AS I SEE IT
John Evans has a Guest Column in the Island Guardian, an online newspaper that you can access by clicking on this link.
John B Evans is a columnist for the Guardian, farmer and nurseryman in Doe Bay; a County Commissioner for 12 years; past Chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party; Executive Director of SJC Builders Association, and one of the founding members of Citizens For Responsible Government, a not-for-profit & a non-partisan corporation
Alex MacLeod has a Guest Column in the Island Guardian, an online newspaper that you can access by clicking here on this link.
Mr. MacLeod and his wife have owned property on Shaw since the early 1980s and have been full-time county residents for nearly a decade. He was chair of the county’s Ferry Advisory Committee for four years before being voted off the committee by the Council.
January 14, 2012
To The Editor,
I have been mulling over the non-conforming designation issue that is part of the proposed San Juan County’s rewrite of the Critical Areas Ordinance. The County is planning on extending a new regulatory overlay called a "buffer" around the islands wetlands and streams and along the 400 miles of County shorelines. The buffer overlays are intended to provide a natural barrier from human use as a protection for the designated critical areas. The proposed buffer widths range up to 300 feet; no small matter.
February 7, 2012
To the editor:
Under the Council's proposed Critical Areas Ordinance, applicants will be required to navigate a complex set of rules and restrictions to get the County's approval for the use of their land. Applicants will have to prove they will not "impact" the environment with the "development" they propose on their land and implement expensive "mitigation" of the theoretical impacts.
In the draft Ordinance being written by the Council's planning staff the rules are vague, with the "Director" being given the final authority to decide on the approval or denial of a citizen's permit application. Under the proposed ordinance, the unelected Director becomes the most powerful and authoritative person in the permitting process. Lets hope the County has a Director with the wisdom of Solomon--not likely, based on recent past experience.
February 01, 2012
To the Editor:
Martha’s Vineyard here we come!
Islanders say they don’t want the San Juans to become a Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket Island; retreats mostly for the very wealthy. These east coast islands used to have working economies based on fishing; and a long time ago, whaling. They were self sufficient middle class communities with small farms, shops, tradesman, home and boat builders, fisherman and a few summer homes.
January 30, 2012
To the Editor:
As I read the 51 pages of the Community Development and Planning staff report and proposed CAO ordinance general regulations the other night I broke out in a cold sweat trying to wrap my mind around the complexity of these regulations and restrictions. I am no slouch when it comes to critical analysis and unraveling complex issues, but I have trouble finding the time to keep up with these proposed regulations, much less predicting the impact they will have on our community. San Juan County already has extensive development regulations to protect critical areas and my greatest fear if these additional restrictions are enacted is the Law of Unintended Consequences. For example, our county has done a fine job of supporting and encouraging the development of local farms so that we all have access to fresh, safe foods grown in a sustainable manner that preserves the integrity of our land. I know something about this because my husband and I own and operate a small farm on San Juan Island.
A response to Mr. Hobbs notion that nonconforming properties will be increasing in value
In a letter to the editor of the Editor last week three objections to some fundamental points were raised. The question was brought up why expanding the setbacks of the CAO would reduce property valuations.
Dear CSA Folks:
After 20 plus years of participating in County government, starting a long time ago as Chairman of the Fair Board, then 12 years as a County Commissioner, and lately as a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee on the draft Critical Areas Ordinance, I didn't think there was much that could come out of the Friday Harbor Court House that would surprise me.
The County Council, on a 5-1 vote, has preliminarily passed the Draft CAO General Section. Approval comes when the wetlands and wildlife sections of the CAO are finished in the next month or two.