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SubjectIMPORTANT ~ Public Hearing on Newly Revised CAO Feb. 4th
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Dear San Juan County Neighbors and Friends,

Common Sense Alliance wants to thank our neighbors and supporters for the financial help and encouragement that we have enjoyed over the past year. It was a year of immense challenges for the property owners of San Juan County who have conceded rights under the new CAO that they have enjoyed for generations. The result is that CSA is in an expensive legal battle over what we believe is a flawed Critical Areas Ordinance.
CSA is resolved in 2014 to continue our quest in the courts for a common sense solution to the requirements of the Growth Management Act (GMA). Meanwhile, our new County Council is besieged by CAO litigation on several fronts. Their new idea is to try to salvage this Ordinance by adopting parts of the Department of Ecology’s regional plan. We have seen this before.

•In 2009 several members of CSA met with the County Council and representatives from Department of Ecology (DOE). DOE tried to convince San Juan County to adopt their Western Washington rating system for wetlands and critical area buffers for all of San Juan County.

•The then 6-person San Juan County Council rejected the DOE approach and decided to go their own way and the result has been years of controversy and wasted resources resulting in complex lawsuits.

•Although the DOE approach to buffer size might be better than what was ultimately adopted by San Juan County, it still does not solve the issues CSA is ultimately concerned about:    

1.     There is still no relationship between buffer size and any actual environmental harm that a buffer could supposedly prevent.

2.      Best available science does not conclude that a large buffer is the cure for a problem that doesn’t exist in the first place.

•The County also has designated all shoreline areas in San Juan County as “critical”.  Adopting the DOE guidelines only aggravates this problem.

Please note that the County Council will host a critical area ordinance public hearing on Tuesday, February 4th beginning about 9:15am in the Legislative Building (Council Chambers) in Friday Harbor to discuss the adoption of the DOE Wetlands and Critical Area buffer system.
Help CSA get the word to the Council that they are not addressing the real issues in the Critical Areas Ordinance that make it unmanageable, unaffordable, and unenforceable.  Attend the hearing and make 3-minute oral comments and/or communicate in writing to your Councilman.   Written comments to the Council must be received by 1pm, Monday, February 3, 2014.  
Donation information appears below. Thanks for your support! 
Common Sense Alliance
Common Sense Alliance
P.O. 1249 Friday Harbor, 98250

Common Sense Alliance (CSA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization based in San Juan County.  CSA depends upon individual donors to support its efforts in your behalf.  Funds provided by you are used to retain outside legal counsel, subject matter experts and to pay other expenses necessary to fund these activities.

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