Letters to the Editor

Land Bank a plus for local property values | Letters

The land conservation of the San Juan Islands would likely not exist as open space with public access without the efforts of the Land Bank.

Fields, water access and open pastures are what attracted our attention to the San Juan Islands 11 years ago. As stated in the Land Bank mission, its purpose “is to preserve in perpetuity areas in the county that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low-intensity recreation value, and to protect existing and future sources of potable water.”

The goals in this mission statement resonate so much with us that we became volunteer Land Bank stewards and enjoy outings to Dead Man Bay to keep it pristine.

We are pretty sure all of San Juan County property values are increased as a result of Land Bank achievements, as well as the promotion of tourism to our islands, which helps boost our ailing economy. The funding source in place to keep the Land Bank in operation is a 1 percent real estate excise tax (REET), paid by purchasers of property in San Juan County, along with conservation futures tax, private donations, grants and interest income.

There are opponents to REET monies going to the Land Bank, who state it takes away monies that would support schools and law enforcement agencies. It is important to be clear that the REET income paid to the Land Bank in no way takes away from these institutions.

The exercise of the REET monies designated to go to the Land Bank was enacted by voters of the county expressly to support the Land Bank. We are glad to pay a little more to provide for the continuation of the Land Bank goals.

Please join us and vote yes on the renewal of the REET.

Doug/Laura Tuttle

San Juan Island

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