Why not put it in writing? | Letters
December 25, 2011 · Updated 10:41 AM
The Friends of the San Juans in their recent newspaper ad blitz supporting the county’s radical re-write of the critical areas ordinance, claims that home owners, farmers and businesses (structures, improvements and uses) will not be affected by the new critical areas ordinance.
According to the Friends, a property owner will be able to continue to do what they have always been doing as though the ordinance did not exist.
Shireene Hale, county planner, has repeatedly made the same statement at town hall meetings.
According to the Friends, and the county planning staff, existing uses will be “grandfathered” and will not be affected by the proposed multiple restrictive overlays that will be blanketing most private property in the islands.
If this is in fact true, then the new ordinance should say so directly with no ambiguity; no ifs, ands or buts.
If the council does not insert a stand alone statement in the ordinance that all existing structures, improvements and uses (including farming activities) are “grandfathered,” the claims of the county and Friends are not true.
As a side note, “the rest of the story” is that anyone who wants a permit to add on to their home, plant a new orchard or move a septic drain field will be required to comply with the new critical areas ordinance. Good luck to any property owner who gets ensnared in the county council’s open-ended, vague permit requirements and use restrictions enumerated in the new critical areas ordinance.
They are in for a very expensive, up close and personal adventure with the county’s permitting bureaucracy.