Last week a King County Superior Court judge annulled the City of Seattle’s Waterfront LID assessments on seven properties, after those property owners appealed the assessments.
The judge found that the city’s process of calculating assessments was fundamentally flawed, and arbitrary and capricious; that the Hearing Examiner misapplied the presumption in favor of assessments when those assessments had been credibly rebutted; and the City Council, in reviewing appeals, failed to perform an appropriate review.
This ruling does not invalidate the thousands of other individual assessments, but it does provide a legal basis for finding that the others are also potentially invalid — though procedurally it may be too late to appeal most of them. Politically, this looks bad for the City, the Hearing Examiner, and the Council, who appear to have rammed through the Local Improvement District without regard to due process. On the other hand, since much of the LID money has already been spent on waterfront improvements, if it is tossed out in its entirety it would further deepen the city’s budget deficit.