(1) Each petition for review that is filed with the growth management hearings board shall be heard and decided by a regional panel of growth management hearings board members. Regional panels shall be constituted as follows:
(a) Central Puget Sound region. A three-member central Puget Sound panel shall be selected to hear matters pertaining to cities and counties located within the region comprised of King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.
(b) Eastern Washington region. A three-member eastern Washington panel shall be selected to hear matters pertaining to cities and counties that are required or choose to plan under RCW 36.70A.040
and are located east of the crest of the Cascade mountains.
(c) Western Washington region. A three-member western Washington panel shall be selected to hear matters pertaining to cities and counties that are required or choose to plan under RCW 36.70A.040
, are located west of the crest of the Cascade mountains, and are not included in the central Puget Sound region. Skamania county, if it is required or chooses to plan under RCW 36.70A.040
, may elect to be included within either the western Washington region or the eastern Washington region.
(2)(a) Each regional panel selected to hear and decide cases shall consist of three board members, at least a majority of whom shall reside within the region in which the case arose, unless such members cannot sit on a particular case because of recusal or disqualification, or unless the board chair determines otherwise due to caseload management determinations or the unavailability of a board member due to illness, absence, or vacancy. The presiding officer of each case shall reside within the region in which the case arose, unless the board chair determines that there is an emergency.
(b) Except as provided otherwise in this subsection (2)(b), each regional panel must: (i) Include one member admitted to practice law in this state; (ii) include one member who has been a city or county elected official; and (iii) reflect the political composition of the board. The requirements of this subsection (2)(b) may be waived by the board chair due to member unavailability, significant workload imbalances, or other reasons.