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Anderson v. Island County

Supreme Court of Washington
501 P.2d 594 (1972)


On March 11, 1966, Island Sand and Gravel, Inc. (Island Sand and Gravel) purchased a 17-acre tract of land in the Holmes Harbor area of Island County (County) (defendant). On December 5, 1966, the Board of County Commissioners for Island County (Board) zoned the Holmes Harbor area as residential. Around this time, Island Sand and Gravel began building a cement batching plant on its property. On September 22, 1969, Island Sand and Gravel petitioned to have its land rezoned to commercial. The Island County Planning Commission denied the request. On appeal, the Board rezoned Island Sand and Gravel's land to commercial, leaving a ten foot wide green belt of land between its batching plant and its neighbors. The Andersons are residents of Holmes Harbor and neighboring property owners. They brought suit in the superior court to review the Board’s decision to rezone Island Sand and Gravel’s property. They specifically argued that: (1) the Board’s decision to rezone was arbitrary and capricious, and (2) the rezoning constituted spot zoning. The trial court reviewed the findings of the Board and noted that: (1) when the Board rezoned the Holmes Harbor area as residential, it had intended to allow pre-existing nonconforming uses to continue; (2) the poor soil quality of Island Sand and Gravel’s land made it unsuitable for residential development; (3) the services of Island Sand and Gravel were necessary to the island; (4) Island Sand and Gravel was one of the few areas of employment in the vicinity; and (5) the operation of a batching plant would be compatible with the surrounding area because of the green belt separating the plant from the neighboring residences. Based on these findings, the trial court found that the Board’s finding was not arbitrary and capricious, and therefore sustained the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Finley, J.)

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