Re: Vacation rental permit ordinance | Letters

My friends in the construction trade have long speculated that this county uses an unresponsive and unnecessarily glacial permitting process as a planning tool. Here it is in print: a proposal to staff a county department with well-paid people, give them working conditions and benefits that are not common in our local private sector, at the taxpayer’s expense and instruct them to frustrate the intentions of those same taxpayers. Taxpayers who employ thought and energies, devising plans to test their hopes and visions, hiring consultants and drafts people as they prepare permit documents, expending their resources the whole way, only to discover the intention of the department is to surreptitiously obstruct their plans?

Infuriating is the basis for this cruel proposal. We need affordable housing because we have people living and working here who lack tenable living situations. Take away the jobs that vacation rentals generate, and the number of people working in San Juan County will be substantially reduced, resulting in fewer people looking for housing. Those empty houses that might have been vacation rentals will remain empty, not only because they will not be permitted as vacation rentals, but because the people who do need year-round rentals will still not be able to afford them. As a further result of this, the people who would have occupied the vacation rentals will not arrive, because there will be nowhere for them to stay, further reducing revenues and employment potential.

Infuriating that the people who are devising and implementing such proposals won’t feel this pain. Their jobs continue regardless, as do the taxes that provide their payroll. The article I reference here creates the tendency in this reader to characterize bureaucrats as being out of touch with life on the ground, and who see no contradiction in setting themselves at odds with the people they are supposed to serve.

I propose that a system be developed to identify and profile this type of bureaucrat, and then devise a method to frustrate and discourage their intention to locate in our communities.

Jeff Nichols

Lopez Island