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Vancouver Washington Legal Blog

What is a conditional use permit?

The Vancouver municipal zoning code contains many important terms that can be difficult to understand. One of the most important terms is "conditional use permit." Conditional use permits are used to regulate real estate developments that do not fit exactly within the permitted uses allowed in the city zoning code. As the name implies, the City may impose various conditions on a development proposal before an approval is issued.

As stated in the zoning code, a proposed conditional use is reviewed "to determine if such a use is appropriate at the proposed location and, if appropriate, to identify any additional conditions of approval necessary to mitigate potentially adverse impacts." All new conditional use permit applications are classified as a Type III procedure, which means they will be reviewed by a hearings examiner and subject to the approval criteria specified in Chapter 20 of the Zoning Code.

Tailgating driver causes four-car accident, injures seven

The widespread use of cell phones and other mobile devices seems to be the cause of an increasing number of vehicle collisions that are blamed on inattentive drivers. A recent car accident on the I-5 bridge in Vancouver has been tentatively blamed on "driver inattention."

Three vehicles were southbound on I-5 when they encountered a Ford Focus stopped in the left lane. The first two vehicles slowed for the blockage, but the third vehicle crashed into the rear of the second vehicle. That collision forced the first vehicle into the stalled Focus. The police said that the accident was caused by inattention on the part of the vehicle that started the chain reaction, and the driver was charged with following too closely.

Intoxicants blamed for wrong-way driver on I-5

One of the significant hazards posed by drivers who are intoxicated is a wrong-way collision on a divided highway. Given the number of visual clues that are available to tell a driver that they are driving in the wrong direction, the occurrence of wrong-way driving always seems to be prevalent. A recent arrest by the Oregon State Police shows how an allegedly drunk driver can appear to be completely detached from reality.

The State Police received a report of a wrong-way driver on I-5 near Salem at about 10:30 in the evening. The driver in question was driving south on the inside shoulder of the northbound lane. Troopers attempted to stop her with flashing lights and sirens, but the driver ignored them. She continued driving south until troopers were able to stop northbound traffic. One of the officers was able to intentionally collide with the wrong-way vehicle.

The land use review process in Vancouver

Vancouver strictly controls land use within the city limits. The city is divided into various zoning districts, and each has a specific set of regulations that control land use, building height and type of structure. Every proposal to erect, demolish or rehabilitate a structure, develop a parcel of real estate or modify the use of a structure must go through the city's land use review process.

The Zoning Code specifies four types of land use review. Type I review applies to minor permits that require only ministerial review, such as minor variances and site plan reviews. A planning official usually approves or rejects a Type I review without providing public notice or conducting a public hearing.

Business owners: is it better to lease or own office space?

Owning a Washington small business requires many important decisions, including where you should operate your company. Having space for your business operations is crucial, but you may be unsure whether you should rent your space or take steps to purchase it. This is an important decision, and there are many important factors to consider. 

Any major real estate purchase involves a certain amount of financial risk. Washington business owners looking for a commercial space to rent or own would be prudent to consider the long-term implications of either step they take before they move forward. Sometimes, the guidance of a legal professional is beneficial.

How does a Breathalyzer work?

Most people living in Vancouver have heard the term "breathalyzer" even if they have never seen or used one. All police departments in the state of Washington use breathalyzers to obtain an estimate of the amount of alcohol in the blood stream of a driver who is suspected of drunk driving.

The legislature has defined intoxication as a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.08%. However, a breathalyzer does not directly measure alcohol in a person's blood stream. Instead, it uses a measurement of alcohol in a person's exhaled breath to provide what may be called a precise estimate of a person's BAC.

Puyallup man charged with DUII

Parking lots can be dangerous places, especially for pedestrians. Most parking lot collisions are accidental, but a recent hit and run accident in a parking lot in Lincoln City, Oregon, may have been at least partly intentional and partly the result of drunk driving.

Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies are investigating the actions of a resident of Puyallup, Washington, that caused serious injuries to a Portland man in the parking lot of a Walgreen's pharmacy. Police were called to the scene after receiving a report of a hit and run accident. When they arrived, they discovered that the injured person had been in his own vehicle. He reportedly sustained serious injuries and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Portland. It was reported that the man's wife and child were watching when the man from Puyallup used his car to hit the other man. The suspect had fled the parking lot by the time police arrived, but Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies caught up with the man and arrested him as he drove north on Highway 101 toward Portland. The man appeared to be impaired, and deputies arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

What is a reaffirmation agreement?

Most people in Vancouver who decide to file a petition in bankruptcy expect to have their debts eliminated or significantly reduced. Sometimes, however, a debtor may find benefits to agreeing with the creditor to repay the debt in full even though the obligation is eligible to be entirely discharged in the bankruptcy proceeding. When this happens, the debtor may elect to enter into a "reaffirmation agreement" with the creditor.

Perhaps the most common use of reaffirmation agreements involves automobiles or other items of personal property that are subject to a security interest, or lien, held by the creditor. If the bankruptcy proceeding concludes by discharging such a debt, the creditor may still foreclose its lien and take possession of the vehicle. The debtor may be able to prevent repossession by entering into a reaffirmation agreement with the creditor that holds the security interest.

Twenty-year-old drunk driver kills two in head-on crash

Many people in Oregon do not realize that the penalties for DUI increase dramatically in an accident that causes death or serious bodily injury. A young woman from Canby, Oregon, is now facing these consequences as the result of a head-on collision that police blame on the woman's drunk driving.

According to police investigators, the young woman was driving north on South Barlow road when she veered off the roadway and onto the gravel shoulder. She drove for another 200 feet before oversteering. She crossed back onto the road and across the center line, where she collided with a southbound vehicle carrying two men. According to witnesses, the car carrying the two men burst into flames almost immediately. Bystanders were unable to free either of the men before both of them perished in the flames.

What do you have to disclose about your house when selling?

Selling a home in Washington can be a complex process. Not only do you have to decide where you will live next, you will have to decide on a fair asking price, list the house for sale and allow people to come look at your home. In addition to these things, you also have to consider the legal obligations you have as the seller.

Many people fail to consider the legal nature of a real estate transaction. It is a major financial step, but it could have significant legal ramifications as well. As the seller of the home, there are certain things you have to do, including disclosing certain information to the people who may buy your home. Before you move forward, it could be beneficial to fully understand required disclosures and what they mean for you.

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Marsh, Higgins, Beaty & Hatch, P.C.
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