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North Shore Golf Course will remain a golf course
It looks like the North Shore Golf Course will remain just that — a golf course.
The Washington Court of Appeals issued a ruling earlier this week because the developer of the proposed 860-home Point at Northshore filed land-use paperwork two days late, according to documents.
The ruling is a huge victory for the city of Tacoma and a citizens group, Save NE Tacoma, who have been fighting the development on the 116-acre golf course since 2007.
Developers were looking to build 366 homes and 494 townhouses, but now have 30 days to decide whether to ask the state Supreme Court to review the decision.
The crux of the ruling by the Court of Appeals centers on the date of April 13, 2010. That's when the Tacoma City Council voted unanimously to deny the rezoning of the property that would have allowed the developers to move forward.
Following the council vote, the developers of the Point at Northshore had 21 days to alert Tacoma that they planned to appeal the decision. The developer did so on May 6, 2010, two days after the deadline.
The Point at Northshore developers had argued that the Tacoma City Council's decision wasn't official until it was put into writing on April 15, 2010, meaning they did meet the deadline. The court of appeals disagreed.
"We hold that the 21-day period began to run on the date of the council's oral vote because this vote...was the final decision and was entered into the public record in several formats," they wrote.
Everything began back in 1981, when the North Shore Golf Course was rezoned as part of a 341-acre planned residential district, when the North Shore Country Club Estates development was approved for construction, then built around the fairways of the then-private course.
Fast forward to 2006, when the golf course's owners, Northshore Investors LLC, agreed to sell the property to developers, who then claimed that the 1981 rezone should be thrown out because the owners couldn't continue to operate the golf course.
But, in 2010, Pierce County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford ruled against several aspects of the development. He denied the preliminary plat and site plan and recommended the denial of an application for a rezone modification, which was needed to construct over the golf course.
In making his decision, Dufford considered documents, agreed upon by North Shore Golf Associates and the City of Tacoma, which dictates the course is to perpetually serve as open space in connection with the surrounding the Northshore Country Club Estates, homes which currently line fairways.
Developers suffered another setback in July 2011, when Judge Katherine Stolz affirmed the City of Tacoma's decision denying the permits for the Point at Northshore after an appeal.
From the beginning, Tacoma and Federal Way had concerns about the development. The parties worried about impacts to traffic, schools, open space and the environment.
A 2007 Transportation Concurrency Analysis identified 23 Federal Way Transportation Improvement Plan projects that would have been affected by The Point at Northshore, according to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Study.
On Nov. 20, 2007, Federal Way staff submitted a five-page letter to Tacoma detailing the environmental impacts it foresaw from the proposed development. Storm drainage, neighborhood traffic safety, recreation and open space were Federal Way's concerns, according to the letter.