August 5, 2013

RIDGE withdraws Suncadia appeal

RIDGE will make no further attempt to protect contract with Suncadia

RIDGE, the Roslyn-based community group, today withdrew its appeal before the Washington Court of Appeals, Division III. This ends RIDGE's efforts to protect the 2001 Settlement Agreement with Suncadia Resort. On July 15, 2013 Kittitas County Judge Scott R. Sparks declared that his earlier decision had terminated the twelve year old Settlement Agreement and "all remaining claims in this action."

What is lost:
The human and natural communities of upper Kittitas County have lost an innovative contractual agreement that was the product of more than twenty years of community effort. This contract mitigated impacts of the Suncadia Master Planned Resort and defined a process for community-developer negotiations for the future.

These conditions are no longer secured by any contract or regulation:

  • A defined "footprint" for Suncadia's development詳 footprint and related conservation easements protected hundreds of acres of open space within Suncadia.
  • Limits on motorized vehicle access points in and out of Suncadia.
  • Free and public access to trails within Suncadia.
  • Health insurance for resort workers and prevailing wage for construction workers.
  • Constraints on water rights sales that would limit development outside the resort boundaries, on the Roslyn Ridge
  • reduction in vesting rights for the MPR from 30 to 20 years (was to expire in 2019, will now extend to 2029)
  • reduction in vesting rights for the Cle Elum UGA from 30 to 15 years (was to expire in 2014, will now extend to 2029)

What has been gained:
During the decades of volunteer work securing and implementing the Agreement, many community members learned what can and cannot be monetized or made binding by contract.

We have also learned the power and pain of loving and staying connected with this place, our home.

These conditions are secured:

  • The City of Roslyn's 320 acre Roslyn Urban Forest, created and granted to the City by the Agreement, will remain. These lands extend up the ridge and around the City's historic cemetery and other cultural assets.
  • Senior water rights transferred to the City of Roslyn under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
  • Restoration of fish runs on Big Creek, a Yakima River tributary.

"We believe we would prevail in our appeal, reinstating our contract. But Suncadia's implacable opposition to any cooperation, negotiation or agreement with our community and/or RIDGE would have inevitably driven future negotiations back to the courts. RIDGE has always sought real and function mitigation, not legal battles," stated President Doug Kilgore.

RIDGE is a twenty-one year old grass-roots, all-volunteer citizens' group based in Roslyn, Washington. We are dedicated to a diverse and sustainable forest ecosystem and diverse and sustainable economy in our region.

We work with many partners, in many arenas, as we pursue this goal.

Please browse our website or get in touch for more details about what we have done, what we are doing, and how you can join us in our work.