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Fairgrounds requests revisions to its use permit

The San Juan County Fair Board has asked the county to consider an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan that would reclassify the fairgrounds property, allowing additional new activities to occur.

“The goal is to protect its neighbors as community needs grow while maintaining its mission as a community asset for the annual fair and fairgrounds,” Fair Manager Christine Miller said.

The Fair Board wants to hear from all islanders about the future of the fairgrounds. Public meetings are planned for each ferry-served island so board members can hear your comments.

Written comments and/or questions are also welcome to the San Juan County Fair Department, P.O. Box 1094, Friday Harbor, WA. 98250 or e-mail info@sanjuancountyfair.org.

Here are the meeting dates and times.

n San Juan Island, May 28, 5:30 p.m., in the 4-H Marie Boe Building.

n Orcas Island: June 4, 10 a.m., in the Orcas Library Meeting Room.

n Shaw Island: June 4, 1 p.m., in the Shaw Community Center.

n Lopez Island: June 11, 10 a.m., in the Lopez Library Meeting Room.

Besides being a venue for the county fair, the fairgrounds are open to the public as a day park and as a place for people to gather for many other events throughout the year.

The fairgrounds have served the islands since 1923. In 1998, the county adopted a land use plan and regulations that didn’t recognize the varied role of the fairgrounds — it merely assumed the fairgrounds would continue to be used as it had in the past, surrounded by a residential area. Miller said the fairgrounds are now needed for community uses that are rooted in its history and additional opportunities for the site that haven’t been considered before.

These opportunities might include a permanent site for the San Juan Farmers’ Market, a commercial kitchen for community use, a commercial and educational greenhouse and camping for groups.

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