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Deer Creek Developers, LLC v. Spokane County

Court of Appeals of Washington
236 P.3d 906 (2010)


Deer Creek Developers, LLC (Deer Creek) (plaintiff) planned to construct 280 residential units in 23 buildings to be built in two phases in Spokane, Washington. Deer Creek obtained a building permit for Phase I of the project, but only submitted a site-plan application for Phase II of the project, without applying for a building permit for Phase II. Subsequently, the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County (defendant) amended the zoning code to prohibit any single family, duplex, or multifamily residential uses of the land where the units were to be built. As a result of the amendment, Deer Creek was denied a conditional-use permit for Phase II at a public hearing. Deer Creek appealed to the superior court, which affirmed the decision of the hearing examiner. Deer Creek then appealed to the Court of Appeals of Washington, arguing that the hearing examiner had erroneously concluded that Deer Creek’s development rights in Phase II of the project had not vested. Deer Creek argued that, under the vested-rights doctrine, Deer Creek had a vested right to have its use-permit applications evaluated under the ordinances that were in effect on the date of its site-plan application.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kulik, C.J.)

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