In the words of the Washington Supreme Court, it “has faced numerous challenges to statutory time limits for appealing land use decisions and has repeatedly concluded that the rules must provide certainty, predictability, and finality for land owners and government.” In its most recent pronouncement on this issue in Durland v. San Juan County, an opinion issued on December 11, 2014, the court ruled that a property owner could not challenge the issuance of his neighbor’s garage-addition building permit because the appeal deadline had passed, even though the property owner did not receive any notice that San Juan County issued the permit. Nor was the county obligated under the law to provide notice of this type of permit to neighboring property owners. The court recognized that this rule may seem “harsh” and “unfair,” but noted that it is what the statutory scheme requires. In addition, the property owner was required to file a timely administrative appeal before resorting to the courts, and failed to do that as well.
While the result in this decision does not necessarily plow new ground under statutory law, the court devoted a great amount of its opinion to the property owner’s claim that the county had violated his constitutional rights of due process by approving a permit that affects his property right to be free from impaired views. But after a lengthy analysis, the court concluded that the county code did not create a property right in one who claims that a neighbor’s structure will adversely impact views. Without a property right, there can be no due process violation based on the argument that the property owner did not receive notice of the permit in time to appeal. This opinion is a good primer on due process violations related to property rights.