Dear San Juan County Neighbors and Friends,
The following news is from our friends at the San Juan County Chapter of CAPR.
Common Sense Alliance
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS APPEAL HEARD MONDAY
An appeal in the case of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) Legal Fund v. San Juan County et al. will be heard on April 14, 2014 at 9:30AM by the Court of Appeals. If the Appellate Court overturns the lower court’s decision on the Washington Open Public Meetings Act, the effect on the San Juan County Critical Areas Ordinance could be dramatic.
The Appellate Court will consider whether the Island County Superior Court (Judge Hancock) erred in finding that San Juan County had not violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) even though “subcommittee” meetings were held by three members of the County Council as well as Planning Staff and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, in secret, to interview experts, gather information and make recommendations on the provisions of the CAO without notice to the public.
Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Washington Coalition for Open Government have all joined CAPR in this appeal. In their brief they argue that their interest in the case is due to its potential to affect the “public’s right to know how, why and when governments make decisions affecting he daily lives of citizens” and insuring that “members of the public can play a meaningful role in shaping public policies.” Link to Amicus Brief here
Under the law, any action taken in violation of the OPMA has the potential to void the CAO. A decision of the Court of Appeals is usually rendered within 90 days of the date of argument.
Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, San Juan County