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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gary Locke Removes Sanctions on Snohomish County

Gov. Gary Locke today lifted sanctions on Snohomish County, which were imposed on Dec. 27 for violations of the state Growth Management Act. Locke’s action capped a successful weeklong effort by the governor, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, and the Snohomish County Council to resolve the issue before state funds were withheld.

“This action demonstrates that the Growth Management Act and the decisions of the Hearings Boards cannot be ignored,” Locke said. “The protection of agricultural lands is a critical statewide interest.”

The removal of sanctions was communicated to State Treasurer Mike Murphy today.

Locke imposed sanctions on Snohomish County on Dec. 27. His action was based on the recommendation of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board (Board), and on the continuing non-compliance with the orders of the Board by Snohomish County. The controversy revolved around the county’s removal of protection of agricultural lands in an area known as Island Crossing, putting these lands at risk of development.

On Jan. 5, 2005, the Snohomish County Council passed Resolution 05-001, which made clear the council’s intentions that the land use designations on the Island Crossing property fall in compliance with the Growth Management Act (GMA). Locke asked the Board to consider whether the resolution complies with the GMA and with the previous orders of the Board. On January 6, the Board issued an order indicating that they believed the county was now in compliance.

“I commend the hard work of Aaron Reardon over the past week to resolve this matter” said Locke. “Aaron’s efforts were critical to the quick response by the council.”

Snohomish County faced the withholding of nearly $9 million in motor vehicle fuel tax revenues had the county not acted before the March 1 deadline.

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