of Washington held that King County clearing and grading regulations—recently enacted pursuant to the Washington State Growth Management Act—constitute an unlawful “tax, fee, or charge” on the development of land, thereby violating a Washington excise tax preemption statute. The court ruled that the clearing limitations do not qualify under the statutory exception for mitigation of development impacts since they are not calculated on a site-by-site basis. This Note argues that the ruling greatly expands the scope of this statutory limitation on local land-use regulation, compromises Growth Management Act policies, and misconstrues prior case law. If upheld, the decision’s approach will significantly constrain municipal authority to protect environmental quality through land-use regulations.

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