The new County webpage says that the Council hasn't done anything to "restrict the currently approved operations" of Consignment Treasures. Fair enough, but the Council passed an ordinance which changes Consignment Treasures to a non-conforming use. The non-conforming use status does have potential implications for Consignment Treasures. This is what the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington says:
The right to continue a nonconforming use despite a zoning ordinance that prohibits that use in that zone is sometimes referred to as a vested right. Rhod-A-Zalea v. Snohomish County, 136 Wn.2d 1, 6 (1998). Though, this right in the context of a nonconforming use refers only to the right not to have the use immediately terminated in the face of a zoning ordinance that prohibits it. Id."The right not to have the use immediately terminated." That's what it says, and that's not exactly "live long and prosper." As the linked case shows, it may not immediately terminate the use, but it sets it up for termination down the road. Furthermore, no matter how "non-conforming" may be intended by the County, it is frequently interpreted by banks and insurance companies to mean that future operations are in doubt. Just try to get financing for continued or expanded operations when the banks think your future is in doubt.
This is how the County can be both technically correct and deceptive at the same time. In addition, some of the content on the fact checker may not even be technically correct. For instance, it says that "the Council ... has formally encouraged Consignment Treasures to apply to be declared an Essential Public Facility." Penwell, on the other hand, says that he's had no direct word from the Council on this matter. Also, Penwell says that his attorneys had provided wording and suggestions so that the non-conforming designation would not have been necessary. Apparently, no one in the County explored the Penwell alternative proposals.
What does any of this have to do with the CAOs? Plenty. Many of us will face the prospect of non-conforming designations as a result of the CAOs. With that will come multitudes of stories similar to the developing story about Consignment Treasures. Namely, the County will be able to say that they haven't really done anything to us, but we will still be hobbled. That's planning purgatory.
That's the future for many of us under the CAOs.