Banded together against collapse of 'common sense' | Guest Column

Sam Buck - Contributed photo
Sam Buck
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Sam Buck

The Common Sense Alliance was created in response to, what seemed like to us, complete disregard for the property owners.

We stated to the San Juan County Council, “If there are tangible, logical reasons for the proposed very burdensome regulations, the public might accept them as necessary for the greater good.”

We asked over and over again, “What are the problems?” We saw reams of big solutions created for undefined problems.

None of us wanted to “get involved,” as we were all very busy with our lives. We saw an urgent need for someone, anyone, to step up and do something. None of us had anything personal to gain, we were just incensed that our governing body had such little regard for land owners, most (if not all) of whom love and appreciate nature.

Additionally, there seemed to be literally no regard for the economic stability of our county, which definitely impacts school enrollment and other aspects of our quality of island life.

The people leading our county actually said: “We are not required to consider the economic impacts,” when creating land use regulation.

We reluctantly realized that we were the only people willing to step up to see if we could help bring some common sense into the picture. Are we radical “rape the land” evangelists? Clearly not.

We are people who care enough about you, and this county, to meet almost every week for over five years. What is our dastardly deed? We are guilty of doing our best to bring to your attention the consequences of giving in to the radical, and very impactful, land use changes that so few of our citizens have yet to really grasp.

Should such behavior disqualify all of us from serving on any public board?

We have raised a very small amount of money, relative to the “Friends” bankroll, to challenge the critical areas ordinance immorally imposed on us by the lame-duck San Juan County Council. The citizens rejected the direction they were taking us and they jammed it down our throats anyway.

We simply want a CAO update based on peer-reviewed science that is proportional to any problems discovered, that allows for, and encourages, innovative solutions, and is balanced against (not driven by) the economic realities of our county.

Such bad, bad, people indeed.

There are some who are very annoyed that anyone would dare to stand in the way of their version of “saving the world.”

It takes a tremendous commitment of time, energy and patience to be a member of the Planning Commission. I hope that most of you will agree that having some people on the planning commission that question, and bring into the light of day, positions that they deem to be unfounded, to be a very good thing.

When government steals away the intended reasonable use and therefore the enjoyment of one’s land, government is stealing the dreams and savings born of a lifetime of hard work. When there is no clear reason (nexus) for imposing these very limiting nonsensical regulations upon the landowner and logic is nowhere to be found, one wonders what happened to “common sense?"

We actually stated in our first meeting: “What happened to good old-fashion common sense?”

The deeper you dig into these new rules, the less of it you will find. CSA is committed to reversing that trend.

— Editor's note: Sam Buck is a member of the Common Sense Alliance board of directors.


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