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"City sued over traffic stop, permitsPolice admit they erred in 1999, over a vehicle they thought was stolen."
"An admitted mistake by the Bainbridge Police Department and a change of position by the city planning department have led to two separate lawsuits in Kitsap County Superior Court.In one action, Bainbridge resident Jason Hebert claims that in 1999, police stopped him and a friend at gunpoint, believing the car carrying the two 17-year-olds was stolen. That belief, they maintain, was the product of a mis-read teletype, which said the car was not stolen.Police chief Bill Cooper said this week that the arrest was in fact a mistake.We erred. We have apologized and addressed the situation, Cooper said.According to the suit, filed by Silverdale attorney Diane Russell, Bainbridge Police Officer Wilson Sapp received a report that a green BMW was being driven recklessly, and gave Sapp the license number.The complaint maintains that Sapp relayed that information to the police station, which forwarded a records query to Central Communications in Bremerton, which handles records information for a number of law-enforcement agencies. The response said there was no report of the vehicle being stolen.But another officer did not read the reply correctly, and wrote on the police information board that the car was indeed stolen.The next day, Sapp spotted the car, in which Hebert, then 17, was a passenger. The officer followed the car to the Hockett & Olson auto repair shop on Ferncliff Avenue and High School Road, where he and other officers made a full felony stop with loaded guns.He saw numerous guns pointed at him, the complaint says, and Hebert was handcuffed. After officers went to the police station and verified that the stolen-vehicle report was in error, the boys were released.The suit claims that Hebert suffered mental and emotional distress, and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, together with attorneys' fees.Wetland permit change chargedThe second lawsuit, filed by Seattle attorney Dennis Reynolds, claims that the city wrongly revoked a permit to build a home at the corner of Murden Cove Drive and Manitou Beach Road, demanding instead that his clients obtain a shoreline development permit.According to the suit, Charles and Carole Cole bought the land in 1962. Although there had at one time been a saltwater wetland on the property, the suit says it was filled in before the Coles bought the land, and before the Shoreline Management Act made such filling illegal.The complaint says that beginning in the 1980s, illegal dumping on the lot became common, including unauthorized use by the Kitsap County Highway Department as a place to dump spoil material from ditch-cleaning.When the Coles applied for a building permit in 1997, the suit says, a wetland area was observed on the property, possibly as a result of the dumping. But the city determined that the wetland was insignificant, and issued a building permit in 1998.The permit required Mr. Cole to raise the grade for the home construction pad to meet (flooding) requirements, approved the grade and fill to do so, the suit says.But according to the suit, the Murden Cove Preservation Association objected to the grading and filling. And on Feb. 14 of this year - some 30 months after the permit was granted - city code enforcer Will Peddy wrote a letter to the Coles saying that they need to obtain a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit.I know this is contrary to the information you have received in the past, Peddy said in his letter.The Coles appealed Peddy's ruling to the city hearing examiner. In June, examiner Robin Baker affirmed Peddy's decision, agreeing with his legal interpretation that a permit is required. Baker also ruled that the original decision not to require a permit was not final under the law, and could therefore be reconsidered and revoked despite the passage of time.The suit says that the original permit exemption was not only proper but was in fact required by law. And in any event, they say that it is now too late for the city to change its mind. The Coles ask the court both to overturn the city's ruling and reinstate their building permit, and to award money damages in an unspecified amount. City officials did not comment on the wetland lawsuit. "